One of the best known old style brick towers is the lighthouse at Ocracoke village on North Carolina's Outer Banks. Winslow Lewis lost the contract for this 65-footer to Noah Porter, another New Englander. Porter's work, completed in 1823, has held up well over the years. The photo shows the two most characteristic features of the old style design. The tower is bluntly conical, and the lantern is somewhat off-center because it is positioned over the top of the spiral stairway. The original birdcage lantern is gone, replaced by a mid-nineteenth-century lantern having distinctive trapezoidal windowpanes. The lantern was designed for a fourth order Fresnel lens installed in 1854; this lens was replaced with another fourth order optic in 1895, and that lens remains in use today. The tower's brickwork was later covered with a stucco-like mortar, painted white. Several other old style brick towers have received similar treatments.
"Images of America: North Carolina Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations" by John Hairr is available for purchase in our online gift shop.