Currituck Beach Light Station
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 and Bodie Island lighthouses. To distinguish the 162' tall lighthouse from the other coastal lighthouses, the red brick was left unpainted.
Lighthouse keepers lived on site with their families. Their job depended on them “keeping” the oil lamp inside the first-order Fresnel lens burning every night, making sure the red flash panels rotated around the illuminated lens so mariners could identify the landmark, and watching for shipwrecks. When the lighthouse was automated in the late 1930s, the keepers were no longer needed and the “dwellings” were vacated. After decades of being left untended, the houses and tower fell into disrepair.
In 1980, the great-grandson of the last principal keeper to live in the house formed the Outer Banks Conservationists (OBC) so as to save and renovate the big house. A decade later the organization later received permission from the Coast Guard (who took over the Light Station in 1939) to renovate the tower and open it to the public. OBC now owns the lighthouse, thanks to the United States Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 and much public support. The lighthouse remains an active aid to navigation and is one of only a few working lighthouses in the United States that still houses its original lens.
The light station includes a brick tower and vestibule, restored keepers' quarters, cisterns, a museum shop, and brick walkways. The view from the top extends for miles but the swath of green space from the lighthouse to the Atlantic Ocean is the original site of the entire Currituck Beach Light Station as it was established 135 years ago.
The lighthouse tower and grounds are open to the public spring through late fall, weather permitting, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays in the summer). Admission to the grounds is free; a fee is charged to climb the lighthouse (214 steps to the top). Children 7 years old and younger are admitted free of charge with a climbing adult ($7 per person/cash and checks). Call 252-453-4939 or visit www.currituckbeachlight.com for more information.