Bodie Island (pronounced “body”) is a long, narrow peninsula at the northern part of the Outer Banks in North Carolina. The original Bodie Island Lighthouse was built in 1847 in a location that is now underwater. That tower was abandoned in 1859 due to its poor condition. The second lighthouse was an 80-foot tower built in 1859, but it was destroyed in the Civil War. The 160-foot brick lighthouse tower that stands today was constructed on the Roanoke Sound side of the peninsula in 1871. A duplex keepers’ house was also built, and a powerful first-order Fresnel lens was installed in the lantern.
Most of the light station property was transferred to the National Park Service in 1953. A restoration of the keeper’s house was completed in May 1992. The building now serves as a ranger office and visitor center for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The most recent restoration of the lighthouse tower was completed in 2013. The lighthouse is open for public tours. Carolyn Wellman, an interpretation park ranger for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, is interviewed in this episode.
The co-host for this episode is Guinevere Porter of Kentucky, and her mom Heather also takes part. Guinevere is 11 years old and loves traveling with her family to lighthouses. She’s seen at least 15 so far.
In the photo to the right, in front: Guinevere and her brother Ezekiel. Behind them: Heather, Adelaide, and Guinevere’s friend Dani.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org