Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations
Moving the lighthouse
After the construction of the groins, the National Park Service continued to protect the lighthouse beach with extensive sandbagging efforts, but an October storm in 1970 wiped out the sandbags. Replenishment projects followed in 1971 and 1973 on the north side of the groin field. Since the 1973 replenishment, the National Park Service has sponsored a number of efforts to save the lighthouse, including rebuilding the groins several times, additional replenishment projects, construction of rock revetments, extensive sandbagging, planting artificial seaweed, and even tearing up and dumping asphalt from the adjacent parking area. These efforts bought time but did not stop the erosion of the shoreline.
In June 1999, the National Park Service began the process of relocating the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Contracted by the National Park Service, the International Chimney Corporation of Buffalo, New York, used a series of hydraulic jacks that moved the lighthouse in five foot increments along a system of tracks. In a little over two weeks, the lighthouse was moved 2,900 feet to its present location. It now stands 1,600 feet from the shoreline, approximately the same distance it stood from the sea when it was originally built in 1870. On November 13, 1999, a rededication ceremony was held, and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse returned to service at its new location.