Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore) will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Ocracoke Light Station this year with a series of events this year starting with a kickoff event from 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday, May 18.
The event will feature several speeches, activities, a birthday cake and more. Outer Banks Forever, the Seashore’s official philanthropic partner, plans to livestream the event for those who cannot attend.
Educational programs will be conducted from May to September at the Ocracoke Light Station and on social media. Once program details are finalized, they will be added to the Seashore’s special Ocracoke Light Station 200th anniversary webpage at http://go.nps.gov/ocracoke.
A new text alert service has been created for the 200th anniversary of the Ocracoke Light Station. To receive text alerts about the special event and educational programs,text Ocracoke to 333111.
The Ocracoke Light Station’s 200th anniversary planning committee includes Seashore staff, Outer Banks Forever, Hyde County, Ocracoke Preservation Society, Ocracoke Township Tourism Development Authority, Outer Banks Lighthouse Society and members of the local community.
“Ocracoke is lucky to be able to celebrate the entirety of the light station, rather than just the lighthouse as is the case at Hatteras and Bodie where everything was built at different times,” said Scott Babinowich, chief of interpretation, education and visitor services for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, who is chairing the events.
The Park Service received a $2 million appropriation to renovate the Ocracoke Light Station complex because these structures were damaged from recent storms and if left as they are it is expected they will be damaged further by future storms, climate change and sea level rise.
The NPS hopes to hire a design contractor in September and, if all goes well, to award a construction contract by the end of this year.
In 1822, the federal government purchased two acres at the south end of Ocracoke Island for $50 as the site for a new lighthouse and support structures.
Constructed by Massachusetts builder Noah Porter, the 75-foot-tall Ocracoke Lighthouse and surrounding buildings were completed in 1823.
The Seashore protects and preserves the lighthouse, Double Keepers’ Quarters, oil house and the other support structures that make up the 200-year-old Ocracoke Light Station. The light continues to serve as an active aid-to-navigation thanks to support from the United States Coast Guard.