The old cut-glass beacon lit Galveston’s South Jetty Lighthouse from 1918 until 1972. After the beacon went out of service, the U.S. Coast Guard put it in the care of the Galveston County Historical Commission.
It then became the centerpiece of the county museum.
But the museum building was damaged in Hurricane Ike. The decision was then made to move the one-ton beacon to the lobby of the Galveston Commissioners Court Building.
Helen Mooty is the director of the Galveston County Museum.
“The reason we moved it to the county courthouse is that’s where we plan to reopen the entire museum collection probably in 2014.”
A postcard from the Galveston County Museum collection showing the South Jetty Light where the lens was located. [Photo credit: Galveston County Museum]
Mooty says they had to follow Coast Guard guidelines for handing historic artifacts, and what makes the courthouse lobby attractive is that it has indirect lighting.
“The glass in the lens, even though it was made to be out in all kinds of weather over a hundred years, that particular kind of glass will discolor in sunlight.”
History buffs can view the lighthouse lens at a special event this Saturday afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Mooty says visitors can also learn about the museum’s “Traveling Treasure Chest,” which brings historical items to local schools.