Home Maps Resources Calendar About
Resources Calendar About
Battery Gladden, AL  Lighthouse destroyed.   

Select a photograph to view a photo gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

See our full List of Lighthouses in Alabama

Battery Gladden Lighthouse

1870 – Battery Gladden, upper part of Mobile Bay, Alabama.—Under the appropriation for "reestablishing lights on the southern coast," an iron screw-pile light-house was purchased and sent to Mobile to be erected on this site, and to be substituted for the old Choctaw Point light, rendered useless by changes in the channel, growing doubtless out of the defensive works erected during the rebellion; but, before the building could be erected, and while the operations were going on, they were arrested by the passage of the act of July 12, 1870, carrying this fund into the treasury. A small sum has been submitted in the annual estimates for completing this work.

1872 – Battery Gladden, Mobile Bay, Alabama.—The light-house marking the entrance to Mobile Harbor was undertaken and finished during the year. The light replaces an extinguished one that stood on Choctaw Point, at the west side of the mouth of river Mobile, and is a frame dwelling on five wrought-iron screw-piles, surmounted by a fourth-order lantern, of the general design for screw-pile light-houses. The site is an artificial island made by the confederates during the civil war as a defensive work for the city of Mobile, and lies at the head of Mobile Bay, five-eighths of a mile east of Choctaw Point. The iron and wood work, prepared by contract at the North, and the building, was put up by hired labor; the work commencing in December, 1871, by erecting a temporary wharf and workmen's quarters, was furnished March 11, 1872, and lighted for the first time the 8th of April following.

1873 – Dog River Bar and Choctaw Bar Channel, Mobile Bay, Alabama.— The manner of tending these temporary range-lights was changed in December, by taking their care out of the hands of a contractor and placing them under the immediate superintendence of the keeper of Battery Gladden light-house. For this service one of the launches formerly employed in the engineering operations of the district was detached and manned by two seamen. The change has been found to work well for the interests of the Light-House Establishment. The use of the beacons is to guide vessels through a narrow-dredged channel 45,000 feet long in Mobile Bay. Their arrangement and character is not of the best, as they were established hastily at the time of the commencement of the dredging operations, and only for temporary purposes. In the last annual report it was remarked that on the completion of the channel a change would be necessary. The time has now arrived to definitely propose a plan and recommend an appropriation. The channel does not follow a straight line from the deep water at the mouth of Mobile River to the curve of 13 feet water, at which place it ends, but there are several bends. To mark each angle with a light is an expensive manner of aiding its navigation. Experience in using the cheapest form of lights (common ships' lanterns, as at present) has showed that they are frequently liable to go out, especially in the winter season. To care for them by running from one to the other in a sail-boat is an uncertain method, as the winds are frequently contrary and the weather and sea rough. To maintain them through the provision of an especial keeper at each light would be an unwarrantable expense, both in the first cost of erecting a separate light-house provided with keeper's dwelling, at each station, and its future maintenance. It seems, then, that the most economical plan would be to mark the southern extremity of the channel with a conspicuous unlighted beacon, on cast-iron socket piles, surmounted by a hoop-iron wicker-globe about 6 feet in diameter.

The parts of such a beacon are on hand, complete, except the globe. In front of Battery Gladden, a short distance off in the water, and bearing south 53° east from it, should be established a beacon on screwpiles, provided with a sixth-order light. It would be a simple framework in which to suspend the lens at a proper height above the water, and would be connected with a small wooden tower placed on Battery Gladden Island by means of an endless wire cable, to which would be attached the lens. The light would be lighted by the keeper of Battery Gladden light-house in the small tower on the island, and drawn out to the beacon in the water by means of crank and sheaves provided, as in the case of the pier-light at Oswego. In this manner the light could be tended in the stormiest season. The beacon just described and the Battery Gladden light would range a course which would strike through the outer dumb beacon at the entrance to the dredge-channel, six and two-third miles distant from Battery Gladden light-house, and vessels coming up the bay would be enabled by keeping the range to find the dumb beacon at the south end of the channel. (Battery Gladden lighthouse is situated near the head of the channel, but to the eastward of it, and the above described, is the only way in which it could be brought into the service of its navigation.) The angles of the channel would next be marked by dumb beacons, consisting simply of five wooden piles, four placed at the angles and one in the center of a square, and having two laces of planking nailed to the diagonal corner piles. Between the principal turn-beacons piles should be driven, not very far apart, alternately on opposite sides of the channel, and marked in some distinguishing manner. By having them close enough a vessel could navigate the channel in almost any night. To carry out the above-described system an appropriation of $8,000 is asked.

1877 – Dog River Bar and Choctaw Pass channel-lights, Mobile Bay, Alabama.—The present lights were established at a time when the government was improving the harbor of Mobile by dredging a channel 200 feet wide and 13 feet deep, from the lower anchorage near Fort Morgan to the city of Mobile, and were only intended to serve a temporary purpose. The channel has now been successfully completed of the width and depth specified, and is about 7 miles long. At night it is difficult for vessels desiring to reach Mobile to find the lower end of the cut, and that the commerce of the port may have the full benefit of this work, executed by the United States, and costing over a quarter of a million of dollars, a proper system of lights for guiding vessels into and through this channel should be established at once. The estimated cost is $6,000, and an appropriation of that amount is recommended.

1878 – Dog River Bar and Choctaw Pans Channel lights, Mobile Bag, Alabama,—The present system of lights was established when the United States was improving Mobile Harbor by dredging a channel 200 feet wide and 13 feet deep, from the lower anchorage near Fort Morgan to Mobile, and it was only intended to be a temporary arrangement. The cut has been finished-, and is about seven miles long, with three bends. The busy season at this port is in the fall, winter, and spring months. During that time, high water (which only occurs once in twenty-four hours) often takes place at night. At such times it is difficult to find the lower end of this cut. That the commerce of this port may have the full benefit of this work, which cost more than a quarter of a million of dollars, a proper system of lights for guiding into and through this channel should be established. The estimated cost is $6,000, and an appropriation of this amount is recommended.

1879 – Dog River Bar and Choctaw Pass Channel Lights, Mobile Bay, Alabama.—The following remarks, contained in the annual reports for the years 1877 and 1878, are herein repeated, and the recommendations contained therein are again urgently renewed.

1879 – Battery Gladden, Mobil’s Harbor, Alabama.—The shingle roof of this light-house having caught fire from sparks from the kitchen smokepipe, the shingles were stripped off and a new tin roof put on.

1880 – Dog River Bar and Choctaw Pass Channel, Mobile Bay, Alabama.— Light-stakes 4, 5, and 6 were replaced by more substantial structures. An appropriation was approved June 16, 1880, for $6,000, to properly light the dredged channel. Plans and estimates will be submitted as soon as practicable.

1881 – Battery Gladden, on ruins of Battery Gladden, below mouth of Mobile River, Alabama.—All the iron-work was scraped and painted.

1882 – Battery Gladden, on ruins of Battery Gladden, below mouth of Mobile River, near Mobile, Alabama.—Mineral-oil lamps were fitted; the buildings should be painted; otherwise the station is in good order.

1883 – Battery Gladden, on the ruins of Battery Gladden, below mouth of Mobile River, Alabama.—This structure was recently struck by lightning, but without doing serious damage. The station is in fair order.

1886 – Battery Gladden, on the ruins of Battery Gladden, below the mouth of Mobile River, Alabama.—A new storehouse was built at this station, 14 by 18 feet in plan; it is weatherboarded and shingled, ceiled on the inside, has one door and window, and is fitted with shelves on one side.

1887 – Battery Gladden, Mobile Bay, Alabama.—A red cut inserted to mark the turning point from Choctaw Pass Channel into the upper dredged channel, December 15,1886.

1887 – Dog River Bar, Beacon No. 2, Mobile Bay, Alabama.—Changed from fixed red to fixed white and moved to the southward and eastward to form a range with Battery Gladden light, for running the upper dredged channel, December 15,1886.

1887 – Battery Gladden (also Dog River Bar range rear), on the ruin of Battery Gladden, five-eighths mile east of Choctaw Point, below the mouth of Mobile River, Alabama.—A survey of the site was made, also tracings of the reservation and buildings. A red cut was put in the lantern to mark the turning point in Choctaw Pass Channel.

1887 — Dog River Bar, Mobile Bay, Alabama.—The present system of lights is not sufficient to enable vessels to run up to Mobile at night. The Board, therefore, recommends the establishment of a screw-pile structure carrying a fourth-order flashing light at about where the upper channel beacon now stands, near the second bend in the dredged channel. For this purpose an appropriation of $20,000 should be made.

1888 – Battery Gladden (also Dog River Bar range, rear), on the ruins of Battery Gladden, below the mouth of Mobile River, Alabama.—The wharf was rebuilt from the dwelling to the water's edge, many repairs were made, all new work was painted, and a new boat was supplied to replace one worn out.

1888 — Dog River Bar, Mobile Bay, Alabama.—The present system of lights is not sufficient to enable vessels to run up to Mobile at night. The Board therefore renews its recommendation of last year that a screwpile structure be established carrying a fourth-order flashing light at about where the upper channel beacon now stands, near the second bend in the dredged channel. For this purpose an appropriation of $20,000 should be made. A bill for this purpose is now pending before Congress.

1889 – Battery Gladden (also Dog River Bar rear range), on ruins of Battery Gladden, five-eighths of a mile east of Choctaw Point, below mouth of Mobile River, Alabama.—A severe gale in August, 1888, washed away all wharves, walks, and outbuildings, and took the foundation from under the oil-house. The oil-house was raised 4 feet, and six new foundation piles were placed. A new platform was made between the oil-house and dwelling. A new walk was built from the steps of the dwelling to the outside ruins, 145 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 7 feet above the water, the piles being well braced. A new outbuilding was put up, with a walk leading to the dwelling, and various repairs were made.

1889 – Dog River Bar beacon No. 1, on Dog River Bar, east side of the channel-gap at the third bend, Mobile Bay, Alabama.—Plank, 4 by 14 inches, was bolted on four sides of the cluster of piles with three quarter inch bolts. The decking of the beacon was renewed with 2-inch plank. New sills, 6 inches square, were spiked on the decking for uprights and the top of the beacon was renewed. A small house 4 feet square was put up on the platform, with door and lock, for the lanterns and oil. A new ladder was built from the lower platform to the top of the beacon, and all new work was painted.

1889 — Dog River Bar, Mobile Bay, Alabama.—The following recommendation, which was made in the Board's annual report for last year, is renewed. The present system of lights is not sufficient to enable vessels to run up to Mobile at night. The Board therefore renews its recommendation of last year, that a screwpile structure be established carrying a fourth-order flashing light at about where the upper channel beacon now stands, near the second bend in the dredged channel. For this purpose, an appropriation of $20,000 should be made.

1892 – Battery Gladden (also Dog River Bar Range, rear), on ruins of Battery Gladden, below the mouth of the Mobile River, Alabama.—A second-order oil house was erected. A new wharf, 150 feet long, and extending out to about 5 feet of water, was built on cypress piles. Minor repairs were made.

1906 – Battery Gladden, on the ruins of Battery Gladden, Mobile Bay, Alabama.—The storehouse was arranged for the storage of carbide. A cement floor was laid in it, covered with a false floor of wood. It was ceiled inside and fitted with shelves and covered with slate roof laid in cement mortar. Various repairs were made.

1906 – Battery Gladden, on the ruins of Battery Gladden, Mobile Bay, Alabama.—A T-head was built at the end of the wharf, with a platform under it. A boathouse was built. Some 205 feet of walk 9 feet wide, and 125 feet of walk 5 feet wide, was built. A brick carbide house 20 by 30 feet in plan, with galvanized-iron roof and three ventilators in it, one large door in the end, with cement floor covered by a wooden floor, was built. Stairs were built from the wharf to rock piles around the foundation and various repairs were made.

1913 – Battery Gladden Lighthouse was discontinued on March 25, 1913.

Keepers:

  • Head: Levi A. Mangold (1872 – 1879), A.L. Mangold (1879 – at least 1881), Thomas Jacobs (1882 – 1883), Andrew Olsen (1883 – 1884), George Nagel (1884 – 1886), Hans J.G. Olsen (1886 – 1889), Thorwald Hansen (1889 – 1897), Thomas H. Jenks (1897 – 1898), Peter Lambert (1899 – at least 1912).
  • First Assistant: Lawrence Fennegan (1872), Daniel P. Murphy (1872 – 1873), Alex Baldwin (1873), Lewis Avendorph (1873), William S. Harper (1873 – 1874), Arthur D. Minot (1874 – 1876), Adolph L. Mangold (1876), Daniel V. Murphy (1876 – 1877), Henry M. Miller (1877), Patrick Brady (1877), Daniel V. Murphy (1877 – 1879), A.L. Mangold (1879), William Bosarge (1879 – 1880), James Bazell (1880 – 1881), Daniel Mead (1881), J.C. Lawrence (1881), Frank Lewis (1881), Ole Johan Wilson (1881 – 1882), Charles Johnson (1882 – 1883), A.J. Anderson (1883), Charles Johnson (1884 – 1885), H. J.G. Olsen (1885 – 1886), Thorwald Hansen (1886 – 1889), Gottlieb F. Olsen (1889 – 1893), Jacob Hansen (1893 – 1897), Charles Ackley (1897), Thomas Ronan (1897), Edward M. Dunn (1897 – 1898), Anthony Marques (1898 – 1899), Joseph Swain (1899), Albert Sommer (1899 – 1901), Isabel Lambert (1901), Kristian Andersen (1901 – 1904), Theodore Lambert (1906 – 1910), Patrick A. Meloncon (1910 – at least 1912).
  • Second Assistant: Henry P. Washington (1873), Daniel V. Murphy (1873 – 1875), Adolph L. Mangold (1875 – 1876), Martin Powers (1876), Daniel V. Murphy (1876), George H. Miller (1876), Henry M. Miller (1877), Thomas Doyle (1877), Richard Hyland (1877), Robert H. Haughton (1877), William Hayes (1877 – 1878), William Wick (1878), Charles Stanter (1878), D.V. Murphy (1879), Charles Stanter (1879), William Bosarge (1879), William Curry (1879 – 1880), Daniel Meade (1880), Jasper Adams (1880), Ferdinand J. Smith (1880 – 1881), Thomas Groom (1881), Daniel Mead (1881), Ole Johan Wilson (1881), Francis Copman (1882), Charles Johnson (1882), Richard Lesco (1882 – 1883), A. J. Anderson (1883), William C. Dorgan (1883 – 1884), H. J.G. Olsen (1884 – 1885), Charles Brown (1885 – 1886), George F. Christopher (1886), Thorwald Hansen (1886), John H. Lurendine (1886), Gottlieb F. Olsen (1886 – 1889), Jacob Hansen (1889 – 1893), John West (1893 – 1894), Charles Johnson (1894), Albert Sommer (1894 – 1895).

Copyright © 2001- Lighthousefriends.com
Pictures on this page copyright National Archives, used by permission.
email Kraig