PRICE'S CREEK LIGHTHOUSE
The brick shell, known as Price's Creek Lighthouse, is the only one of eight lighthouses along the Cape Fear River, which were authorized by Congress in 1848, that is still standing. The lights were needed to illuminate the 25-mile stretch of the Cape Fear River between Oak Island and Wilmington.
During the Civil War, Price's Creek Lighthouse serviced as a Confederate signal station, aiding blockade runners in navigating the river and being identified to the shore batteries. All these river lights were destroyed by the Confederates as they lost control of the Cape Fear River. By destroying the lights, they hoped to prevent or impede navigation along the river by Union troops. By the late 1880's all of the river lights had been replaced by unattended beacons.
The conical brick tower has
a diameter at the base of 17-feet, which tapers to nine-feet at the top.
Its walls are three feet thick at the bottom; two feet thick at the top. A
circular platform held the frame work for the lights: originally fitted with
eight lamps and eight 14 inch reflectors. This was replaced with a sixth order
Fresnel lens and had a fixed white light.
The height of the focal
plane was approximately 25-feet.
This tower was actually used to house the front-range light. The rear-range light was atop the keepers quarters. As ships were navigating up the Cape Fear River, they would line up the "front range" and the "rear-range" lights. When the two lights were aligned, the ship was in the middle of the channel.
|Inside the tower, looking up at the ceiling.|
|Beneath the undergrowth, the foundation of the Keepers' Quarters.|
|The foundation of the Keeper's Quarters, with the front-range light tower visible through the trees.|
|Price's Creek Front Range Light, with the Cape Fear River in the background.|
|Inside the tower.|
|The stairs inside the tower.|
|On the inside looking out.|
|View of the tower from the pontoon boat, on the way to visit Price's Creek.|
|A butterfly on the goldenrod.|
The tower sits on private property belonging to Archer Daniels Midland Company, and is not accessible to the public. ADM has repaired the Civil War cannon damage and structural decay, but the lighthouse is still missing its glass and iron lamp top. However, it is easily viewed from the Southport - Fort Fisher Ferry.
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