"Cape Hatteras Lighthouse" Hatteras Island Things to Do Tip by grandmaR
Hatteras Island Things to Do: 7 reviews and 11 photos
The black and white spiral makes Cape Hatteras one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the US, and the 208 feet height makes it also the tallest in the United States. The light can be seen for 20 miles, warning ships of Diamond Shoals (the graveyard of the Atlantic) which is a twelve-mile (12) long sandbar just offshore.
Diamond Shoals is the meeting place of two great ocean currents: the cold Labrador and the warm Northbound Gulf Stream. Where they collide, it creates fog and ever changing sandbars just beneath the water surface.
The present lighthouse was built like the light at Cape Lookout and had a first-order Fresnel lens to magnify a small oil wick flame. It was replaced by a rotating beacon--a double affair with 1000-watt lamps in each beacon. Today, the beacon is automated, but at the time it was built, the keeper had to wind weights suspended by heavy cables in order to rotate the thousand-prism lens. In good visibility, it can be seen 51 miles at sea and 115 miles in the air.
The octagonal base of brick and granite, measures twenty-four (24) feet by fourty-five (45) feet six inches. The black and white barber-pole paint, or "candystriping" was added in 1873 to make the lighthouse more distinctive during the day. There is another similarly painted lighthouse in Florida ( St. Augustine), but I guess they figured that if you didn't even know whether you were in NC or FL, you were in such sorry shape that there wasn't much hope for you..
As early as the 1920s, erosion became a major problem to the new lighthouse. In the summer of 1999, the lighthouse was moved 2899.57 feet from its original location
The "Double Keeper's Quarters" is used to house the "Museum of the Sea" and the Buxton Visitor Center.
Opening for Climbing:
Good Friday to Columbus Day (weather permitting)
$6.00/Climb Adults - Day
$3.00/Climb Child (12 and under) - Day
$3.00/Climb 62 and older - Day
Directions: Take NC 12 South from Nags Head until you reach Buxton. It is approximately 50 miles south of Nags Head.
Phone: (252) 453-4939
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