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Port Isabel Lighthouse Reopens to Public

City, state and Texas Historical Commission representatives during Tuesday’s re-opening of the PI Lighthouse. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

Described as a “tourist beacon, “ “Jewel of South Texas,” and “Texas smallest state park” the Port Isabel Lighthouse is now open to the public after it went through an improvement project that took about 14 months to complete.

State, local, business leaders and members of the Texas Historical Commission met Tuesday to mark the reopening of the 57-foot tall facility built in the 1850s to guide ships through the Brazos Santiago Pass.

Reagan Faught, regional director with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, said the renovation project which also included the keeper’s cottage was funded with $600,000 allocated by the state agency.

“This is monumental,” he said, “The City of Port Isabel identity is captured in this lighthouse.”

THC member Monica Burdette, State Rep. Rene Oliveira, D- Brownsville, City Mayor J.J. Zamora and Jeff Kester, project manager with TPWD, were among the speakers before a red ribbon was cut for the grand re-opening.

More than hundred people attended the event and many of them were retirees from the Midwest region of the United States who come to this part of the country during the winter months.

“I have been down here about twelve times and this is the first time the lighthouse is open,” Tom Wagner, who is from Minnesota, said. “I finally went up and the view of the bay was beautiful.”

The Port Isabel Lighthouse, which is one of 16 in Texas and the only one open to the public, closes from time to time whenever there are needs for improvements.

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