Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Hatteras, North Carolina | C.1803

Photo Credit: Wendy Quiroa

On July 10, 1794, Congress appropriated $44,000 for erecting a lighthouse on the head land of Cape Hatteras and a lighted beacon on Shell Castle Island, in the harbor of Ocracoke in the State of North Carolina.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was constructed in 1802, marking very dangerous shoals which extend from the cape for a distance of 10 nautical miles.

The original tower was built of dark sandstone and retained its natural color. It was powered by 18 lamps and was visible in clear weather for a distance of 18 miles.

In 1860 the Lighthouse Board reported that Cape Hatteras Lighthouse required protection, due to the outbreak of the Civil War and two years later the Board reported the Cape Hatteras lens and lantern destroyed.

By 1999, due to shore erosion the lighthouse was just 15 feet from the ocean’s edge and was in imminent danger. It had to be moved from its original location at the edge of the ocean to safer ground 2,900 feet inland, and 1,500 feet from the shoreline.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of the tallest masonry structures ever moved (200 feet tall and weighing 5,000 tons).

Today the light is open to visitors and remains in operation.

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One thought on “Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

  1. bellhop says:
    November 11, 2022

    Archive Community Comments: @thechrishatcher - Home! I remember when they moved it when I was kid one of the craziest things I’ve ever witnessed @harborhouseseafood - Make sure to visit Hatteras Village, about 10 miles south of the lighthouse to see our colorful fishing boats!

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