With its signature black and white stripes, the Bodie Island Lighthouse stands 156 feet tall. Its sweeping beam of light can be seen for up to 19 miles at sea and is in need of repair.
"In the last three years we have a lot of pieces that have fallen off the light house, a lot of rust," said Doug Stover, a historian.
The renovation project includes replacing the windows and balconies and all the metal; repairing all 214 stairs; refurbishing the marble floors; extensive work to the lantern...and even a fresh coat of paint.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse is one of four working lighthouses in the Outerbanks with a long history of folklore and mystery.
"We've heard anywhere from bodies washing ashore to potentially a land owner who's name was Bodie so we still don't know," said Stover
One person who may know is 94-year-old John Gaskill, whose father was the last principal keeper. For 21 years his family worked the lighthouse.
"My early chore there was filtering the kerosene for the light for the night," Gaskill said. "It was three gallons, best I can remember. I would measure it for him; that was my first job."
Other jobs like cutting the grass and painting the lighthouse kept Gaskill busy. When he turned 17, he enlisted in the Navy and moved away. In his retirement he has returned to the lighthouse as a volunteer--perhaps to clear up a few mysteries/
"I lived here from 1919 to 1933," he said. "Practically every summer--at least parts of every summer--and never knew of a body washing ashore."
And although most ships these days use modern technology like GPS for guidance, it's still nice to know the Bodie Island Lighthouse and its beacon will once again keep a silent watch over the waters, which are known as the graveyard of the Atlantic.
"It will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up to think of what went on here years and years and years ago," said Larry Cooley, a visitor at the lighthouse.
After the renovations are completed the lighthouse will be open to the public.