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 flows 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 almost none of them qualify as lighthouses.
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. USCG numbers are from volume 5 of the U.S.
Coast Guard List of Lights.
- General Sources
- U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center: Light Lists
- The USCG Light List can be downloaded in pdf format.
- Handy navigational Chart information for the rivers. The Corps of Engineers has more detailed charts.
Mississippi River Lighthouses
- * [Mark Twain (3)]
- 2019 (original built in 1935). A decorative white light is displayed.
Approx. 30 ft (9 m) octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted
white. A photo is at right and Google has a satellite
view. David OBrien has a photo and a more distant view of the 1963 edition of the lighthouse and Warren Dale has a 2017 closeup street 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 1963 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 was demolished and built a third time in spring 2019. 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.
Mark Twain Light, Hannibal, June 2019
Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department photo
- * Louisiana
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 30 ft (9 m); green flash every 4 s. Approx. 30 ft (9 m) rectangular concrete or masonry tower with the light mounted on a front corner of the roof. Google has a street view and a satellite view. The nature of the tower is not known; we need information. Located on the Louisiana Riverfront at the foot of Georgia Street in Louisiana. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: City of Louisiana. USCG 5-15940.
- * Duck Club Yacht Club
- 1991. Active (unofficial); focal plane about 40 ft (12 m); continuous (?) white light. 38 ft (11.5 m)
round bottle-shaped brick tower with lantern, painted white with red
trim. Missouri Life magazine has a photo and a brief history of the lighthouse. 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.
- 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, Mark Cameron has a street view from the Chain of Rocks Bridge, 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.
- * Cape Girardeau Water Intake
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 45 ft (14 m); green flash every 6 s. Approx. 45 ft (14 m) square cylindrical masonry tower. Upper section of the tower is red; lower portion painted white. Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on East Cape Rock Road north of Cape Rock Park, on the north side of Cape Girardeau. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Cape Girardeau. USCG 5-17317.
Missouri River Lighthouse
- St. Louis County Water Intake (2)
- Date unknown (2016?). Active; focal plane about 50 ft (15 m); green flash every 6 s. Light mounted on the west corner of a rectangular white concrete water intake building. Massman Construction, builder of the structure, has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the south side of the river off Olive Boulevard in Chesterfield. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Missouri American Water. USCG 7-21285.
St. Louis Water Intake #1 Light, Chain of Rocks, September 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Erin and Lance Willett
Lake of the Ozarks Lighthouses
- * 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. Owner/site manager: Lighthouse Pointe Condominiums. Site open, tower closed.
- Mile 38
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 25 ft (7.5 m); continuous white light. Approx. 20 ft (6 m) round brick tower topped by a small lantern. Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse was built by landowner Dick Morris to warn boaters rounding a 180° bend in the lake. Located on a grassy breakwater at the end of the John Hill Peninsula on the south side of the upper lake. Site and tower closed (private property) but the light is a familiar sight to boaters on the lake. Owner/site manager: private.
Information available on lost lighthouses:
- Pla-Port (?-?), Lake of the Ozarks. Missouri Life magazine has a historic photo (1/4 the way down the page). This lighthouse was part of a resort active before World War II. It is long gone, but interestingly there is a resort by the same name today at Table Rock Lake.
Lake of the Ozarks Light, Lake Ozark, August 2018
ex-Google Plus photo by Lighthouse Pointe Condominiums
Notable faux lighthouse:
- Stormy Point Village (2005). 63 ft (19.5 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. We don't know if the lighthouse is active, and it is too far from the water to have any navigational value. Located at the end of Timberlane Point Road, north of the Table Rock Dam. Site and tower open.
Adjoining pages: North: Iowa | East: Illinois | South: Arkansas | West: Kansas | Northwest: Nebraska
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Posted July 15, 2003. Checked and revised August 16, 2019.
Lighthouses: 7. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.