[Lighthouse of the Week] Introducing the Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse of Texas! Read on to learn more:
It still welcomes visitors to Port Lavaca. However, having been moved ashore from its perch above the waters of Matagorda Bay, it now performs that function for travelers entering Port Lavaca from the east on Highway 35, rather than for mariners arriving from the gulf.
After Matagorda Island Lighthouse began guiding traffic into Matagorda Bay in 1852, requests were made for additional lights to mark channels and obstacles in the bay itself. Complying with the demands, the Lighthouse Board successfully petitioned Congress in 1854 for funds to construct a light on the southern tip of Halfmoon Reef, a shoal on the eastern side of Matagorda Bay. Two years passed before the plans, which called for the construction of a screwpile lighthouse, were finalized. The lighthouse would consist of a wooden, hexagonal structure, sixteen feet on a side, surmounted by a lantern room and supported by seven, twenty-five-foot iron piles. On one end, the piles had threads, two feet in diameter, which facilitated screwing the piles into the shoal to a depth of nine feet.
The piles arrived at Matagorda Bay early in 1858, having been shipped to Galveston from Baltimore aboard the same vessel that carried the cast iron extensions for the Matagorda and Bolivar Point Lighthouses. Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse was completed by July 1, when it began operation. A fixed white light produced by a sixth-order Fresnel lens shone from the lantern room. However, mariners claimed that as they sailed in the gulf along the Matagorda Peninsula dunes would periodically obscure Halfmoon Reef Light, creating a flashing signature like that of the nearby Matagorda Island Lighthouse. To eliminate the confusion, a ruby red glass chimney was used in the oil lamp, changing the characteristic of Halfmoon Reef Light to red.
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for next week's lighthouse! Also be sure to check out our EVENTS to see what's coming up this holiday season~