It is interesting to read those from you who have a connection with the old town of Indianola. I instantly felt a kinship with you.
Last weekend, Steve and I rose early and drove south along a back highway to the area that was once a thriving seaport. Along the way, we drove through small towns, dotted with a few houses and even fewer businesses. The largest of the towns closest to our final destination was Port Lavaca. It is there that we found the old Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse that once served Matagorda Bay.
A large lighthouse was built to guide traffic to and from Matagorda Bay in 1852, but additional light was needed to mark channels, reefs and obstacles within the bay. A second lighthouse was proposed for a spot of shallow water off Halfmoon Reef. In 1854, Congress approved funds to construct the lighthouse, but two years passed before plans were finalized. And it was not until 1858 that the beaconing lantern would be lit.
The building was a hexagonal cottage style, made of cypress. The white fixed lantern shone in all directions 35 feet above the water. It wasn’t long until the keeper of the light house changed the lantern chimney from clear to ruby red, casting a red beacon which would not be confused with the taller blinking white light cast from the Matagorda Lighthouse in the distance.
Supplies were delivered to the lighthouse only once every six months, but often fishermen and other visitors would make a trek across the bay for an enjoyable outing.
The light was extinguished during the Civil War and not relit until Feb. 20, 1868. Amazingly, the lighthouse survived the 1875 and 1886 hurricanes that devastated the town of Indianola. A 1942 hurricane, however, left the structure sagging on its pilings. The building was sold to Bill Bauer and Henry Smith and moved to Point Comfort. Finally, in 1978, the lighthouse was donated to the Calhoun County Historical Commission for use as a museum. The lighthouse sits today alongside Highway 35 in Port Lavaca, near the Matagorda Bay Bridge.
The day Steve and I visited, the weather was of the type that would have kept the old lighthouse keeper busy. Gray clouds smothered the sun and a light drizzle fell as we headed south. When we arrived at the lighthouse, a heavy rain began to fall and a cold wind whipped from the north. Small snowflakes could be seen intermixed with the chilling drops that splashed our faces.
Battling an upturned umbrella, I fought my way to the railing of the old lighthouse and climbed the steps. I touched the old cypress boards that had withstood against so much. Ferocious winds, isolation, war and time. But it had not tumbled.
What had held this building together for over a century and a half? Solid construction and a firm foundation. The six-sided building was supported by seven iron piles, each twenty-five feet in length. The piles had threads two feet in diameter which were screwed into the shoal to a depth of nine feet. The base of the building was secure.
Those who read my posts regularly know where I’m going with this. I was reminded of the words of Jesus.
Matthew Henry stated in his commentary:
I’ve included two old photos of the Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse along with one from my recent visit. I’ll be posting more in a few days on other discoveries from the road trip to this Texas Ghost Town.