Seven hours and a thousand tours later, Lighthouse closes

A planned four-hour session of public tours turned into a seven-hour juggernaut that saw nearly 1,000 people tour the newly restored Biloxi Lighthouse.

City Historical Administrator Bill Raymond had vowed to continue tours until dark or until the steady stream of visitors had subsided, which turned out to be at 5 this afternoon.

“It was just a steady, non-stop line of people,” Raymond said, noting that a handful of people at a time could traverse the three-dozen steps in the spiral staircase leading to the top of the 65-foot structure. “Unfortunately, we had to turn away a few people at the end of the day, but we’re planning to have more tours in a few weeks.”

Raymond had originally planned to offer tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, part of a two-day celebration that saw the lighthouse re-dedicated and re-lit during a Friday evening ceremony.

The unveiling was the culmination of a 14-month, $400,000 restoration that was primarly funded by FEMA and completed by Biloxi contractor J.O. Collins.

Said Mayor A.J. Holloway, who passed by the lighthouse earlier today to see the visitors lined up at the base of the structure: “Never underestimate the allure of the Biloxi Lighthouse.”