- (activated) October 1, 1872
to top - 170 ft.
to focal plane - 156 ft.
Type - First order Fresnel lens, 1000 watt light
distance - 19 nautical miles (about 16.5 statute miles)
pattern - On 2.5 seconds, off 2.5 seconds, on 2.5 seconds,
off 22.5 seconds (total- 30 seconds per cycle = two full
cycles per minute).
of lighthouse steps - 214
to public to climb - Yes. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens (62 or older), children 11 and under, and the disabled. Ticket available from 8:45 am to 4:25 pm. Climbs begin at 9 am.
- 4 mi. north of Oregon Inlet, and 7/10 mile south of mile
marker 22, south of Nags Head.
House - Renovated exterior and downstairs interior as visitor
center and gift shop.
- Beacon operation maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. Lighthouse
and grounds owned by the National Park Service
to get there - From intersection of US 64, US 158 and NC
12 at Whalebone junction (at Nags Head), take Highway NC
12 south 5 3/4 miles through Pea Island National Wildlife
Refuge toward Oregon Inlet. Turn right 7/10 mile south of
mile marker 22 at entrance sign (plainly marked, but can
be missed if you're not watching closely). Paved drive (approx
3/4 mi.) through pine woods ends at the lighthouse grounds,
with parking and loop drive.
of North Carolina's lighthouses has its own character and "feel".
Bodie Island Lighthouse could be characterized as being more
from modern intrusions than any of the others, except perhaps
for Cape Lookout, which is more physically isolated. The only
visual intrusion here is the power line that runs along Highway
NC 12. But it only interferes with what would otherwise be a
pristine view from the highway.
Once you drive down the pine-shaded
lane from the highway to the lighthouse grounds, you are
away from everything but the lighthouse and its buildings. Trees,
marsh and freshwater ponds surround it completely. It's almost
impossible to see cars on the highway a good half mile away.
It's quiet and peaceful here. Be sure, though, to bring mosquito
repellant if you visit any time other than in the dead of winter.
But then, that is good advise for all the other lighthouses
as well. This location also provides nature trails for those
interested in bird watching and other such activities.
Looking eastward from the loop drive, tall pines north and west
of Bodie Island Light contrast with the open marsh and ponds
east and south of the grounds.
Above: A bright October morning sun and cloudless
sky at Bodie Island Lighthouse.
Right: Bodie Island is a photographer's delight,
with unlimited views & unobstructed light at sunrise and sunset.
Island Lighthouse lends itself well to photography, because
you can get so many different angles and looks. This is mostly
due to the fact that it is visually isolated. There is nothing
to interfere with the view, except physically getting yourself
around in the marshy, bushy, mosquito rich environs to find
the angle for the photo you want. You can get at it from all
directions to take advantage of the light, whatever the time
of day. With a little effort, you can get some nice photos.
Island Lighthouse is visible from the area
around the US 64/264 bridge at Roanoke Island crossing to
Nags Head (left photo), and from the Wanchese
area on Roanoke Island (right photo). It can also be seen
from the bridge connecting Festival Park to the Queen Elizabeth
II in Manteo.
Bodie Island Lighthouse from a distance is nice, certainly,
but up close it is even more striking. The wide open space around
it allows you to view it without obstruction. It stands out
boldly against the simple low-country background of marsh and
Island Lighthouse, like its twin, Currituck Beach Lighthouse,
has a beautiful First
Order Fresnel lens. The photo at right shows the morning
beaming through the lens. At the far right you are standing
in the shadow
of the lighthouse as the sun creates a glowing halo around
the gallery and lantern room.
Island Lighthouse is the only one still with a ladder
from the gallery to the lantern room windows, as shown in the
photo at right. The ladder can also be seen edge-on at the right
side of the lantern room in the photo at left. Reasonable speculation
would suggest that Currituck Beach Lighthouse and probably Cape
Hatteras Lighthouse used to have one. If so, it's likely they
were removed when the lighthouses were opened to public climbing.
Since Bodie Island is not open for visitor climbing, the ladder
remains in place for now.
the Keeper's Quarters at Cape Lookout, Cape Hatteras and Currituck,
the Keeper's Quarters at Bodie Island is a duplex. The two halves
of the house were mirror images of each other, separated by
a central wall. And like the others, the wall separating the
two halves was opened up when the Keeper's Quarters was restored,
making it more accessible as a museum and visitor center.
any image for a larger view.
panoramic photos above, and interior photo at left show the
museum area in the Keeper's Quarters. Originally two rooms,
the wall was removed to make the space suitable for displays.
The south side rooms, also combined into one, now serve as a
gift shop. The north stairway and central hall is shown at right.
The upstairs area is not open to visitors.
current lighthouse is the third named "Bodie Island". It was
built by Dexter Stetson after he successfully completed the
present-day Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
The first Bodie Island Lighthouse was
built in 1848 without a proper foundation. It soon began listing
and was eventually abandoned. The site of that first Bodie Island
Lighthouse presently happens to be under
water in the middle of Oregon Inlet, because the inlet moved
drastically between 1862 and 1879. The second Bodie Island Lighthouse
was destroyed in the Civil War just three years after it was
September, 2003, just after Hurricane Isabel, NOAA took aerial
photos of the entire Outer Banks, including all the lighthouses.
The immediate area
around Bodie Island Lighthouse is shown in the image at
left. The late afternoon sun is coming from the west, so north
is at the top of the photo. The loop drive is at the left. The
lighthouse shadow is visible, stretching from the lighthouse
toward the right side of the image. (This particular image
is not as good as the most of the others in the NOAA aerial
Restoration Begins In 2009
long awaited restoration project to preserve Bodie Island Lighthouse
and make it safe and accessible to the public again was well
underway in October of 2009. The keepers
house had already received a new wood-shingled roof. Also,
a completely new
boardwalk connects the restrooms by the parking lot with
the new and improved viewing
stand out by the ponds. The old high viewing stand at the
corner of the grassy lot is gone. This new structure makes the
viewing stand handicapped accessible. now.
What is not so visible is the work going
on inside the lighthouse itself. The deteriorating metalwork
of the stairs, gallery and beacon room are being repaired. The
electrical wiring and lightning protection are all being upgraded
as well. In the meantime the gallery and beacon room are held
together by a web of steel cables strung all around the outside.
This can be clearly seen in the photo
at top right as workmen inspect the fresnel lens.
UPDATE: Restoration Work Gets Serious
By March, 2010, it is clear the restoration work is getting
serious. The lighthouse is sheathed in scaffolding from base
to tip, and the top is covered to keep wind and weather out
while crews work on the restoration.
Restoration Complete and Lighthouse Opened April 2013 for Public
view from atop Bodie Island Lighthouse looking ENE to
only scratched the surface on this first page. Take a look inside
the lighthouse and see more exquisite photos of Bodie Island
Lighthouse on page 2.
to Bodie Island Lighthouse - Page