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, March 12, 2010

Bodie Island Lighthouse, NC

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Popular folklore says that the island got its name because of all the bodies washed up around it from shipwrecks. The last time we visited Bodie Island Lighthouse, it was a dreary day as you can tell from the photo to the left. This is actually the third lighthouse in the area. 

The first was built in 1846 and only stood 54 feet tall. It was supposed to have a visibility of up to 12 miles, but there were problems with the lighting. An additional light had to be installed, consisting of a 10-foot lantern with 14 revolving lamps and reflectors. The structural issues were such a problem that the foundation developed major cracks and leaks. It tilted off-center and began to sink.

Eleven years after the first lighthouse was built, a second one was completed. This structure was 80 feet tall and constructed of white-washed brick. Two years later, the Civil War broke out. The Confederates lost control of the coast and blew it up to keep the Union from using it. 

In 1872 the current structure was built. The same foreman that oversaw the building of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse also oversaw the building of the third Bodie Island Lighthouse. It is located one mile from the ocean at 150 feet tall. It has a 1st-order Fresnal lens that illuminates visibility up to 19 miles. Before 1930 when electricity and a flashing light installed, the lamp operated on kerosene. A large kerosene container was lugged from the oil shed and up 214 steps to the top of the ower every day. The lamp was filled, the wick cleaned, trimmed, and then lit. It is said that the smell of kerosene is still present around the old oil shed after all these years.


The washed up body part would scare me! I love lighthouse..this one looks pretty!
Thanks for the history lesson;)