Located two-and-a-half miles outside of South Padre Island, Port Isabel is a town that dates back to 1519. Rumored to be the site of buried pirate treasure, the scenic coastal town is populated with over historic gems including the Treasures of the Gulf Coast Museum, Port Isabel Historic Museum as well as a medley of timeless artisan shops, galleries, and seafood dining destinations.
Its Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier is the longest pier in Texas, and its charming Lighthouse Square rivals as the best place to stroll in town. That be the case, its lighthouse has been a little dim for, say, the past century or so.
For the first time since 1905, the lights in the Port Isabel Lighthouse are back on courtesy of a spiffy new lens. This month, officials installed a replica of its original Third Order Fresnel Lens in the lantern room, hooking it up to a thousand-watt lamp.
The Texas Historical Commission along with the City of Port Isabel held a lighting ceremony earlier this December,.
“I know it was a singular event, but I think it gives people another reason to visit the lighthouse,” said Valerie Bates, marketing director for the City of Port Isabel and lighthouse site keeper.
“We’re very, very excited about being able to enter into this next phase of the life of the lighthouse … and for what the visitors will be able to experience,” Bates said. “It will be an enhanced experience.”
Be apprised maties, this newly illuminate lighthouse is not intended to guide wayward vessels, but for historical purposes.
“In this case, it’s such a striking part of the community, and I think it will give visitors a better idea of what that lighthouse would have looked like … when it was actively assisting ships there on the coastline,” said Texas Historical Commission director, Chris Florance.