The Double Keepers Quarters of the Ocracoke Light Station in December 2023. Photo by Joy Crist.

Selected demolition has begun at the Ocracoke Light Station’s Double Keeper’s Quarter as a preliminary step in eventually raising the building to protect it from future soundside flooding.

“Stoops to porches and other entrances have started to be removed,” stated the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) in a recent update. “Interesting finds during the removal of those porches include shells, coal, and brick in what we thought were solid concrete pours. Past construction shows how we use what we can find to build!”

The heart-shaped tool that was found during the archeological dig. CHNS photo.

The demolition phase entails much more than the simple removal of materials that will be in the way of future improvements.

Due to the Ocracoke Double Keeper’s Quarters being in its original 1823 location, any ground disturbance activity is closely monitored by the National Seashore’s archeological team and partners.

“An archeological dig was conducted exploring the existing conditions of the brick foundation at two locations to help determine means and methods of lifting the building,” stated the CHNS update. “During that process, it was revealed that the original side of the building does not have any footings under its brick foundation…

“A few artifacts were [also] collected and brought back to Manteo for further investigation, including a heart-shaped tool.”

Built in 1823, the Ocracoke Light Station has been closed off to visitors since the last keeper left in 1950s, but this will change once the upcoming project is complete, as the first floor of the Double Keepers’ Quarters will be transformed into a Visitors Center.

There are a number of steps to complete during the multi-faceted project, and planned improvements include the following:

  • Raise the Double Keepers’ Quarters an estimated five feet to protect against future storm surge.
  • Raise the Store House, Carpenter’s Shop, Generator House, and Privy by approximately two feet on concrete masonry piers with concrete footers.
  • Repair interior and exterior storm damage and repaint all structures.
  • Remediate all structures for mold, lead-based paint, and asbestos-containing material.
  • Install a pathway from the existing boardwalk to a custom lift to the Double Keepers’ Quarters. The pathway and custom lift will meet Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) accessibility standards.

Contractor Terra Site Constructors LLC of Front Royal, Virginia, was awarded the contract for the $3.6 million project on Sept. 25, 2023, and the renovation work began in earnest at the start of 2024.

Visitors to the site should expect the entire area to be under construction for a minimum of twelve months. During the year-long project, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore will provide project updates through news releases and social media accounts, and the public can learn more about the Double Keeper’s Quarters and the project in general on the CHNS website.

The first floor of the Double Keepers Quarters in December 2023, before work began. Photo by Joy Crist.
The first floor of the Double Keepers Quarters in December 2023, before work began. Photo by Joy Crist.

The post Demolition phase begins for extensive Ocracoke Light Station restoration project appeared first on Island Free Press.

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