Cape Lookout Lighthouse towers 163 feet over the sandy dunes and emerald Atlantic on the lower Outer Banks of North Carolina. The second lighthouse to stand at this location, it was completed and lighted on Nov. 1, 1859, at a cost of $45,000. Confederate soldiers removed its lenses and lights — as with all of North Carolina’s lighthouses — in 1861 to impede Union forces, but Union troops captured the area in 1864 and relighted the beacon, even as Confederate troops tried, unsuccessfully, to destroy it. Automated in 1950, the lighthouse’s Fresnel lens shines 12 miles out to sea, warning mariners of the area’s shifting shoals.
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue.