ROANOKE RIVER LIGHTHOUSE (1867 REPLICA)
Roanoke River Lighthouse (1867 Replica)
Latitude: 35° 51' 58.9" N
Longitude: 76° 45' 14.2" W
In 2003, along the revitalized waterfront of Plymouth, North Carolina, a replica of the 1867 Roanoke River Light was completed in exact detail for visitors to tour. The lighthouse’s plans are dated 1866, and copies of them were obtained from the National Archives and presented to preservationists in Plymouth by the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society (OBLHS). The rest is history.
This replica depicts the style and beauty of what was once a one and one-half story, rectangular, cottage-style screwpile lighthouse that was originally located on Albemarle Sound near the mouth of the Roanoke River. It originally housed a third-order Fresnel lens. Today, a U.S. Coast Guard Fresnel-type plastic lens, donated by OBLHS, produces a warm light over the Roanoke River. Because Plymouth was once considered the second largest port in the state of North Carolina, this light served an important role in guiding shipping traffic both in and out of the river.
Plymouth was once such an important site that in 1790 the U.S. Congress established it as a “port of delivery” with its own customs house. By 1806, the town had twenty-five ocean-going sailing ships and was deemed one of six primary ports in North
Carolina. After the 1867 lighthouse burned in 1885, work started right away on a new light. That original structure can be seen and toured in Edenton.
The Roanoke River Lighthouse replica is located off U.S. 64 on the town of Plymouth’s waterfront, about halfway between the northern and southern Outer Banks. The lighthouse is part of a maritime museum complex that is located across the street. The museum includes a welcome center that houses a large collection of vernacular boats, information for paddlers, and exhibits that illustrate the maritime history of the area. The lighthouse and museum complex were projects funded in part by a federal grant to the Washington County Waterways Commission.
In 2015, the creation of the Albemarle Riverlight Trail was completed. The first in the nation, the Riverlight Trail features the 1887 restored Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, the Roanoke River Lighthouse replica in Plymouth, Laurel Point Lighthouse display in Columbia, and the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse replica in Manteo. The route offers an opportunity to experience an era when the nation’s economy depended on a network of transportation for passengers and cargo by water. For more information about the trail you may also call 1-800-775-0111.
The lighthouse is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday and again on Thursday-Saturday each week. A special opening for group tours can be requested by calling 252-217-2204 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A marina is situated by the lighthouse with electrical service and a water and pump-out station. For marina reservations call 252-217-2204.
To visit the Roanoke River Lighthouse replica in Plymouth, take U.S. 64 to the town of Plymouth. Turn onto Washington Street; next, make a right turn onto West Water Street. The lighthouse is just down the street on the riverfront.