Currituck Beach Lighthouse
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1101 Village Lane
Corolla, NC 27927www.currituckbeachlight.com
+ Number of steps: 214
+ Height to focal plane of lens: 158 feet
+ Height to top of roof: 162 feet
+ Number of bricks: approximately one million
+ Thickness of wall at base: 5 feet 8 inches
+ Thickness of wall at parapet: 3 feet
Position: 34 miles south of the Cape Henry (Virginia) Lighthouse 32 1/2 miles north-northwest of Bodie Island Lighthouse
Coast Survey Chart: 36° 22'36" N latitude, 75° 49'51" W longitude. As it had reported in previous years, the U.S. Light-House Board in 1872 stated that ships, cargoes, and lives continued to be lost along the 40 miles of dark coastline that lay beyond the reaches of existing lighthouses. Southbound ships sailing closer to shore to avoid the Gulf Stream were especially in danger. In response, construction began on the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in 1873 with completion two years later.
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is known as a first order lighthouse, which means it has the largest of seven Fresnel lens sizes. The original source of light was a U.S. mineral oil lamp consisting of five concentric wicks the largest was 4 inches in diameter.
Before the advent of electricity, a mechanical means was required to rotate the huge lenses that made the light appear to flash. A system of weights suspended from a line powered a clockwork mechanism beneath the lanternmuch like the workings of a grandfather clock. The keeper cranked the weights up by hand every two and a half hours.
Like the other lighthouses on North Carolina's Outer Banks, this one still serves as an aid to navigation. The beacon comes on automatically every evening at dusk and ceases at dawn.
With a 20-second flash cycle (on for 3 seconds, off for 17 seconds), the light can be seen for 18 nautical miles. The distinctive sequence enables the lighthouse not only to warn mariners but also to help identify their locations.
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was the last major brick lighthouse built on the Outer Banks
CLIMB TO THE TOP
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse and Museum Shop are open daily from Easter through Thanksgiving (closed Thanksgiving Day). During periods of high winds or thunderstorms the lighthouse tower may be closed to climbers. Winter months provide time for restoration and maintenance. Telephone 252-453-4939 for lighthouse hours and information.
NOTE: Information courtesy www.currituckbeachlight.com
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