Biloxi Lighthouse

Live feed from inside the Biloxi Lighthouse

The Biloxi Lighthouse was erected in 1848 and was one of the first cast-iron lighthouses in the South. It is the city’s signature landmark and has become a post-Katrina symbol of the city’s resolve and resilience.

The Biloxi Lighthouse was one of three Mississippi Sound lighthouses authorized in 1847 by legislation sponsored by Mississippi Representative Jefferson Davis. A one-acre tract for the lighthouse and keeper’s dwelling was purchased from John Fayard for $600, and metal plates, cast by Murray and Hazlehurst Vulcan Works in Baltimore under a contract for $6,347, were bolted together to form the lighthouse, which was strengthened by a brick lining. The tower was completed in the spring of 1848 under the supervision of Henry Scoles, and Marcellus J. Howard was assigned as the first keeper. Part of Keeper Howard’s job was to service the nine lamps and fourteen-inch reflectors, supplied by Winslow Lewis, that comprised the lighting apparatus. In 1856, a fourth-order Fresnel lens replaced the array of lamps and reflectors.

The light was civilian operated from 1848 to 1939, and is notable for its several female lightkeepers, including Maria Younghans, who tended the light for 53 years. In 1939, the U.S. Coast Guard assumed responsibility for the light’s operation.

After being declared surplus property in 1968, the Biloxi Lighthouse was deeded to the City of Biloxi, which eventually opened it to public tours.

The lighthouse has withstood many storms over the years. Katrina’s storm surge enveloped a third of the 64-foot tall lighthouse, and the constant pounding from the water and winds toppled many bricks that lined the interior of the cast iron tower. The storm’s winds also broke many of the windows in the light cupola and destroyed the structure’s electrical system

In March 2010, the city re-opened the lighthouse to public tours after a 14-month, $400,000 restoration that was funded by FEMA and MEMA and completed by Biloxi contractor J.O. Collins.

Video and photos: To see a 12-minute documentary about the Biloxi Lighthouse, narrated by Biloxi native and Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley, click here. To see a gallery of images from through the years, click here. To see a video of a post-Katrina song about the Biloxi Lighthouse, written by local singer-songwriter Steve Cason, click here.  To see a brochure about the Biloxi Lighthouse, created pre-Katrina, click here.

Guided tours: Daily from 9 to 10 a.m., weather permitting. No reservations required, except for group tours, which can be arranged by calling (228) 374-3105.

Admission: $5 for ages 12 and older, $2 for ages 6 to 11; free for ages 5 and younger; Discounts for groups.

Location: The lighthouse is in the center median of U.S. 90 at Porter Avenue, south of the new Biloxi Visitors Center, and just west of I-110 loop and Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.

More info: Email Biloxi’s museums office at or call (228) 374-3105.