Lighthouses come to define a seacoast landscape, indicating to maritime travelers – as well as visitors – what town or region they’ve encountered on their journey, and how to safely navigate their path.
The lighthouse standing at Cape Lookout was completed in 1859, replacing an older, shorter lighthouse that had been finished in 1812. This new light reached 15 miles out to sea, which made it better suited to warn mariners of the dangers of Lookout Shoals.
Cape Lookout Lighthouse has seen its share of tumult over the years, including a Civil War raid, devastating hurricanes, and the transition of technological advancements. It wasn’t until 1873 that its red brick exterior was painted with its distinctive daymark, or pattern, made up of black and white diagonal checkers. It was with this aesthetic change that our lighthouse became known as our Diamond Lady.
Today, Cape Lookout Lighthouse still throws an important light out to sea – now automated – and visitors are allowed to climb the tower and explore the light station grounds, which include the Keepers’ Quarters and other small structures.
Standing tall and regal, guarding our area and ensuring safe passage for all who wish to journey near, our Diamond Lady is one of the most precious gems of the Crystal Coast. Long may she light your way.
Location: Cape Lookout National Seashore, NC