The Cape Light: Transporting a National Treasure
Posted May 9, 1999
BUXTON — Moving a house is one thing, moving a lighthouse another. And when it is the world's tallest brick lighthouse, that really is an engineering feat.
Crews are preparing to lift the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, moving it away from the ocean.
The lighthouse -- a lady draped in a gown of black and white. Only now, the dress is different. The hem has been hiked, the underbelly exposed. Beneath its granite girdle are steel garters.
There used to be huge rocks beneath the lighthouse. For weeks, workers drilled and cut and finally cast them away.
Steel beams are holding up the beacon. A month from now is when the light will at last be lifted.
Some visitors say they will come back just to see the lighthouse move a half mile back away from the ocean, inching along on rails.
Black and white and orange. The look of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has changed, but its meaning has not.
It is a time of transition for Cape Hatteras of course; for the beacon, but also for the men who will move it. With the rocks out and the beams in place, many of the men have left. The fine-tuning takes place now, preparing to lift this proud lady.
Crews will use hydraulic jacks to lift the lighthouse. They will start lifting in about two weeks and will begin moving the lighthouse next month.