Cape Light Inches Closer to Moving Day
Posted June 14, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
BUXTON — The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has been lifted and final preparations are being made for its move inland. Seven huge steel beams over which the lighthouse will be rolled 2,900 feet are being positioned.
As the move nears, visitors crowd in to get a last look and that special photo.
"It's real exciting. I'm down here about every other day you know, just to check it out and see what's going on," says visitor Helen Oakley.
Giant machines, not imagined when the Cape Light was built, continue to move sand and prepare the road bed for the move.
License plates from across the state show the popularity of this sentinel and the interest in the monumental move.
"Once word got out that the lighthouse was truly being lifted, it really speeded up the visitation pattern," says Ranger Rob Bolling of theNational Park Service.
The world's tallest brick lighthouse burns in the minds of many.
"If you work over here, you take everything that you need when you go to the top," says Bob Yost, U.S. Coast Guards, Ret. "It's still symbolic of what they've gone through. They had a hard life down here in the past you know. But things are good now."
The striped structure now stands on jacks, six feet taller than ever -- ready for the creeping move away from the ocean. That could happen June 17, 18 or 19.
"We ought to have about three days' notice before the move actually takes place so the folks, who can drive within two days, anyway, they'll be here," says Rolling.
There will be plenty of time after that. It will take about a month to move the 4,400 ton lighthouse.
Workers hope to have the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse open to the public again by next Memorial Day.