17 Facts About Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Currituck Beach Lighthouse is a historic landmark that serves as an essential part of this area's history. Anyone who visits Corolla should make time to see this beautiful beacon up close! 

Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, North Carolina

1) Wear some comfortable shoes - there are about 220 stairs you must climb to reach the structure's apex.

2) It's tall! From the ground to the top, Currituck Beach Lighthouse towers some 162 feet above the ground. 

3) The Outer Banks is home to five magnificent lighthouses; Currituck Beach Lighthouse is 41 miles from Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, 43 miles from Bodie Island Lighthouse, 84 miles from Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and 117 miles from Ocracoke Island Lighthouse.

4) Currituck Beach Lighthouse is open to the public from mid-March through early December every year. 

5) The cost to climb the lighthouse is $10 for anyone 4+ years old. Anyone 3 years or younger is free so long as they are accompanied and carried to the top by an adult. Children 12 years old or younger are only permitted to climb if accompanied by an adult. 

6) If you are seeking an unforgettable venue for your wedding than look no further. Currituck Beach Lighthouse can accommodate parties from 5 to 150 on your special day. Imagine the photos your photographer will capture! 

Whalehead Historic Corolla, NC Outer Banks

7) Built-in 1925, the Whalehead is an expansive 21,000-square-foot mansion located within walking distance of Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Whalehead was designed by wealthy industrialist Edward Collings Jr. and his wife, Marie Louise Label Knight. The structure's name is inspired by the once-common tradition of whale hunting in the area.

8) Before the advent of electricity, a mechanical means was required to rotate the vast lenses that made the light appear to flash. A system of weights suspended from a line powered a clockwork mechanism beneath the lantern--much like the workings of a grandfather clock. The lighthouse keeper cranked the weights up by hand every two and a half hours.

10) Construction of Currituck Beach Lighthouse began in 1873 with completion two years later in 1875. The lighthouse was first illuminated on December 1, 1875. This was the last prominent brick lighthouse built on the Outer Banks.

11) A man named Dexter Stetson, who previously oversaw the construction of Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Lighthouses, was delegated the project managing the construction of Currituck Beach Lighthouse. I guess you could say building lighthouses were the man's specialty!

12) An organization known as the Outer Banks Conservationists (OBC) operates and maintains the grounds of Currituck Beach Lighthouse. They are also responsible for the upkeep and management of Island Farm on Roanoke Island.

13) After agreeing that the coast of North Carolina needed another beacon north of Bodie Island Lighthouse to help aid sailors, Congress decided to set aside $50,000 in March of 1873 towards the construction of Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Congress would later appropriate $70,000 in 1874 and $20,000 in 1875 to fund the structure's completion. 

Currituck Beach Lighthouse Outer Banks North Carolina

14) The beacon automatically turns on every night at dusk and can be spotted some 18 nautical miles away. If you don't already know, nautical miles are a unit of measurement for the distance traveled through the water. A nautical mile is slightly longer than a mile on land, equating to about 1.1508 regular miles.

15) Like other lighthouses along North Carolina's coastline, Currituck Beach Lighthouse uses a first-order Fresnel lens to assist mariners. This is the largest of seven Fresnel lens sizes. The operation of the lens has been automated since 1937. 

16) If you wish to climb to the top self-guided tours that take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes are available. Note that you can take as much time as you like to hike up all of the stairs and snap as many photos as you want from the top.

17) It should be no surprise to learn that some one million bricks were used to construct this landmark. Unlike Cape Hatters and Bodie Island, the exterior of Currituck Beach is unpainted.

Please visit one of the posts below to learn more about the other lighthouses on the Outer Banks of NC!

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