Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Tom Michael Thomas

Havelock, United States

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Wall Art

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Artist's Description

“Description: Currituck Beach Lighthouse is distinct among its fellows along the Outer Banks both in history and appearance. The other four lighthouses are painted in striking black and white—in vertical, horizontal, and checkered patterns—while Currituck Beach Lighthouse shows off the natural brick used in its construction. And while the others suffered early damage and drama with everything from pirates to Civil War skirmishes to encroaching waters, Currituck Beach lighthouse had an uneventful beginning and a slow decline.
Nearly 100 years after the first lighthouse was constructed along North Carolina’s shores, there remained a forty-mile stretch of “dark” coast between Bodie Island and Cape Henry, Virginia, where ships still fell prey to the dangerous waters of the Outer Banks. Although Congress had approved plans for a lighthouse and allocated the necessary funds, the outbreak of the Civil War put a stop to any construction. In their 1872 Annual Report, the Light-House Establishment again stressed the need to illuminate this part of the coast. “The land along the coast in this vicinity is low and in many places without trees, so even in day-time there is danger of vessels getting into unsafe proximity to the coast before coming aware of it . . . in the absence of powerful sea-coast lights sufficiently near each other to give warning of approach to danger, many vessels laden with valuable lives and cargoes are in danger of being lost.”

Congress responded with several appropriations totaling $178,000, and in 1873 Dexter Stetston, who had previously overseen the construction of towers at Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island, began work on the 162-foot tower. A foundation of stone and timber piling was laid seven feet below ground, and well over a million bricks were used for the tower. On December 1, 1875, the last brick lighthouse to be built on the Outer Banks was illuminated for the first time. "

Information gatherd from the NC Divison of Tourism

Artwork Comments

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