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Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse

Nearby dangerous shifting nearshore sandbars caused hundreds of shipwrecks. Congress commissioned a lighthouse to be built to aid mariners in navigating this "Graveyard of the Atlantic".

Standing before you is the third lighthouse built in this area. The first lighthouse -- built in 1848-stood 57 -- feet tall on an unstable foundation, which became unsafe and was razed.

In 1861, the 90-foot tall second lighthouse built two years earlier, was blown up by Confederate troops during the Civil War. In 1871, work crews and supplies moved from the recently completed Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to begin construction of this lighthouse. On October 1, 1872, the third Bodie Island light was illuminated.

This brick lighthouse stands 164.4 feet tall. The lantern room near the top holds a first-order Fresnel lens. The light can be seen 19 miles away. With lighthouses spaced about 40 miles apart along the coast, past and present sea-farers have near-continuous views of these life-saving beacons as they navigate offshore waters.

"There is no part of the Coast of the U.S. which requires a Light House more than Body's Island -- 'tis in the direct route of all going North or South & of all foreign vessel bound into the Chesapeake... there were fifteen wrecks in sight at one place..." -- Thomas H. Blount, customs collector, in a 1843 letter to US Representative Ed Stanly.

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North Carolina Historical Markers

Related locations

NC, Dare Co, Bodie Island Lighthouse

Related people

Thomas Harvey Blount I

Posted By: Ray Gurganus

  1. Email: Ray Gurganus, personal photograph;

Updated: 6-27-2021