Brick chunks at Pascagoula's Lighthouse Park are pieces of history

klnelson@sunherald.com Twitter: NelsonNews_atSHJuly 8, 2014 

PASCAGOULA -- When reconstructing the Round Island Lighthouse, contractors used the base, or stump, of the structure salvaged from the Mississippi Sound, to build on.

But large chunks of original brick and mortar were unusable.

So the city Community and Economic Development group decided to place these pieces along the walking path that is part of Lighthouse Park -- on both sides of U.S. 90 at the entrance to the city and connected by a walking path under the high-rise bridge.

Four have been set in cement and will sport signs announcing Lighthouse Park. Others are just on the grass along the trail, as free-standing public art, a sort of historical sculpture visitors can touch or climb on.

Darcie Crew, with city's Parks and Recreation Department, said visitors can see how the interior and exterior walls were formed and worked together.

But she said there are no plaques explaining what the pieces are doing there. She said that may come later, but for now the budget it limited and there's still a lot of work to do.

When work began on the lighthouse more than three years ago, contractors placed the base on a fortified foundation at the foot of the U.S. 90 bridge and planned to clean the mortar from the other pieces and reuse them.

But the mortar was harder than the brick and after 300 hours of cleaning, they had only 300 usable bricks, city officials said.

So they ordered replica bricks and left the salvaged pieces intact.

The City Council has approved the next phase of the construction, Crew said -- the staircase, the light and more than $100,000 in interior brick work. On the outside, there will be a brick patio around the structure. And if the money holds out, some visual aids.

Construction should take up to a year.

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