25+ Cape Hatteras Facts: Lighthouse, History, Tourism And Much More | Kidadl


25+ Cape Hatteras Facts: Lighthouse, History, Tourism And Much More

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In the 17th and 18th centuries, trade fared very well along the Eastern Seaboard for clear reasons.

The barrier islands and the Outer Banks created the perfect waters for carrying out trade and commerce. However, the diamond shoals around Hatteras island posed a threat to even the best sailors.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was, therefore, a way to ensure the safety of those at sea at this time in history. The first lighthouse of the region was first lit up in the year 1803 and was very helpful for the people of the time. However, the lighthouse had many issues and had to be revamped a couple of times. Eventually, the structure had to be torn down, and the tower, which we see today and recognize as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, was installed in the year 1870. The lighthouse was moved to a safer spot in 1999, and since then, it has been attracting thousands of tourists every year. Keep reading for more facts!

Facts About Cape Hatteras

Cape Hatteras is a part of Hatteras Island, which is considered to be a part of the Barrier Islands of North Carolina. The eastern bank of North Carolina, also known as the Outer Banks, or simply the banks, is a group of Barrier Islands that separate the Atlantic ocean from the sounds or inlets of the coastal area.

  • A major portion of Cape Hatteras' area comes within the span of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
  • The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is famous due to it being one of the tallest lighthouses in the world.
  • The building of this lighthouse has a complex history.
  • The lighthouse was initially sanctioned after a person of political importance almost had his shipwrecked at Cape Hatteras.
  • In spite of the fact that the Hatteras islands are peaceful and welcoming, the same is not the case for the surrounding waters.
  • The mixing of the warm Gulf Stream with the cold Labrador currents near the Hatteras island provides the perfect spot for the development of sea storms.
  • The area is also known for diamond shoals.
  • Diamond shoals and sea storms are the factors that make this part of the Outer Banks slightly problematic.
  • It was when Alexander Hamilton almost lost his life to the diamond shoals in the area that the issue of needing a lighthouse in Cape Hatteras was brought to light!
  • This event took place in the year 1794 and was the very year when funds were granted by Congress for erecting a lighthouse in Cape Hatteras.
  • The lighthouse was nick-named Hamilton's Light after the very man that raised concerns regarding the area needing some sort of light or lookout station.
  • However, the lighthouse went through numerous renovations and a large moving venture before landing where it now stands.
  • Cape Hatteras has become a major tourist attraction due to the sheer fact that the tallest brick tower lighthouse exists in the town.
  • The new lighthouse, as we see it today, first threw light into the sea in the year 1870.
  • The new tower faced extreme erosion and was also threatened by rising sea levels.
  • For the same reasons, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse was relocated in the year 1999.
Cape Hatteras is also known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Hatteras' History

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has a very complex history, which mainly has to do with the renovations that had to be made to the original tower as well as the tower light.

  • The first lighthouse of Cape Hatteras was built in the year 1803 after Alexander Hamilton requested funding for a lighthouse in the area.
  • This lighthouse was nick-named after Hamilton and was called Hamilton's Light.
  • The original lighthouse was 90 ft (27.4 m) tall and provided enough light for a couple of years.
  • However, an extra 60 ft (18.2 m) had to be added to the structure in order for it to be able to illuminate a larger chunk of the sea.
  • The added height was also intended to increase the visibility of the tower itself.
  • The base of the lighthouse was painted red in order to make it clearly visible in the daytime.
  • The lighthouse was eventually torn down, and the new tower, which is the one that we see today, was first lit in the year 1870.
  • This tower was threatened by beach erosion and eventually had to be moved since the Atlantic Ocean came too close to it.
  • The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in America and stands at a stupefying height of 210 ft (64 m) from the ground to the lightning rod!
  • This lighthouse was moved behind sand dunes and forests, a little away from its original location, in the year 1999.
  • The automatic light that was installed in its place is operated by the Coast Guard of the United States.
  • At the height of the Civil War in the year 1860, the Lighthouse Board also suspected that the tower would face some threats.
  • Cape Hatteras is named after an inlet in the area named Hatrask.
  • The continental shelf off North Carolina is narrow, and the water is only about a mile deep, about 20 mi (32.1 km) off the beach at Cape Hatteras.
  • Cape Hatteras' rough terrain and sand bars have been the reason behind many wrecked ships and dead sailors.

Cape Hatteras' Tourism Facts

Learning so many facts about Cape Hatteras must have gotten you excited to visit the place and try to understand the roles it played for the coast guard and during the Civil War. The good news is that you can read about it below!

  • The Outer Banks and the constituent islands are not nearly as famous tourist spots as we would expect them to be.
  • The island and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse as well are typically very less crowded and do not attract many tourists on the nicest summer days.
  • This means that should you wish to visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the process will be serene, and it is hardly likely that you will meet with a huge crowd.
  • There are around 269 steps to get to the very top of the lighthouse, but the effort is totally worth the view that you will be treated with at the top of the brick tower.
  • The tower provides almost an entire panoramic view of the Hatteras Island and the Hatteras village.
  • The town of Buxton in North Carolina, where the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is situated, is almost completely visible from the top of the tower.
  • Around 30 people are allowed to enter the lighthouse at once to maintain the crowd.
  • There is only a single flight of stairs, which people both ascend and descend at the same time.
  • Hence, tourists are advised to be extra cautious and to watch their step!
  • People with respiratory illnesses or people who have any issues with climbing several stairs are advised against taking on this adventure.
  • The daytime adventure to the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is self-guided.
  • There are guided tours to the top of the tower on full moon nights.
  • Tourists tend to book seats for the Full Moon Viewing tours quickly, so you must make haste for this monthly tour.
  • If you doubt being able to take on this rather extensive workout, you may just as well visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, which is near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse itself.
  • In the museum, you will also be able to take a look at one of the original light structures of the tower.
  • The adjacent gift shop is a great place for you to pick up some souvenirs to remember the beautiful lighthouse!
Written By
Shirin Biswas

<p>With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.</p>

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