Party like it’s 1999, a celebration of the ‘Move of the Century’

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick beacon in the nation. [Sam Walker photo]

In what felt a lot like a homecoming on the church grounds, minus the fried chicken, many of those who were responsible, chronicled, or were just witnesses, returned Monday to the Cape Hatteras Light Station to remember and celebrate the historic move of the nation’s tallest brick lighthouse in 1999.

It wasn’t quite a tent revival, but remembering the move stirred the emotions of many at the celebration. [Sam Walker photo]
Many of the participants in making the move happen, and those taking part in Monday’s celebration. [Sam Walker]

There were remarks and musical performances, followed by a panel discussion with those who were directly involved with the move, under a large tent on the lawn between the lighthouse and the double keepers quarters.

Videos courtesy Outer Banks Forever:

And while all that was going on, visitors from around the country and around the globe came to visit or take a free climb of the historic beacon, which Hatteras Island-native and Dare County Commissioner Danny Couch said ranks on the same level of recognizable icons as the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Despite receiving its last fresh coat of paint in 2014, the daymark still shines brilliantly. [Sam Walker]
Longtime WRAL-TV reporter Bill Leslie and videographer Richard Adkins even climbed all 238 steps to conduct a live shot during the Raleigh television station’s midday newscast.

While much of the attention on Monday was on the current site of the beacon that began service in 1870, its original location is once again officially marked.

A wooden post with placards on all four sides now marks the spot where the lighthouse stood for 129 years. [Sam Walker]
Hopefully it never has to be moved again, although that is no guarantee on this sandbar, there is always preservation work to be done.

National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac announced at the end of the panel discussion that funding has been secured and plans are beginning to be formulated to undertake a major renovation of the lighthouse in the next few years.

Another step making sure the beacon can shine on to mariners, residents and vacationers for decades to come.

About Sam Walker 1512 Articles
Sam Walker was news director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, Big 94.5 WCMS and Z 92.3 from August 2011 to March 2022.