Ocracoke Lighthouse, North Carolina Outer Banks

Tom Michael Thomas

Havelock, United States

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Artist's Description

“The Ocracoke Lighthouse is the oldest active lighthouse in North Carolina. The current 76-foot-tall Ocracoke Lighthouse, located in the fishing village of Ocrocoke on Ocracoke Island, replaced the first Ocracoke Lighthouse which was a 55-foot-high, wooden structure. The original lighthouse was struck by lightning in 1818 and burned down. The 1823 lighthouse was controlled by both northern and southern troops during the Civil War. Confederate troops removed the lens from the lamp in the early years of the war, while Union troops replaced it in 1863. The fuel used to light the lanterns behind the lens was, first, whale oil, then kerosene, and finally electricity. In 1868, the tower was cemented and covered with its first coat of whitewash. The whitewash was made of one-half bushel of unslaked lime with boiling water, a peck of salt, one-half pound of powdered Spanish whiting (fish), three pounds of ground rice put in boiling water, and a pound of glue. The brilliant whitewash, the nearby white picket fence, and the small shed originally used for storing the whale oil are familiar features of the Ocracoke Lighthouse.”

Information gathered from The NC Divison of Tourism

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