Scenic USA - North Carolina

Ocracoke Lighthouse

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Ocracoke Island Lighthouse - Ocracoke Village, Outer Banks, North Carolina

Photo by Amanda Haddox
Amanda Haddox Photography

   Just by mentioning Ocracoke Island to coastal Carolinians, the southern section of North Carolina's Cape Hatteras National Seashore, you may get a history lesson of shipwrecks, buccaneer treachery and the Golden Age of Pirates. The tales of Edward Teach would fill a chapter of this coastal island's history book. Teach, the infamous Blackbeard, was feared by all who sailed the seas. Known to be "kin to the devil", Teach spent his final years on Ocracoke Island at what is now known as Teach's Hole.
   Ocracoke Inlet was the only deep water entrance to Pamlico Sound and its shifting sands claimed one of its first vessels in 1585. The Diamond Shoals have destroyed so many ships, the area has been named Graveyard of the Atlantic. By the early 1800s, increased maritime traffic begged for a new navigational beacon as the original wooden lighthouse was burnt by a lightning fire.
   Today, the Ocracoke Lighthouse, dating back to 1823, is North Carolina's oldest operating lighthouse. It's no wonder that the 75 foot tower is still intact once it's known the foundation base is 12 feet thick. Lighthouse walls are solid brick, measuring five feet thick at the bottom, tapering to two feet at the top. A concerted effort, made up of the National Parks Service, the U.S. Coast Guard and the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, protects, maintains and preserves this National Historic Landmark.

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