Fort Morgan was established in 1834 at the mouth of Mobile Bay. The fort was named for Revolutionary War hero Daniel Morgan. Many regard Fort Morgan as one of the "finest examples of military architecture in the New World." Fort Morgan is at the tip of Mobile Point at the western end of Alabama Highway 180. It and Dauphin Island, on which Fort Gaines is situated, enclose Mobile Bay. The Alabama Historical Commission maintains the site. The fort was very interesting to tour. There is a checkpoint along the entrance road where you will stop and pay the entrance fee of $5 per adult. Stop at the museum across from the entrance to the fort to check out the displays and to get a brochure that guides you through the fort and explains what you are seeing. Hours are 8 AM to 7 PM April through October and 8 AM to 5 PM November through March. The museum is open 9 AM to 5 PM.
Fondest memory: It was raining off and on during my visit. Seemed it stopped when I walked inside and started again when I stepped outside. The weather was against me. I still enjoyed the visit though.
In the dense fog, it was almost like you are looking back through the mists of time to when Admiral Farragut was steaming into Mobile Bay with his warships.
When the fog lifted a little bit, the setting sun bathed everything in a golden light (last two pictures).
Unfortunately it was still too foggy to see the lighthouse on Sand Island. I saw it later from Dauphin Island (Fort Gaines), but I think I could have seen it better from Fort Morgan if it had been a clearer day.
Fondest memory: I find fog a little difficult to believe and definitely hard to photograph. If you don't know what things normally look like, how can you judge the fog? But sometimes a little fog adds some 'atmosphere'.
The Mobile Point lighthouse is on the edge of Fort Morgan. The first structure which was a 40 foot brick tower was completed in 1822. A soldier from the fort was assigned to tend the light but the military proved to be inefficient lighthouse keepers. Although the light could be seen for 10 miles, the reefs were also 10 miles offshore. When the Sand Island light was built, Mobile Point was downgraded to a harbor light. The lighthouse stood on a bluff near the southwest corner of the star-shaped fort, adjacent to a hotshot furnace. Cannon balls could be heated in the furnace until they were white hot and then fired at invading wooden ships to set their hulls afire. During the famous battle (where Farragut gave his famous order “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”), the lighthouse was struck multiple times, severely damaging one side of the tower. A modern steel skeletal tower was erected at the point in 1963,
Fondest memory: There was also a lighthouse on Sand Island which is located about three miles from the entrance to Mobile Bay. The first lighthouse, an iron spindle, was authorized by Congress in 1828. The first actual Sand Island lighthouse, built by Winslow Lewis, rose to a height of fifty-five feet and was fitted with fourteen lamps backed by sixteen-inch reflector. But it was outshown by the Mobile Point Lighthouse, so was considered a second class lighthouse.
In 1858, under the direction of Army Engineer Danville Leadbetter, a conical brick tower with a height of nearly 200 feet was constructed on the island - the tallest to ever be built on the Gulf Coast and displayed a first-order Fresnel lens. The Confederates removed the nine-foot-tall lens and placed it in storage at the beginning of the war. Because the Union was using the lighthouse to spy on the Confederate positions, a Confederate by the name of John W. Glenn placed 70 lbs of gunpowder next to the tower and blew it up.
The third 125 foot tall Sand Island lighthouse was constructed by the US Lighthouse Service starting in 1871, but by 1890, the lighthouse was already being threatened by erosion. By July 1901, the 400 acre island had been reduced to a small amount of land surrounding the lighthouse. The keeper's house with the keeper and his wife were swept away in the Hurricane of 1906. In 1921, the lighthouse was automated, and the light was deactivated eleven years later. The second-order Fresnel lens was removed from the tower in 1971, and then placed on exhibit at the Fort Morgan museum the following year.
Now Sand Island has been reduced to a few granite blocks, and the Sand Island Preservation Group, Inc. is desperately trying to get the lighthouse into private hands so restoration work can be done. In 2001, the Alabama Historical Commission rejected a federal offer of the lighthouse, reasoning that it would cost too much to save.