W5AZO - Spring Light Activations at Sabine Pass , Texas
We traveled to the southeastern most part of Texas called Sabine Pass. This is where the Sabine River connects with the Gulf of Mexico and the expansive inland Sabine Lake and the Neches River . This area is rich in early Republic of Texas and Civil War History. Steamboats would traverse past the lighthouse with loads of cotton and lumber. The region between the Sabine and Calcasieu Rivers was literally called “No Mans Land” because neither the newly formed Republic nor the United States would claim it! Texas originally funded the Sabine Pass Light even though it was to be built on the Louisiana side of the river.
The Sabine Pass Lighthouse (USA-714) was constructed in 1856 and abandoned in 1952. The property is now in the hands of a preservation society and efforts are underway to save this lighthouse. We operated 20 and 40 meters from the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Park where the lighthouse can be seen at a short distance across the channel. The lighthouse played an important role in thwarting blockades and a union invasion into Texas .
Later we worked a pile-up on 20 meters just down the road in the village of Sabine Pass, Texas . Until just recently, the Sabine Bank Lighthouse (USA-712) was located in the Gulf of Mexico . It has been removed from a submerged concrete and iron caisson foundation. The “spark plug” like lantern room and watch tower have been restored to it's original condition and now resides in a park. Established in 1906, the tower was removed in 2002. The owner of the construction company, who did the restoration, gave us a personal tour of the lighthouse with all the details of it's refurbishment.
In Port Arthur , we visited the Museum of the Gulf Coast where the third order fresnel lens of the Sabine Bank Lighthouse is displayed. The lens was made in Paris , France in 1905.
On the last day of our trip we decided to venture over into Louisiana and operate from the historic location of the Calcasieu River Lighthouse (USA-101). This light was a square pyramidal tower sheathed in iron. It was located near Cameron , Louisiana at the mouth of the Calcasieu River and the Gulf of Mexico . The light was built in 1876 and dismantled in 1940 to make way for the widening of a shipping lane. Today all that remains to commemorate this site is a modern tower with a flashing light.