The National Park Service recently awarded two contracts for work in Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Hatteras Island District in Buxton, North Carolina. Construction activities along Lighthouse Road and at the Cape Hatteras Light Station are expected to begin in the coming months.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
A $19.2 million contract was awarded to Stone & Lime Historic Restoration Services, Inc. (North Brookfield, Massachusetts) on Sept. 25, 2023, to repair the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Designed and constructed in 1868-1870, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is an iconic symbol of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998. Threatened by coastal erosion, the lighthouse and associated buildings were moved inland 2,900 feet to their current sites in 1999.
During the 18-month project, Stone & Lime Historic Restoration Services, Inc. will perform the following work inside and outside of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse:
- Rehabilitate the interior and restore the exterior of the lighthouse.
- Repaint the interior and exterior of the lighthouse.
- Restore important architectural components, including missing pediments over the lighthouse windows and missing interior doors.
- Repair and repoint masonry, remove corrosion and repair metal elements.
- Remove the metal weight track from the lighthouse.
- Install new railing using a non-corrosive metal on the lantern balcony.
- Remove existing rotating light beacon and metal platform from the lantern and replace with a replica of the original first-order Fresnel lens. The replica lens will be the same size and overall appearance as the original, but LED lights will be used inside the lens.
- Rehabilitate and repair the Oil House.
- Remove the existing vinyl perimeter fence around the lighthouse and replace with a replica of the original (pre-1920) decorative metal octagonal fence with granite bases.
- Fabricate and install a replica stockade fence around both the Principal Keeper’s Quarters and Double Keepers’ Quarters (Museum of the Sea) to match the look and feel of the original landscape of the early historic period (1870-1890s).
- Create a new walkway from the parking lot to improve pedestrian circulation, wayfinding, interpretation and the visitor experience.
- Relocate the Keepers of the Light Amphitheater stones to provide interpretation of the lighthouse keeper’s role.
“Our work ahead represents one of the most significant efforts to repair and restore this American icon – a hallmark of the Hatteras Island community,” said David Hallac, superintendent, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina. “The Seashore moved the Cape Hatteras Light Station to a location safe from the ocean over two decades ago. Today, we continue the important tradition of stewardship through this significant investment that will restore the lighthouse’s condition and bring back character defining architectural features as they were in 1870. In addition to the restoration work, improvements to the landscape will result in a more enjoyable and immersive experience.”
Visitors can expect scaffolding to surround the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for much of the multi-year project. Lighthouse climbing opportunities will likely not be possible until the summer of 2026. For project updates, visit go.nps.gov/cahalighthouserestoration.
A $3.2 million contract was awarded to Terra Site Constructors LLC (Front Royal, Virginia) on Sept. 22, 2023, to build an approximately 1.25 mile-long, 10-12-foot-wide paved multi-use pathway from the intersection of N.C. Highway 12 and Lighthouse Road in Buxton to the Cape Hatteras Light Station and Old Lighthouse Beach Access. The contractor will also fabricate educational exhibits at several locations, including along the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse move path.
Construction of the multi-use pathway between N.C. Highway 12 and the Cape Hatteras Light Station will improve visitor safety along a busy park road. Cape Hatteras National Seashore expects the pathway to be open for public use by the summer of 2024.
“We deeply appreciate the tremendous financial support provided by Outer Banks Forever and their donors for this important project,” stated National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac.
“Outer Banks Forever appreciated the opportunity to partner with the Seashore to provide safer visitor access to the historic Cape Hatteras Light Station and Old Lighthouse Beach,” stated Outer Banks Forever Executive Director Jessica Barnes. “We are grateful for our lead sponsors the Cape Hatteras Electrical Cooperative, the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and REAL Watersports, along with Carolina Brewery, Vacasa and the many other organizations, businesses and individuals in the Outer Banks community who helped make this project a reality.”
Hallac continued: “Donations helped to support the design and construction of the new pathway that will connect walkers, joggers and bicyclists to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and path where the lighthouse was moved in 1999. I am pleased that the path also connects to Old Lighthouse Beach, the original site of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and a location world-renowned for surfing and other watersports.”