Bodie Island Light

Outer Banks, North Carolina | C.1872

Photo Credit: John Yancey Presnell

The current Bodie Island Lighthouse, built in 1872, is the third installation that has stood in this vicinity of Bodie Island on the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

It stands 156 feet (48 m) tall and is located on the Roanoke Sound side of the first island that is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The 170-foot structure requires 214 steps to reach the top and is one of only a dozen remaining tall, brick tower lighthouses in the United States – and one of the few with an original first-order Fresnel lens to cast its light.

While some people pronounce the name with a long “o” sound, it is traditionally pronounced as “body”. According to folklore it is due to the number of dead sailors washed ashore from wrecked ships along this stretch of the East Coast, which has long been known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. In truth, the name is actually derived from the Body family who once owned the land, a separate barrier island prior to 1811.

After Hurricane Irene caused major damage in 2011, funding was obtained to restore the lighthouse. Once completed, there was a re-lighting ceremony on April 18, 2013, and the lighthouse was opened for the general public to climb the following day.

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