Bodie Island Things to Do Tips by grandmaR
Bodie Island Things to Do: 9 reviews and 12 photos
Front view of Keepers Quarters- lighthouse in back
The front view of the keeper's quarters. As with a number of other stations, the keeper's quarters was built as a duplex and was home to as many as three families (head keeper and two assistants) during its use. The back view is the same as the front, except that the handicapped accessible ramp is not at the back
Bodie Island was completely undeveloped, and the closest school was in Manteo on neighboring Roanoke Island (accessible only by boat). This meant that the keeper’s wife and children lived away from the lighthouse except during the summer month. Eventually, school buses were able to reach the island, and the families were able to live with the keepers. The light was electrified in 1932, which ended the need for an on-site keeper. Since 1953, the Keeper’s duplex has since undergone two historic restorations, the last having been completed in May 1992. The building now serves as a ranger office and visitor center for Cape Hatteras National Seashore - Bodie Island section.
For a more complete tour of a lighthouse keeper's quarters, go to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Directions: take Hwy 12 south from Nags Head. Once you enter the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, travel about 8 miles and the lighthouse will be on the right
Bodie Island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The 150 ft tall Bodie Island Light is 4 miles north of Oregon Inlet, and is encircled by two black and three white bands. It is an active lighthouse which is equipped with the original first-order Fresnel lens (which is treated as a separate property from the tower itself). The 160,000 candlepower beacon flashes 19 miles over the ocean in the on for 2.5 seconds and then off for the same period pattern.
Originally built on Pea Island in 1847, and rebuilt with improvements in 1859, the 80 foot tower was blown up in 1862 by Confederate troops to prevent its use as a position marker by the Union forces.
On October 1, 1872, the present tower was put into operation and is the third lighthouse built here. According to a lightkeeper on duty at the time, shortly after this light was activated, a flock of wild geese flew into the lantern, causing severe damage to the lens. It was quickly repaired, and a wire screen was placed around the light to prevent further mishap. It was also necessary to put a lightening rod on the tower.
The light was electrified in 1932, which ended the need for an on-site keeper. Finally, all of the light station’s property except the tower itself were transferred to the National Park Service in 1953. Still a functioning U.S. Coast Guard navigational aid, the tower is closed to the public.
One of the attractions of this lighthouse is that it isn't open to be climbed, so I don't have to feel guilty about not climbing it. It is all surrounded with that orange plastic web fencing at ground level - apparently because pieces sometimes fall off of it - which is another reason that it can't be climbed I guess.
Although the tower is not open for climbing, the lighthouse keeper cottage is now a museum, and there are ccessible restrooms, a visitor center, walking paths, and a unique bookstore.
Open All Year 9am - 6pm in summer, 9am - 5 pm rest of year
5/31/04 - 9/6/04 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
9/7/04 - 5/29/05 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Directions: Eight miles south of the US 158 and US 64 intersection, west of NC 12. Look for the entrance to the lighthouse on your right. The entrance will sneak up on you quickly, so be on the lookout for it.
Display at Bodie Island
The bottom floor of the double keeper's quarters is open to the public as a 2 room visitors' center. One room is a museum
Pictured is one of the displays which says:
Under the top lighthouse picture "Routine heavy weather for the sea-swept lighthouse at St. George Reef, California one of the most exposed stations in the country"
Under the photo of the man: "Establishing this full dress keeper's uniform was one measure taken by the U.S. Lighthouse Board to help professionalize the service."
Right photo: "Though designed in the days of oil lamps and lighthouse keepers, this small order Fresnel Lens now magnifies and electric light tended by the U.S. Coast Guard."
"The US Congress assigned control of the nation's lighthouses to the Treasury Department in 1789. As coastal shipping increased in the 19th century, mariners began to protest that the light from most American lighthouses was poor, if visible at all. Though the revolutionary Fresnel Lense was invented in France in 1822, this expensive "foreign device" was shunned by the Treasury's miserly administration for years. Loss of property and lives continued along America's coast."
"In response to this and other concerns, the U.S. Lighthouse Board was created in 1852. The Board improved equipment distribution and maintenance, replaced ineffective workers with experienced ones, and installed Fresnel Lens in as many lighthouses as possible. Under the Board's guidance the U.S. Lighthouse Service soon rose to international prominence. The U.S. Coast Guard continues that legacy today, having absorbed the Lighthouse Service in 1939."
Under this is the photo of Thomas Point. Bob is looking at another display.
Directions: The lighthouse is accessible off of NC 12; six miles south of Whaleborn Junction or four miles north of the Oregon Inlet Brid
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