Local News

Roanoke River Lighthouse restored to former glory

Posted August 7, 2014 6:24 p.m. EDT
Updated August 7, 2014 6:47 p.m. EDT

— Built in 1886, the Roanoke River Lighthouse hasn't always stood at the edge of Edenton.

It originally stood proudly in the Albemarle Sound.

“The Roanoke River lighthouse was protecting where four different rivers were dumping into the bay, spilling all that sand and dirt in to this one area, so it was a very treacherous place,” said Karen Ipock, historic site manager for the lighthouse.

Eighty years ago, Marilyn Austin Meads played on the lighthouse porch when she was 4 years old. Her dad, Julian Austin, was a lightkeeper on the Roanoke Light for three years.

When he became sick, her mother packed up the family to stay with him on the structure,

“The inspector came, and we weren’t supposed to be there,” she recalled. “So, we hid in the closet – my mama, my brother and myself.”

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1941, then it was sold, moved and used as a private home for many years. It was bought in 2005 by the local historical commission, which has spent nearly a decade loving it back to life.

The Brockmans were the first official tourists of the lighthouse during a special two-hour sneak-peek Thursday before the official opening Aug. 15.

“I think it’s beautiful,” Ashley Brockman said. “It’s a nice renovation, and I’m happy to be able to see it.”

There are two bedrooms upstairs, living quarters and a kitchen downstairs.

“We’ve seen them move it. We’ve seen them renovate the outside, and now the inside,” Brockman said.