The day the lighthouse moved

By on June 5, 2020

(Photo courtesy National Park Service)

(Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and NPS)

This posting on the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum’s Facebook page on June 4 recalls a very special event in the history of the Outer Banks, what at least one film dubbed “the Move of the Century.”

“On this day in history, June 5, 1999, the initial lift of the 4,830-ton Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was made, readying her for her famous relocation. The lighthouse was moved 2,900 feet from the spot on which it had been standing since 1870.”

Here are some key facts about the move.
  • Took over a year of preparation
  • Moved from June 17, 1999 to July 9, 1999 (23 days)
  • Moved using horizontally mounted hydraulic jacks which pushed the tower along a track system in 5-foot increments.
  • After the tower was pushed approximately 5 feet, the jacks were retracted and reset along the grid beams.
  • Cost $11.8 million
  • Moved 2,900′
  • Set back approximately 1,500′ from the shoreline


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