Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2021

The Pastels of Cape Hatteras

By Timothy Harrison


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The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton, North ...

Nearly forgotten about in the dusty pages of time is the little known fact that many decades ago the lighthouse keepers’ homes at North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, America’s tallest lighthouse, were once painted in pastel colors.

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This vintage post card, published by the ...

According to historian John Havel, the idea of painting the buildings in pastel colors was hatched as part of the National Park Service’s “Mission 66” project, to address and dramatically expand park visitors’ centers and experiences before their 50th anniversary in 1966. The colors chosen were salmon pink, lemon yellow, and Robin’s egg blue.

At Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the assistant keeper’s home was painted blue and the head keeper’s house was painted salmon pink. Additionally, the lighthouse keeper’s house at Bodie Island Lighthouse in nearby Nags Head, North Carolina, which is a duplicate of the assistant keeper’s house at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, was also painted Robin’s-egg-blue. By 1971, all of the buildings at the lighthouses were again painted white.

This story appeared in the May/Jun 2021 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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