Scenic USA - North Carolina

Roanoke River Lighthouse

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Roanoke River Lighthouse - Plymouth, North Carolina

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Getting its start in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the Roanoke River courses through the Piedmont Region and enters into North Carolina near Roanoke Rapids, ending it 410 mile run at Bachelor Bay on the coast. The river's final leg, a zigzag course through the coastal plains, passes miles of fertile farmlands of the river delta.
     Historic Plymouth, once known as Plymouth Landing, is located on the Roanoke River delta. A bustling little city during the late 1700s, the Plymouth port received flatboats loaded with corn, tobacco, rice, turpentine and lumber from inland coastal farms and forests. From here, these Carolina products were shipped out to Atlantic port cities, and as far south as the West Indies. Recognized with its own Federal customs house, by the early 1800s Plymouth was one of six primary North Carolina ports. A lightship was placed near the mouth of the Roanoke River in 1833, guiding the busy flow of maritime traffic in and out of Albemarle Sound. During the Civil War, Confederate forces seized the lightship and sank it in the Roanoke River. Following the war, Plymouth received its first lighthouse, modeled after typical lighthouses in the area. Roanoke River Lighthouse - Plymount, North Carolina Ice flows were a constant threat and finally dislodged the lighthouse from it supports, dumping the structure into the sound. The replacement lighthouse continued its duties for the next 55 years, but was eventually sold off to a private party.
     Seeing the value of this historic attraction, folks in Plymouth hoped to repurchase the lighthouse. Unfortunately the lighthouse heirs priced their lighthouse well out of reach. Continuing with Plan B, Plymouth Maritime Museum staff and Washington County Roanoke River commissioners decided to build a replica lighthouse. Following plans from the National Archives, the lighthouse project was kicked off in 2001. Aided with 515,000 dollars of Federal money, the lighthouse progressed well over the next two years. Just inland from North Carolina's Outer Banks, visiting the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse and Roanoke River Lighthouse replicas are a great way to kick off a grand North Carolina lighthouse tour.

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