Roger Bansemer

Ph. 904-347-0561



Information and illustrations about Oak Island lighthouse by artist & author Roger Bansemer.
Oak Island Lighthouse
Oak Island, North Carolina


Information and illustrations about
Oak Island Lighthouse
by artist/author Roger Bansemer.©
Oak Island lighthouse print

Original painting also available

Built in 1958 and standing 169 feet high, the Oak Island lighthouse as with all modern lighthouses, has deviated from the traditional lighthouse look but serves the same function. The construction method used a round slip form. It consisted of a round steel tube inside another larger one. The space between the two tubes made up the thickness of the tower. Concrete reinforced with iron rods was poured into the form, allowed to dry and then the form was slipped upward making itself ready for the next pour. The process was continued all the way to the top of the lighthouse. The walls are only eight inches thick the entire way to the top, as opposed to older brick lighthouses that could have walls as much as five thick at the base with the thickness tapering towards the top. Another interesting feature of the Oak Island lighthouse is that colored concrete was used in the process so the three different colored bands never need painting. The foundation for the light reaches down seventy feet to bedrock and the lighthouse is designed to sway three feet in winds of one hundred miles an hour.

Lightweight aluminum was used for parts of the lantern room including the floor and a helicopter was used to set the lantern room in place. The optics at the Oak Island lighthouse consists of a cluster of four powerful revolving lights. They are so powerful on its highest setting used during conditions of fog or bad weather, the beam of light can be powered up to reach an incredible 2,500000 candle power ranking it the most powerful lighthouse in the nation. It’s enough to scorch the skin of anyone standing in front of the lens. Protective clothing has to be used while working in the room.

The lighthouse isn’t open to the public but visitors are welcome to take pictures from the outside and take a tour of the beautifully kept Coast Guard Station that is adjacent to the tower. In back of the lighthouse there is a repair and service area for buoys and channel markers and the docks where the Coast Guard moors their rescue boats.

There were several other lights at Oak Island in the middle 1800’s similar to the one at Price’s Creek but they were used to guide ships up the Cape Fear River to the port of Wilmington and not as an identification for passing ships at sea. None of those are left standing except the one at Price’s Creek just above nearby Southport.
Roger Bansemer©

Oak Island Lighthouse drawing
The top of the Oak Island Lighthouse tower with it's array of lights.

Oak Island Lighthouse Map