The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Almost 200' in height, it is the tallest lighthouse in the US.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Almost 200′ in height, it is the tallest lighthouse in the US.

It’s only fair that we write about the 150th Anniversary of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse since we just wrote about the 145th Anniversary of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.

The Cape Hatteras Light is certainly the most identifiable of the Outer Banks lighthouses and may be one of the most iconic in the world. At 198.5’ to the top it is the tallest lighthouse in the United States. The focal plane is at 192’

The Lighthouse was moved in 2900’ away from the encroaching sea in 1999. When they went to move the lighthouse, the engineers and crew working on it found the floating base of yellow pine and granite that Foreman Dexter Stetson had designed was remarkably intact.

The celebration will include a 25-minute online video with commentary from Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent Dave Hallec, Captain Matt Baer, North Carolina Sector Commander of the Coast Guard and historian Kevin Duffus, who has written extensively about the history of the Outer Banks.

There will also be a discussion of Augustin Fresnel, the inventor to the Fresnel Lens that enabled ships as far at sea as 20 miles to still see the warning lights from lighthouses.

A temporary Photographic Tribute at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Gift Shop and Book Store is also planned.

The history of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is either the second or third lighthouse to be built at Cape Hatteras depending on how events are viewed.

The first lighthouse, built in 1803 was woefully inadequate. At 90’ and using a whale oil lamp, complaints about its performance were frequent and justified. In 1853 60’ was added to the tower and a first order Fresnel lens put in place.

Damaged during the Civil War, Congress appropriated money for new lighthouse in 1868. Two years later, on December 16, 1870 the lighthouse began 150 years of warning mariners of the danger of Diamond Shoals.

There is history and stories everywhere on the Outer Banks. Spend a week or two exploring while staying in a Brindley Beach Vacations home.