Price's Creek Lighthouse
mouth of Price's Creek where it meets Cape fear River, Southport, NC, USA
Price's Creek Lighthouse Southport Reviews
Price's Creek Lighthouse Oct 10, 2009
Inaccessible and hardly impressive, Price’s Creek Lighthouse is still a noteworthy beacon because of its history. Just twenty feet tall, the lighthouse rests on the shores of the Cape Fear River and not on the ocean. It was constructed just before 1850 and is the sole survivor of a series of eight lights which guided merchants up the river to Wilmington. The lighthouses where strategically paired with a taller tower sitting roughly 800 feet upstream (and about 35 feet high) – if one light was directly beneath the other, the mariner was assured of being in the center of the channel.
The relevance of this system was during the Civil War, when they were utilized by southern blockade runners avoiding the patrol of Union warships (Wilmington would be the last port to be isolated by the North in early 1865). When Fort Fisher, the confederate bastion protecting the river, finally fell the confederates hastily trashed the lighthouses so they couldn’t be used. The Price’s Creek light is the only one left and because it sits on private land, there isn’t any way to visit.
Unless you have a boat, the only way you get to glimpse the short stack of bricks is by taking the ferry between Fort Fisher and Southport. My mom and I did just that last weekend, affording the opportunity to document this remnant of the past.
Part of the North Carolina travel blog
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Prices Creek Lighthouse from the Southport Ferry Nov 17, 2000
We saw this lighthouse for the first time when we were on the Cape Fear River in the Intercoastal Waterway on our boat. We couldn't see it that well and at first thought it was some kind of smokestack. When we took the Fort Fisher ferry to Southport, we went much closer to it and I was able to take pictures. It was only about 200 yards away as the ferry approached the Southport landing. We did the ferry trip three times because we had car trouble in Charleston and left our car there, and rented a car. We had to go back for it.
The reason I thought it was an oven or smokestack was because it is just a brick shell of a lighthouse. Price Creek is the only remaining one of the original eight lighthouses along the Cape Fear River, which were authorized by Congress in 1848. The lights were constructed along the 25-mile stretch of the Cape Fear River between Oak Island and Wilmington. There were two lighthouses at Oak Island, two at Upper Jettee, two at Prices Creek and the other two were at Orton's Point and at Campbell's Island.
The Price's Creek Lighthouse which is only 20 feet tall was the smaller of the two lights at Price's Creek. During the Civil War, Price's Creek Lighthouse served as a Confederate signal station, aiding blockade runners in navigating the river and being identified to the shore batteries. As long as Fort Fisher stood, blockade runners could get supplies up the river. When the fort fell, All the lights were destroyed by the Confederates. By the late 1880s, all of the river lights had been replaced by unattended beacons.
Price's Creek Lighthouse sits on private property. The property owner has repaired the Civil War cannon damage and structural decay, but the lighthouse is still missing its glass and iron lamp top.
Part of the 2000 - First Time Down the ICW travel blog
Part of the list Lighthouses of the USA