Currituck Beach Light Station
Built in 1874-75 by the renowned lighthouse builder, Dexter Stetson, Superintendent of Construction. Currituck Beach Light Station was the last of the lights on the Outer Banks to be completed. With an overall tower height of 162 feet, it is one of the tallest lighthouses in the country.
Because of a long coastal stretch of non-protected shoreline with Cape Henry to the north and Bodie Island to the south it was determined by the Lighthouse Board in the 1860s that a light needed to be positioned somewhere between the two lights. Because of the Civil War, its construction was delayed. In the mid-70s, as the construction crew working on Bodie Island Lighthouse began to complete its construction, Dexter Stetson, Superintendent of Construction, was informed that once finished, he could move on to the village of Corolla and begin construction of Currituck Beach Lighthouse.
Equipped with a magnificent Fresnel First-Order Lens, which is still an active aid to navigation today, its signature is one, single, white, 3 second flash in a 20 second interval.
(At one time it flashed red. A red glass panel was place on a rotating mechanism around the outside of the first order Fresnel lens, which the Outer Banks Conservationists, permanent stewards of the lighthouse, plans to put back in place with continued restoration.)
The tower, which is said to contain approximately one million bricks , is unique, in that it is the only major tower in the mid-Atlantic region which has never been painted. In addition, the forged wrought-iron detailing throughout, including the brackets supporting the gallery, the railings, rosettes, spiral stairs, are among the finest examples of Victorian design, anywhere.
In 1876 the double keepers' residence was completed, however, once the light was automated in 1939 it was vacated and left for ruin. A fine example, in itself, of Victorian Architecture, it was not until 1980 that a group of concerned preservationists called the Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc., decided to do something about the overall decay of the Light Station.
Not only did OBC, Inc. do an outstanding job of resurrecting the entire complex but they were one of the first to charge a modest fee so that monies earned could maintain a the complex on an on-going basis without using any government (tax) money. In other words, it became "self-supporting."
Legal battles have resulted in yet other challenges to OBC, Inc. After nearly two and a half years of legal "wrangling" it was finally determined that they were due rightful ownership of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse instead of Currituck County.
Near the lighthouse, historic Corolla village, and Whalehead Club is the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education. It is a must-see for all visitors to the Outer Banks—kids love to visit this facility, which makes learning about coastal nature fun. The center provides programs through which the general public and educators can learn about wildlife, natural history and outdoor skills.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse is owned by the Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc. The lighthouse is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. beginning March 28th. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the lighthouse and grounds will remain open on Wednesdays and Thursdays until 8 p.m.. Climbing fees for adults are $10/person and children under 7 can climb free. They are introducing season passes this year: $50 for an individual, $120 for a family (5), and +$30 to add another person on to the pass. They accept cash and checks. December 1st will mark their 140th anniversary. Plans for a free climb that day are being discussed. For more information visit http://www.currituckbeachlight.com/.
This page last updated: Saturday, May 2, 2015 6:52 PM