WASHINGTON, D.C. – To celebrate the ongoing commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Cape Lookout Lighthouse in North Carolina, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that project funds with be provided for repairs enabling the National Park Service to re-open the lighthouse to the public.
“Standing 163 feet tall, Cape Lookout Lighthouse is one of the most recognized symbols of North Carolina as well as a national treasure, but a cloud has hung over the structure because it has not been open to the public for more than a year,” Secretary Salazar said in a teleconference with Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina. “Today I'm happy to announce that we will provide $487,000 for the repairs that will re-open the lighthouse, hopefully by the 2010 season.”
“I am very pleased that Cape Lookout lighthouse has been awarded these funds,” Senator Burr said. “These much needed repairs will allow the lighthouse to re-open so that future generations of Americans will be able to enjoy this national treasure and fully appreciate its historical significance to our state.”
"For 150 years, the Cape Lookout Lighthouse has greeted visitors to the North Carolina coast and played a significant role in the state's coastal economy. Even today, the lighthouse help guide ships into North Carolina ports and supports recreational boating along the Outer Banks,” said Senator Hagan. "Since coming to the Senate, I have worked toward securing the funds to restore the lighthouse. I am thrilled to join Secretary Salazar in announcing this federal funding to support its critical rehabilitation. The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is one of North Carolina's most beautiful tourist attractions, and an investment of this size will help boost the coastal economy. This funding will also help to ensure that future generations are able to experience firsthand the enduring legacy of North Carolina's maritime heritage."
“I am very happy that the Cape Lookout Lighthouse will be repaired and re-open. The lighthouse is a very important part of Eastern North Carolina heritage and I look forward to a new generation of people who are able to take advantage of its history,” said Congressman Walter B. Jones
Located in Cape Lookout National Seashore, the lighthouse was first lit on November 1, 1859. The anniversary celebration kicked off on Oct. 10 at the seashore in a ceremony with 500 people including members of the public, the National Park Service, the Coast Guard, and descendants of lighthouse keepers.
Transferred from the Coast Guard to the National Park Service in 2003, the lighthouse continues to serve as an active aid to navigation. Though operational, the lighthouse has been closed to the public since the spring of 2008 due to structural and safety problems.
The Secretary said the required safety and structural changes will include repairs and alterations of the cast-iron staircase, railings, landings and galleries. After the funding is provided, the Park Service will put the project out to bid.
Salazar thanked Sen. Kay Hagan, Sen. Richard Burr and Congressman Walter B. Jones for their stewardship of this historic structure, which was the first brick tower lighthouse to be built on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.