Chris J LeBlanc Photography - Lighthouses
Providing details and historical information of lighthouse pictures taken during my travels
Currituck Beach Lighthouse
Corolla, North Carolina
© 2011 - Chris J LeBlanc Photographer
Location: Located 30 miles north on Nags Head in the town of Corolla.
Latitude: N 36.37663
Longitude: W 75.83088
Year Constructed: 1875 (Dexter Stetson). Active
Tower Height: 162 feet Focal Plane: 158 feet
unpainted round red brick tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story brick oil house; the original 1st order Fresnel lens is still in use.
- Station Established: 1873
- Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1875
- Foundation Materials: Timber & brick
- Construction Materials: Brick
- Tower Shape: Conical attached to "Repair Room."
- Markings/Pattern: Natural red brick with black lantern
- Characteristics: 20 second cycle-3 on, 17 off
- Original Lens: First Order, Polygonal Fresnel, 1875
- 1875:1 December: Beacon was first lit.
- 1876: The Victorian "stick style" keeper's house was completed.
- 1920: An 1870's dwelling was moved from the Long Point Lighthouse Station to the site as a smaller keeper's residence.
- 1939: Light was automated under USCG control.
- 2001: The Coast Guard determined the Currituck Beach Lighthouse to be excess. Currituck Light was among the first lighthouses to be excessed after the passage of National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA).
- The Historical Services Administration deeded the keeper's house and the land around the house to the state of North Carolina. The lighthouse remained the property of the federal government. Keeper's house was empty, decaying and open to the elements for further deterioration and vandalism.
- The Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc. signed a 50 year lease with the state of North Carolina to begin restoring the property. The lighthouse was reopened to the public. The Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc. continued to maintain and restore the structures on the lighthouse property.
- On 17 October 2003 the deed to the lighthouse was transferred to the Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc., through the auspices of the NHLPA
Nearly 100 years after the first lighthouse was constructed along North Carolina’s shores, there remained a forty-mile stretch of “dark” coast between Bodie Island and Cape Henry, Virginia, where ships still fell prey to the dangerous waters of the Outer Banks. Although Congress had approved plans for a lighthouse and allocated the necessary funds, the outbreak of the Civil War put a stop to any construction. In their 1872 Annual Report, the Light-House Establishment again stressed the need to illuminate this part of the coast. “The land along the coast in this vicinity is low and in many places without trees, so even in day-time there is danger of vessels getting into unsafe proximity to the coast before coming aware of it . . . in the absence of powerful sea-coast lights sufficiently near each other to give warning of approach to danger, many vessels laden with valuable lives and cargoes are in danger of being lost.”
Congress responded with several appropriations totaling $178,000, and in 1873 Dexter Stetston, who had previously overseen the construction of towers at Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island, began work on the 162-foot tower. A foundation of stone and timber piling was laid seven feet below ground, and well over a million bricks were used for the tower. On December 1, 1875, the last brick lighthouse to be built on the Outer Banks was illuminated for the first time.
After World War II, the lighthouse’s usefulness declined, the property was abandoned.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse Links
Historic Postcard of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse