Bill Quick's personal beacon burns brightly for the Sabine Pass lighthouse and he could barely contain his excitement on learning its image will grace a postage stamp sometime in 2009.
Quick, 78, of Nederland, a member of the Jefferson County Historical Commission, also belongs to a group called the Cameron Preservation Alliance, which owns the old lighthouse.
The landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be one of five Gulf Coast lighthouses commemorated on postage stamps in the coming year, said Earl Artis, manager of communications for the U.S. Postal Ser-vice's Dallas office.
The other stamps will feature lighthouses at Matagorda Island; Biloxi, Miss.; Sand Island, Ala, which is near Mobile; and Fort Jefferson, Fla., near Key West.
"Collectors have a fondness for lighthouses," said Artis, who added there is not a firm release date for the new stamps.
"It's an enduring subject," Artis said. "People respond to it very well."
For Quick, fondness is putting it mildly.
He bemoans the lighthouse's forlorn condition and the lack of resources available for its restoration.
He can rattle off facts and figures without hesitation, such as height, 85 feet; diameter at its base, 20 feet; construction, brick - four courses thick; distance from the entry into Sabine Pass, 1,200 feet; visibility from offshore, 18 miles; date of entering service, 1857; lights out, 1952.
The U.S. government ran what was called the Lighthouse Bureau to operate the ship-guiding beacons until technology rendered them archaic, he said.
In 1939, the bureau consolidated with the U.S. Coast Guard, Quick said.
The lighthouse, on the Louisiana side of Sabine Pass, has withstood . . .
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