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Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to Get Face Lift

View from Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Photo: NPS

Reprinted from Island Free Press

Initial plans are being made to begin a major repair project that will restore the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse from the inside out.

Built in 1868-70, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has suffered wear and tear due to regular exposure to salt air, high winds, intense sunlight and a 2,900-foot move to its current site in 1999.

The planned renovation will address a myriad of both large and small restoration projects, ranging from the marble floors in the entryway to the lantern at the top of the 198-foot tall structure.

“We’re anticipating that the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse repair work will begin in the summer of 2021, based on our current schedule,” said Mark Dowdle, Deputy Superintendent of the National Park Service Outer Banks Group. “It’s a broad project, and we’re still developing plans and (evaluating) the scope of what we need to do.”

There’s a long list of items that will need to be addressed, but the project will include repairs to deteriorated masonry, metal components, windows, marble flooring and the lantern. The project will also restore important architectural components, including missing pediments over the lighthouse windows, and missing interior doors.

“We know we need to work on metals that are deteriorating or rusting, work on the marble floor in the foyer, and some of the brick and mortar components also need refurbishing,” said Dowdle, who noted that work is already underway at identifying these issues. “There will be (renovations) to the stairs, the structure, the historical architecture, and it needs a fresh coat of paint… We haven’t answered all the questions yet on what the work [entails], but that is where we are in the process.”

The National Park Service has received funding for the massive repair project, and the items that need to be addressed stem from the results of a 2014 Comprehensive Condition Assessment Report and a 2016 Historic Structure Report.

The renovations may require closures in the summertime depending on how the project progresses, and there’s a still a long way to go before repairs will officially begin.

This story is provided courtesy of the Island Free Press, a digital newspaper covering Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Coastal Review Online is partnering with the Free Press to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest along our coast. 

About the Author

Joy Crist

Joy Crist is a Hatteras Island resident since 1998 and a writer and columnist with the Island Free Press. Her work has also appeared in a number of regional Outer Banks and statewide websites and publications.