Bodie Island Lighthouse Restoration Project
The National Park Service, as steward of many of America's most important cultural resources, is charged with the preservation of those resources for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Coastal environs take a heavy toll on the historic structures located in the parks of the Outer Banks Group. After decades of enduring the harsh maritime elements and storms, the Bodie Island Lighthouse became badly deteriorated.
In 2009, the National Park Service received funds for a major restoration project for the Bodie Island Lighthouse to correct structural and safety problems by:
--Strengthening the support of its 10 flights of spiral staircase and replacing 21 cracked stair treads;
--Repairing or replacing corroded metal features in and around the gallery and lantern decks;
--Repairing masonry and stone;
--Repairing or replacing where necessary the marble and slate at the bottom floor, the roof, the windows, and the framing in the attached oil house;
--Removing lead paint and repainting the interior;
--Replacing electrical lines, conduit, interior lights, and lightning protection; and
--Installing a fire detection and suppression system.
Unfortunately, additional unforeseen structural deficiencies associated with corrosion of the metal on the lighthouse gallery and lantern levels caused the project to end prematurely, which prevented much of this work from being accomplished.
The National Park Service received additional funding to finish restoring the historic lighthouse in 2011 and a contract is currently being negotiated. Work is anticipated to begin in spring 2012 and take approximately one year to complete. Once completed, the National Park Service anticipates that the lighthouse will be open to the public for climbing.
Additionally, the National Park Service received funds in 2010 for a restoration project on the 1871 first-order Fresnel lens. The 344 glass prisms were removed from the lens and carefully packed out of the tower for cleaning. The metal catadioptric panels that hold the prisms and the metal pedestal that supports the lens were also cleaned. The lens will be returned to the lantern room of the lighthouse once the lighthouse is restored.
This beautiful structure, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a favorite of park visitors. Preservation of the Bodie Island Lighthouse is a top priority for the park.
Did You Know?
Lightning whelks eat about one large clam per month. The whelk pries the clam open with its muscular foot, wedges the clam open with its shell, then eats the soft inside of the clam. Lightning whelk shells, which whorl to the left, wash up on the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.