Lighthouses of the United States: Missouri

The U.S. state of Missouri is in the center of the country on the west bank of the Mississippi River, with Iowa immediately to the north and Arkansas to the south. The state has two important waterways: the Mississippi River is along its eastern edge, and the Missouri River follows the northwestern border before crossing the state from Kansas City to join the Mississippi at St. Louis. The Coast Guard maintains dozens of lights on the two rivers, but as far as I know none of them qualify as lighthouses. The lighthouses on this page were built privately.

Note: to be listed in the Directory, a lighthouse must actually serve as an aid to navigation. This means it must be located on a navigable lake or river and must be lit as a navigational aid at least during the local boating season.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights.

Mississippi River Lighthouses
* [Mark Twain (2)]
1963 (original built in 1935). A decorative white light is displayed. Approx. 30 ft (9 m) octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Tyson Blanquart's photo is at right, Jim Davis has a photo, a 2013 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. This is probably the best-known lighthouse of the interior U.S., although it has little if any navigational value. It was built originally to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the author and humorist Samuel Clemens, better known by his pseudonym Mark Twain. The lighthouse had to be replaced after being heavily damaged by a storm in 1960. The first lighthouse was lit by remote control by President Franklin Roosevelt; the replacement was lit similarly by President John Kennedy, and when the lighthouse was renovated in 1994 there was another remote relighting by President Bill Clinton. In 2018 the city announced that an engineering study found the tower too deteriorated to be repaired, so it will be demolished and built a third time. Located atop Cardiff Hill, a steep bluff above the river in Hannibal, Twain's home town. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Hannibal. ARLHS USA-915.
* Duck Club Yacht Club
Date unknown (around 1990?). Active; focal plane about 40 ft (12 m); white light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 36 ft (11 m) round bottle-shaped masonry tower with lantern, painted white with red trim. Steve Schulte has an excellent photo, a 2012 photo is available (first photo on the page), and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse marks the entrance to the marina, located on the Mississippi River at the end of Highway V (Blase Station Road) about 13 mi (20 km) north of St. Charles. This location is actually on the southeast side of the river, which twists to the north as it approaches its junction with the Illinois River. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Duck Club Yacht Club.

Mark Twain Light, Hannibal, April 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Tyson Blanquart
St. Louis Water Intake #1
1894. Inactive. Approx. 50 ft (15 mi) stone water intake tower topped by a round tower with a conical roof. The tower is unpainted; the conical roof is green. Erin and Lance Willett's photo is at right, the City of St. Louis has photos of the two towers, and Google has a satellite view. This is the older of two historic water intake towers; the younger tower is across the state line in Illinois. The towers are built in the rapids of the Mississippi River, known as the Chain of Rocks. Since 1953 the the rapids have been bypassed by the Chain of Rocks Lock and Canal. However, during the late 1800s and early 1900s, the navigation channel passed between the two intake towers, so both were lit; for many years they were also staffed. Located about 1400 ft (425 m) off the west bank of the river and 2500 ft (760 m) south of the I-270 bridge. Accessible only by boat; there is an excellent view from the old Chain of Rocks Bridge (1929), which has been renovated for use by walkers and bicyclists. Site open, tower closed.

Lake of the Ozarks Lighthouse
* Lake of the Ozarks Lighthouse Pointe (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 ft (12 m); flashing white light. 22 ft (7 m) octagonal wood tower, painted white with red trim; lantern painted red. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Lake of the Ozarks is a large reservoir formed by damming the Osage River in south central Missouri. The lake is surrounded by numerous residential and recreational developments. The first Lighthouse Pointe lighthouse was built as part of a hotel, the Lighthouse Lodge. The lodge has been replaced by Lighthouse Pointe, a large condo development. Located at the end of Lighthouse Road in Lake Ozark. Site open, tower closed.

Table Rock Lake Lighthouse
*** [Stormy Point Village]
2007. Active; focal plane about 175 ft (53 m); continuous white light. 75 ft (23 m) round concrete tower on a stone base, with a lantern atop a large octagonal observation room. Lighthouse painted with black and white spiral bands. Dustin Holmes has a closeup photo, an aerial view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Table Rock Lake is a large reservoir formed by damming the White River in far southwestern Missouri. The lake is surrounded by numerous residential and recreational developments and is close to the resort town of Branson. The lighthouse was built as part of a large resort development; it is attached to the clubhouse, where guests check in. Located at the end of Timberlane Point Road, north of the Table Rock Dam. Site and tower open.
St. Louis Water Intake Light
St. Louis Water Intake #1 Light, Chain of Rocks, September 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Erin and Lance Willett

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Iowa | East: Illinois | South: Arkansas | West: Kansas | Northwest: Nebraska

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Posted July 15, 2003. Checked and revised August 20, 2017. Lighthouses: 3. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.