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Cape Hatteras Historic Sites

Jump To: Buxton | Frisco | Hatteras | Rodanthe

Buxton Historic Sites

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Museum
46375 Lighthouse Road
Buxton, NC 27920
(252) 995-4474
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, standing at 208 feet, is the tallest in the United States. The lighthouse is painted in black and white spirals, with a red base. Its light can be seen for 20 miles, warning ships of the submerged sand bars where so many ships have foundered. The present lighthouse is the second of three that have been situated on the cape. The first was authorized by Congress in 1794 and completed ten years later, shining a weak beam out over the ocean. Shells from Union ships damaged the light in 1861, and retreating Confederate soldiers took the original lamp from this first lighthouse. The lamp was never found. The present structure, the second tower, was erected in 1869-1870 by the U.S. Lighthouse Board. The Lighthouse Board became the Lighthouse Service, which is now part of the U.S. Coast Guard. A first-order Fresnel lens magnified a small oil wick flame at the tower's top, which was lit for the first time on December 16, 1870. Vandals damaged the lens in the present structure when the Federal Government abandoned it in 1935. A third temporary structure was built of steel in 1936 and placed about two miles northeast in Buxton. The light from the temporary tower was moved to the present lighthouse on July 23, 1950, which put it back into operation. When reactivated, it was replaced by a rotating beacon--a double affair with 1000-watt lamps in each beacon--visible for 20 miles. However, it has been reported as being seen 51 miles at sea and 115 miles in the air. The ''Double Keeper's Quarters'' is used to house the ''Museum of the Sea'' and the Buxton Visitor Center.

The Visitor Center offers and Eastern National bookstore and several bulletin board displays. The Museum is within the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Double Keepers Quarters. The two-floor museum contains exhibits on various aspects of history touching the Outer Banks, and some natural history display. A small audiovisual room provides for a variety of presentations.Most visitors visit both the Visitor Center and Museum during their visit to the adjacent Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. There is beach parking nearby, as well as the Buxton Woods Nature Trail.Ranger programs are scheduled during summer months and offered intermittantly, or as posted, the rest of the year.

Frisco Historic Sites

Frisco Native American Museum & Natural History Center
23645 NC Highway 12
Frisco, NC 27936
(252) 995-4440
In Frisco, the Native American history of Hatteras Island and the Native American culture of our nation are preserved. The owners have taken great care to preserve Native American heritage, with their collection of artifacts, exhibits and natural history displays. Galleries include information on Native Americans across the United States, and arts and crafts from around the nation. A dugout canoe, tools, instruments and other items found on the museum property offer a glimpse into the island's former life. The gift shop has a wide variety of Native American-made items and arts and crafts. While you're there, be sure to walk on the nature trails that wind through several acres of forest.

Hatteras Historic Sites

The Hatteras Weather Bureau Station
Saxon Cut Road & Kohler Road
Hatteras, NC 27943
(252) 473-2111
The first US Weather Bureau Station managed by the Army Signal Service's on Hatteras Island was established at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Keeper's Quarter in 1874;was moved to the Hatteras Life Saving Station in 1880 and later transferred to a Hatteras Village private residence in 1883. On July 1, 1891 the US Weather Bureau was established in the Department of Agriculture by the transfer from the Army Signal Corps, meteorological service. In 1901 the first official building was constructed for the United States Weather Bureau on Hatteras Island. The station manned by an observer and a maintenance man was equipped with telegraph communication to the District Forecast Center in Washington, D.C. Hourly checks were made of the temperature, humidity, wind velocity, solar radiation, barometric pressure and precipitation. An important part of the national weather network, the station received information from lifesaving stations, issued coastal forecasts and storm warnings.

This historic site is not open to the public, though you can stop by and view the outside of this unique piece of history.

Rodanthe Historic Sites

Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station Historic Site
23645 NC Highway 12
Rodanthe, NC 27968
(252) 987-1552
The Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station Historic Site is the most complete U.S. Lifesaving Station site in the nation, with original station built in 1874 and a second station constructed in 1911. Five outbuildings, three water tanks, and one cistern comprise the remaining structures, plus a home built in 1907. Family-oriented programs offered during summer months. Exhibits include artifacts, apparatus, documents, uniforms, photographs, including a display honoring the only all-black crew in American history who served at the Pea Island Lifesaving Station.

The seven buildings of this site, listed on both the National and State Historic Registers, comprise the most complete lifesaving station in the United States. The oldest structure, built in 1874, is under active restoration to its original condition. Visitors can view its Gothic architecture with post and lintel construction, which is seldom seen today. The main station, constructed in 1911 and modified in 1928, has been restored and is used as a museum. A gift shop is also on the premises. The newly acquired 1907 Palmer Midgett House, an example of Hatteras Island architecture, is on-site. It will eventually be restored and opened to the public to help interpret daily life on the Island during that time.

Hours: Monday " Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. beginning April 13 through November 27; Thursday at 2 p.m. the Life-Saving Station presents ''Beach Apparatus Drill'' beginning mid-June - late August. Admission: $6 for adults, $4 for Seniors and Students and FREE for 5 and under. Free Services: Interpretive tours available.

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Cape Hatteras Area Directory:


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Avon Office
40227 Tigrone Boulevard
Avon, NC 27915
Rentals: 1-800-627-1850
Sales: 1-866-627-6627
E-Mail: Rentals | Sales
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
(June through September 9 a.m.
to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday)

Waves Office
25206 Sea Vista Drive
Waves, NC 27982
Rentals: 1-800-627-1850
Sales: 1-866-627-6627
E-Mail: Rentals | Sales
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
(June through September 9 a.m.
to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday)

Hatteras Office
57205 Eagle Pass Road
Hatteras, NC 27943
Rentals: 1-800-627-1850
Sales: 1-866-627-6627
E-Mail: Rentals | Sales
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
(June through September 9 a.m.
to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday)

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