National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Lighthouse Postcards

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Cape Hatteras postcard face - click to enlarge

Cape Hatteras postcard obverse - click to enlarge

Locate on NOAA nautical chart

Cape Hatteras

State: NC
Year established: 1803
Latitude: 35 deg 15 min 8 sec N
Longitude: 75 deg 31 min 44 sec W
Height above sea level: 192 feet

Original construction:
90-foot sandstone tower

1854: tower height extended to more than 150 feet, Fresnel lens installed
1870: present 208-foot conical brick tower; white and black spiral bands, about 600 feet north of original tower.
1936-1949: continued erosion threatens tower and the light is transferred 1 mile west to skeleton tower
1950: light returned to tower, and in 1999: the tower is moved 2900 feet inland to prevent its destruction by erosion

automated in 1936; active aid to navigation

Light characteristic:
flashing white every 7.5 seconds visible for 24 nautical miles

More information:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security / United States Coast Guard, Light List, Volume 2 Atlantic Coast, Shrewsbury River, New Jersey to Little River, South Carolina, (Washington, DC: GPO, 2004), p. 6