Throughout history, lighthouses have safely
guided ships from the seas to land with their
beacons of light. Texas was once home to a
chain of 10 lighthouses along the Gulf Coast.
Some managed to survive the Civil War, some
toppled in storms and others succumbed to
dismantling; however, for years they all helped
navigate those at sea.
One of these lighthouses stood for more than 70
years about a mile inside the Brazos River’s
mouth and guided vessels as they naviated the
Gulf waters. This lighthouse, the Brazos River
Light, was constructed in one year and was first
lit in May of 1896. With its square, pyramidal
skeleton tower made of iron, it likened to towers
built in Louisiana and Florida.
The original power of the lighthouse came from
an oil lamp with 35,000 candlepower. Light
beaming from this lantern flashed every five
seconds for vessels up to 15 miles out at sea.
The light was powered by oil for more than 40
years until it was switched to electric in 1936.
This switch increased its power to 190,000
candlepower. A final upgrade in 1963 illuminated
the lamp to about 2 million candlepower.
It stood in Velasco, Texas, until 1967 when the property was purchased by Dow Chemical Company,
who dismantled it. Although the tower is no longer standing, you can view the original lantern room
and lens at the Brazoria County Historical Museum in Angleton, Texas.
photo courtsey of the Brazoria County Historical Museum