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Beacon Island, NC  Lighthouse destroyed.   

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Beacon Island Lighthouse

By Act of Congress on May 13, 1794 for a lighthouse on Cape Hatteras, and a beacon light on Shell Castle Island.

1795, February 7: Land necessary for a lighted beacon on Shell Castle Island, in a deed from John G. Blount and John Wallace, for a lot on Shell Castle Island.

1798 – H. Dearborn, who was also responsible for Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, built the lighthouse on Shell Castle Island. The lighthouse was a fifty-four-and-a-half-foot-tall, pyramid-shaped wooden tower covered with shingles and set on a submerged stone foundation. The keeper’s dwelling measured twenty by fifty feet.

1799 – Samuel Treadwell, amount paid for land whereon to erect a beacon on Shell Castle Island and for the purchased and survey of 4 acres of land for lighthouse on Cape Hatteras.

1817 – Shell Castle Light – A small light situated on an Oyster Bank, between Ocracock Bar and the Swash, and is a fixed light.

1818 – On August 16, 1818, a lightning strike destroyed the lighthouse.

1820 – On May 15, 1820, Congress appropriated $14,000 "for building a lighthouse on Shell Castle Island, in the State of North Carolina, or, in lieu thereof, a light vessel to be moored in a proper place near said island if, in the opinion of the Secretary of the Treasury, the latter shall be preferred."

1842 – The first light-house built at Ocracoke was on Shell Castle island, in the year 1798, and was built in connection with the one on Cape Hatteras, by H. Dearborn, Esq. In process of time, the channel leading in and out of Ocracoke left the light-house the distance of a mile, so as to render it altogether useless. The fact being made known to Congress, an appropriation was made of $20,000, for building another near the channel, and this (Ocracoke Lighthouse) was built in 1823, not by Winslow Lewis, but by Noah Porter, of Massachusetts, for $11,359 35.

1851 – Authorized by act of Congress, March 3, 1851, $6,000.

1855 - Keeper J.T. Hunter $350

1855 - The Ocracoke channel light-vessel and Beacon Island light-house were intended as a range to cross the Ocracoke bar at night in safety.
In consequence of the formation of shoals inside the bar, that range never has been, nor can it be now obtained. Should it be attempted to cross the bar by bringing these lights in a direct range, a vessel would certainly strike on the reef, with every chance of inevitable destruction.
It is possible that a range might be obtained by having two light-vessels in place of the house and one vessel; but the channel in which one of them would have to be moored is so subject to change that its continuance would, I fear, be of short duration. As it is generally admitted by navigators, that when definite instructions cannot be given for the use of lights it is better there should be no light at all, I would recommend that the two lights in question be discontinued, after sufficient notice be given, and that the Ocracoke channel lightvessel be stationed off the northwest end of Royal shoal, where a light is so much needed, until the screw-pile lighthouse, for which an appropriation has been made, is erected.

1856 – New illuminating apparatus has been placed in the following lighthouses, in this district, during the past year, viz: Hog island, New Point Comfort, Pool's island, Turkey Point, Sharpe's island, Pamlico Point, Fishing Battery, Clay island, Blackistone's island, the two at North Point, and Beacon island.

1857 – The Ocracoke channel light-vessel, and the Beacon island lighthouse, at the same place, have, several times, been reported by this board as useless, and their discontinuance has been recommended. This recommendation is again respectfully renewed.

1858 – Beacon Island, inside of Ocracoke Inlet (N.C.); Brick tower, 38 feet elevation, built in 1853. Fixed, 6th-order lens light, refitted in 1855. Light on keeper’s dwelling; designed as a range with light-vessel for the channel.

1859 – Congress at its last session having empowered the department, upon the recommendation of the Light-house Board, to discontinue from time to time such lights as may become useless by reason of mutations of commerce and changes of channels of harbors, and other causes," the following lights have been dispensed with, viz: Beacon Island, North Carolina.
Discontinued under the operation of the 3d section of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1859.

Keepers: John Wallace (around 1800), James Jones (1852), Benjamin Wyman (1852 – 1853), John Hunter (1853 – 1859), Joseph Carrow (1859).

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