This is the 208 foot tower at Cape Hatteras before it was moved inland. You can just imagine what a big nor easter or hurricane would have done if it had not been moved. At 193 feet, this East Coast tower is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States. At the elbow of the outerbanks in North Carolina, this lighthouse overlooks the collision of the cold, northern, ocean currents with the warm, southern, gulf currents. The resultant sea is normally violent and during storms the area has earned the reputation as the �Graveyard of the Atlantic.� The shoal waters (Diamond Shoals) extend over eight miles to sea from this light, and pointed cones of spouting surf can be seen reaching to the horizon.
Viewed in the 19th century as the most important light on the East Coast, the Hatteras lighthouse was to warn approaching ships of the shoals. The first light however, with Argand lamps and parabolic reflectors, was doomed because of lack of power. In 1870 the light was raised from the original 95 feet to 140 feet and the first, first order Fresnel lamp in the US was installed.
After the Civil War, the light had to be replaced again. In 1870 the current light was completed and painted with the distinctive black and white bands in 1873. Erosion has been the big question surrounding the Hatteras light. In 1935 the tides were within a few feet of the foundation and the lens was moved to a skeleton tower inland. By 1950 the sea had not claimed the tower and the lens was returned to its proper place. The light was moved 2900 feet to the SW in 1999 to avert disaster by the encroaching sea. The image shown here is therefore unique. The lighthouse and keeper�s house can be viewed daily by the public and is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
March 30th, 2011
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