Sabine Bank Light

Oct. 15, 2019

Sabine Bank Light, Gulf of Mexico, South of the mouth of the Sabine River, Texas

Caisson style lighthouse built in 1904, replaced with a skeleton tower with automated beacon.


Station Established: 1904
Year First Lit: 1906
Operational: Yes
Automated: 1923
Deactivated: Original tower removed in 2001; skeleton tower now in operation.
Tower Shape/Markings/Pattern: Red, cylindrical, foundation (caisson) pier, expanding in trumpet shape at its upper end to form a gallery, surmounted by a red, conical tower with a black, cylindrical lantern, the tower surrounded near its base by red, conical gallery roof.
Height: 72'
Original Lens: Third Order, Fresnel
Characteristic: Fixed white
Fog Horn: Third-class Daboll trumpet; blasts 5 seconds, silent intervals 25 seconds.

Historical Information:

  • By act approved 3 March 1899, a station on Sabine Bank, Texas, was authorized by Congress.
  • Funding of of $40,000 authorized by Congress on 6 June 1900 for a light and fog-signal station on Sabine Bank.
  • Bids were opened on 8 January 1903.  Caisson bids were the lowest mode of construction.
  • The metalwork was delivered to Sabine, Texas in 1904.
  • The caisson was floated and then towed out to the site and sunk in 1905.  On 7 October 1905 a hurricane swept through the area and interrupted the work.  
  • In 1906 and additional sum was authorized to complete the lighthouse.  Caisson red, expanding in a trumpet shape to form the gallery, surmounted by a red conical tower with a black conical roof.  Work was completed on 1 March 1906.
  • In August, 1919 a hurricane "washed the hatches off the main gallery floor about 26 feet 6 inches above mean high water."
  • In September, 1919, another hurricane hit the area.  Assistant Keeper Ingvald C. M. Ericksen and temporary assistant keeper Charles T. Hansen were commended for maintaining the light after the station received considerable damage.  Note that Ericksen was later lost in an accident at South Pass Jetty Station.
  • In 1923 it was changed to untended acetylene as an economy move and the fact that the District Engineer had trouble "keeping the station manned."  Cluster of three burners.  Tended by the keepers at Sabine Pass.  Characteristic was changed from fixed to a white flash every five seconds.
  • The Fresnel lens was removed in 1971, and the tower was converted to solar power.
  • Light tower was removed from caisson foundation by the USCG between January and April, 2002.  Lantern and watch tower were salvaged; a modern tower was placed on the caisson foundation.  The lantern room is now in Lions Park in Sabine Pass, Texas. The original third-order Fresnel lens from the Sabine Bank Lighthouse is now in the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur.