The Louisiana Frank’s Island Lighthouse was an ambitious project placed into motion by the illustrious Thomas Jefferson. The dream of establishing the structure was considered when the great Mississippi was the King of rivers, and a main route of transportation for the country. The construction of this physical symbol would be a representation of stature and power for a relatively new nation. For the establishment, everything touching the Great Mississippi had to represent largeness and wealth.
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However, the land did not agree with these high ideals. Because of the soil content and its marshy texture, very few architects were willing to tackle such a hopeful project. The beginning of building along the Mississippi waterways was plagued with Malaria because of its marshy land, so building any heavy structure that lasted would be a challenge. Winslow Lewis was one of the few people willing to take on the job. The established power at the time was not one to be daunted and offered a hefty price to the man willing to take up the challenge.
The building’s construction was finally accomplished by Winslow Lewis, after he presented an interesting proposal to build the building for under $10,000. Originally he was paid in the vicinity of $85,000. Knowing the terrain he refused to be held responsible if there was a collapse of the structure, and collapse the first tower did. Christened in 1823, the design was placed into reality.
The first try at the monumental tower was started in 1818, taking only a couple of years to complete. The building fell due to the weakness of the soil a few days before it was finished. Getting this building back to its state of repair was financially overwhelming and this idea was thrown out.
The establishment of the Louisiana Frank’s Island Lighthouse tower was important. People needed to see prosperity and perhaps the structure was a way to demonstrate the productive ability of the Mississippi River District. The second structure did work as a navigational beacon for almost 30 years. Considering the technology, the structure speaks highly for its architecture in such a difficult climate.
Lewis went on to build structures all over the United States. Any reminders of the old place barely exists now. The world has gone on to other things and prospered tremendously but the old building is somehow a reminder of the determination of a people who always seemed to do what most felt could not be done.