Historic Lighthouse on the Brazos River

Throughout history, lighthouses have safely guided ships from the seas to land with their beacons of light. Texas was once home to a chain of 10 lighthouses along the Gulf Coast. Some managed to survive the Civil War, some toppled in storms and others succumbed to dismantling; however, for years they all helped navigate those at sea.

One of these lighthouses stood for more than 70 years about a mile inside the Brazos River’s mouth and guided vessels as they navigated the Gulf waters. This lighthouse, the Brazos River Light, was constructed in one year and was first lit in May of 1896. With its square, pyramidal skeleton tower made of iron, it likened to towers built in Louisiana and Florida.

The original power of the lighthouse came from an oil lamp with 35,000 candlepower. Light beaming from this lantern flashed every five seconds for vessels up to 15 miles out at sea. The light was powered by oil for more than 40 years until it was switched to electric in 1936. This switch increased its power to 190,000 candlepower. A final upgrade in 1963 illuminated the lamp to about 2 million candlepower.

It stood in Velasco, Texas, until 1967 when the property was purchased by Dow Chemical Company, who dismantled it. Although the tower is no longer standing, you can view the original lantern room and lens at the Brazoria County Historical Museum in Angleton, Texas.

photo courtesy of the Brazoria County Historical Museum