Built in 1848, the tower is constructed of brick but its exterior is formed of panels of cast iron. It is, in fact, one of the few iron lighthouses in the South. It stands 45 feet tall from its foundations to the lantern room and is the only lighthouse in the United States that stands on the median of a major four-land highway (US 90).
The Biloxi Lighthouse has a remarkable history. For more than 160 years it has helped vessels navigate the shallow waters of Mississippi Sound, with only a brief interruption after it was darkened by Confederates during the Civil War. Legend holds that it was painted black as a sign of mourning when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, but in fact the temporary coating of black tar was done to protect the iron of the tower from rust and corrosion and not as a tribute to Lincoln.
In the wake of Katrina, which destroyed 90% of the homes in Biloxi, a United States flag was draped from the lantern room of the lighthouse. It was one of those rare moments in American history when a single act inspires the people of an entire state. The lighthouse flag did just that, becoming a symbol of courage and determination for the people of Mississippi.
Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast launched one of the most determined rebuilding efforts in U.S. history. The Biloxi Lighthouse became a fixture on the state's license plates and the beautifully restored tower once again welcomes guests to one of the finest beach resorts in the South.
To learn more about the remarkable history of the Biloxi Lighthouse, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/biloxilighthouse.