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Lighthouse History

Built: 1964

Type: Texas Tower

Height: 130 feet

Status: Non-Active

Location: 28 miles Southeast of Oak Island

Deactivated: November 2003

Lens: 1979 Automated

Keepers: Michael Allen (1977-1978) & U.S. Coast Guard

Notes: Before there was the Frying Pan Light Tower there was the Frying Pan Lightship. In 1854 a lightship with two lights forty feet high was stationed at Frying Pan Shoals to guide ships safely past the shoals to Wilmington. Except for a four-year break during the Civil War, this lightship and its successors marked the shoals for 112 years. There also was a break in service during WWII from 1942-1945 where the lightship was taken off the shoals and reassigned as an inspection vessel due to German U-boat activity off the North Carolina coast.
In 1964 a 130' tall Gulf Coast oil-drilling platform on top of four steel legs was adapted for use as a light tower. It was built in Louisiana and transported to Frying Pan Shoals by barge.  The lighthouse is accessible by boat only.
The Southport Maritime Museum houses a collection of memorabilia pertaining to the vast nautical history of the Frying Pan Shoals lighthouse, as well as of the Cape Fear area surrounding it. The museum is located at 116 North Howe Street, Southport, NC. 

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