Stretching out 40 yards and tucked into Shallowbag Bay you will find the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. The lighthouse reminds you more of a small coastal cottage with its white exterior accented with black shutters and a brick-red roof. Capping the lighthouse is a Fresnel lens reaching out 2’ wide and up 4’ tall. Stroll down the weathered deck boards and visit the lighthouse to enjoy its never-ending views of the beautiful Roanoke Sound.
Two other lighthouses built in the 1800s carried the Roanoke Marshes Light name and were lost or abandoned due to extensive and neglected repairs and a compromised foundation from the challenges of its environment. The current Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is a replica of the third lighthouse to carry that same name constructed in 1877 on the southern end of the Croatan Sound in the village of Wanchese on Roanoke Island. Local sailors and fisherman could find safe passage to the island with help from this little light. As time went by and modern navigational tools evolved, the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1955 and sold to a private owner. This lighthouse was lost to the sound when an attempt was made to move it to private property.
The current Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse was completed and dedicated on September 25, 2004 along with the neighboring George Washington Creef Boathouse. The screw-pile lighthouse is filled with educational and historical exhibits, including a Fresnel lens dating back to the 1800s loaned to the Town of Manteo by the US Coast Guard. This little lighthouse may be small in stature but it is a big part of the local maritime history.
Operated by the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum, the interior of the lighthouse is open to visitors Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Call (252)475-1750 for more information.
Have fun with this history lesson on the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse that was dedicated on Saturday, September 25, 2004.
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Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Manteo, North Carolina 27954, United States
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