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Encyclopedia > Cape Hatteras Light
Cape Hatteras Light

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Location: North of Cape Hatteras Point, Outer Banks, Hatteras Island, North Carolina
Coordinates
WGS-84 (GPS)
35°15′02″N, 75°31′43.7″W
Year first constructed: 1803 (original tower)
1870 (current tower)
Year first lit: 1870 (current tower)
Automated: 1936 (skeleton tower)
1950 (current tower)
Foundation: Granite, timber and rubble (first location)
Reinforced concrete (current location)
Construction: Brick
Tower shape: Conical
Markings/Pattern: white and black spiral bands with red brick base.
Height: 207 ft (63 m) [1]
Original lens: First order Fresnel, 1870
Current lens: DCB-24 (1972)
Range: 20 nm (37 km)
Characteristic: Short flash every 7.5 seconds

Cape Hatteras Light is a lighthouse located on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina near the community of Buxton. The Outer Banks are a group of islands on the North Carolina coast that separate the Atlantic Ocean from the coastal sounds and inlets. Atlantic currents in this area made for excellent travel for ships, except in the area of Diamond Shoals, just offshore at Cape Hatteras. The large number of ships that ran aground because of these shifting sandbars gave this area the nickname “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” It also led Congress to authorize the construction of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse which is recognized by the National Park Service as the tallest lighthouse in America. The lighthouse is one of several on the North Carolina coast that are still operational including the Currituck, Bodie Island, Ocracoke, Cape Lookout, and Oak Island lighthouses. Download high resolution version (467x700, 38 KB)Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Taken by me in April, 2003 Henryhartley 16:20, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Hatteras Island is an island in the Atlantic Ocean that runs parallel to the coast of North Carolina, forming a bend at Cape Hatteras. ... Official language(s) English Capital Raleigh Largest city Charlotte Largest metro area Charlotte metro area Area  Ranked 28th  - Total 53,865 sq mi (139,509 km²)  - Width 150 miles (240 km)  - Length 560[1] miles (901 km)  - % water 9. ... Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ... GPS redirects here. ... Fresnel Lens displayed in the Musée national de la marine in Paris, France A Fresnel lens is a type of lens invented by Augustin-Jean Fresnel (pronounced fre-NELL in scientific and lighting applications, although often incorrectly pronounced FREZ-nell). ... A nautical mile or sea mile is a unit of length. ... A light characteristic is a coded description displayed on a nautical chart under the chart symbol for a lighthouse, lightvessel or sea mark with a light on it, to indicate how that light is recognised visually and audibally. ... Eddystone Lighthouse, one of the first wavewashed lighthouses For other uses, see Lighthouse (disambiguation). ... Hatteras Island is an island in the Atlantic Ocean that runs parallel to the coast of North Carolina, forming a bend at Cape Hatteras. ... North Carolinas Outer Banks separating the Atlantic Ocean (east) from Albemarle Sound (north) and Pamlico Sound (south). ... Official language(s) English Capital Raleigh Largest city Charlotte Largest metro area Charlotte metro area Area  Ranked 28th  - Total 53,865 sq mi (139,509 km²)  - Width 150 miles (240 km)  - Length 560[1] miles (901 km)  - % water 9. ... Buxton is a community of almost 1500 people on Hatteras Island, part of the Outer Banks. ... Ocean currents (1911) Ocean currents (1943) An ocean current is any more or less continuous, directed movement of ocean water that flows in one of the Earths oceans. ... An aerial view of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse prior to its 1999 relocation. ... Listen to this article (info) play in browser This audio file was created from an article revision dated 2005-12-10, and may not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ... Congress in Joint Session. ... The National Park Service (NPS) is the United States federal agency that manages all National Parks, many National Monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. ... Eddystone Lighthouse, one of the first wavewashed lighthouses For other uses, see Lighthouse (disambiguation). ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... The Currituck Beach Light is a lighthouse in Corolla, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks. ... Bodie Island Lighthouse (467x700) Bodie Island Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters (700x467) The current Bodie Island lighthouse is the third that has stood in this vicinity of North Carolina. ... Categories: US geography stubs | Buildings and structures | Lighthouses ... The current Cape Lookout Lighthouse is the second lighthouse that has stood at this location, and is nearly identical to the Bodie Island Lighthouse modeled after it. ... The Oak Island Lighthouse is currently part of the United States Coast Guard station on Oak Island in North Carolina. ...

Contents

Overview

The light at the top is automated and is visible every seven seconds. In good visibility conditions, the beacon can often be seen for 20 miles out at sea, although its official range is 24 miles under optimal conditions. Over 1 million bricks were used in the construction of the structure, which was built between 1868 to 1870 at a cost (then) of $167,500. Year 1868 (MDCCCLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... 1870 (MDCCCLXX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...


The Cape Hatteras lighthouse is still considered operational as a navigation aid maintained by the United States Coast Guard and the National Park Service. However, the need for the lighthouse has been reduced by modern day GPS and other electronic navigational devices. USCG HH-65 Dolphin USCG HH-60J JayHawk The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is at all times a branch of the United States armed forces a maritime law enforcement agency, and a federal regulatory body. ... The National Park Service (NPS) is the United States federal agency that manages all National Parks, many National Monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. ... Over fifty GPS satellites such as this NAVSTAR have been launched since 1978. ...


The lighthouse beacon was also augmented by the 175 foot tall Diamond Shoals light tower, which is 12 miles off of the Hatteras coast. The light tower was put in place in 1967 and lightships were present before then dating back to 1824, including one lightship sunk by a German submarine during World War I. The light tower has recently been decommissioned by the United States Coast Guard, as maintenance on the structure proved too expensive in light of increasing reliance on GPS. An aerial view of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Cape Hatteras is a cape on the coast of North Carolina. ... Year 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the 1967 Gregorian calendar. ... // For permanently moored ships that have light beacons mounted on them, see Lightvessel The Lightship condition in which a vessel has the least draft possible. ... 1824 was a leap year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... For other uses, see Submarine (disambiguation). ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ...


The National Park Service permits climbing to the top of the lighthouse. For a number of years, this was not possible due to repairs to the lighthouse.[citation needed] The lighthouse is open for tours from the third Friday in April to Columbus Day. The climb is considered strenuous because the climb is equivalent to 12 stories. There is a handrail on only one side of the stairs, and there is two-way traffic on the stairs.[2] The National Park Service (NPS) is the United States federal agency that manages all National Parks, many National Monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. ...


History

Original lighthouse

On July 10, 1797, Congress appropriated $44,000 "for erecting a lighthouse on the head land of Cape Hatteras and a lighted beacon on Shell Castle Island, in the harbor of Ocracoke in the State of North Carolina." The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse cost $14,302 to build and the Shell Castle Island Lighthouse was built from part of the surplus. Both were completed in 1803.


The Cape Hatteras light marked very dangerous shoals which extend from the cape for a distance of 10 nautical miles. The original tower was built of dark sandstone and retained its natural color. The original light consisted of 18 lamps; with 14-inch reflectors, and was 112 feet above sea level. It was visible in clear weather for a distance of 18 miles.


In July 1851, Lt. David D. Porter, USN, reported as follows:

"Hatteras light, the most important on our coast is, without doubt, the worst light in the world. Cape Hatteras is the point made by all vessels going to the south, and also coming from that direction; the current of the Gulf Stream runs so close to the outer point of the shoals that vessels double as close round the breakers as possible, to avoid its influence. The only guide they have is the light, to tell them when up with the shoals; but I have always had so little confidence in it, that I have been guided by the lead, without the use of which, in fact, no vessel should pass Hatteras. The first nine trips I made I never saw Hatteras light at all, though frequently passing in sight of the breakers, and when I did see it, I could not tell it from a steamer’s light, excepting that the steamer’s lights are much brighter. It has improved much latterly, but is still a wretched light. It is all important that Hatteras should be provided with a revolving light of great intensity, and that the light be raised 15 feet higher than at present. Twenty-four steamship’s lights, of great brilliancy, pass this point in one month, nearly at the rate of one every night (they all pass at night) and it can be seen how easily a vessel may be deceived by taking a steamer’s light for a light on shore."

The improvement in the light referred to had begun in 1845 when the reflectors were changed from 14 to 15 inch. In 1848 the 18 lamps were changed to 15 lamps with 21-inch reflectors and the light had become visible in clear weather at a distance of 20 miles. In 1854 a first-order Fresnel lens with flashing white light was substituted for the old reflecting apparatus, and the tower was raised to 150 feet.


In 1860 the Lighthouse Board reported that Cape Hatteras Lighthouse required protection, due to the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1862 the Board reported "Cape Hatteras, lens and lantern destroyed, light reexhibited."


Second lighthouse

Between 1867 and 1870 Congress appropriated $167,000 in three annual sums, for rebuilding Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The new tower, from which the first-order light was first exhibited December 16, 1871, was the highest brick lighthouse tower in the world. It was 193 feet above ground and the focal height of the light was 191 feet above water. The old tower "being no longer of any use and in danger of falling during some heavy storm" was demolished in February 1872.


In the spring of 1879 the tower was struck by lightning. Cracks subsequently appeared in the masonry walls, which was remedied by placing a metal rod to connect the iron work of the tower with an iron disk sunk in the ground. In 1912 the candlepower of the light was increased from 27,000 to 80,000.


Ever since the completion of the new tower in 1870, there had begun a very gradual encroachment of the sea upon the beach. This did not become serious, however, until 1919, when the high water line had advanced to about 300 feet from the base of the tower. Since that time the surf had gnawed steadily toward the base of the tower until 1935, when the site was finally reached by the surf. Several attempts were made to arrest this erosion, but dikes and breakwaters had been of no avail. In 1935, therefore, the tower light was replaced by a light on a skeleton steel tower placed farther back from the sea on a sand dune, 166 feet above the sea, and visible for 19 miles. The old tower was then abandoned to the custody of the National Park Service.


The Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration erected a series of wooden revetments which checked the wash that was carrying away the beach. In 1942 the Coast Guard resumed its control over the tower, and manned it as a lookout station until 1945. The old tower was now 500 to 900 feet inland from the sea and again tenable as a site for the light, which was placed in commission January 23, 1950.


The new light consists of a 36-inch aviation-type rotating beacon of 250,000 candlepower, visible 20 miles, and flashing white every 7.5 seconds. The skeleton steel tower was retained to guard against the time that the brick tower may again be endangered by erosion and thus require that the light again be moved.


The National Park Service acquired ownership of the lighthouse when it was abandoned in 1935. In 1950, when the structure was again found safe for use, new lighting equipment was installed. Now the Coast Guard owns and operates the navigational equipment, while the National Park Service maintains the tower as a historic structure. The Hatteras Island Visitor Center, formerly the Double Keepers Quarters located next to the lighthouse, elaborates on the Cape Hatteras story and man's lifestyle on the Outer Banks. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, tallest in the United States, stands 208 feet from the bottom of the foundation to the peak of the roof. To reach the light, which shines 191 feet above mean high water mark, a Coast Guardsman must climb 268 steps. The construction order of 1,250,000 bricks was used in construction of the lightouse and principal keeper's quarters.[3]


Relocation

July 1, 1999 - National Park Service photo

Due to erosion of the shore, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse was moved (by Expert House Movers and documented on the Mega Movers episode "900 Ton Building") from its original location at the edge of the ocean to safer ground 2870 feet inland. The move was controversial at the time with speculation that the structure would not survive the move, resulting in lawsuits that were later dismissed. Despite some opposition, work progressed and the move was completed between 1999 and 2000 in a massive operation. Rededicated in 2000, the lighthouse is fully open to the public at its new location further inland.[4] Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the year. ... For morphological image processing operations, see Erosion (morphology). ... A structure relocation is the process of moving a structure from one location to another. ... Mega Movers is a television program on The History Channel. ...


Specifications

  • Construction material: Approximately 1,250,000 bricks
  • Height above sea level: 210 feet
  • Height of the structure: about 207 1/2 feet (from the bottom of the foundation footer to the top of the spire on the roof)
  • Daymark: black and white spiral stripes
  • Number of steps: 268 steps to reach the light
  • Brightness: 800 kilocandela from each of two 1000-watt lamps
  • Flash pattern: Every 7.5 seconds a short flash is visible
  • Visibility: From 20 nautical miles (37 km) in clear conditions. In exceptional conditions, it has been seen from 51 miles out.

For other uses, see Brick (disambiguation). ... Photopic (black) and scotopic [1] (green) luminosity functions. ...

References

  1. ^ Inventory of Historic Lighthouses (English). National Park Service. Retrieved on 2007-08-14.
  2. ^ Climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (English). National Park Service. Retrieved on 2007-04-28.
  3. ^ North Carolina Light Stations (English). United States Coast Guard. Retrieved on 2007-04-28.
  4. ^ Mike Booher and Lin Ezell, Out of Harm's Way, Eastwind Publishing, Annapolis, MD, 2001, ISBN 1-885457-15-4.

The National Park Service (NPS) is the United States federal agency that manages all National Parks, many National Monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 226th day of the year (227th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The National Park Service (NPS) is the United States federal agency that manages all National Parks, many National Monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 118th day of the year (119th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... USCG HH-65 Dolphin USCG HH-60J JayHawk The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is at all times a branch of the United States armed forces a maritime law enforcement agency, and a federal regulatory body. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 118th day of the year (119th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

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