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Since the earliest days of European exploration, mariners have heard tales and relayed their own stories of North Carolina's perilous shoreline. With bold capes jutting into the ocean, sandy shoals extending miles offshore, fickle weather, and treacherous currents, it is no wonder that the coastline of the Old North State came to be known as the "The Graveyard of the Atlan Since the earliest days of European exploration, mariners have heard tales and relayed their own stories of North Carolina's perilous shoreline. With bold capes jutting into the ocean, sandy shoals extending miles offshore, fickle weather, and treacherous currents, it is no wonder that the coastline of the Old North State came to be known as the "The Graveyard of the Atlantic." The inherent dangers of traveling North Carolina's coast long ago gave rise to a fascinating and world-renowned strand of lighthouses and lifesaving stations from Currituck to Cape Fear. For more than two centuries, these bright beacons of safety have guided ships into busy harbors, signaled dangerous navigational obstacles, and warmed the hearts of homesick travelers. Their unique shapes and stoic beauty, as well as the adventures and lore that surround them, have elevated North CarolinaÂ's lighthouses to a legendary level far beyond their practical purposes. Indeed, they have become symbols of a brave and triumphant way of life. As the use of satellite navigation increases, many of the lighthouses along the coast are being phased out of operation. Not surprisingly, a new wave of travelers have begun making pilgrimages, whether by land or sea, to visit these famous landmarks. Tourists from all over the world now make the journey to lighthouses at Currituck Beach, Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, and others. North Carolina Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations presents to readers the tales behind the lighthouses, illuminating their past in both word and image.


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Since the earliest days of European exploration, mariners have heard tales and relayed their own stories of North Carolina's perilous shoreline. With bold capes jutting into the ocean, sandy shoals extending miles offshore, fickle weather, and treacherous currents, it is no wonder that the coastline of the Old North State came to be known as the "The Graveyard of the Atlan Since the earliest days of European exploration, mariners have heard tales and relayed their own stories of North Carolina's perilous shoreline. With bold capes jutting into the ocean, sandy shoals extending miles offshore, fickle weather, and treacherous currents, it is no wonder that the coastline of the Old North State came to be known as the "The Graveyard of the Atlantic." The inherent dangers of traveling North Carolina's coast long ago gave rise to a fascinating and world-renowned strand of lighthouses and lifesaving stations from Currituck to Cape Fear. For more than two centuries, these bright beacons of safety have guided ships into busy harbors, signaled dangerous navigational obstacles, and warmed the hearts of homesick travelers. Their unique shapes and stoic beauty, as well as the adventures and lore that surround them, have elevated North CarolinaÂ's lighthouses to a legendary level far beyond their practical purposes. Indeed, they have become symbols of a brave and triumphant way of life. As the use of satellite navigation increases, many of the lighthouses along the coast are being phased out of operation. Not surprisingly, a new wave of travelers have begun making pilgrimages, whether by land or sea, to visit these famous landmarks. Tourists from all over the world now make the journey to lighthouses at Currituck Beach, Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, and others. North Carolina Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations presents to readers the tales behind the lighthouses, illuminating their past in both word and image.

36 review for North Carolina Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 2.5

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was interested to read this because I love lighthouses, particularly the ones in my state. I've climbed a couple, and I've also visited a lifesaving station, too. Since the beginning of European exploration, the NC shores have been hazardous to mariners. The capes that jut out into the ocean, sandy shoals reaching miles offshore, our fickle weather(so true!) and dangerous currents, Old NC shores came to be called “The Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Because of our coasts, we have world famous lightho I was interested to read this because I love lighthouses, particularly the ones in my state. I've climbed a couple, and I've also visited a lifesaving station, too. Since the beginning of European exploration, the NC shores have been hazardous to mariners. The capes that jut out into the ocean, sandy shoals reaching miles offshore, our fickle weather(so true!) and dangerous currents, Old NC shores came to be called “The Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Because of our coasts, we have world famous lighthouses, that guided travelers to the NC coast for over two centuries. Some were built to guide ships into important harbors, like Old Baldy and Ocracoke, while others warned mariners of danger, like Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout. Despite nautical charts and lighthouses ships still wrecked on the coast. Before 1874, stranded mariners relied on locals, lighthouse keepers or a United States Revenue Service cutter. In 1870, the government created the US Life-Saving Service, who helped shipwreck victims along the entire coast of the US. Just amazing. In 1874, the first stations were at Jones Hull, Caffeys Inlet, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Bodie Island, Chicamacomico and Little Kinnakeet. I went to Chicamacomico! By 1886, there were lifesaving stations all the way to Oak Island. In 1951, the US Life-Saving Service end Revenue Cutter Service became the US Coast Guard, who, in 1939, took over the lighthouse. They helped during WWII, when U-boats roamed the coast, and then the 21st centuries of new threats. Many lighthouses have been phased out, and turned over to organizations who preserve them. (Outer Banks Lighthouse Society). Old Baldy is the oldest lighthouse still standing in NC. It was interesting how the Cape Fear Lighthouse keeper, Captain Sean was able to tell the type of bird by the sound it made hitting the glass around the lamp. And his family ate the dead birds... Cape Fear Lighthouse was the only steel skeleton lighthouse in NC. The story of the Oak Island Light Station was memorable in that a hurricane came and the wife and friend went to the lifesaving station, and after keeping his post as long as he could the keeper braved waist-deep water to go to the station too. Oak Island Lighthouse was the last lighthouse to be built in NC, & had the most powerful light in the US. That was surprising, I would have thought Cape Hatteras. Also the only lighthouse in NC to be built with concrete. Because pigment was added to the cement when the tower was built, it never needs to be painted, which saves taxpayers thousands of dollars over the years. It's gray on bottom, white in the middle, and black on top. Very interesting. It addressed the rumor that the painter mixed up the lighthouses Cape Hatteras lighthouse and cape lookout and accidentally painted the diamond checkerboard pattern on cape lookout instead of Hatteras to warn of Diamond Shoals. This author said it wasn't true, because the Lighthouse Board was really specific about the color scheme for the lighthouse. But it makes sense to me to do diamond shoals at Hatteras. I liked the story of Diamond Shoals Lightship. It took fire from a U-140 After wiring a message of the U-boat attacking a freighter nearby. The Germans shot at the lightship didn't times,& within five minutes the entire crew, including mate, engineer, cook, three firemen, four seamen and two radio operators towed to safety in a lifeboat. The Germans went back later to finish it took, and it took seven more shots to sink the stubborn ship! Reports showed Diamond Shoals wireless message saved around 25 other vessels from being hit. They took refuge at Lookout Bight. The Diamond Shoals Light Tower replaces the Lightship. Ocracoke Lighthouse is the oldest operational lighthouse in NC. I love the names for all the nautical stuff, like Teaches Hole. I've been wanting to go to Ocracoke, but it turns out the lighthouse and keepers quarters are off limits! What kinda crap is that? It's managed by the National Park Service and the US Coast Guard. The grounds are open to the public. Cape Hatteras has had more changes than I knew of. Originally white on bottom and red stone on top. I knew it was described as an eyesore, so I'm glad they changed it. In 1854 it was raised from 100 feet to 150. It was destroyed in 1871. The new Cape Hatteras was built in 1870 and a whopping 196 feet tall. I knew it had to be the tallest in NC, but I was surprised to find it's the tallest in the US. Incredible! Because of erosion it was moved to a different location 2,900 feet away, in 1999. It took 23 days to move. I saw it as a kid in second grade(?) in its old location,& once again in the new location where it sits today. I'm proud to say I've seen it in both locations and have climbed the tallest lighthouse in the US! The Coast Guard Day celebration at Cape Hatteras in 1948 with all the flags sailing from the top of the lighthouse looks fun! They should have that again. In two pictures they called Cape Hatteras Cape Lookout, then in one of them referenced three women in the picture, when one looks very much like a man. It's neat how on top of having lighthouses, they also had beacon lights, lightships, and range lights. Hatteras had a red and white Beacon Light that guided local mariners around Cape Point until early 20th century. I didn't know or forgot Bodie Lighthouses history too! There were three Bodie's. The first two were built on the south side of Oregon Inlet. One was built in 1847, but had an unstable foundation and had to be abandoned. The other was built in 1859 but Confederate soldiers blew it up in 1861, so it wouldn't fall into enemy hands. The third tower was built on the north side of the inlet. It was interesting how Bodie used to be spelled Body. I wonder why it was changed. I loved the notices given for new lighthouses, how they told the public when they'd show, at sundown on a certain date for the first time, and how it 'will be kept burning during that and every night thereafter.' ..until it was destroyed in the Civil War. That would be so cool to go see a light for the first time in a lighthouse. Or any time really. It was white before. I just climbed Bodie last year, so it was cool seeing the old photos of keepers standing at the base of the lighthouse in that little room cause I was just there, standing in the same spots! They thought the migrating Oregon Inlet would compromise the lighthouse in the south side, so the new one was built on the north,& hasn't been threatened by migration. In the pictures, the windows of Bodie had 3 white dots over them that looked really cool. Idr them looking like that in person. I wish it still did. It is a part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The daymark is white and black bands. There are 214 steps to the lantern room. It didn't come out and say how tall it was. I wanted the height, and how many steps there are for each lighthouse. The Roanoke River Lighthouse is in the Albemarle Sound, & is a unique little lighthouse. More like a house on stilts. There were also Screw-Pile lighthouses. Many times the author would reference things on the maps and I couldn't find what he was talking about, like the locations of lighthouses. I love the some of the names of places like Pamlico Sound. I was surprised to see the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, which I've been to twice, in the ocean, where it used to be. It was at the southern entrance to Croatan Sound. A family later claimed ownership of the site so the US Treasury Department had to move it. It was put nearby, and became the first screw-pile structure in NC. It served until 1955 when it was decommissioned. The Croatan Lighthouse is cute, very similar to Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. It used to be on the northwest shore of Roanoke Island and was built in 1866, it was the second structure marking the spot. Not sure if it's still there today. It was amazing how on the Neuse River Lighthouse they had bells that could be heard from five miles away. They would ring in times of poor visibility or storms. Currituck Lighthouse was an important light for mariners. It's on a long, dark stretch breath Cape Henry, Virginia and Bodie Island. Currituck was the last tower built in the Outer Banks, and like Bodie and Hatteras, it was patterned after Cape Lookout Lighthouse. I didn't know those two were made to look like Lookout. And I don't see how currituck is because it's all dark brick. It showed pictures of the last keeper of Currituck,& it would have been nice to see other keepers from the other houses. It was interesting and surprising to have info on the Wright brothers in here. Light keeper W.J. Tate's wife, postmistress Addie at Kitty Hawk got a letter from Wilbur Wright asking about info on the area, where they could do their aviation experiments. She gave it to her husband and told about the virtues of the area, and about the climate and landscape. Because of that, the Wright Brothers chose the Outer Banks to do their test flights. They stayed with the Tate's some, and they helped the inventors with tasks on their gliders and airplanes. Very interesting! I loved the part on Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station!! It was established in 1874. The structure was built in 1911, and became a model for some other stations. It was abandoned by the Coast Guard in 1954, and deteriorated until a group of people came together to save it. Now it's the Chicamacomico Historical Association, and is a museum with artifacts of the US Lifesaving Service and the US Coast Guard. I went there!! The northernmost lifesaving station was the Wash Woods Lifesaving Station. The Ocracoke Coast Guard Station built in 1940 looks nice. It replaces the 1904 one. I wonder if the New Inlet Lifesaving Station bear Rodanthe is still there. The Cape Hatteras Cost Guard Day was used as the cover. The Kill Devil Hill's Lifesaving Station helped the Wright Brothers with their early aviation experiments. The Library of Congress owned that picture, which was cool, cause that's the only one from there in here. Wonder if the station is still there. Pea Island Lifesaving Station was the only one with all African-American crew. I loved the mention of the Nags Head Lifesaving Station, established in 1874. It ran until 1957, when it was decommissioned. I wonder if it's still there. The Oregon Inlet Lifesaving Station became a landmark feature on Pea Island. Even though it was abandoned by the Coast Guard in 1988, which is pretty late, it's still a major feature on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The coast guard moved to the marina on the north side of Oregon Inlet. The Core Banks station served on the long, lonely stretch between Cape Lookout and Portsmouth. Cape Lookout Station was positioned at Lookout Shoals, which I haven't heard of. The replacement is now used as a classroom by the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort. The Bogue Inlet Lifesaving Station on Bogue Banks, where the Coast Guard still has a station here on the western side at Emerald Isle. The author would mention how tall, or how many steps are in some of the lighthouses, but I wanted the height, and how many steps there are for each lighthouse. Also many times the author would reference things on the maps and I couldn't find what he was talking about, like the locations of lighthouses. I do wish the pictures were in color too. I wish this had a bigger ending, a wrap up of all the lighthouses and stations. An interesting read. Anyone who likes lighthouses, particularly NC ones should read. I liked in the blurb 'For more than two centuries, these bright beacons of safety have guided ships into busy harbors, signaled dangerous navigational obstacles, and warmed the hearts of homesick travelers.' It's amazing every single lighthouse and station has a history, of being rebuilt, demolished, abandoned, discontinued. So many different dates for each place.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Ok, I would have given it 5 stars, but to say a book like this is "amazing" would just push my level of nerdiness to an extreme! It's an informative and interesting book IF you are into NC coastal history. Pretty neat pictures too. Ok, I would have given it 5 stars, but to say a book like this is "amazing" would just push my level of nerdiness to an extreme! It's an informative and interesting book IF you are into NC coastal history. Pretty neat pictures too.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lesley Looper

    I enjoyed looking through this book of photographs of lighthouses and lifesaving stations along the North Carolina coast. The captions including some interesting historical details about the structures and the area. This book makes me want to visit all of them!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark Ennis

    Excellent book best one he wrote

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leah

  7. 4 out of 5

    John Harris

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tomcallis

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brandy Webb

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen Ray

  12. 4 out of 5

    Helmut

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  14. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Donna Suchomelly

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  20. 5 out of 5

    Scotty

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  22. 4 out of 5

    Spike

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kris

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marie Ward

  26. 5 out of 5

    Roy Pierce III

  27. 5 out of 5

    Monique A.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  29. 5 out of 5

    O. Poole

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn Szymanski

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Pies

  32. 5 out of 5

    Erika

  33. 5 out of 5

    Lillie

  34. 4 out of 5

    Betty

  35. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  36. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

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