North Carolina Architecture Lighthouses Map of nc coast

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North Carolina Architecture

  • Lighthouses

Map of NC Coast

The Graveyard of the Atlantic

NC Lighthouse Designs

Currituck Beach

  • Stands 162 feet tall and has a total of 214 steps to the top.

  • Light is still operational and visible for 19 miles.

  • Built in 1875, the Currituck Lighthouse was the last brick lighthouse to be built on the Outer Banks to fill a forty mile stretch of darkness between Cape Henry, VA and Cape Hatteras, NC.

Bodie Island

  • Bodie Island was originally named after the family who owned the land.

  • Folklore often pronounced the name as ‘body’ island instead, as a result of the many shipwrecked bodies that washed ashore on the island.

  • Rising 165 feet and painted with striking black and white stripes.

  • The third attempt to illuminate the perilous stretch of coast between Cape Hatteras and Currituck Beach.

Cape Hatteras

  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest in the nation and a famous symbol of North Carolina.

  • Its design of black and white spiral stripes has earned it the nickname as the “Big Barber Pole”.

  • In the summer of 1999, as the ever-encroaching waters of the Atlantic Ocean threaten the structure, the Cape Hatteras Light was moved from its original location.

  • Still in working operation, the light at the top is automated and visible every 7.5 seconds and in good visibility conditions, the beacon can often be seen for 20 miles.


  • The Ocracoke Lighthouse is North Carolina’s oldest operating lighthouse and the second oldest in the nation.

  • At seventy-five feet, it is the shortest lighthouse on the North Carolina Coast and can be only be seen for 14 miles.

  • By 1718, Blackbeard had come to regard Ocracoke as his favorite anchorage. He even reportedly had a house on the island, which he intended to use as a sort of pirate haven.

Cape Lookout

  • The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is a 163-foot high.

  • It flashes every 15 seconds and is visible at least 12 miles out to sea and up to 19 miles.

  • The Cape Lookout Light is one of the very few lighthouses that operate during the day.

  • The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is the only such structure in the United States to bear the checkered daymark, which is the diamond pattern.

  • This diamond pattern is to tell the difference between the lighthouses and also to show direction. The side points of the black diamonds point in a north-south direction, while the side points of the white diamonds point east-west.

Oak Island

  • There is no spiral staircase as found in most older lighthouses, but instead a series of ships ladders with a total of 131 steps to the lantern gallery level. 

  • Built in 1958, it is one of the most recent lighthouses built on American shores.

  • There are three bands of color on the lighthouse made with different colors of cement, so the lighthouse never needs painting.

Bald Head Island

  • Called “Old Baldy”

  • Built in 1817, It is the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina

  • The octagonal tower is constructed of brick and painted with plaster on the exterior. The ground floor is made of brick, while the remaining floor joist and the stairs are made from North Carolina Yellow Pine.

  • Marks the mouth of the historic Cape Fear River.


Bodie Island

Cape Hatteras


Cape Lookout

Oak Island

Bald Head Island

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