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Name: Cape Hatteras Light   Map it!

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Nearest Town or City:
Buxton, North Carolina, United States

Location: North of Cape Hatteras Point, Outer Banks.

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Managing Organization:
Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Telephone: 252-473-2111


Contact Address Information:
1401 National Park Drive
North Carolina, 27954, United States

The present Cape Hatteras Light was designed by Dexter Stetson. There are no known photographs of the first Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which remained standing for some years after the present one was built. In 1999 Cape Hatteras Light was moved (at a cost of $12 million) 2900 feet inland to save it from falling in the Atlantic Ocean. It was extinguished on March 1, 1999 in preparation for the move and was relighted on November 13, 1999. Ownership of the lighthouse was transferred from the Coast Guard to the National Park Service in 1999. Cape Hatteras Light is a National Historic Landmark. It is the tallest lighthouse in the U.S. and is one of the tallest brick lighthouses in the world.

Tower Height: 193

Height of Focal Plane: 198

Characteristic and Range: White flash every 7.5 seconds, visible for 19 nautical miles.

Description of Tower: Conical brick tower, painted with white and black spiral; black cast iron lantern room.

This light is operational

Other Buildings?
1854 duplex assistant keepers house (now museum), 1871 two story brick keeper's house, 1892 oil house.

Earlier Towers?
1803: 90-foot sandstone tower.

Date Established: 1803

Date Present Tower Built: 1870

Tower Moved?
yes (1999)

Date Deactivated: 1936-1950

Date Automated: 1936

Optics: 1854: First order Fresnel lens; 1972: DCB-24. The 1854 lens is on display in the museum at the lighthouse.

Current Use: Active aid to navigation, attraction in national park.

Open To Public? Yes.

The Hatteras Island Visitor Center at the lighthouse is the main interpretive center in the park. It is open all year and has exhibits, a book store, and rest rooms. It is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily, except Christmas. There are programs presented by park rangers in summer. The public visitation season for the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is from approximately the Friday before Easter Sunday to Columbus Day each year. During the summer months, visitation hours for climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse are 10 am to 4 pm daily. Before Memorial Day and following Labor Day, visitation hours are 10 am to 2 pm daily. The lighthouse may close at any time if the availaibility of volunteers is insufficient or if weather conditions are unsafe for public visitation.

NC Highway 12 is the only major route through the park. From the north, take NC Highway 158, which intersects Highway 12 at the park's northern entrance. U.S. Route 64 comes in from the west at Roanoke Island, and also intersects NC Highway 12 at the park's northern entrance. State operated ferries access the park's southern entrance at Ocracoke Island from Cedar Island or Swan Quarter; call (800) BY-FERRY for information. Entrance to the park is free.

Mapquest URL: Click here to get a map to this lighthouse!

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

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