Digest>Archives> March 2009

Airport Lights The Way To History


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Miniature replicas of Alabama’s Mobile Middle Bay ...
Photo by: Brent Beall

Passengers, flight crews and visitors to Alabama’s Mobile Regional Airport can’t help learn about lighthouse history when visiting the airport.

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The lighthouse keeper mannequin looks almost real ...
Photo by: Brent Beall

Thanks to the efforts by the Alabama Lighthouse Association and the National Maritime Museum of the Gulf Coast there is a large lantern room on display at the Mobile Regional Airport, complete with a Fresnel lens, and model replicas of the state's Mobile Middle Bay Lighthouse surrounding the display.

The lantern room is a near twin to the lantern room that was once atop the Mobile Middle Bay Lighthouse that was lost years ago. The lens was found in the collection of a private collector in California and shipped to the Alabama Lighthouse Association in March of 1997 where it spent seven years in storage until the funds could be raised to have it restored. After it was restored, workers literally took months to build the wooden base for it to rest upon, as well as construct the six kiosk exhibits that are miniature replicas of the lighthouse that would be installed around the lantern room.

The exhibit, on display at the main entrance to the airport, “Is the most interesting display we’ve ever had,” said Julie Bordes, marketing manager for Mobile Airport Authority.

Part of the display is a cast iron floor plate, dated April 21, 1851 that is believed to have come from Alabama’s Sand Island Lighthouse. It was originally in the collection of a private individual who donated it to the Original Oyster House for its collection of maritime artifacts. The restaurant then donated it to the Alabama Lighthouse Association.

Everyone who was involved in this masterpiece is to be congratulated for an outstanding job in creating this exhibit that not only preserves lighthouse history but educates the public on the historical importance the Mobile Middle Bay Lighthouse and the role that it and other lighthouses played in the growth of America.

This story appeared in the March 2009 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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