Ocracoke Light

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Ocracoke Light
Ocracoke island lighthouse img 0478.jpg
Ocracoke Light
Ocracoke Light is located in North Carolina
Ocracoke Light
LocationSR 1326, Ocracoke Island, Ocracoke, North Carolina, Hyde County, North Carolina
Coordinates35°6′32.3″N 75°59′9.8″W / 35.108972°N 75.986056°W / 35.108972; -75.986056Coordinates: 35°6′32.3″N 75°59′9.8″W / 35.108972°N 75.986056°W / 35.108972; -75.986056
Year first constructed1798
Year first lit1823 (current tower)
FoundationDressed stone / timber
ConstructionBrick with mortar surface
Tower shapeConical
Markings / patternWhite
Tower height76 feet (23 m)
Focal height75 feet (23 m)
Current lens4th order Fresnel lens
installed 1854
Range15 nautical miles (28 km; 17 mi)
CharacteristicFixed white
Fog signalnone
Admiralty numberJ2408
ARLHS numberUSA-561
USCG number2-660[1][2]
Heritageplace listed on the National Register of Historic Places Edit this on Wikidata
Ocracoke Light Station
Area2 acres (0.81 ha)
ArchitectNoah Porter
NRHP reference #77000110 [3]
Added to NRHPNovember 25, 1977

Ocracoke /ˈkrʌkk/ [4] Light was built in Hyde County, on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina in 1823 by Massachusetts builder Noah Porter. The lighthouse stands 75 feet (23 m) tall. Its diameter narrows from 25 feet (7.6 m) at the base to 12 feet (3.7 m) at its peak.[citation needed]

In 1864, Confederate troops dismantled the fourth-order Fresnel Lens, but Union forces later restored it.

Ocracoke Light is the oldest operating light station in North Carolina and the second oldest lighthouse still standing in the state. The lighthouse was automated in 1955. During the summer months when there is a U.S. National Park Ranger on duty, visitors may access the base of the lighthouse. Access to the top of the lighthouse is not allowed due to the simple steel spiral staircase being safe only for maintenance activity.

However, this is not the original staircase; the original staircase was a wooden step spiral built into the inside of the exterior wall. This was removed during the 1950s due to excessive rotting to the boards and a lacking necessity for a substantial staircase because of the automation of the light. The wooden stairs were removed and the holes in the all-brick lighthouse were cemented closed.

The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 as Ocracoke Light Station.


Various claims have been made about the light, including "the Ocracoke Light is the second oldest operating lighthouse in the nation," from the National Park Service.[5] The original 1795 construction a mile away[2] would qualify only as fifth oldest and the current 1823 tower is about twelfth oldest.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Light List, Volume II, Atlantic Coast, Shrewsbury River, New Jersey to Little River, South Carolina (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2009. p. 6.
  2. ^ a b "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: North Carolina". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
  3. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  4. ^ Talk Like A Tarheel, from the North Carolina Collection's website at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  5. ^ "The Ocracoke Lighthouse". National Park Service. Retrieved 8 February 2010.