Wednesday, March 27, 2013


That is how much it cost the US government to build the Ocracoke lighthouse (and the keeper's quarters, and the whale oil storage shed) in 1823.

Today the Ocracoke Light, which can be seen 14 miles offshore, still guides mariners.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a video of Philip Howard telling the story of the 1861 wreck of the Black Squall. You can watch it here:


  1. Bill Walker9:57 AM

    Are records available regarding who built the lighthouse, how long did it take, how many bricks did it take, where did the bricks come from, were slaves part of the workforce, was scaffolding made out of wood, etc.?

    I know these aren't normal questions but quirky people think outside the brain.

    1. Bill, I have much of that information (but not in my head). I will track it down and either publish an Ocracoke Newsletter about the lighthouse, or post periodic blogs about the lighthouse. Keep reading and eventually I should be able to answer many of your questions.

  2. Anonymous10:28 AM

    Back then that was a whopping amount I dare say. No doubt graft and weather caused construction delays. the per diem meals charged to the government added up. Too bad there was not an itemized bill. Was hand planed Brazilian Mahogany used as wood floors and wainscot? It was not unusual for neopotism to florish in the landing of governmen contracts. Wait what has changed today?

  3. Um,no, government does fine when properly run and regulated. $20,000 was the budgeted sum so the contract came in well below. Don't let facts blind your prejudices,though.

  4. Anonymous12:27 AM

    Whatever Cscooter. The fact remains today much roads US infrastructure i.e. bridges now falling apart were Not designed to last more than the intended 30 to 40 year shelf life intended by the designers. bridges collaspse before they ae completed what does that tell u?

  5. It tells me evryone wants less government unless they are affected. "keep government out of my Medicare!" was the unintendly ironic cry of the chronically uninformed. FDR had it right and public works putting Americans to work will repair infrastructure and show up American corporations that put CEOs and shareholders ahead of this ountry's best interests.

  6. Anonymous11:05 AM

    Back to the under budget cost. I ask why did they not spend the entire $20,000??. Was the area so remote so infested with mosquitoes, the plans changed to build a small lighthouse fast? was there a shortage of bricks, labor shortages, there must be a reason --if neighboring lighthouses along the NC coast cost $140,000 plus back in the day why so few bucks spent on OI. And why oh never mind I will find out my self.