This is a color image of the Point Bolivar Lighthouse near Galveston, TX. Feel free to email with question/comments. Thank you for looking.
The lighthouse withstood the onslaught of two of the worst storms recorded on the Texas Gulf Coast, the 1900 and the 1915 hurricanes. An inspector's report said after the 1900 storm - which claimed an estimated 6000 lives on Galveston Island - that, "through the keeper's efforts, the lives of 125 people were saved, and to my personal knowledge, he harbored and fed a large number of them for a considerable period". At one point during the storm, according to the story of one historian, the hurricane winds caused the tower to sway so badly that the machinery for the light failed to work, and that night Claiborne rotated the machinery by hand to keep the beacon bright. Winds of 126 miles per hour were recorded in the 1915 hurricane, and still the lighthouse withstood the pounding of wind and wave. The light in the tower burned every night during the years of it's service except two nights of that storm, Aug 17 and 18, when the supply of oil used to light the lamps floated away after the surging waters of an 11-foot tide burst open the door at the base of the tower. Sixty-one people took refuge in the lighthouse during that storm, huddling on the iron steps during the night as winds rocked the tower, and peering out the windows during the daylight to see their homes and crops being destroyed. Two houses, on stilts for protection from rising tides, were built near the lighthouse for the lighthouse keeper and his two assistants. H C Claiborne retired and was replaced by Capt J B Brooks in 1918.
The government sold the lighthouse as surplus property in 1947.
August 7th, 2012
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