As lighthouses go, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla is the new kid on the block. Just 145 years old. Or it will be on December 1, 2020.
That’s when the Outer Banks Conservationists, who have restored and maintained the lighthouse for the past 20 some years will have a lighting ceremony.
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is historically significant. It lit the last dark passage along the Atlantic seaboard from Maine to Florida when it first cast its light out to sea in 1875.
That is also the reason it’s somewhat of a newbie as lighthouses go. It was the last one built along the East Coast. Other lighthouses have subsequently replaced older ones, but often with more modern designs, not using the brick that marks the Outer Banks towers.
A Lighthouse Building Boom
The 1870s saw an extraordinary investment in Outer Banks lighthouses by the federal government.
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was completed in 1870—yes, it will be celebrating 150 years soon. That lighthouse replaced an older one that had long been considered inadequate.
Two years later, in 1872, the Bodie Island Lighthouse was completed. That lighthouse also replaced an older one. In that particular case, it both replaced and moved its location from south of Oregon Inlet to its current location north of the inlet.
Congress appropriated money to buy the land in 1874. Construction began in 1875 with driving pilings to support the massive structure.
Unlike most brick lighthouses that were built during the era, Currituck Beach is a double walled construction. It is unclear what that particular form of construction was used for the project, but it has created a much stronger building.
The lighthouse is currently undergoing significant renovations. Structurally it is quite sound, but after 145 years, there is work that has to be done.
The beauty of the Outer Banks lighthouses is just one of many reasons to visit. Spend a week or two with Brindley Beach Vacations and discover what life on a sandbar is all about.