north carolina’s frying pan tower
August 23, 2015Brunswick Forest
Thirty-four miles off the North Carolina coast, a unique structure stands alone in the vast Atlantic, rising 85 feet above the water’s surface. The Frying Pan Tower was originally constructed to help guide ships through the dangerously shallow Frying Pan Shoals, but today serves as a tourist attraction and piece of military history.
In 1854, a lightship was stationed two miles off the southern coast of Bald Head Island to help guide large ships through the shallow waters that, in parts, only run about 35 feet deep. The lightship was manned almost constantly for 110 years until a permanent steel structure was built in the 1960’s. This new tower was named the USCG Frying Pan Light Station and was utilized by the Coast Guard until 2004, when it was abandoned because modern ship navigation systems made it obsolete. The structure was sold on a government auction site and is now privately owned.
The tower is being restored with the help of donations and work from volunteers. Because of the volatile nature of the ocean and weather in the Atlantic, repairs are ongoing to the old steel structure but owner, David Neal, is committed to preserving this piece of American history.
VISIT THE TOWER
There are eight rooms in the Frying Pan Tower that can be rented out on an individual basis. For rates and availability, visit the Frying Pan Tower website.