On this National Lighthouse Day I thought I would talk about lighthouses. Lighthouses are usually in the form of a tower made of brick or stone or other sturdy material and usually located along a shoreline. During my 6-year tenure living on The Outer Banks of North Carolina I had the pleasure of visiting each of the lighthouses along its coastline.
Currituck Beach Light in Corolla (pronounced Ca-ral-ah, not Ca-roll-ah, like the car) is a natural color brick towering 158 feet and was built in 1875. Corolla on Currituck Beach is the northernmost community on the Outer Banks. I have climbed to the top of this lighthouse.
Bodie Island Light is south of Nags Head, NC and north of the Oregon Inlet and was built in 1872 to a height of 165 fee. It was built of brick, iron stone on a foundation of timber, granite and rubble. It is painted in black and white bands. Bodie (pronounced body and spelled in the olde English) was not open for climbing while I was a resident, although the grounds around are pretty.
Cape Hatteras Light was built in 1803. Apparently feeling that it was not tall enough or worth its salt (no pun intended) they rebuilt the tower in 1871. In 1999, fearing the ocean coming closer to the light and claiming it, the Army Corps of Engineers took on the task of moving this 198 foot brick monster painted in black and white spiral stripes nearly 3,000 feet to safer ground. . Just after the relocation, we were able to climb the 268 spiral steps to the top. the view was phenomenal! On a good day, you can see 50 miles!
Ocracoke Light is just a short ferry ride from Hatteras. The all white painted 76 foot tower was built in 1798. During our visit to the lighthouse, it was not open for visiting climbers but the grounds were beautifully kept by the US National Park Ranger Station.
Lighthouses are a wonderful sight when you are on solid ground. I could not imagine being in a 1800's boat in a storm wondering how close to shore I was. These wondrous buildings were a necessity to shippers back in the day. Now, with computers and radios, they seem to be history fading into the background. If you have never visited a lighthouse, I highly recommend it. Even if you can't climb to the top. Stop by for a few moments, chat with the keepers of the light. Awe may flood you, too.