Hatteras Island, North Carolina
#NC-09120-LH - Notecards
Also available in Assortment #AST-901
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Current from the north and the Gulf Stream from the south converge
near Cape Hatteras at the eastern tip of the Outer Banks. Here
their strong currents can wreak havoc on watercraft by dashing
them into Diamond Shoals, the twelve-mile sandbar lurking just
offshore. Since the early 1500s, there have been over 2,300 shipwrecks
off this stormy coast, known as the "graveyard of the Atlantic."
well-known dangers of the area, the U.S. government did not complete
a lighthouse here until 1803. This lighthouse never lived up to
expectations. Indeed, U.S. Navy Lieutenant David Porter called
it "the worst lighthouse in the world" in his report
to the Lighthouse Board in 1851. In 1871, after the Civil War,
the board replaced it with a 198-foot brick tower. Shortly thereafter,
the original tower was blown up.
Lighthouse, built with 1.25 million bricks, remains America's
tallest lighthouse. Although capable of withstanding violent storms,
the lighthouse nearly succumbed to the less ominous, but more
dangerous, threat of erosion. By 1936, the ocean began licking
the tower's base, forcing the Coast Guard to move the light to
a new frame tower further inland. In 1950, after the ocean itself
replenished the beach, the Coast Guard moved the light back to
the brick tower and resumed operations.
more than 175,000 tourists visit Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Visible
for miles, the lighthouse (now automated) can be reached by taking
NC 12 down the barrier dune islands of the Cape Hatteras National
Seashore, turning at the village of Buxton.
© 1999 Terry White, Drawing © 1999 Bill Harrah