Why when I look on different websites does it say there are more than one Cape Hatteras Lighthouse?

by Mary Grace
(Wilmington, NC, USA)




On every website I go on it say there is more the one Cape Hatteras Light House. Is that true?

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Well, depending on your historical view:
by: Dan

Dear Mary Grace,

Thank you for your question on the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. So I interpret your question three ways. Is there more than one lighthouse today called the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse? Has there been more than one Cape Hatteras Lighthouse? Is there more than one lighthouse in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore? Like you, I?ve seen all three statements made.

First, there is only one "Cape Hatteras Lighthouse" in existence today. Work began on it in 1868 and came on line on December 18, 1870. It is the same structure you see today, all 198 feet of it. The black and white barber pole stripe was added in 1873 to make it stand out during day time hours. It is the very same structure that was moved in 1999 to its present location.

Now, here is where the "is there more than one" comes in. This is not the original Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The original lighthouse was funded in 1793, but was not built until 1802. Then they couldn't find anyone to run it, so it wasn't lit until 1803. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was built to help ships steer around the Diamond Shoals. One problem, though: It wasn't tall enough and the light wasn't strong enough to reach out to the Diamond Shoals. So, they had to build the new Cape Hatteras Lighthouse as listed in the second paragraph.

Ok, so now for the third interpretation. If you want to know how many lighthouses are in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, well there are actually three. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore stretches from just south of Nags Head to Ocracoke. As you know, the three lighthouses are the Bodie Island Lighthouse, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (the one mentioned above) and the Ocracoke Lighthouse. I've provided links for more information on each of them.

Hope this answers your question.

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