Currituck Beach Lighthouse In North Carolina
The shops, exhibits, and architecture of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse itself warrant a trip to the North Carolina historical monument.
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is the northernmost of the North Carolina lighthouses. Located on Highway 12 in the village of Corolla halfway between Cape Henry to the north and Bodie Island to the south, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse was built to fill the flat, landmark-less, eighty-mile dark void along the Atlantic Ocean. Upon it’s completion, the signal of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse’s Fresnel lens could be seen for 18 nautical miles and was a vital navigational aid for vessels at sea.
The physical attributes of the lighthouse can leave you in awe. The lighthouse walls are 5'8" thick at the base and 3' thick at the top. One and a half million bricks were used to build the beautiful tower. Like most of the other lighthouses up and down the Eastern seaboard, the light’s usefulness ended with WW II, and the property was abandoned and left to fall into disrepair. But in the mid-1950s, the General Services Administration deeded the lighthouse keeper's house and 38 acres to the state, where it fell under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Wildlife Commission.
Even though the keeper's house was falling into disrepair year after year, it still won recognition for its architectural significance and was placed on the National Registry of Historical Places. In 1980 the Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc. signed a 50-year lease for "residential privileges." Restoration began and is heading towards completion thanks to dedicated people who remain committed to restoring and preserving the light station and to the many visitors whose small entrance fee helped subsidize rennovations.
Completed in 1875, the light station is open to the public from Good Friday until the weekend after Thanksgiving. Visitors can climb the 214 steps to the lighthouse gallery as well as view various exhibits and experience a sense of maritime history from the late 1870s. Besides the unpainted brick tower, the complex boasts two restored lighthouse keeper's dwellings and several outbuildings, all linked by shaded brick walkways. The Museum Shop housed in one of the restored buildings is also favorite stop for everyone. Altogether, the shops and exhibits, as well as the architecture of the lighthouse itself, warrant a day trip from anyone who finds themselves in the area on either business or pleasure. It’s truly a memorable experience.