Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Timeline
First Tower is authorized by Congress.
First tower is completed. It stood 90 feet tall, was build of sandstone, and used oil lamps to light the beacon.
Modifications included raising tower to 150 ft. and installing a new first order Fresnel lens that utilized prisms and focusing lenses to concentrate the light from an oil fired flame into a powerful beacon.
Confederate forces try to destroy the tower, but were prevented by the Union forces. Confederates take the Fresnel lens with them.
Light shines again but extensive repairs needed and studies show it would be less costly to replace the tower with a new tower.
$75,000.00 appropriated by Congress for a new lighthouse. Final cost $167.500.00
Construction completed. The first order Fresnel lens from the 1803 lighthouse is transferred to the new tower.
Black and white daymark striping ordered by the Lighthouse Board.
1400 to 1500 feet from shoreline
1500 feet from shoreline
Illuminant changed to incandescent oil vapor lamps
Less than 300 feet from shoreline
First groins installed
Less than 100 feet from shoreline, more groins installed
Erosion threatened base of the tower as waves washed against it. Lighthouse abandoned and replaced by skeleton steel structure a mile NW of the brick tower.
Ownership transferred to NPS control. Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began building sand dunes along the Outer Banks to aid in erosion control.
CCC guides give tours of lighthouse.
Leased to Coast Guard for use as observation tower during WWII.
500 to 900 feet from shoreline
Fresnel lens apparatus vandalized.
Fresnel lens removed from the tower but the pedestal and clockwork were left in place.
Eroded sand stopped naturally and control work by CCC made it possible to transfer beacon back to the brick tower.
N.C. Highway 12 constructed with ferry service at Oregon Inlet.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore established. Lighthouse opened to the public.
Unknown quantities of sand pumped onto the shoreline.
Present 800,000 candlepower beacon installed consisting of a rotary beacon with two 1000 watt lamps. Flashes every 7.5 seconds.
175 feet from shoreline. Structural cracks in tower led to its closing to the public.
50 to 70 feet from shoreline
Experimental artificial sea grass is placed on shoreline. "Save the Lighthouse Committee" formed by U.S. Senator Helms, Governor Hunt of North Carolina and others.
A 40 pound chunk of metal window trim fell to the ground. Lighthouse closed to public.
NPS requests independent study to save the lighthouse.
Independent study recommends relocation. 1989 NPS announced decision to move lighthouse when risk of leaving it outweighed the risk of moving it.
Restoration of tower begins.
Repairs completed and lighthouse again opens to the public.
Exterior repainting completed. NPS superintendent declares risk of leaving lighthouse outweighs risk of moving it.
Report released endorsing immediate relocation.
March-Oil house, 2 cisterns, double keepers' quarters and principal keeper's quarters moved to new site. The lighthouse was moved 2900 ft in 23 days. It was moved 1500 ft back from the ocean.
Lighthouse was again open for climbing.
Lighthouse was closed on June 11th to the public due to stairs needing repairs.
Painted in December
On April 18th, lighthouse reopened to the public.
The pedestal and clockwork are removed form the tower, reunited with the lens, and put on display at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, NC, which is 10 mile southwest of the lighthouse.