Supposedly the engineer who was originally assigned to paint the North Carolina lighthouses got the plans confused. Diamond shaped figures that would have been suitable for Diamond Shoals went to Cape Lookout and the Cape Hatteras Lighthose was painted with spiral stripes earning it the nickname "The Big Barber Pole".
This sign states, "Cape Hatteras Light Station has been designated a National Historic Landmark. This site possesses National significance in commerating the history of the United States of America. 1998 National Park Service. United States Department of the Interior."
"There have been words written to the effect that the lighthouse keepers and their families had a very lonely life; however, we did not have this experience. In fact just the opposite would be more apt to apply. The lighthouse was always a favorite place to visit by the village folk so we would have lots of company, especially on Sunday afternoons and the evening hours, when the heat of summer was unbearable in the wooded areas of the village. Swimming, baseball games, croquet, chasing wild horses and pinning them in the yards for breaking to saddle, and climbing the lighthouse were a big part of our lives." ---Randy Jenrette, son of the last Principal Keeper at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
The door of the lighthouse.
The Top of the Lighthouse
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse--In the summer of 1999 the encroaching waters of teh Atlantic Ocean threatened the structure. The Cape Hatteras Light was moved from the original location.
The Lighthouse Keepers Quarters
The Following facts are from " North Carolina Lighthouses"
There are various numbers assigned to the height of this lighthouse. Generally, height is stated as 198 feet. After relocation, it gained about two feet in elevation.
Cape Hatteras is the tallest brick lighthouse in North America.
The lighthouse was completed in 1870.
In 1870, with 24 panels in its 1st Fresnel lens, the light turned at 1/4 RPM. Today, its modern aerobeacon emits the same flash characteristic with one 2.5 second white "flash" every 7.5 seconds for six "flashes" per minute.
The beacon reaches 19 nautical miles; one nautical mile equals 1.15 statute miles
The last Keeper was Unaka Jennette who closed the lighthouse due to erosion in 1936. The light was housed in a skeletal tower in Buxton Woods until relighting the striped tower in 1950
The 1803, brown sandstone tower was destroyed after its Fresnel lens was shipped to Pigeon Point Light Station in California, following completion of the 1870 tower.
There are 268 cast-iron steps that lead to the lantern room
The day were were at the lighthouse someone found a sea turtle on the beach. The park rangers picked up the turtle and they were going to take it to have it assessed and if it was well would release it again to the wild in a safer place than the beach.
General Burnside's forces captured Roanoke Island in February 8, 1862. In quick succession, thirteen counties and over thirty cities and towns were annexed including: New Bern, Plymouth, Beaufort, Edenton, Elizabeth City and Washington. By July of 1862 the Confederal COastal supply line from the Deep SOuth to Virginia was seriously compromised. The events underscored the inability of the Confederacy to set priorities and the failure of the Federal leadership to recognized the fierce potential of their coastal conquest. The loss of the Outer Banks undermined Southern moraleand boosted that of the North. It intensified the secession controversy and the conflict between the Confederate government and North Carolina.
January 15, 1862--The Graveyard of the Atlantic claims the lives of Colonel J. W. Allen and Surgeon Welles, officers of the 9th N. J. Volunteers, and the second mate of the Ann E. Thompson.
Dec. 31, 1862--USS Monitor: N. K. Atwater, G. Fredrickson, R. W. Hands, S. A> Lewis, W. Allen, W. Bryan, R. Cook, W. H. Eagan, J. R. Fenwick, R. H. Howard, T. Joyce, G. Littlefield, D. Moore, J. Nicklis, J. Stocking, R. Williams.
USS Rhode Island: H. Logan, C. H. Smith
Jan. 17, 1864--1st N. C. Infantry: R. G. Casey, D. W. Farrow, J. J. Farrow, N. F. Jennette
Over 600 perished with the losses of the Governor (Oct. 31, 1861), USS Bainbridge (Aug 21, 1863) and General Lyon (Mar 31, 1865)
". . . The white line of the running surf goes booming down the beach,
But I shall never see them, though the land lies close abroad,
I've shaped the last long silent silent tack as takes one to the Lord."
Height: 156 feet
Height of Stripes: 22 feet
Light Pattern: 2.5 seconds on, 2.5 off, 2.5 on, 22.5 off
Beam Range: 19 miles
Ownership: transferred from US Coast Guard to the National Park Service in 2000
The Bodie Island Lighthose is located eight miles south of US 158 and the US 64 intersection. It is 165 feet high, and horizontally striped.
There are 214 steps to the lantern room; however, the lighthouse needs restorations, and the tower is not open for climbing.
The flash characteristic remains 2.5 seconds on, 2.5 seconds off, 2.5 seconds on and 22.5 seconds eclipse per minute.
Bodie Island originally was spelled "Body" or "Body's" Island. The name appears in all forms possible, including "Bodie's" Island in U.S. Lighthouse Service documents.
Fresh water was gathered from rain running down eaves on the Keeper's Quarters to two cisterns.
Volunteers from the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society occasionally open the tower's lower portion during the summer.
Bodie Island's Principal Keeper Vernon Gaskill, Sr., and Assistant Keeper Julian Austin, Sr. were two of the last civilian era Keepers of the U. S. Lighthouse Service. Gaskill transferred to the lighthouse depot in Coinjock and Austin closed the lighthouse in 1940, ending the Lighthouse Service era at Bodie Island. Like other coastal lights, it became a lookout tower for the Navy during World War II.
During the 1920's the Bureau of Lighthouses installed a sensor near the lamp's flame. If something went wrong with the flame, a "call bell" sounded in the Keepers Quarters,
Our hotel was in Kill Devil Hills, and from our balcony we had a wonderful view of the ocean. One morning I was awake early and saw a beautiful sunrise.
The weather was cold and the first couple days had been rainy and windy and the ocean had been really rough and angry, but beautiful. You could actually hear the wind howl. On this morning it was much calmer.
No matter which way you looked from our balcony there was a beautiful sight.
This particular morning the sky was all pink and purple and just so beautiful. The entire site was so calming and serene.
We were even able to watch dolphins playing in the water in the morning. There were lots of them, which I found surprising. I guess I thiought dolphins migrated to the south like birds do in the winter.
From our balcony we had this beautiful view of the ocean and when you went out the door there was a fabulous viel of the Wright Brothers Memorial. At night it was lit up and so pretty. We tried to get pictures of the Memorial at night but jsut could not get it to work. Actually, teh pictures we got of the Memorial during the day weren't all that great, but the ocean pictures were fabulous.
As mI said earlier, we did not get too many good picturs of the Wright Brothers memorial and I got some off the Internet. We had not taken any pictures at all of the sign, so I found this one on line.
I also found this one on line and thought it was really a good view of the Memorial. It had to have been taken from an airplane or helicopter as there is nothing around the Memorial to enable a picture like this. This memorial sits on the top of a hill and the day we were there it was cold and windy and we did not walk to the top of the hill.
The Wright Brothers Memorial is located in Kill Devil Hills, and commerates the first successful, sustained powered flights in a heavier-than-air machine. From 1900 to 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright came to Kill Devil Hills from Ohio, based on information from the U.S. Weather Bureau about the area's steady winds. They also valued the privacy provided by the location, which in the early twentieth century was remote from major population centers.
The Wrights made four flights from level ground near the base of the hill on December 17, 1903, following three years of gliding experiments from atop this and other nearby sand dunes. It is possible to walk along the actual routes four flights, with small monuments marking their starts and finishes. Two wooden sheds, based on hisotoric photographs, recreate the world's first airplane hangar and the brothers' living quarters. What I found really amazing, and something that I had never really thought about before, from the first airplane flight in 1903 until the first time we walked on the moon in 1968 was only 65 years. Amazing!!
The Memorial Tower is a 60-foot granite monument, dedicated in 1932 and perched atop a 90-foot-tall Kill Devil Hill, commemorating the achievement of the Wright Brothers. They conducted many of their glider tests on teh massive shifting dune that was later stabilized to form Kill Devil Hill. INscribed in capital letters along the base of the memorial is the phrase "In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright conceived by genius achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith." Atop the tower is a marine beacon, similar to one found in a lighthouse, that was installed to make the monument more functional.
The tower was designed by Rodgers and Poor, a New York architectural firm; the design was officially selected on February 14, 1930. Prior to the memorial's construction , the War Department selected Captain William H. Kindervater of the Quartermaster Corps to prepare the site for construction and to manage the area landscaping. To secure the sandy foundation, Captain Kindervater selected bermuda grass to be planted on Kill Devil Hill and the surrounding area. He also ordered a special fertilizer to be spread throughout the area to promote grass and shrubbery growth and decided to build a fence to prevent animal grazing. With a strong foundation in place, the Office of the Quartermaster selected Marine Captain John A. Gilman to preside over the construction project. Construction began in October 1931 and with a budget of $213,000 the memorial was completed in November 1932. In the end, 1,200 tons of granite, more than 2,000 tons of gravel, more than 800 tons of sand and almost 400 tons of cement were used to build the structure, along with numerous other materials.
November 14, 1932 was selected as the dedication day; over 20,000 people were expected to attend, but only about 1,000 actually came to the event, which was held on a stormy, windy day. Orville Wright was the main guest of honor at the ceremony and aviator Ruth Nichols was given the privilege of removing the American flag the covered the word "genius" and the plaque on the monument. President Herbert Hoover was unable to attend the ceremony, however a letter from the President was read prior to the dedication.
The hill that the monument sits on offers great views of the surrounding area.
Authorized as Kill Devil Hill Monument on March 2, 1927, it was transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service on August 10, 1933. Congress renamed it and designated it a national memorial on December 4, 1953. As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, the national memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. The memorial's visitor center, designated by Ehrman Mitchell and Romaldo Giurgola, was designated a National Historic Landmark on January 3, 2001. The memorial is co-managed with two other Outer Banks parks, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
This is the marker commemerating the first flight. "End of 1st FLight--Time 12 Seconds--Distance 120 feet--Dec. 17, 1903--Pilot Orville Wright
End of 2nd flight--Time about 12 seconds--Distance about 175 feet--Dec. 17, 1903--Pilot Wilbur Wright
End of the 3rd flight--Time 15 seconds--Distance about 200 feet--Dec. 17, 1903--Pilot Orville Wright
End of 4th flight--Time 59 seconds--Distance 852 feet--Dec. 17, 1903--Pilot Wilbur Wright
The Currituck Beach Light Station, located in Corolla, is the Northernmost Lighthouse of the Outer Banks. It is the only Light Station of the Outer Banks that is natural brick in color. From these pictures it is easy to see that South Carolina is not the only place that has "Carolina Blue Skies"
On December 1, 1875 the beacon of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse filled the remaining "dark spot" on the Norht Carolina coast between Cape Henry Light to the north and Bodie Island to the south. To distinguish the Currituck Beach Lighthouse from other regional lighthouses, its exterior remains unpainted and gives today's visitor a asense of the multitude of bricks used to form the structure. The lighthouse was automated in 1939 when the United States Coast Guard assumed the duties of the Bureau of Lighthouses. At a height of 158 feet, the night beacon still flashes at 20-second intervals to warn ships hugging the chain of barrier islands along the coast.
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is known as a first order lighthouse, which means it has the largest of seven Fresnel lens sizes. The original source of light was a U.S. mineral oil lamp consisting of five concentric wicks: the largest was 4 inches in diameter. Before the advent of electricity, a mechanical means was required to rotate the huge lenses that made the light appear to flash. A system of weights suspended from a line poewered a clockwork mechanism beneath the lantern--much like the workings of a grandfather clock. The keeper cranked the weights up by hand every two and a half hours.
Like other lighthouses on North Carolina's Outer Banks, this one still serves as an aid to navigation. The beacon comes on automatically every evening at dusk and ceases at dawn. With a 20-second flash cycle (on for 3 seconds, off for 17 seconds) the light can be seen for 18 nautical miles. The distinctive sequence enables the lighthouse not only to warn mariners but also to help identify their locations. The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was the last major brick lighthouse built on the Outer Banks.
As it had reported in previous years, the U.S. Lighthosue Board in 1872 stated that ships, cargoes and lives continued to be lost along the 40 miles of dark coastline that lay beyond the reaches of existing lighthouses. Southbound ships sailing closer to shore to avoid the Gulf Stream were especially in danger. In response, construction began on teh Currituck Beach Lighthouse in 1873 with completion two years later.
Number of steps: 214
Height to focal plane of len s: 158 feet
Height to top of roof: 162 feet
Number of Bricks: approximately one million
Thickness of wall at base: 5 feet 8 inches
Thickness of wall at parapet: 3 feet
32 1/2 miles north-northwest of the Bodie Island Lighthouse
The lighthouse Keepers' House, a Victorian "stick style" dwelling, was constructed from pre-cut and labeled materials which were shipped by the U.S. Lighthouse Board on a baarge and then assembled on site. In 1876, when the Keepers' House was completed, two keepers and their families shared the duplex in the isolated seaside setting. The keepers were removed after the Lighthouse was automated and attendants were no longer needed to clean the lenses, trim the wicks, fuel the lamp, and wind the clock mechanism which rotated the beacon.
By the late 1970's the Lighthouse Keepers' House stood open to the elements with no windows or doors; porches had decayed and vines invaded the north side. Much of the interior millwork had been vandalized. Concerned about the preservation of the historic property, Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc., a private non-private organization dedicated to the conservation of the character of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, signed a lease with the State of North Carolina in 1980 to begin a phased restoration of the property. The lease charged the group with the responsibility of restoring the Keepers' House and improving the historic compound.
Today, the grounds and walkways are rejuvenated and the exterior of the Keepers' HOuse is nearly complete, but the phased restoration of the interior remains a considerable undertaking. Although plaster walls and pine floors have been repaired, vandalized wainscoting replaced, and the mahogany balustrades replicated. reproduction doors and hardware must be made and installed, and the interior finishes installed.
Our next stop was the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, where we were welcomed by "Sandy Claws". This is one of three state operated aquariums located along the coast. It boasts the largest aquarium in the state--a 285,000-gallon ocean tank with sharks, sea turtles and hundreds of fish.