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Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Special Section to the Lighthouses of the New Jersey Shore Web Site


Cape Hatteras Light From The New Walking Trail Which Was Still Under Construction At The Time. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was authorized by US Congress on May 13,1794. It was originally 90 feet tall and built in an octagonal shape. The stone foundation sunk 13 feet below the water table and on top was a 10 foot high oil lantern covered by a 5 foot 9 inch dome. When completed in 1802, the total height was 120 feet!

In 1806, William , the keeper, complained that it was an eyesore, it had cracks, and the glass kept on breaking. In 1852, Captain C.R. Mumford said,"It's a disgrace to our country."

Congress gave $15,000 for a new lens and it was completed in 1854. Later on, the Civil War destroyed it. In order to repair it, a temporary lens was installed in 1852. In 1863, a new light was finally installed.

After the war, there was some concern about the wooden stairs being a fire hazard. It took $20,000 to install new iron stairs. Then, Congress decided to build a new lighthouse.

The new lighthouse's construction began in November of 1868. It was 180 feet tall and made of brick. By the end of the year, houses, a blacksmith shop, and wharves were built around the lighthouse. The new site was 600 feet northeast of the old one. The new lighthouse's new height was a total of 208 feet and 268 steps.

It was first illuminated on December 16,1870. Shortly after, the old tower was blown up. The new tower was struck by lightning in 1879 and cracks began to appear. There was a metal rod installed and there were no further problems. Looking From The Main Road To The Area Where Hatteras Was Moved.

The new lighthouse was painted black and white spiral. It has a 30 inch duplex rotating beacon. The light is visible 20 miles in clear weather, however, it was once spotted 51 miles out from sea.

In 1999, the lighthouse was moved because of the danger of the eroding shoreline. The move took a four weeks, but finally the lighthouse was set in its new position about 2,900 feet away from the shoreline. The lighthouse was the largest building ever moved in history. It was dubbed as "The Move of the Century." The lighthouse reopened during a relighting ceremony held on Memorial Day 2000.




Location: Cape Hatteras National Seashore. North of Cape Hatteras Point.
Built: 1803, 1853, 1870
Looking At The Recently Moved Keepers' Quarters.

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