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Middle Bay Light
Mobile Bay
Middle Bay Lighthouse.jpg
Middle Bay Light in Mobile Bay, near Mobile, Alabama.

Alabama

Location Middle of Mobile Bay, Mobile Bay, Alabama
Coordinates 30°26′17.60″N 88°0′40.48″W / 30.4382222°N 88.0112444°W / 30.4382222; -88.0112444Coordinates: 30°26′17.60″N 88°0′40.48″W / 30.4382222°N 88.0112444°W / 30.4382222; -88.0112444
Year first constructed 1885
Automated 1935
Foundation screw piles
Construction wooden screw-pile lighthouse
Tower shape hexagonal frustum structure with platform, keeper’s quarter and mast with beacon centered on the roof
Markings / pattern white lighthouse
Height 41 feet (12 m)
Focal height 48 feet (15 m)
Original lens Fourth order Fresnel lens, 1885
Current lens 155 mm solar-powered lens
Characteristic Fl R 6s., bell struck by machinery every 5 seconds.
Admiralty number J3488
ARLHS number USA-505
USCG number 4-6490

Middle Bay Light, also known as Middle Bay Lighthouse and Mobile Bay Lighthouse, is an active hexagonal-shaped cottage style screw-pile lighthouse. The structure is located offshore from Mobile, Alabama, in the center of Mobile Bay.

History

The station was activated in 1885. In 1916 the keeper's wife gave birth to a baby that summer at the station. According to the Alabama Lighthouse Association web site, the keeper brought a dairy cow to the station and corralled it on a section of the lower deck because his wife was unable to nurse the newborn baby. All had to be evacuated when the station survived but was damaged by a hurricane that year. The light was automated in 1935.

The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 30, 1974. In 1984 the lighthouse was stabilized by Middle Bay Light Centennial Commission in preparation for the centennial celebration. In 1996 the Coast Guard loaned the original Fresnel lens to the Ft. Morgan Museum for public display. In 2002 restoration efforts were begun to repair the lighthouse.

In 2003, a real-time weather station was added to the lighthouse by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program. Still running, the weather station, one of seven in Mobile Bay, samples precipitation, total and quantum solar radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, water temperature, salinity, water depth, and dissolved oxygen. These data can be seen in real-time at www.mymobilebay.com. From late 2011 - mid 2014 currents and waves were also displayed.

Light

Middlebay light
The light itself

Whale oil was the first fuel used and the lighthouse tenders worked in shifts making sure that the lamps did not go out and smoke the lens. In later years kerosene was used and eventually they were converted to electricity.

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