Cat Island Light

July 22, 2019

Cat Island Light, Cat Island, off the coast of Mississippi


Location: In shallow water at the westerly end of Cat Island, southerly side of the westerly part of the Mississippi Sound.
Station Established: 1831
Year Current / Last Tower(s) First Lit: 1871
Operational: No
Automated: n/a
Deactivated: 1937
Tower Shape / Markings / Pattern: Brick tower (1831); replaced by a white, square, crew-pile structure; piles and lantern, red (1871)
Height: 40-feet
Original Lens: 10 lamps in 14-inch reflectors (1831); Fifth Order, Fresnel (1871)
Characteristic: Fixed white varied by a white flash every 90 seconds
Foghorn: None

Historical Chronology:

  • 1827: "That the Secretary of the Treasury be authorized and directed to provide, by contract, for building a light-house at Cat Island, in the Gulf of Mexico" on 2 March 1827. 
  • 1829-Survey of the coast.
  • 1830-Juan Cuivas was granted the property by an Act of Congress, 28 May 1830. Sold to the U.S. Government on 2 November 1830 for $75.00.
  • Contract to Winslow Lewis for building a lighthouse and dwelling on Cat Island and same at Pass Christian, and fitting both with apparatus.  Total of contract was $9,283.00.  Lewis subcontracted the construction of Cat Island Light to "master workman" Lazarus Baukens.  The brick tower was constructed directly on the sand with no foundation at all.
  • Keeper George Riolly appointed 9 July 1831.
  • Heavily damage by hurricane on 15 August 1860.  
  • Tower was burnt by Confederate forces during the Civil War.
  • Rebuilt during 1870-1871.  Light was relit on 15 December 1871 with a Fifth Order Fresnel lens.
  • Station was discontinued on 22 September 1937.  
  • The land and the lighthouse were transferred to the War Assets Administration in November, 1948, with the lighthouse "in general disrepair."