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10 Things to Know About the Southwest Reef Lighthouse

Located on the western bank of the Atchafalaya River in Berwick, Louisiana, the Southwest Reef Lighthouse is the centerpiece of the Everett S. Berry Memorial Lighthouse Park.  In 1987, the lighthouse was lifted from the screw piling – where it sat since before the Civil War – in an attempt to preserve the historic structure for future generations.

Visitors to the park may view the historic structure up close while enjoying scenic views of the Atchafalaya River, relax or try their luck fishing from the recently restored wharfs, or stroll the heights of the protective seawall.  

1· The historic structure is 1 of only 3 easily accessible lighthouses in the State of Louisiana.

2· Predating the American Civil War, the square, pyramidal tower constructed of iron plates was first lit September 1, 1859.

3· The lighthouse was unique in shape for the Gulf, a square pyramid sheathed in iron with a 28-foot base and standing 37 feet in height.

4· The Southwest Reef Lighthouse guided mariners on the Atchafalaya Bay until it was decommissioned in 1916.

5· It remained abandoned until 1987 when it found a new home in Berwick Bay.

6· It now stands sandwiched between the Atchafalaya River waterfront and the Great Sea Wall that protects the Town of Berwick from the mighty river’s floodwaters.

7· In 1988, the lighthouse itself was place on the National Registrar of Historic Places. It was placed in its current location—the Everett S. Berry Memorial Lighthouse Park— in 1990 and opened to public viewing in 1996.

8· A Fresnel lens and fog bell similar to what would have been used in the lighthouse are displayed in the lobby of Berwick Town Hall, located 2 blocks west of the park on Third Street.

9· Each fall, the Lighthouse serve as the terminus for the 135-mile Tour de Teche.  Beginning the first Friday in October this annual race for canoes, kayaks, pirogues (the traditional Cajun canoe), and SUPs traverses the entire length of Bayou Teche in southwestern Louisiana.

10•The lighthouse, now a part of the town’s seal, also serves as the centerpiece for Berwick’s Lighthouse Festival held annually in conjunction with the finish of the Tour du Teche.

 During regular business hours, bring your Lighthouse Passport by Town Hall for stamping and receive a commemorative pin. Admission to the Everett S. Berry Memorial Lighthouse Park is free.

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10 Things to Know About the Southwest Reef Lighthouse