Bodie Island Lighthouse

lightouse 4Location: Nags Head, North Carolina

Year Built: 1847

Lodging: No

Height: 156 ft

Open For Tours: Yes, 3rd Friday in April through Columbus Day

In 1847, construction began on a 54′ tower that was the beginning of the 156 ft Bodie Island Lighthouse we see today. The lighthouse was named after the first lighthouse keeper, but local urban legends insist that the name was derived from the many bodies that washed up on the islands shore. As the saying goes, the sea is a cruel mistress.

lighthouse 2The original 54′ tower was not well constructed, and the structure soon showed the sloppy craftsmanship. Within two years, the tower began to lean due to the lack of much needed support around the brick foundation. Many attempts were made to repair this original structure, but, as the very foundation of the tower was flawed, the repairs were mere bandaids that were costly and ineffective. This original tower was soon abandoned, and approval of a new tower was granted.

In 1958, a second tower was constructed nearby. This tower stood a proud 80′ tall, and might still be standing there today, but was destroyed by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. In 1871, construction on the third lighthouse began, which included the light keeper’s duplex. The third lighthouse was built a bit farther north and is the 156′ lighthouse you currently see today. This final lighthouse went into service in 1872, and remain a beacon for maritime traffic until it was fully automated in 1932. In 1953, the care of the lighthouse was handed over to the National Park Service. Visitors are able to tour the interior of the lighthouse, as well as the surrounding grounds.







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