Although they are uninhabited now, the islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore have been the home (or the home away from home) for many people over the years.

U.S. Coast Guard Guardians, U.S. Light House Keepers, U.S. Life-Saving Surfmen, fishers, whalers, and their families are among some of the people who have endured the isolation and unpredictable weather of this section of North Carolina's barrier islands. Here, we have collected the names and stories of a few of them.

  • Lighthouse Keeper, Surfman, and visiting family.
    Lighthouse Keepers

    Keeping the light lit may seem like a simple task, but in reality there was a lot of work involved in maintaining a lighthouse.

  • The crew of the Portsmouth Life-Saving Station demonstrates the launch of a rescue surfboat.
    Surfmen of the U.S. Life-Saving Service

    Many people associate surfmen with daring rescues and unmatched heroism, and rightly so.

  • Sam Tolson's lookalike, John Wilkes Booth
    Sam Tolson

    A Portsmouth Village resident was once arrested because of his striking resemblance to an infamous assassin.

Last updated: January 12, 2018

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131 Charles St
Harkers Island, NC 28531


252 728-2250

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