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North Carolina

Ocracoke Lighthouse & Oak Island Lighthouse

Ocracoke Lighthouse

The oldest active lighthouse in North Carolina, Ocracoke Lighthouse is 75 feet tall and the only one located within the confines of a town. The original lighthouse, a wooden structure, was struck by lightning in 1818, burned down and rebuilt in 1823. Union and Confederate troops controlled it at different times during the Civil War.

In 1868, the tower was cemented and covered with its first coat of whitewash. Like a streetlamp, the light now comes on at night and goes off in the morning.

Oak Island

Oak Island Lighthouse flashes the newest and most powerful beam of all American lighthouses, surpassed in brilliancy only by a French light on the English Channel.

In 1958, Oak Island Lighthouse replaced Cape Fear Lighthouse, which was located across the Cape Fear River on Bald Head Island. The need for a rock foundation solid enough to support the tower caused the builder to go 125 feet underground. In winds up to 60 mph, this tower may sway as much as 3 feet.

Vivid black, white and gray bands make up the telltale paint job of the 169-foot Oak Island Lighthouse.

Ocracoke Lighthouse, North Carolina
Ocracoke Lighthouse, North Carolina



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Source: North Carolina Tourism; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20070820
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