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Currituck Beach Lighthouse undergoing second leg of restoration work

ICC-Commonwealth, an expert in restoration and preservation of historic structures, has returned to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse to complete long-awaited work.

Last spring, ICC came to Corolla to restore the lower iron belt courses of the 145-year-old lighthouse and to remove cast iron pieces of the roof-supporting cornice system for recasting. Workers left in March of that year with the cornice pieces, brackets and headers that were in the best shape (from the southwest side of the lighthouse) and sent them off to a foundry in Richmond. They planned to return within six weeks with both the original and newly recast pieces to replace and/or repair the system that connects the copper roof to the lantern glass. As COVID-19 began its spread, ICC’s return – and the entire project – was delayed.

ICC returned in July and has begun work on the cornice. They will replace all 16 roof cornice pieces and ladder bars, 10 of the support brackets and seven of the headers. Next, they will finalize repairs to the lantern wall that surrounds the Currituck Beach Lighthouse’s original first order Fresnel lens by isolating dissimilar metals around the glass windows. In years past they have isolated the metals only around those windows that had cracked due to rust caused by iron touching bronze; this year they will complete the job.

Before ICC returned, Outer Banks Conservationists added one more project to its contract: repairing the cast iron jambs of the tower’s five tall windows, replacing the rusted wrought iron battens of the first window with stainless steel, isolating dissimilar metals there and mending wooden window casings.

Sponge Jet technology, a reusable abrasive surface-preparation system, will be used to remove rust and paint from the original roof pieces and window battens.

ICC-Commonwealth (then International Chimney Corporation) is renowned for having successfully moved the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in 1999. This is its fourth major project at the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.

Outer Banks Conservationists (OBC), is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. This restoration project is funded in part by The Marion Stedman Covington Foundation, The United States Lighthouse Society, The Outer Banks Lighthouse Society and OBC supporters.

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was first lit on December 1, 1875; it illuminated the remaining “dark space” between Cape Henry and Bodie Island Lighthouses. The lighthouse is maintained as an active aid to navigation today, seen up to 18 nautical miles offshore. It is open to the public for climbing between mid-March and December 1 each year. In addition to the 162’ tall brick and mortar tower, visitors can experience the original mid-19th century light station compound, which includes the original 1876 Double Keepers’ Dwelling, smaller Little Keepers’ House (now a museum shop), a storehouse, a unique elliptical brick path and double-seated privy on site – all fully restored and maintained by OBC. Follow along with restoration updates and learn more about the site’s history on Currituck Beach Lighthouse’s social media channels and at www.obcinc.org.

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