Oak Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1958 by the U.S. Coast Guard. The purpose of the lighthouse was to warn sailors of the Frying Pan Shoals.
Oak Island Lighthouse is 148 feet tall. That height is 20 feet above sea level. With its height, the lighthouse is able to be seen over the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean.
Oak Island Lighthouse once had the most powerful lights found on a lighthouse in all of America. The power of the lights has been lessened, but it still remains one of the strongest beams of light in the entire United States. The light pattern consists of 4 quick white flashes, one second apart, every ten seconds.
Caswell Beach gained ownership of the lighthouse on October 18, 2004. This particular lighthouse was one of the last lighthouses to be built to aid in sea navigation in the United States. It is also one of a handful of lighthouses built by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Directions to Oak Island Lighthouse:
From Southport, from NC 211, take 133 South over the Oak Island Bridge to the end of 133 at the stoplight. Continue straight and veer left on the paved road to Caswell Beach. Drive 2 miles and it is on your left. It is not open to the public, but sightseers can get a good look from the highway.
Oak Island Lighthouse Facts:
- There are 134 steps to the lantern gallery. The steps are called a "ship's ladder" because they are almost vertical like that of a ship.
- Oak Island Lighthouse is the only lighthouse in North Carolina built by the U.S. Coast Guard instead of the old U.S. Lighthouse Service.
- It is a myth that the tower is built to sway in the wind; quite the contrary; it is a regid structure built to remain steady.
- 24 pilings under the tower are driven 87 feet into the earth at an angle to prevent "uplift" of the tower in high winds.