CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A portion of a 150-year-old brick fence that once surrounded the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has been exposed by ocean waves that carved a cliff into the sand, The National Park Service said.
The once-elaborate fence was finished in 1871 when the lighthouse was a year old and it was left behind when the lighthouse was moved inland in 1990 to protect it from sea level rise, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday.
Park spokesman Michael Barber said the fence foundation was buried at the time of the lighthouse move, and part of it was removed to make room for a path to relocate the lighthouse.
Remnants of the fence are protected by the federal government as “exposed cultural debris” and must be left in place, the park service said, meaning collecting pieces as souvenirs is illegal.
The fence originally extended 45 feet (13 meters) from the base of the lighthouse and now stands as a reminder of what experts feared would happen if the lighthouse had not been moved. It's now 1,500 feet (457 meters) from the shore.
The first Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was finished in 1803 and replaced in 1870 with a tower that rises 198.49 feet, park historians report.