Author Steph McDougal at Friendswood Public Library
Wednesday, April 16 at 7pm
Lighthouses of Texas, the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, showcases the entire 367-mile long Texas Gulf Coast and the lighthouses that line its shores. Written by author, Steph McDougal, this pictorial history boasts more than 200 vintage images of the lighthouses along the Texas coast.
As author, Steph McDougal noted, “Without lighthouses marking the shoals, bars, jetties and narrow passes through barrier islands, the settlement of Texas by immigrants from all over Europe and Asia, as well as the American Upper South — creating a rich mix of Texan music, food, culture and traditions — would not have been possible.” Her new book showcases this history through vintage images along with entertaining and informative anecdotes.
Lighthouses of Texas chronicles lighthouse history in the state from when Texans won their independence from Mexico in 1836 to modern automated lighthouses of the 20th century. Images of how lighthouses have changed throughout the decades provide readers with a visual history of the evolution of the structures, especially when many lighthouses today have been abandoned or are privately owned. McDougal hopes that this book “will spur lighthouse-related tourism along the Texas Gulf Coast and help to encourage the restoration of the remaining lighthouses, some of which are in deteriorated condition.”
Steph McDougal is an historic preservation consultant and writer in the Houston area. Having previously lived in New England, McDougal became fascinated by the designs of Texas lighthouses and how different they were from the popular “traditional” lighthouses built along the Atlantic coast.
An Ohio native, McDougal originally became interested in architectural history and historic preservation while at Miami University (Ohio), where she earned a master’s degree in technical and scientific communication in 1997. Her early amateur research on ballrooms of the Big Band era eventually led McDougal to obtain a second master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008.
What lasting impact do you hope your book will leave?
I think this is the first book that includes an itinerary for visiting all of the museums and other sites that are associated with Texas lighthouses, as well as the lighthouses themselves. I hope this will spur lighthouse-related tourism along the Texas Gulf Coast and help to encourage the restoration of the remaining lighthouses, some of which are in deteriorated condition.