73 Cape Lookout Facts: Horses, Lighthouse, History And More | Kidadl


73 Cape Lookout Facts: Horses, Lighthouse, History And More

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While Cape Lookout was primarily made famous by the Portsmouth Coast Guard station, the place has more to offer.

A visit to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse reveals the significance of this lighthouse and the many renovations that the tower has had to go through. Cape Lookout provides a very authentic experience.

The area is devoid of fancy restaurants and hotels to go to, and hence, if you are looking for a luxurious vacation, this place will not amuse you. On the other hand, Cape Lookout offers an array of possibilities to all those who wish to connect with nature and spend some peaceful days. Keep reading to know more!

Facts About Cape Lookout

Cape Lookout has witnessed many of the nation's significant events, starting from the advent of pirates on the eastern shores to the American Civil War. The North Carolina coast is known to have given sailors considerable trouble since the Outer Banks have always had a reputation of being dangerous and loaded with shoals. The lighthouse opened to public visits in the recent past and has been drawing many tourists for the sheer amount of historical evidence that it holds.

  • The Cape Lookout lighthouse has been essential since the very beginning of the 19th century; since the sailors had been complaining to the federal government about how their ships would be tackled by the shoals.
  • The government, therefore, had to think of solutions to this problem that the Outer Banks have been synonymous with over the span of centuries. The construction of the lighthouse, however, took many attempts and efforts.
  • One of the many problems that such coastal lighthouses faced in the 19th century were that the navigational beacons' light could not reach far ahead into the sea. This essentially meant that the ships still ran the risk of being encountered by the dangerous shoals.
  • The original tower was therefore renovated a couple of times and the lens was changed in an effort to increase the efficacy of the light station. However, the need to install a completely new tower eventually arose.
  • The Cape Lookout National Seashore is also an important part of the history of the nation. It is said to be completely different from Cape Hatteras, which is a sister park.
  • This national seashore runs for around 55 mi (88.5 km) along with the coastal areas of North Carolina, along Harkers Island, and the Ocracoke inlet.
  • Cape Lookout comes within the Cape Lookout National seashore.
  • The other places that are encompassed within Cape Lookout National Seashore would include Shackleford Banks, Core Banks, and the Portsmouth village which is now deserted.
  • It is the most remote national seashore amongst the nine others that there are in the nation.
  • The National Park Service does not allow traffic in many parts of the Cape Lookout National Seashore.
  • Passenger ferries are available from places such as Harkers Island and Portsmouth.
  • The Cape Lookout area is marked with the presence of shoals.
  • These shoals have been known to pose a threat to sailors who dare to enter the area.
  • These shoals are created as the Gulf Stream mixes with the Labrador currents in the area.
  • This also made it especially difficult to navigate ships in the area.
  • Cape Lookout is known as one of the most unaltered barrier islands in the world.
  • The building of a new lighthouse was sanctioned in the Cape Lookout area by the government in the early 19th century but it admittedly took a long time for the construction to be concluded.
  • The first lighthouse was erected in 1812.
  • The Cape Lookout lighthouse of the year 1812 failed to give much aid to the sailors as they were unable to spot the light from far away.
  • This led to many renovations in the lenses and the painting of the lighthouse.
  • A new lighthouse was eventually erected, which has now become a tourist attraction.
  • People tend to prefer Cape Hatteras over Cape Lookout due to the simple fact that Cape Hatteras is adorned with highways and commercial buildings such as hotels and restaurants.
  • Cape Lookout, on the other hand, has very few facilities available for their tourists.
  • The headquarters of the Cape Lookout National Seashore is located in Harkers Island.
  • There is a ranger station at the neighboring Portsmouth village.
  • A visit to Portsmouth would also give you a glimpse of the very famous Portsmouth Coast Guard Station.

History Of Cape Lookout

Cape Lookout has witnessed many things throughout its existence and hence, it is an intrinsic part of the culture of North Carolina. The Cape Lookout lighthouse did not always look the way it does today. It went through several changes and renovations before becoming a fully functional and reliable light station. Even the ownership of the lighthouse has shifted hands throughout the many years of its existence, which adds to the charm of the Cape Lookout lighthouse.

  • Cape Lookout is located on North Carolina's Atlantic coast.
  • It is a natural barrier island that has remained largely unaltered throughout the many years of its existence.
  • It is a part of Carteret County and is around 11 mi (17.7 km) towards the southeast of Beaufort.
  • Cape Lookout is considered a sister to the two other major capes, which are Cape Hatteras and Cape Fear.
  • The early inhabitants of Cape Lookout are known to have been whalers and fishermen.
  • Understandably, this was due to the proximity to the ocean.
  • It is said that the people of the entire area would gather to celebrate each time a whale was harpooned around Cape Lookout.
  • They would then make an entire night out of it and gather to assess the quality of the whale oil.
  • North Carolina, of which Cape Lookout is a part, was one of the first states to demand freedom from British rule.
  • When North Carolina joined the Confederate congress, questions arose of the way in which the Cape Lookout lighthouse would be able to survive the turmoil of the Civil War.
  • The Union troops were able to gain control of the lighthouse after a brief period of struggle.
  • The lighthouses were then attacked by the Confederate troops and suffered great damages.
  • The original lighthouse was replaced in the middle of the 19th century in 1859.
  • The new Cape Lookout Lighthouse was bigger and eventually had two light beams.
  • A white flash would therefore be provided by the lighthouse every 15 seconds, as each beam completed a revolution in thirty seconds.
  • The original lighthouse used whale oil, which was then replaced by mineral oil or kerosene.
  • The lighthouse has also seen struggles between the Union and Confederate soldiers. In fact, both the original and the second lighthouse suffered great damages as a result of the Civil War.
  • However, the sturdy lighthouse stood its ground throughout such tumultuous times, which is why we now have the opportunity of visiting the historical structure.
Cape Lookout lighthouse of the year 1812 failed to give much aid to the sailors

Cape Lookout's Lighthouse

The Outer Banks was problematic for the sailors who chose to navigate such routes. Hence, the building of a lighthouse to make them aware of the shoals became an absolute necessity. The Cape Lookout lighthouse, therefore, had the very important task of making sure that the sailors were aware of the shoals ahead of them. Over the past century, the lighthouse has gone through many changes and now stands as a tourist location for people who like to indulge in the history of the state of North Carolina and the Cape Lookout National Seashore.

  • The original Cape Lookout lighthouse was finished in the year 1812 by the United States Congress.
  • The original lighthouse was completed in 1812 after around a decade of its conceptualization. Today, the new lighthouse that was built in 1859 is now 163 years old!
  • However, it lacked the lighting power that would be required in such steamy waters. Hence, a new lighthouse needed to be built in close proximity.
  • The focal plane of the lighthouse and its height were reportedly small in comparison to the mammoth task that it had at hand.
  • A radio-beacon and Fresnel lens had to be installed in the Cape Lookout lighthouse but all measures proved to be quite useless.
  • In the year 1859, a new taller lighthouse tower was finally erected and put to use.
  • Along with this, the old lighthouse was converted to a keeper's dwelling.
  • The original lighthouse stood at a height of around 93 ft (28.3 m).
  • The new lighthouse was significantly taller and stood at the height of 163 ft (49.7 m).
  • This increased the usefulness of the lighthouse and many people benefited from it.
  • The lighthouse had to eventually go through more renovations as technology advanced and as wars battered the lighthouse.
  • The area had to be secured post the Confederates had to surrender parts around North Carolina.
  • During the Civil War, the iron stairs leading to the top of the lighthouse were destroyed.
  • Thus arose the need for new stairs.
  • The Civil War posed a problem in terms of acquiring iron and hence, in place of iron stairs, wooden ones were installed as a makeshift arrangement.
  • This left the Union in charge, and they made sure to secure both the lighthouses so that they were not destroyed by the Confederates. The plan was only partially successful as the Confederate soldiers annihilated the original lighthouse and damaged the iron stairs of the new one.
  • The two beams later installed would be able of throwing a white flash every 15 seconds!
  • The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is characterized by the white and black diamonds that are painted on it.
  • The center of the black diamond pointed to the north-south direction whereas the center of the white pointed to the east-west direction.
  • The U.S. Lighthouse board was created in the year 1852 and controlled the Cape Lookout lighthouse for a long time.
  • The lighthouse is functional to date!

Tourism Facts About Cape Lookout

The Cape Lookout National Seashore remains to be one of the least visited ones amongst all the other coastlines of the nation.

  • Cape Lookout maintains the reputation of maintaining one of the least altered barrier islands and is least damaged by human practices.
  • When in Cape Lookout, make sure to enjoy the wide beaches and the stunning views.
  • One of the reasons why people make their way to Cape Lookout in spite of the fact that there are not many tourist facilities in the area is that they get an authentic and undisturbed experience here.
  • Fishing at Cape Lookout is also quite surreal due to the many kinds of fish that you are sure to find.
  • People tend to enjoy their time fishing, camping, or swimming in the area, which is quite exciting given the population density is quite low near the Harkers island and the still fewer people that tend to visit these areas in general!
  • The lighthouse also has a small museum to educate us about the history of the lighthouse and the surrounding regions.
  • You can also climb the Cape Lookout Lighthouse if you want to get a view of the coastline from 163 ft (49.7 m) above the ground!
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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