Riding high above the rolling waves of Lake LBJ, stands the largest inland lighthouse in the state of Texas. The Lighthouse in Horseshoe Bay is a beacon of lake life and provides a central meeting point for residents and visitors alike, providing a nautical piece of nostalgia that dates back to 1972.
Shortly after the master plan for the community was instated, the lighthouse was resurrected, establishing the prominence that would come to be synonymous with Horseshoe Bay. The original construction was the product of a partnership between the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and a private developer in the 1970s. LCRA authorized Hurd Properties access to construct the lighthouse at the end of a 200-foot dike north of the Thomas Ferguson Power Plant on Lake LBJ.
“We love our lighthouse. It is a beacon for our city, Horseshoe Bay, such a great place to live,” said Stan Farmer, the Horseshoe Bay City Manager.
Completed in 1972, the lighthouse is located at the end of a long breakwater extending into Lake Lyndon B. Johnson at Horseshoe Bay in Llano County, the lighthouse is about 45 mi (72 km) northwest of Austin, at the end of what is now known as Lighthouse Drive. It includes an observation room and a navigation beacon on the roof.
There is a trail on the peninsula that leads directly to the lighthouse. It’s a peaceful retreat lined with palm trees, wildlife and a calm breeze from Lake LBJ.
Considered a historical “icon” in the Horseshoe Bay community, scores of residents across the Highland Lakes joined together to donate a total of $40,000 to renovate the exterior of the lighthouse in 2014. After years of sun, wind and weather the structure was in need of extensive repairs including new exterior siding and a new roof. The full renovation completed in 2016.
The 55 ft (17 m) square tower has a large observation room and a navigation beacon on the roof. It is the largest in the state and the oldest of Texas’ four inland lighthouses. It provides Horseshoe Bay and boating enthusiasts an easy recognizable point of reference with its elaborate sound system with Westminster chimes that announce the hour.
The Horseshoe Bay Property Owners’ Association has proudly maintained the lighthouse for nearly 50 years, a beacon of legends among the Texas Hill Country.
Every Independence Day there is the annual boat parade that meets at the Horseshoe Bay Lighthouse to celebrate the 4th of July. As boats of all shapes and sizes gather, it is a glimpse of the lasting Americana that proudly exemplifies life in the quiet lakeside community.
Carol Rose moved to Horseshoe Bay from Houston in 1998 and worked on the committee to restore the lighthouse as a part of the POA project.
“It needed to be done and now it’s fully restored. Anyone is welcome to walk down to the lighthouse and enjoy the view out over Lake LBJ,” Rose said.
The lighthouse continues to stand as a beacon for boaters and a retreat for residents enjoying all that the Horseshoe Bay community has to offer.