Franks Island Lighthouse Mystery
Franks Island Lighthouse was designed by the Benjamin Henry Latrobe, a renowned architect and engineer of famous historical buildings, as a monumental Lighthouse to mark the entrance to the Mississippi River for President Thomas Jefferson, who had recently acquired the Louisiana Territory.
Unfortunately, Latrobe’s Lighthouse tower and colonnade collapsed shortly before completion in 1820. Despite his failure, the contractor was paid $85,000 and was further rewarded with another contract to construct a new Lighthouse on Franks Island for $10,000. This mysterious Lighthouse event has been the subject of intrigue, complicated by conflicting historical reports for over the past 187 years.
Winslow Lewis, the contractor of both Lighthouses built on Franks Island, became the premier builder of American Lighthouses due to the mysterious incident. Almost every one of his “Lewis Lighthouses” failed or collapsed within 20 to 30 years except his second Franks Island Lighthouse which survived 179-years before collapsing in 2002!
Jay Riedl has created a blog to discuss the historical events, using recently uncovered research, of how the first Lighthouse constructed on Franks Island collapsed. Please visit his Franks Island Lighthouse blog to read about this Lighthouse Mystery and intrigue, add new information, or join the discussion.
To view the location of the Lighthouse, please visit the Google Map of Franks Island Lighthouse