Did you ever wonder why the Bodie Island lighthouse seems to be so far away from the ocean?
The answer to that question has to do with what happened to its predecessors, the first two Bodie Island lights.
Did you know that during World War II, Axis powers sank more ships off the North Carolina coast in 1942 than at Pearl Harbor the year before, and German U-boats often targeted vessels silhouetted against the Cape Hatteras lighthouse?
Did you know that one of the nine original, standing lighthouses still to be found in North Carolina is called Price’s Creek, and, although it’s on private, commercial property now, you can see it from the Fort Fisher-Southport ferry?
These nuggets are part of a treasure trove of information in the revised and expanded edition of “North Carolina Lighthouses” by Cheryl Shelton-Roberts and Bruce Roberts, who together have written several books about the lighthouses along our state’s coast.
This book would be a useful guide for anyone who wants to include a visit to a lighthouse (or several) in a trip to our coast.
It gives information about which lighthouses are open for climbing, and when (and how many steps they have), as well as who owns them now and whether they still operate.
This book is also good reading for those who appreciate history, particularly the history of North Carolina’s dangerous coastal waters and what people have done to make navigation there safer.
There are stories about daring rescues from wrecked ships as well as about operating the lighthouses.
The book puts the lighthouses into historical context, including their role in various wars, and their importance in economic development.
It also explains how lighthouses work and why the various lighthouses are built of differing materials and in different shapes.
As the book’s jacket suggests, the book has the stories of the many North Carolina lighthouses over the centuries — those still standing and, in some cases, operating; those that are gone; and those that are replicas — and it also has “the stories behind the Beacons.”
There are also many beautiful photos to delight fans of lighthouses and of our coast in general.