Lighthouse ceremony to unveil new stamp series

Leaders of the U.S. Postal Service will be in Biloxi Thursday morning for a public ceremony that will launch a new series of postage stamps honoring the city’s signature landmark, the Biloxi Lighthouse, and four other Gulf Coast lighthouses that withstood hurricanes in 2005.

The first-day-of-issue ceremony for “Gulf Coast Lighthouses” will begin at 11 a.m. at the Biloxi Lighthouse and will feature Katherine C. Tobin, a member of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors; Terry J. Wilson, southeastern area vice president of the Postal Service; Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway; Murella H. Powell, Biloxi’s historian emeritus; and retired Navy Capt. Hal Pierce of the Alabama Lighthouse Association.

Other hurricane alley lighthouses featured in the series are at Matagorda Island, near Port O’Connor, Texas; Sabine Pass, near Sabine Pass, La.; Sand Island, near the entrance to Mobile Bay in Mobile, Ala.; and, Fort Jefferson (also known as Garden Key Lighthouse), nearly 70 miles west of Key West, Fla.

“Our lighthouse was halfway submerged during Katrina,” Mayor Holloway said, “yet it still stands tall today as testament to the resilience of our community. She is our enduring landmark — our signature landmark. We are very proud the Postal Service chose the Biloxi lighthouse for this series.”

The honor is the latest for the icon that was erected in 1848. In 2008, the Mississippi license plate that features the Biloxi Lighthouse was named the Best Plate of 2007 in the U.S. and Canada by the 4,000-member Automobile License Plate Collector’s Association.

The 44-cent first-class stamps, which will be available on Thursday, will be issued in sheets of 20.

Stamp Artist Howard Koslow of Toms River, N.J., worked under the direction of Art Director Howard E. Pane of Delaplane, VA. Koslow based his artwork on photographs taken by Frank Dedlar of St. Louis, Mich. Dedlar, a photographer whose primary income entails farming 500 acres in Michigan, recorded his images the year after 2005’s devastating hurricanes.

A word about parking: Those attending the ceremony should park at Nativity Elementary School, a block north of U.S., 90 off Porter Avenue, where free shuttle service will be provided to the event. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held at the Biloxi Community Center.

Learn more about the Biloxi Lighthouse

The images: To see photographs of the Biloxi Lighthouse through the years and plans for the area, click here.

The history: To read the story of the Biloxi Lighthouse, click here.

The invite: To see your invitation to the ceremony Thursday, click here.

The series: For background on the lighthouse series and to see images of the stamps, click here.