Oak Island Lighthouse
Seen here from the ferry to
Bald Head Island, the Oak
Island Lighthouse rises high
above Caswell Beach.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Oak Island Lighthouse, North Carolina
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Oak Island Lighthouse, North Carolina
Oak Island Lighthouse
The newest of the lighthouses that dot North
Carolina's Atlantic Coast, the Oak Island Lighthouse
at Caswell Beach was completed in 1958.
Once the Second Brightest
When it was completed in
1958, the Oak Island
Lighthouse was the second
brightest in the world.
Old Baldy Lighthouse
Oak Island Lighthouse is
located just across the
channel from Bald Head
Island and historic Old Baldy
Lighthouse, built in 1817.
Fort Caswell
Oak Island Lighthouse is
located near Fort Caswell, a
19th century fort seized by the
North Carolina Militia three
months before the attack on
Fort Sumter.
Oak Island Lighthouse - Caswell Beach, North Carolina
North Carolina's Newest Light
Completed in 1958 at a cost of $110,000, the
Oak Island Lighthouse is the newest of the
picturesque lighthouses that dot the North
Carolina coast.

Located in Caswell Beach, the tower is 148-
feet tall, but stands on rising ground so that
the light itself is 169 feet above sea level. It is
unique among North Carolina's lighthouses
in that the interior of the tower is uniform in
diameter (just over 16-feet, four inches) from
bottom to top.

Because it was built during the modern era,
the Oak Island Lighthouse is of poured
concrete design. After establishing a solid
foundation by driving pilings 67 feet down
into Oak Island, the government built the
tower atop its octagonal base by pouring
concrete non-stop into a movable form. Once
the on-site concrete mixing plant started
operation, the work went on 24-hours a day,
7-days a week until the tower was finished.

The aluminum housing atop the tower was
installed with assistance from helicopters
provided by the U.S. Marine Corps. The
beacon inside gives four one-second flashes
every 10-seconds. For a time it was the
second brightest lighthouse in the world.

In a nice feat of engineering, colors were
mixed into the concrete of the lighthouse so
that the exterior of the tower would never
need painting. The three bands of color (gray,
white and black) were created by adding
colors to the raw concrete as the movable
form reached the proper height for each color
to begin.

Like many lighthouses of the Southern coast,
the Oak Island Lighthouse is cherished by
local residents and has been the focus of a
nice historic preservation effort. The tower
and surrounding property were deeded to the
Town of Caswell Beach in 2004, although the
U.S. Coast Guard still maintains the
operation of the automated light.

Along with the town, the Friends of Oak
Island Lighthouse have been actively
involved in improving the grounds and
helping visitors learn more about the historic

In addition to having once been the second
brightest lighthouse in the world, the Oak
Island Lighthouse also boasts several other
unique design features. The concrete of the
tower, for example, is designed to withstand
a 100 mile per hour sustained wind.
The lighthouse grounds are open to the
public daily at no cost and feature stunning
views of the tower itself, along with
boardwalk access to the beach and an
observation desk.

The Oak Island Lighthouse will reopen for
visitor tours on May 26th and will be open on
Wednesdays and Saturdays until the
Wednesday after Labor Day. There is no
charge to take one of the tours, but please
note that they go only to the second level of
the tower and not all the way the top. Also,
please note that due to safety regulations
imposed by the government, no children
under the age of 7 can take part in the tours.

Special tours allowing access to the top of
the tower can be arranged, but require a
minimum of two-weeks notice.
Please click
here to visit the Friends of the Oak Island
Lighthouse for more information on tours
and the history of the historic tower.

Oak Island Lighthouse is located on Caswell
Beach Road in Caswell Beach, North
Carolina. To locate the vicinity on your GPS,
enter 300A Caswell Beach Rd., Oak Island,
NC, which is the address of the adjacent U.S.
Coast Guard Station.
Photos by Heather LaBone
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.