The Bodie Island Light Station

          The Bodie Island Lighthouse is located eight miles south of US 158 and the US 64 intersection. The 165-foot high horizontally-striped lighthouse is not open for climbing. There are exceptions, however, and on special ocassions the Light Station is open to visitors. A visitor center in the old keeper's quarters features exhibits. The picture below was taken from US 158 while I was standing on top of my jeep.

The Bodie Island Light Station

"Lighthouse Facts"
  • "There are 214 steps to the lantern room; however, the lighthouse needs restorations, and the tower is not open for climbing.

  • The flash characteristic remains 2.5 seconds on, 2.5 seconds off, 2.5 on and 22.5 seconds eclipse per minute.

  • Bodie Island originally was spelled "Body" or "Body's" Island. The name appears in all forms possible, including "Bodie's" Island in U.S. Lighthouse Service documents.

  • Fresh water was gathered from rain running down eaves on the Keepers Quarters to two cisterns.

  • Volunteers from the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society occasionally open the tower's lower portion during the summer.

  • Bodie Island's Principal Keeper Vernon Gaskill, Sr. and Assistant Keeper Julian ;Austin, Sr. were two of the last civilian era Keepers of the U. S. Lighthouse Service. Gaskill transferred to the lighthouse depot in Coinjock, and Austin closed the lighthouse in 1940, ending the Lighthouse Service era at Bodie Island. Like other coastal lights, it became a lookout tower for the Navy during WWII.

  • During the 1920's, the Bureau of Lighthouses installed a sensor near the lamp's flame. If something went wrong with the flame, a "call bell" sounded in the Keepers Quarters."

          During all of my visits to the Bodie Island Light Station the doors to the inside have never been open. I have read that on special ocassions they open the Light Station to visitors. However, I have had some luck. Gary Martin contacted me and told me he had a photgraph of the spiral stairs inside the Bodie Island Light Station. First, I couldn't wait to see the photograph of these stairs that have been hidden from me, and second, Gary granted me permission to use his award winning photograph. The photograph is below and you may wish to click on it to open Gary's gorgeous photography site. This is certainly a treasure to my site that I did not expect. Thanks Gary, and I wish you the very best!!!

Bodie Island Spiral Stairs

Eccentric Concentric: This photo of the spiral stairs in the Bodie Island lighthouse on North Carolina's Outer Banks has won several photo contests. The photo was shot on color slide film and then desaturated to black and white after scanning the color slide.
Copyright by Gary Martin, 1996-2002. Used with written premission from the copyright holder.


North Carolina Lighthouses
Cheryl Shelton-Roberts, Photos by Bruce Roberts
2000 Cheryl Shelton-Roberts and Bruce Roberts
Lighthouse Publications, P.O. Box 1124
Moorehead City, NC 28557
Permission granted to use electronically, August 25, 2000

The Bodie Island Light Station Continued

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