Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse

I love the old tall tale about the lighthouse and the naval ship. As the story goes, a naval ship navigating its way through the fog saw a light in the distance. Fearing that they were on a direct collision course with the approaching vessel, the naval ship radioed and requested that the other vessel change course. The other vessel replied that the naval ship should do the same. The naval ship reiterated their request, boasting that it was the largest ship in the fleet. The other “vessel” promptly replied, “I’m a lighthouse. Your call.”
Texas LighthousesOf the sixteen lighthouses originally constructed along the Texas coast, seven lighthouses remain. These guiding beacons are situated along the Gulf Coast from the southernmost tip of Texas to the mouth of the Sabine River along the Texas-Louisiana border. Some have been decommissioned and stand as silent sentinels along the Texas coast. Others still send their piercing light into the Gulf night.
Halfmoon Reef FrontThe Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse is the Lone Star State’s oldest surviving wooden lighthouse. Built in 1858, the hexagonal-shaped lighthouse played a key role in guiding ships into Matagorda Bay. For years, the Matagorda Island Lighthouse, built in 1852, guided ships safely into the bay. However, many large ships often ran aground on Halfmoon Reef, a shoal on the eastern side of the bay. So, the Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse was constructed and strategically situated on the southern tip of Halfmoon Reef to warn ships to avoid the jagged rocks hiding beneath the surface of the water.
Halfmoon Historical PicSurrounded by water, the Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse was an island unto itself. Twice in its history, a husband and wife shared the responsibility of manning the lighthouse. Stephen Hill, one of the lighthouse keepers, had a daughter named Sadie who was prone to sleepwalking. After her parents found her sleepwalking dangerously close to the edge of the lighthouse platform, they decided to take action to protect their daughter. The solution? They tied one end of a string to Sadie’s big toe at bedtime and other end to her sister’s big toe. Problem solved!
Port Lavaca BoatsThe Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse survived the hurricanes of 1854, 1875, and 1886. However, the lighthouse was damaged by the hurricane of 1942 and was consequently decommissioned. The structure was moved from its watery perch to land owned by the late W.H. Bauer in Point Comfort. In 1978, Bauer donated the lighthouse to Calhoun County Historical Commission.
Halfmoon Reef LighthouseIn the mid-1980s, the lighthouse was moved to its present location in Port Lavaca. Today, the Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse is regarded as the city’s most important landmark, welcoming travelers entering the city from the East on Highway 35. If you find yourself traveling down Highway 35, slow down and take a few minutes to visit the lighthouse and enjoy this little slice of Texas history.

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