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Corolla in Currituck County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

 
 
Currituck Beach Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 20, 2017
1. Currituck Beach Lighthouse Marker
Inscription.
A Working Lighthouse
On December 1, 1875 the beacon of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse filled the remaining "dark space" on the North Carolina coast between the Cape Henry Lighthouse to the north and Bodie Island Lighthouse to the south.

To distinguish the 162-foot tall tower from other regional lighthouses, its exterior was left unpainted and gives a sense of the multitude of bricks used to form the structure. Shining from a height of 158 feet above sea level, the night beacon was automated in 1939.

Like the 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 turns off at dawn. With a 20-second flash-cycle (on for 3 seconds, off for 17), the light can be seen for 18 nautical miles. The distinctive sequence helps to warn mariners and identify their location.

Before the advent of electricity, a mechanical means was required to rotate huge lenses that made the light appear to flash. A weight suspended from a cable powered a clockwork mechanism beneath the lantern—much like the workings of a grandfather clock. The keeper cranked the weights up by hand every 2½ hours.

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse has a first-order Fresnel (freh-nel) lens, the largest of the
Currituck Beach Lighthouse Marker (<i>wide view; top of lighthouse visible in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 20, 2017
2. Currituck Beach Lighthouse Marker (wide view; top of lighthouse visible in background)
seven sizes. Today the light source is one 1,000-watt bulb.

The Lighthouse Keepers
In 1876, three keepers and their families moved into the Lighthouse Keepers' House, a Victorian stick-style duplex constructed from pre-cut and labeled materials that were shipped on a barge and then assembled on site. In 1920, the Little Keeper's House, was moved from the Long Point Light Station on Currituck Sound to this site. After the lighthouse was automated, the keepers were no longer needed at the Light Station.

In the 1970s, after decades of being uninhabited, the Lighthouse Keepers' House stood open to the elements and the Little Keeper's House was covered by vines and brush. Concerned about the preservation of the historic property, Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc. signed a lease with the State of North Carolina in 1980 to begin a phased restoration of the property.

Lighthouse Facts
Number of steps: 214
Height to focal plane of lens: 158 feet above sea level
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
Position: 34 miles south of the Cape Henry Lighthouse in Virginia, 32½ miles north-northwest of Bodie Island
Currituck Beach Lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 20, 2017
3. Currituck Beach Lighthouse
Lighthouse

Currituck Beach Lighthouse Timeline
1875 December 1, 1875: Beacon was first illuminated.
1876 The Victorian "stick style" keeper’s house was completed; three keepers and their families shared the duplex.
1920 The 1870’s building referred to as the Little Keeper’s House was moved from the Long Point Light Station near Coinjock to the site.
1939 Light was automated under US Coast Guard control and the keeper’s houses were abandoned.
1952 Except for the lighthouse itself, the property was turned over to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission for Muskrat Research.
1973 The Light Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1980 Outer Banks Conservationists (OBC) signed a lease with the State of North Carolina, which owns the houses and much of the land, to begin a phased restoration.
1990 OBC negotiated with the US Coast Guard to open the lighthouse to the public.
1991 The Little Keeper's House was stabilized with the help of North Carolina's Department of Cultural Resources.
1999 A reunion was held for descendants of Currituck Beach Lighthouse Keepers. Oral histories and historic photographs were collected.
1999-2000 Major restoration of the lighthouse took place.
2003 The Currituck Beach
Restored Keeper's House (built 1870's) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 20, 2017
4. Restored Keeper's House (built 1870's)
Lighthouse was transferred to OBC pursuant to the National Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.
 
Erected by Currituck County Historical and Cultural Landmark Project.
 
Location. 36° 22.527′ N, 75° 49.886′ W. Marker is in Corolla, North Carolina, in Currituck County. Marker is on Village Lane 0.2 miles north of Club Road, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in Currituck Heritage Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1100 Hunt Club Drive, Corolla NC 27927, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Welcome to a Wetland (within shouting distance of this marker); Boathouse (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Currituck Beach Light Station (about 300 feet away); The Caretaker's Residence (about 300 feet away); The Whalehead Club (about 400 feet away); A Nation's Defense (about 600 feet away); Waterfowl Hunting (about 600 feet away); Corolla Island Bridges (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Corolla.
 
Also see . . .
1. Currituck Beach Lighthouse History. For centuries, hundreds of ships were lost in the treacherous waters off of the Outer Banks. In the Northern Outer Banks, ships travelling close to shore to
Restored Little Keeper's House (built 1876) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 20, 2017
5. Restored Little Keeper's House (built 1876)
avoid the swift and tumultuous Gulf Stream could easily get shipwrecked against the shoreline, as the miles of Currituck's barrier island was relatively uninhabited, with nothing but dark coastline to confuse and disorient the passing sailors. (Submitted on March 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Currituck Beach Light. As it had reported in previous years, the U.S. Light-House Board in 1872 stated that ships, cargoes, and lives continued to be lost along the 40 miles (64 km) 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 the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in 1873 with completion two years later. The date at the top of the entrance to the lighthouse says "1873" because on every lighthouse, the date on the structure is the date that construction began. (Submitted on March 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Currituck Beach Lighthouse. By the time the tower was finished, over one-million red bricks were used. The 162-foot tower was lighted for the first time on December 1, 1875. The massive first-order Fresnel lens supplied a fixed white light with a red flash every ninety-seconds which was visible for eighteen miles.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse Gallery (<i>First Order Fresnel Lens inside</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 20, 2017
6. Currituck Beach Lighthouse Gallery (First Order Fresnel Lens inside)
The lighthouse is nearly an exact replica of the Bodie Island to the south, and Assateague Island to the north, but this lighthouse stands out for its distinctive red exterior. This design was intentional, to set the Currituck Lighthouse apart from its Outer Banks neighbors. After completion, the lighthouse was left unpainted, allowing visitors to marvel at the sheer number of bricks involved in its construction. (Submitted on March 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. ArchitectureMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
Currituck Beach Lighthouse (<i>exterior window brick detail</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 20, 2017
7. Currituck Beach Lighthouse (exterior window brick detail)
Currituck Beach Lighthouse (<i>spiral staircase detail</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 20, 2017
8. Currituck Beach Lighthouse (spiral staircase detail)
Currituck Beach Lighthouse (<i>view of Little Keeper's House <left> & Keeper's House, from top</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 20, 2017
9. Currituck Beach Lighthouse (view of Little Keeper's House & Keeper's House, from top)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on February 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 102 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   7, 8, 9. submitted on March 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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