Round Island Lighthouse (MS)

Oct. 8, 2019

Round Island Lighthouse, Round Island, Mississippi Sound, south of Pascagoula, Mississippi

Built in 1859, toppled by Hurrican Georges in September 1998.


Station Established: 1833
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1859
Operational? NO
Automated? 1944
Deactivated: 1949
Foundation Materials: UNKNOWN
Construction Materials: BRICK
Tower Shape: ROUND
Markings/Pattern: RED BRICK
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE

Historical Information:

  • In 1833, money was appropriated for construction of a lighthouse on Round Island in the Pascagoula Harbor on the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The sandy soil of Round Island did not provide a solid base for such a large structure and erosion was eating away the island. By 1853 the light station was in dire need of replacing or repairing.
  • Building was completed in 1859 on a new light station moved inland from the previous site. A fifty foot red brick tower was fitted with a fourth order Fresnel lens. A new separate keeper’s quarters was also built on the site.
  • During the Civil War, Round Island Light like so many other lights in the South went dark. It was re-lit in 1865 and shown until 1949. It was automated in 1944.
  • Life on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico can be very hard for structures, constantly buffeted by winds and shifting sands underfoot. Hurricanes are a constant threat and in 1998 Hurricane George toppled the Round Island Light.
  • A preservation group was in the process of re-building the light when Hurricane Katrina swept in and toppled the structure yet again. The City of Pascagoula decided to rebuild once again, however this time on more solid ground on the water front in Pascagoula. The original base of the lighthouse was placed atop a concrete slab which sits on five 50 feet steel beams driven into the ground. Bricks from the tower and the original lantern room will be used for the rebuilding which is expected to be completed in late 2012.
  •  The site on Round Island is closed to the public.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.