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Ocracoke Island Lighthouse

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

Ocracoke Light During A Late July Summer Day In 1999. The first lighthouse at Ocracok Inlet was located on Shell Castle Island, just inside the inlet. It was built concurremtly with the first Cape Hatteras lighthouse and it was intended to guide vessels over the inlet bar at night. Built by Henry Dearborn, a former congressman and future secretary of war who also built the 1803 Cape Hatteras, the old Shell Castle light served from 1803 until August 16, 1818, when lightning destroyed the tower and the dwelling. The Treasury had the lighthouse rebuilt in 1823 on the banks near the village of Ocracoke, an important shipping point. The 76-foot white conical masonry tower was an inlet aid, and in 1854 the Lighthouse Board installed a fourth-order lens in its lantern. The Confederates damaged the lens in 1861, so in 1864 the board installed another lens. Now automated, the light is 75 feet above the water and is still active. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in North Carolina and one of the oldest active lights along the Southeast coast. The light is rehabilitated and there is a park surrounding the lighthouse.

Location: Two miles north of Ocracoke Inlet. South of Cape Hatteras on Route 12.
By ferry from Cedar Island off U.S. 70.
Built: 1803, 1823

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