By STEVE HATHCOCKSpecial to the PRESSEvery now and then I am asked about light houses on Padre Island.Today if a visitor to the Island wanted to explore an old lighthouse, they would need to make their way across the Laguna Madre to Port Isabel where they will find a perfectly preserved stone tower measuring some 80 feet in height. This structure sits in the center of Lighthouse Square and is surrounded by gift shops and restaurants and draws thousands of visitors each year. But Port Isabel has not always had a monopoly on lighthouses.The earliest mention of a light on Padre Island was contained in an article carried in the 1853 issue of American Seamen’s Friend Society, which was a journal of the day devoted to the needs of the modern mariner. The editor described a new light that had been established on the southern end of Padre Island, and north of the Brazos PassageThe light was placed atop a square tower constructed of wood, painted black, which sat atop wheels so that it could be moved about in much the same manner as the men of Troy moved the horse into the city. Because of its color it was easily distinguished from other objects by day. Its light could be seen 3.5 miles out to sea. The keeper’s house was located about a quarter mile from it.In 1855, lighthouse inspector W.H. Stevens submitted the following report:“Sir: In accordance with the annual circular from the Light-house Board, I have the honor to submit the following report on light-house service in my district:A new dwelling for the keeper at Point Isabel light-house has been built, and a new structure for the beacon at Padre Island, Brazos St. Jago, to receive the 5th order lens belonging to that light. The general condition of the different branches of the lighthouse service is, I believe, unexceptionable. The want of clerkly ability among some of the keepers causes some unsightly returns, but all are honest and faithful.I do not anticipate any extensive repairs or renovations during the ensuing year, except for the dwelling of the keeper of the beacon light on Padre Island. This house should be removed, so as to be nearer the beacon, and will need some repairs. It was never completely finished. The sum of $500 will cover the necessary expense.”The following year the tower received a 5th order Fresnel lens making its light 35 feet above sea level. It was used as an entrance light for Brazos Pass. At the onset of the Civil War, the Confederates destroyed the Padre Island light. The Point Isabel light, with its 4-foot thick walls, resisted several attempts to blow it up. Not to be totally defeated in their effort to extinguish the powerful beacon, Confederate Rip Ford ordered the removal of the lens, which effectively neutralized any night use of the tower.The lighthouse board established a temporary light on Padre Island in 1864 and immediately sought funding for a permanent tower. Ten years later a hurricane washed the wooden structure away and Congress appropriated $25,000 for a new tower.Surprisingly, it took 4 years for the Board to obtain the site, which was located just to the south of the present day Coast Guard Station, from the State of Texas. Construction of a frame dwelling on screw piles in began in 1878. The keeper exhibited the light, which was perched above the living quarters, on March 1, 1879. That same year the board established a fixed light atop a square white tower 25 feet in height on the south side of Brazos Santiago. (This light was destroyed in a hurricane sometime in the 1880s.)The Padre Island Light caught fire and burned on March 8, 1940. A low power, temporary light was put in place but it was some time before the radio beacon was replaced. Blackouts were in effect during most of the war years and Padre Island itself was quarantined. The old light finally faded into obscurity and has since been dismantled.An era had come to an end.Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here. RelatedWriter’s Block: Birds of a FeatherBy DINA ARÉVALO Port Isabel-South Padre Press firstname.lastname@example.org If you drive down Highway 100, just west of the Port Isabel city limits and out past Laguna Heights, you’ll see a familiar sight. To the right, between the bay and the road, is a blur of dusty green vegetation. Thick brushy weeds,…February 26, 2016In “Editor’s Column”Lighthouse officially reopensBy DINA ARÉVALO Port Isabel-South Padre Press email@example.com After more than a year spent hidden beneath a layer of scaffolding, the historic Port Isabel Lighthouse was officially reopened to visitors Tuesday. The City of Port Isabel, in partnership with the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce, celebrated the reopening of the iconic…January 26, 2018In “News”Rio History: Treasure Hunting at Isla Blanca ParkBy STEVE HATHCOCK Special to the PRESS The tide was out when we arrived at Isla Blanca Park at the southernmost tip of South Padre Island. My friend John headed to the water to hunt for jewelry while I worked my way south to a small sandbar that is only…January 18, 2019In “News” Share
On Oct. 15, Eighth Judicial Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton found the following individuals in violation of their supervised release and remanded them to Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) custody:-Michael Christopher Savage (above), 31, of LaFollette, had previously pled guilty to filing a false report, and received a suspended sentence of two years supervised by TDOC. He was found guilty of violating the terms of his release and was sentenced to serve his two year sentence in TDOC custody.-Tommy Lee White (above) , 23, of Jacksboro, had previously pled guilty to possession of a schedule VI controlled substance with the intent to resale, and received a suspended sentence of two years supervised by TDOC. He was found guilty of violating the terms of his release and was sentenced to serve his two year sentence in TDOC custody.The above violators were prosecuted by the Office of District Attorney General Jared Effler. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/22/2018-6AM)Share this:FacebookTwitter
NEW YORK | Drivers, here’s the bad news: You’ll be paying more for gasoline in the coming weeks.The good news: You’ll likely pay less than last year. Or the year before, or the year before that.The price of gasoline held steady into early February, but an increase is almost inevitable this time of year. Pump prices have gone up an average 31 cents per gallon in February over the past three years. And although this year’s rise might not reach the heights of years past, there are reasons for drivers in some regions — like the Northeast — to worry about a painful spike.“We’re going to get increases and they are going to be noticeable,” says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Gasbuddy.com and the Oil Price Information Service. “We’re going to get that pop relatively soon.”The price of crude oil has risen 8 percent over the past month, to $100 per barrel. And analysts expect fuel supplies to begin to decline as refineries dial back production to perform maintenance and make the switch to summer fuels.Gasoline prices are already creeping higher. The nationwide average price has risen for seven days in a row to $3.34 per gallon, the highest level since October, according to AAA, OPIS and Wright Express. California, Connecticut and New York drivers are paying an average of $3.65 or more, the most in the lower 48 states. Montana and South Carolina drivers are paying $3.10 or less.But the nationwide average is not expected to quite reach its high point of last year of $3.79 per gallon, set February 27, never mind the highs of $3.94 in 2012 and $3.98 in 2011. AAA predicts a peak of between $3.55 and $3.75 per gallon.Gasoline prices are 8 percent lower than last year at this time, even though crude oil prices are about the same, in part because gasoline supplies are plentiful. Refiners have kept operations humming to meet increased demand for heating oil during the frigid winter, and have produced more gasoline as a result. But the stormy weather has left cars buried under snow, where they don’t use much gasoline.Now, however, with the end of the winter in sight, refinery output is expected to slow down as refiners conduct typical seasonal maintenance. Even refiners that are up and running sometimes reduce production at this time of year. They’ll soon switch to making more expensive summer gasoline that is formulated to meet clean air rules, and they don’t want to be stuck with unsold winter gas.That reduced production depletes supplies and causes gas prices to rise as the U.S. driving season approaches.There are a few twists this year that could send prices higher than forecasters expect, though, especially in certain markets.Three crucial refineries that serve the Northeast have maintenance already underway or scheduled soon, according to Kloza. Delta Air Lines’ facility in Trainer, Pa., is finishing up maintenance and is expected to be back on line in a couple of weeks, according to analysts. The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in Philadelphia is also undergoing maintenance, and the giant Irving refinery in New Brunswick, Canada, is expected to go offline at the end of February, analysts say.If maintenance goes as planned and the weather in the Northeast stays nasty — suppressing demand for gasoline — prices shouldn’t spike too dramatically. But if something goes wrong at a refinery and people start hopping in the car again, prices could soar in New York and New England.Kloza says California and the Pacific Northwest are also at risk for higher prices because both regions rely so heavily on a relatively small number of refineries.Low supplies will be more difficult to replace than in the past because the U.S. is receiving fewer imports of gasoline and other fuels from abroad, while exporting more. Refiners often find it cheaper to send any excess fuel they produce abroad than to send it to other U.S. locations because of shipping rules that require domestic shipments to use a small fleet of U.S. boats, which charge higher rates.“The market may not take off, but there’s plenty of dry tinder, and I think it will,” Kloza says. “It’s going to get pretty interesting here over the next 45 days.”Jonathan Fahey can be reached at https://twitter.com/JonathanFahey .Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.