More Unique Places in United States of America

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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in United States of America

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    Sand Island Light

    by grandmaR Updated May 12, 2016

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    As we were driving toward Mobile, I was looking at the map, and I decided to go down to Fort Gaines first to see if I could see the lighthouse at Sand Key from there. And we could. I wanted to see if I could get a better view from the ferry, but we didn't do that. Located about 2 miles (3 km) southwest of Mobile Point. Accessible only by boat.

    It is a 131 foot brick tower like the Bodie Island light in NC. The original lens (see photo) is on display in the Fort Morgan Museum. The keeper's house burned in 1925. The second tower (1859) was destroyed during the Civil War.

    Sand Island was built on an establish station in 1873, but has been inactive since 1933. Critically endangered: the island has dwindled to a sandbar and the tower suffers from years of neglect. The lighthouse is a longtime resident of the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List.

    After protracted negotiations to see who would take care of the lighthouse in the future, in October 2003, ownership was transferred to the town of Dauphin Island. Then it was damaged in September 2004 by Hurricane Ivan and suffered additional damage by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

    Work to stabilize the foundation of the lighthouse was carried out in the summer of 2008 and in late 2010, the Corps of Engineers approved a project to place millions of cubic yards of sand (dredge spoil) around the lighthouse to protect it against erosion; the funds come from the BP oil spill mitigation funding. This project was carried out in the fall of 2011.

    The artificial island lasted only a year; it was completely washed away by Hurricane Isaac in September 2012.

    Sand Island lighthouse from  shore of Dauphin Is Picture of Sand Island in the museum Photo 7 in the museum more photos in the museum Sand Island Lighthouse 2nd order Fresnel lens
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    Wyoming Dinosaur Center (Thermopolis)

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Nov 23, 2015

    The town of Thermopolis is a good stop-over between Yellowstone National Park and South Dakota (connected by Highway 20). The main attraction here is the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. Wyoming is fertile ground for fossiles, and the dinosaur center has its own excavation site. In the great hall of the museum, ca. 30 dinosaur skeletons are mounted, among them displays of a spectacular Supersaurus, a Camarasaurus and a T-Rex.

    .

    Thermopolis

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    National Museum of Wildlife Art/Jackson,Wyoming

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Nov 23, 2015

    The National Museum of Wildlife Art is located about three miles north of Jackson Hole, built on a bluff in a pueblo-style building. Inside the museum 14 galleries focusing exclusively on wildlife art and mainly feature American artists like Rungius, Russell, Bierstadt, Catlin and Remington, whose work centred around the nature, wildlife and people of the Wild West and Alaska. There also a few wildlife-themed works by internationally reknowned artists like Georgia O`Keefe, Rembrandt and Picasso. The museum also has an interesting sculpture trail right outside, with an impressive line-up of animal head sculptures by Chinese artist Ai WeiWei. There is an interesting museum shop and a nice cafe with an outside viewing terrace, too. Worth a visit (or multiple visits).

    National Museum of Wildlife Art

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    Buffallo Bill Center (Cody, Wyoming)

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Nov 23, 2015

    The Buffallo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, is a very worthwhile destination near the eastern gate of the Yellowstone National Park. It combines several themed exhibitions in one modern museum building: a biographical exhibition on the life of Buffalo Bill (a.k.a. William F. Cody), an art exhibtion with Wild West-themed paintings (on permanent lease from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York), an exhibition on Native American Culture, a collection of historic rifles and a natural history exhibition on the wildlife of the American West.

    Every museum is worth a visit, but if you are short on time, view at least the Buffallo Bill museum and the art museum.

    Buffalo Bill Center

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    Oak Island 1958

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 31, 2015

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    Oak Island is one of those lighthouses that I have never seen except at a distance. It is an active lighthouse which gives four white flashes every 10 seconds. The lighthouse is 155 ft tall - a round cylindrical reinforced concrete tower with lantern and gallery; rotating aerobeacon. The upper third of the tower is black, the center third white, and lowest third gray; these colors are in the concrete, not painted This is the next-to-last lighthouse built by the Coast Guard and the second tallest concrete light tower in the U.S. Built at an active Coast Guard station, the lighthouse was unharmed when the main station building next door was destroyed by fire in February 2002. In 2003 the Coast Guard announced it would transfer ownership of the lighthouse to the town of Caswell Beach

    The town of Caswell Beach runs "no reservation required" free tours to the second level for anyone age 7 and up. (This is NOT to the top.) Tours are every Wednesday and Saturday (10 AM - 2 PM) starting Memorial Day and running through Labor Day. Visitors climb 1 level (12 steps) A docent will provide information answer questions. Cameras and/or video recorders are welcome.
    There are NO restroom facilities on site.

    Climbing to the top is available year round for anyone 9 years or older Memorial Day through Labor Day. You must give two weeks notice. Top tours are only offered on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and under some circumstances on Sunday mornings. Closed on most major holidays. It's a challenging and vertiginous climb: the tower has ladders or 131 metal ship stairs to an outside balcony. Everyone MUST wear sneakers to climb.

    Oak Island Lighthouse from the Fort Fisher ferry construction details Marine helipoters installing the stairs Details of the light Fire that burned the keepers house
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    Cape Canaveral - 1868

    by grandmaR Updated Jul 13, 2013

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    I have tried several times for a sighting of this lighthouse from a cruise ship when the ship I was on was going to go to the port of Canaveral, but without success. Apparently the ships give a wide berth to the shoals that the lighthouse was built to protect. I was finally able to obtain photos as the Disney Fantasy left the channel.

    The 45th Space Wing Public Affairs Office offers a free bus tour of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Wednesdays and Thursdays. This three-hour tour includes a visit to the Air Force Space and Missile Museum, as well as active and retired launch pads and the lighthouse. Tours begin at 8:45 a.m. at the South Gate of Cape Canaveral AFS. Reservations are required and can be made by calling any of the three numbers below

    The original lighthouse on Canaveral was a 65-foot brick tower, constructed in 1848. It apparently was less than adequate at this as one captain remarked that “the lights on Hatteras, Lookout, Canaveral and Cape Florida, if not improved, had better be dispensed with, as the navigator is apt to run ashore looking for them.” The captain’s opinion must have been shared by others for a new tower was authorized in 1860. This new tower (built after the Civil War) was composed of metal plates with a brick lining. Originally painted white, the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse didn’t receive its distinctive black bands until 1873

    Now the launch towers at the Cape are quite visible for a long distance (photo 2 - they are taller than the lighthouse). The launch of the cape’s first rocket, Bumper 8, on July 24, 1950, and subsequent launches associated with the Gemini, Mercury, and Apollo programs were all within sight of the lighthouse (photo 5).

    The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse was automated in 1967. The strong vibrations, which accompanied the frequent launches, were starting to shake the lens to pieces - several prisms had actually fallen out of the supporting brass framework. The lighthouse was restored by the Coast Guard starting in 1995 and since December 2000, it is owned by the Air Force. Grounds and the first four levels of the tower are open open during tours.

    Lighthouse from the Port Canaveral channel Picture of Cape Canveral Light in Museum Old photo from the Florida archives Lighthouse from the Port Canaveral channel 1st sight of the Lighthouse from the  channel
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    An exciting USA city without tourists

    by Beausoleil Updated Jun 25, 2012

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    If you are looking for an American city where you can experience "real" American life, think about Kansas City, Missouri. No one knows it is there except natives (we used to live near there) and it is a gorgeous city. They have a world class art museum, the Nelson Atkins Museum Of Art; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art; world class jazz (as good as New Orleans without the tourists), the Kansas City Zoo; the Arabia Steamboat Museum; a symphony, beautiful churches, and wonderful shopping centers including the Country Club Plaza and the Hallmark Center.

    Supposedly Kansas City has more fountains than any other city except Rome. I don't know if that is true, but there are a LOT of fountains.

    There are clubs and restaurants because it's a university town and has lots of young professionals. People are polite and friendly.

    It's just a great city . . . and no one knows about it. Many people don't even know that it is not in Kansas. There is a Kansas City in Kansas but it's not nearly as nice as Kansas City in Missouri. (My humble opinion, of course.)

    Mission Style Country Club Plaza in Kansas City
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    Loggerhead Key - Dry Tortugas - 1858

    by grandmaR Updated Feb 8, 2012

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    I was hoping that I would get a good view of this lighthouse from the seaplane, but I was on the wrong side for a photograph on the way in, and the plane developed a fault and I had to go back by ferry. The lighthouse is accessible only by boat

    The Loggerhead Key lighthouse was replaced the one on Garden Key at the western extreme of the Florida Keys. The new 150-foot tower was scheduled to possess a first-order Fresnel lens.

    Daniel P. Woodbury, who at the time was overseeing the construction of Garden Key’s Fort Jefferson, was also put in charge of building the Dry Tortugas Lighthouse. Following Woodbury’s plans, the conical brick tower enclosed a spiral staircase consisting of 203 granite blocks that lead upwards to the watch room, on top of which rested the lantern room. Twelve feet below the watch room, the tower’s brickwork started to flare out to support an exterior walkway encircling the watch room. The Fresnel lens, supplied by L. Sautter & Company of Paris, France, produced a steady white light and was first illuminated on July 1, 1858.

    The lighthouse is active, with a white flash every 20 s. It has a solar-powered VRB-25 aerobeacon. The lower half of tower painted white, and the upper half and lantern black. The 1-story brick keeper's house (1922), original kitchen, and other outbuildings have been preserved but the 2nd order bivalve Fresnel lens (1909) is now on display at the Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia. The keeper's house is used as housing for park service personnel.

    Much needed restoration of the Loggerhead Key Lighthouse took place from October 2008 through February 2009. The contract was awarded to Enola Contracting Inc. of Chipley, Florida. The project involved replacement of broken and missing windows with new reinforced glass panes and new glazing. Corroded and damaged hardware was replaced with new stainless steel hardware. Salvageable iron roof framing members were stripped of corrosion, primed, and painted. Due to severe weather damage, the existing copper roof had many of the copper roof panels missing or peeled away from the iron framing members. This roof was restored with new copper roof panel replicas of the original structure. A number of new stainless steel brackets were designed to fasten the new copper roof pieces to the existing iron frame. Additionally, a new copper finial replica of the original was fabricated by Keicher Metal Arts of Leeds, New York. The NPS continues to plan for future preservation projects on Loggerhead Key Lighthouse.

    Photo courtesy of the Florida State archives National Park Service aerial photo Restoration group National Park Service aerial photo
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    1867 Tybee Island lighthouse

    by grandmaR Updated Feb 8, 2012

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    This lighthouse was first established in 1736 after General James Oglethorpe, Governor of Georgia ordered that the Tybee Island Light Station be built at to guide ships into the Savannah River less than four years after the colony of Georgia was founded. This light station is the oldest in the South and second oldest in the nation. Currently the lighthouse is the rear light of a range; the front light is on a square platform 1/2 mi (800 m) east of the lighthouse.

    The Tybee Island Light Station is one of America's most intact having all of its historic support buildings on its five-acre site. It is active with a continuous white light 144 feet above sealevel The brick tower is a tapered octagonal column attached to workroom The upper and lower portions are painted black, and the center is painted white. The 1st order Fresnel lens has been in use since 1867. The lower section of the lighthouse incorporates 60 ft of the original 100 ft octagonal tower built in 1773. A major restoration in 1998 restored the tower to its original appearance. There are three keeper's houses and other historic buildings. The main keepers house is furnished as a museum. The second assistant keeper's house was built in 1861 as a Confederate Army barracks. The brick summer kitchen, built in 1812, is the oldest building preserved.

    The lighthouse is located on the south side of the Savannah River entrance, off US 80 in Tybee Island.

    Hours of Operation - every day, except Tuesday, from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Otherwise you can climb the lighthouse's 178 steps

    Tickets to enter are no longer available approximately one hour before closing
    Closed St. Patrick's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

    Cost
    Adults: $6.00
    Seniors: $5.00 (62+)
    Children: $5.00 (6-17)
    Children: Free (5 and under)

    Closed Tuesday.

    Tybee Island lighthouse Stairs to go up Exhibit in the base of the lighthouse Lighthouse keeper Lighthouse museum building
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    Jupiter Lighthouse -1860

    by grandmaR Updated Jan 23, 2012

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    This lighthouse is a briick tower, painted brick red with a black lantern . The original rotating 1st order Fresnel lens remains in use. The principal keeper's house burned in 1927, but there is a small museum in the oil house. The lighthouse can be shorter because it is on a mound that is about 14 feet tall. The state and Coast Guard carried out a major renovation of the tower during 1999-2000, during which archaeologists discovered that this is an Indian mound.

    I did have one picture of the Jupiter lighthouse from the ICW in 2000, but since it is a red brick lighthouse, I had confused it with the lighthouse at Ponce Inlet (also red brick) which we had visited. I didn't have really good directions - I could find it on the chart and I could find it on a map, but I wasn't sure how to actually access them. I was pretty sure they were near US A1A which goes up along the barrier islands east of the ICW, so for awhile, we drove up the coast and looked at the Palm Beach mansions. I followed the directions that I had in the computer, and we got to a parking lot which was on the road where the lighthouse sites said the lighthouse was. I could SEE the lighthouse. But at first I thought we could not get in - all the gates were padlocked.

    It turns out that you have to get a ticket from the museum, and the museum entrance is not obvious.

    In 2007, the museum was $5 each and it was an additional $2 to take a lighthouse tour. The museum has nothing to do with the lighthouse (it was about the sub-spotters from WWII who lived in the house that is now the museum), and I didn't think it was worth $5. The lighthouse OTOH was worth more. We went with a guide up to the lighthouse (I didn't climb it). You are supposed to have a guide whenever you are on the grounds. The last tour is at 4 pm.

    While I was walking around taking my pictures, Bob talked to the guide who was new. He said that the lightening cable which goes down the side of the lighthouse was not grounded, and when lightening hit the tower, it blew some bricks out.... So now it does go to ground.

    This lighthouse was designed by George G. Meade. During the Civil War the lighthouse was dark because the mechanisms were hidden by southern sympathizers. It was relighted in 1866, and has not missed a night in over 100 years. It has been operated by the U.S. Coast Guard since 1938. It is the oldest building in Palm Beach County.

    Jupiter Light from the ICW Dec 16, 2000 Lighthouse from the road People at the top Looking from near the base From the base of the steps through the trees
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    Hillsborough Inlet -1907

    by grandmaR Updated Jan 14, 2012

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    In the fall of 2000, we came down on the ICW from the Chesapeake, and we spent the night of December 17th at a marina in Lighthouse Point. In the morning we accidentally went through the drawbridge and into Hillsboro Inlet. This was a horrifying mistake. The inlet has a well deserved reputation for chewing up boats and spitting them out on the rocks.

    Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/8dca7/#ixzz1jSuPHO00
    . I wrote:

    Disaster day - we only have 5 more bridges to do --- except that I mistake the first bridge and we go out the Hillsborough Inlet bridge instead of the 14ths St. bridge. Luckily the bridge tender put the bridge back up and let us back through. So we didn't get through the correct bridge, which was about 2 miles from us until 10:45, an hour after we started.

    We were so glad when the drawbridge operator let us back into the ICW (photo 5)

    In 2007, we visited by road and looked at the lighthouse from Hillsboro Inlet Park because land access is controlled by the private Hillsboro Club, so we couldn't go right up to the lighthouse.

    1906—lighthouse completed in Detroit. Shipped via Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Illinois and Mississippi River, Gulf Mexico, & Key West. 4,000 Nautical-Mile trip.
    1906—J.H. Gardner Construction Co. of New Orleans gets awarded the contract for clearing the land/laying foundation/re-assembling and erection, cost $16,792.
    1907—March 07. Lighthouse is placed into service. This is one of only three surviving towers of this design. The original 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house and other light station buildings survive, but an assistant keeper's house was demolished in 2005 despite loud protests from preservationists.

    Inlet from the park inside Hillsborough Inlet from the Atlantic Lighthouse Inlet with boats Drawbridge
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    Amish Country

    by Toughluck Updated Jan 5, 2012

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    The US is home to many people of the Amish Faith. These reclusive groups live across the nation, with easily accessible and convenient locations in Ohio and Indiana. The largest community in the U.S. is said to be Holmes County, Ohio. Indiana's Amish center in Elkhart County. Holmes County is highly developed for tourism, so, you'll find large hotels and restaurants, all catering to the numerous visitors. Amish restaurants are available in many sizes, and all are good. Crafts and country life is readily on display and opportunities exist to visit farms.

    You'll have the ability to meet many Amish in the stores and restaurants, where they work, cook, and serve the public. You'll may be confused by the Mennonites who also live in the community. The Amish and the Mennonite faiths are related to each other and span a range of styles from very conservative (noticeable in their dress) to fairly modern. The Amish are the most conservative and the Mennonites the more modern.

    Holmes County, Ohio*
    Berlin
    Millersburg
    Walnut Creek

    Elkhart County, Indiana*
    Nappanee
    VT Travel pages

    Carlisle Inn Farmstead Restaurant
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    Sullivan's Island Lighthouse has an Elevator- 1962

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 22, 2011

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    The Charleston Lighthouse on Sullivan's Island is a very unusual looking lighthouse. At first glance it seems just like many other lighthouses, but it is a 40 ft aluminum (steel-framed) trapezoidal tower with overhanging lantern. It was originally painted orange and white. Now the top half is black, the lower half white. I knew that I couldn't get into the lighthouse itself, but one of the places I took my grandchildren was Sullivan's Island to visit Fort Moultrie, and to take photos of this lighthouse while close to it on land.

    This is the last lighthouse built by the federal government and the only U.S. lighthouse with an elevator and air conditioning. It was designed by a young architect named Jack Graham, who was serving in the Coast Guard. He based his design on the triangle which is the strongest structural shape.

    He designed the tower with an elevator to reduce accidents on stairs. The elevator ride takes 74-seconds. After the elevator ride, it is still necessary to scale a 25-foot vertical ladder to reach the lantern room, where a powerful light source is housed. When first activated on June 15, 1962, the lighthouse featured an amazing 28 million candlepower light, produced by carbon arc lamps costing $900 apiece, that was the second brightest in the western hemisphere. This powerful beam proved dangerous to its keepers and bothersome to its neighbors. In order to access the lantern room when the powerful lamps were lit, keepers were required to don an asbestos welding suit. To pacify neighbors, plate steel was installed in the landward side of the lantern room. In 1972, the light was downgraded to just over a million candlepower. Even so, visitors to the light were required to sign a release because of the danger involved in negotiating the vertical ladder to the lantern room.

    In May 2008, the Coast Guard agreed to transfer ownership of the lighthouse to the National Park Service, which already owned the Sullivan's Island Lifesaving Station next door. The formal transfer was made at a ceremony on November 8.

    Located on I'on Avenue off SC 703 in Sullivan's Island.

    Site open, tower closed (the base is occasionally opened); group tours can be arranged. Owner: National Park Service.
    Site manager: Fort Sumter National Monument.

    Sullivan
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    Fort Carroll

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    As we sail up the Patapsco, we pass Fort Carroll. This man made island of 3.5 acres was started after the War of 1812, because it was felt that Fort McHenry was too close to the city for adequate defense. Robert E. Lee, who also was responsible for constructing Fort Wool in Hampton Roads, was the first construction engineer. After Lee left to be superintendant of West Point, construction [was] hampered by lack of funding and the difficulty of building such a heavy structure on soft sand. On October 8, 1850 the fort was officially named after Charles Carroll (1737-1832), a Maryland political leader and the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence.

    In 1854 a lighthouse was built on the ramparts to mark the turn from the Brewerton Channel to the Fort McHenry Channel leading in and out of Baltimore Harbor.

    The Fort was not yet completed in 1861, but was armed, and was also manned during the Spanish American War in 1898. Also in 1898 a new lighthouse (still seen today) was built, and it was automated in 1920 and then discontinued sometime between 1931 and 1945.

    The Army abandoned the fort in 1920 and moved all the equipment to Fort Howard which is now a VA Hospital, which we also see when we sail up the Patapsco.

    The Coast Guard used the fort during World War II. Someone bought the island intending to make a casino out of it, but unfortunately the island lies in Baltimore County instead of Anne Arundel County (on the south side of the river) where a casino would have been legal.

    The island is now a nesting place for many birds such as gulls and cormorants. herons (including the black crowned night heron) and egrets, and has become a defacto wildlife sanctuary. Hundreds of nests cover the island: the island has become home to a world-class rookery, the most diverse colony of species within 100 miles. The problem lies in the trees where the birds nest which may be threatening Fort Carroll's structural integrity. The quandary has been whether to save the fort or keep the birds.

    Key Bridge and the Fort Carroll island Looking back at the Key Bridge N 39��12.872 W076��31.193 (USCGS Another view of Fort Carroll from the west Porthole screen painting of Fort Carroll
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    Bald Head or Old Baldy (1818)

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Originally I confused the name of this lighthouse - I thought it could not POSSIBLY be Bald HEAD - it must be Bald Hill. But it really is called Bald Head. It looks to me like it has leoprosy or is has been designed by some overenthusiastic camo painter.

    The first lighthouse was built here in 1796. The current lighthouse "Old Baldy," was build 110 feet tall in 1818 about a mile from the ocean. The light is not centered on the top. It was never effective at warning ships away from Frying Pan Shoals at the entrance of the Cape Fear River. It is the oldest standing lighthouse on the NC coast.

    Confederate forces disabled it in January, 1865, prior to losing control of the Cape Fear River in the battle at Fort Fisher. In the early 1900s, the Bald Head light was downgraded to a low-intensity, steady light, and was finally discontinued in 1935. From 1941 to 1958, Old Baldy produced a radio beacon to direct ships into the Cape Fear River Channel in times of fog and bad weather. Today, it emits a long steady beam as a restored historical site on Bald Head Island.

    It is a thirty-minute ferry ride from ndigo Marina at Southport to Bald Head Island. Cars are not allowed, but golf carts can be rented on the island or it is a short walk to the lighthouse. It is open to the public.

    Old Baldy from the Cape Fear River & night inset
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