On Monday, January 22, workers from Thorpe Landscapes of Wilmington, North Carolina, began to erect fencing and prepare the grounds surrounding the Cape Hatteras Light Station as an initial first step for the imminent $19.2 million restoration of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Stone and Lime Historic Restoration Services of North Brookfield, Massachusetts, was chosen to be the prime contractor in October 2023, and the crew has been busily planning the hundreds of details of this massive project ever since.
Per an update from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS), one of the first orders of business was to move the 36 engraved granite stones that formed the “Keepers of the Light Amphitheater” to a safe storage location until they could be relocated once again during the final phase of the project.
The endeavor, which is expected to take a minimum of 18 months, will rehabilitate the interior and restore the exterior of the lighthouse, repair and replace deteriorated materials and finishes, and provide landscape improvements to enhance the visitor experience.
Though January 2024 marks the beginning of the construction phase, the lighthouse restoration project has been in the works for years, with public hearings and proposals initially held in 2021 to identify the best paths forward.
The National Park Service has already received funding for the massive $19.2 million repair project, and the items that need to be addressed stem from the results of a 2014 Comprehensive Condition Assessment Report and a 2016 Historic Structure Report.
The fabrication and installation of a replica first-order Fresnel lens is also part of the project plans, and a temporary beacon will also be installed on the exterior of the lighthouse at some point during the project, although there will be periods of time when the light is turned off due to ongoing construction.
The grounds of the Light Station are open as of late January, including the park store and Museum of the Sea. For more updates on the restoration project, visit https://go.nps.gov/cahalighthouserestoration.