The relighting of the Matagorda Island Lighthouse, its restoration and continued maintenance will have multiple benefits to the local community and the citizens of Texas. First and foremost will be the protection of a unique historical resource. The lighthouse will provide visitors a focal point to its importance as a historical navigational aid - an aid that made possible the maritime transportation to Matagorda Bay and its ports. The ports were instrumental in the exporting and importing of goods needed for the development of central Texas. It also allowed the immigration of settlers to the area. Publicity regarding the restored lighthouse will draw attention to the area's historical and natural resources. This will increase visitation and provide economic benefits for Calhoun County.
The significance of the lighthouse is validated by its inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and recognition by the Texas Historical Commission.
RELIGHTING / RESTORATION PLANS
The lighthouse project plan began with the event "Relight the Lighthouse" which was held at midnight on December 31, 1999 to bring in the next millenium and light the way for a new future on Matagorda Island. On the site, a replica of the keepers' quarters will be constructed and serve as a visitor's and information center. A nature / historical / bicycle trail will be constructed. It will connect the boat landing at the state park to the lighthouse, Civil War trenches, wetland areas and to the beach.
Phase I of the project will be the installation of a new beacon and the restoration of the lighthouse. Repairs include replacement of the concrete lip around the base of the tower, replacement of broken windows, repair of the lantern room windows, walkway and catwalks. Replacement or repair of doors and seals will also be completed. The project will include the repair of deteriorated cast iron plates and the sandblasting and painting of the interior and exterior surfaces. A fence will be constructed around the cemetery containing the remains of former lighthouse keepers and their families.
Phase II of the restoration will include construction of the keepers' quarters and trails.
Construction of Nature / Bicycle / Hiking Trails
Construction of a new Visitor's Center
Restoration of the Civil War Trenches
Restoration of Fort Esperanza
World War II Bombing Targets
Excavation of Sunken Ships
Army Hole Restoration