Tchefuncte River Lighthouse

Oct. 22, 2019

Tchefuncte River Lighthouse, Tchefuncte River and Lake Pontchartrain, Madisonville, Louisiana

Built in 1832.


Location: North side of Lake Ponchartrain
Station Established: 1838
First Lit: 1868
Operational: Yes
Automated: Yes- 1952
Deactivated: No
Foundation Material: Stone
Construction Material: Brick
Tower Shape: Conical 
Markings: White with vertical black stripe
Relationship to Other Structures: Separate
Original Lens: 1868
Tower Height: 43 feet
Range: – 
Original Optic: Fifth Order Fresnel lens 
Present Optic: 250 mm
Characteristic: White light 3 seconds on and 3 seconds off
First Keeper: Benjamin Thurston
Current Use: Active aid to navigation – Plans to part of the Museum
Fog Signal: None but had a bell tower
National Register Status

Lighthouse Keepers:

  • Vincenzo Scorza; 1870-1872 [Passed away while bringing his report to the Lighthouse Board in 1872; information provided by Andrella Scorza Morris]

Historical Information:

  • The first tower was badly damaged in The Civil War. It was dismantled. A new tower was constructed on the original foundation- using some of the original brick.
  • The second tower was 10 feet taller than the first. A bell tower and square keepers tower was built next to the lighthouse. The lantern was from Cat Island Light.
  • The single black stripe that was on the tower functioned as a range indicator to help captain’s line up their approach to the river.
  • The keepers dwelling was moved uptown to the town of Madisonville. Today the house sits behind The Lake Pontrchartrain Basin Museum.
  • The town plans on moving the keeper’s house back to the original position next to the lighthouse after being restored. They must first build a protective wall near the lighthouse. They also are planning to build a pier for the access to the lighthouse.

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