Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
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46677 NC Highway 12
Buxton, NC 27920www.nps.gov/caha/cape-hatteras-light-station.htm
The light at the top is automated and is visible every 7.5 seconds. In good visibility conditions, the beacon can often be seen for 20 miles (32 km) out at sea, although its official range is 24 miles (39 km) under optimal conditions. Over 1 million bricks were used in the construction of the structure, which was built between 1868 to 1870 at a cost (then) of $167,500.
The Cape Hatteras lighthouse is still considered an operational aid to navigation maintained by the United States Coast Guard and the National Park Service. However, the need for the lighthouse has been reduced by modern day GPS and other electronic navigational devices.
The lighthouse beacon was also augmented by the 175-foot (53 m) tall Diamond Shoals light tower, which is 12 miles (19 km) off of the Hatteras coast. The light tower was put in place in 1967 and lightships were present before then dating back to 1824, including one lightship sunk by a German submarine during World War I. The light tower has recently been decommissioned by the United States Coast Guard, as maintenance on the structure proved too expensive in light of increasing reliance on GPS.
The National Park Service permits climbing to the top of the lighthouse. For a number of years, this was not possible due to repairs to the lighthouse. The lighthouse is open for tours from the third Friday in April to Columbus Day. The climb is considered strenuous because the climb is equivalent to 12 stories. There is a handrail on only one side of the stairs, and there is two-way traffic on the stairs.
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