Digest>Archives> September 2000

Lost Lights to be Rebuilt


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The original Cape Henlopen Lighthouse in Delaware ...

Officials in Delaware and North Carolina want to see Lost Lighthouses rebuilt.

In Delaware, it will cost close to $11 million to build a full-scale replica of the original Cape Henlopen Lighthouse that collapsed in the 1920’s.

Officials who want the replica of one of America’s original colonial lighthouses to be rebuilt said it would include the keeper’s house and the oil house. However, the project still lacks funding is opposed by some of the local residents who feel that it will bring unwanted visitors through their neighborhoods.

It is also estimated that the cost will go well above the $11 million amount once it is realized that they have included costs to make the building handicapped accessible with the installation of an elevator that would be required under today’ building laws.

In North Carolina, the town of Manteo wants to reconstruct a replica of the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse but have been stopped at a roadblock. It seems that they have all of the local and state permits they need, and even a promise from the Coast Guard of a Fresnel lens for the tower, but the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has denied a permit to have the lighthouse built. It seems the Corps will not approve a habitable structure to be built over navigable waters, which makes no sense to local officials since no one is going to live in the lighthouse. The town has appealed to their U.S. Senator for help. If that doesn’t work they may have to go to court.

Then there are the folks in Plymouth, NC who will be building a replica of the Roanoke River Light to house the new maritime museum for the community. However, in this case the original Roanoke River Light (the last surviving screw-pile lighthouse in North Carolina) still stands. No longer in the water, it was moved to land back in 1955 to become a private residence.

Editor’s Notes - Although I think the idea of building a replica of the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse and Roanoke Marshes Lighthouses is quite commendable, quite frankly, before the people in Delaware spend $11 million and the people of North Carolina spend $100,000 to build lighthouse replicas they should spend that money to restore and repair other historic landmarks in their states. Or donate the money to some of the various lighthouse groups across the country - $11 million could go a long way in restoring a whole lot of lighthouses!

This story appeared in the September 2000 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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