North Carolina's Price's Creek Lighthouse, near Southport, remains as the only relic of a cordon of lights built during 1848-51 to direct shipping along the 25 mile length of the Cape Fear River.
In 1848 funds were appropriated to build lighthouses at Price's Creek, Campbell's Island, Ortons Point and at Oak Island as well as a light vessel at the Horse Shoe between New Inlet and Price's Creek.
Little is known about these lights today. What we do know is that Price's Creek Lighthouse was contracted to be 20 feet high with three feet thick walls. The first appointed keeper was Samuel C. Mason, however he never took the job and the first actual keeper was John Bell.
At the onset of the Civil War the lighthouses were discontinued, and Price's Creek Lighthouse was used as a signal tower by the Confederate States Signal Corp. After the Civil War, records indicate that the lighthouses were discontinued. We do know that in 1868 the steps in the lighthouse gave way and one person was killed.
As late as 1917 the Keepers House, although in ruins was still standing and the cage on the lantern room at Prices Creek was still there.
The property which the lighthouse is on today belongs to Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM). We have all seen their commercials on television. We had hoped that with their vast resources they might restore the tower, however they have neglected to answer our letters.
This story appeared in the
June 1996 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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