This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Friday, February 13, 2009

Currituck Lighthouse - NC

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Currituck Lighthouse was the last brick lighthouse built on the North Carolina Outerbanks in 1875. It costed $178,000 and stands 162 feet tall. It's one of two open lighthouses in the state that allows public visitors to climb 214 steel steps up to the top. Having been up there a few times, one can see a beautiful sight from the top.

Even though it wasn't built until 1875, Congress approved the funds for the lighthouse in the 1860's, but the Civil War delayed its construction. Since the surrounding area is too shallow for large ships, the vessels carrying the one million bricks and other materials had to anchor as far out as eight miles and were carried to shore in smaller vessels that could maneuver through shallow water. North Carolina required all their brick lighthouses to be painted in different designs so they would not be so easily confused. The Currituck Lighthouse was the only brick lighthouse that was ordered to remain in its original state as it is today.

The light was white with a red flash that occurred every 90 seconds. The keeper was responsible for hand-cranking the weights beneath the lantern every 2 1/2 hours. In 1939, the light was switched to an electric automated system that can be seen as far as 19 miles out do sea.

There were three houses for the lighthouse keepers. The smaller house is now a museum and shop that sells lighthouse related items and gifts. The larger keeper house was a white victorial style home built in 1876. It fell into disrepair where vines had grown along the outside and inside of the house. It was restored in the 1980's and the roof was restored in 1996. The house is listed on the list of National Register of Historic Places and is only open on certain occasions due to ongoing renovations. It was not open when I was there.

For further reading:

  • Lighthouses of the Carolinas: A Short History and Guide by Terrance Zepke

  • Images of America North Carolina Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations by John Hairr

    That is VERY interesting. The poor keeper! It was as bad as feeding a new born. :o)

    Hello, I thank you for stopping by. i trust the evaluations went well. I would imagine however your brain is full...that is how it felt after the kids evals...the efforts to meat all the needs were so overwhelming. Have a cup of tea and a good rest

    Hi Jennifer -

    One of my writing buddies is a lighthouse aficionado. She goes on all types of tours, collects books, and materials on the subject.

    I'm going to tell her about your article. :)


    Beth, I haven't thought of it that way. Too funny!


    We've only had the evaluation for Celina's occupational therapy. She'll have the evaluation for physical therapy next Friday. They think she's going to need both and our insurance only covers 30 for the year--for both so they want to determine which one she is in most need of. Thank you for your prayers.


    Thank you for passing on the info! I love lighthouses and I collect them. Two years ago I dragged my hubby along the NC coastline just to visit all the lighthouses. I made it to all of them except Old Baldy--the oldest (1790). I'm going to make it to that one eventually. Last year he took me to Cape Henry Lighthouse in VA and the one in Georgetown, SC. I've also visited the one on Ship Island, Mississippi. I'll probably write more about lighthouses in the future.

    We visited the Currituck Lighthouse two years ago. What a history! (we've also seen the Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras lighthouses). My in-laws live on the Outer Banks..

    (Thanks for your recent comment.)

    I've been there as, well. Beautiful! I have a friend whose parents have a vacation home nearby. I enjoy the history posts - thanks!

    I liked you post on the Currituck Lighthouse and I would thought I'd share this pretty cool aerial picture I found of it.

    Oh I have yet to travel to the NC coast - but I do want to one day. I love lighthouses...

    Jennifer! I was browsing through everyone on the HisWriters loop's sites to update our new website and I almost fell out of the chair when I saw the pic on this blog entry. My daughter & I are planning a mother/daughter vacation in May to NC, VA & PA (including a stop in DC), and this very lighthouse is on our wish list of places to visit! I've seen several lighthouses, but daughter hasn't visited any yet.

    Beth and Julianna, I wish I had friends and relatives that lived on the coast. I'd find an excuse to visit all the time.

    Ev, Thanks for the photo from the sky. It's beautiful.

    Kathryn, Now that you're living here in NC, you've got to visit the Outerbanks (OBX). There are so many great vacation spots to try out.

    Linda, That sounds like a very special time with your daughter. I would love to go on a vacation like that with my daughter. I hope you visit the NC coast and have a safe trip!

    I got to climb this lighthouse years ago!!!