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Lighthouses of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Lucila Ojeda. Why So Many Lighthouses Along North Carolina’s Coast?. Much shipping and commerce in the 1800s Strong currents Fierce storms Shifting shoals Hundreds of ships have sunk in these menacing waters

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Lighthouses of North Carolina’s Outer Banks


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why so many lighthouses along north carolina s coast
Why So Many Lighthouses Along North Carolina’s Coast?
  • Much shipping and commerce in the 1800s
    • Strong currents
    • Fierce storms
    • Shifting shoals
  • Hundreds of ships have sunk in these menacing waters
  • Outer Banks is called the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”

Lighthouses of the Outer Banks

bodie island lighthouse
Bodie Island Lighthouse
  • Present Bodie Island lighthouse is third construction; first two were defective
  • Electric light installed in 1932, ending need for full-time keeper
  • Keeper’s home now serves as ranger office and visitor center

Lighthouses of the Outer Banks

cape hatteras lighthouse
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
  • Tallest lighthouse in North America
  • Striped markings served as “daymarkers” for daytime sailors
  • Still functions, only now it’s totally automated
  • Light appears to flash every 7 seconds (light actually rotates)
  • Rate of “flashing” identifies the lighthouse

Lighthouses of the Outer Banks

cape hatteras lighthouse continued
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (continued)
  • Tallest brick lighthouse in the world
  • 1.25 million bricks
  • Octagonal brick base sits on solid granite
  • Base measures 24 feet by 45.5 feet

Cape Hatteras lighthouse base

Lighthouses of the Outer Banks

cape hatteras lighthouse continued1
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (continued)
  • Spiraling staircase leads to top
  • 275 steps
  • Over 175,000 tourists visit tower each year to climb the steps

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse staircase

Lighthouses of the Outer Banks

ocracoke lighthouse
Ocracoke Lighthouse
  • Oldest active lighthouse in North Carolina
  • Shortest lighthouse in North Carolina
  • Original lighthouse made of wood, struck by lightning, burned down
  • Present lighthouse made of brick
  • Diameter 25 feet at base, 12 feet at top

Lighthouses of the Outer Banks

for more information
For More Information

Ardith Sizemore

Division of Historic Preservation

Massachusetts State Historical Society

145 Backbay Heights Road

Boston, MA 02114

617-555-0654

Lighthouses of the Outer Banks