From a Fire on the Beach to a Diamond in the Sky: the Evolution of Lighthouses in North Carolina

New Bern Historical Society’s Richard K. Lore Lecture, Sunday, November 16 at 2:00pm

NEW BERN, NC, This year’s annual lecture will be presented by maritime historian Kevin Duffus, at Cullman Performance Hall, NC History Center, Sunday, November 16 at 2pm. Kevin is a well-known researcher, author of four books, and documentary filmmaker having produced four award-winning documentary films on North Carolina maritime history. A very popular speaker in New Bern, Kevin has presented at three other Richard K. Lore lectures. His From a Fire on the Beach to a Diamond in the Sky, will examine the evolution of lighthouses and light-keeping in North Carolina. 

With historic photographs, drawings and maps, Kevin will present a wide-ranging discussion of North Carolina’s rich heritage of guiding mariners, a tradition which began nearly five centuries ago. He will discuss the earliest recorded effort to guide a ship ashore, the earliest observed shipwreck on the Carolina coast, the primitive methods used during colonial times to establish beacons and channel markers, and how the architecture of lighthouses and keeper’s dwellings evolved over two centuries. You will be amazed by how the state’s lighthouses and beacons were blown-up, burned, and battered, and how lightships were sunk by wars and storms. Duffus will also describe shocking little-known stories of keepers, some who were hired for their political payoffs, one who was accused of purposely wrecking ships, and others who helped steal their own lenses. 

Join the New Bern Historical Society November 16 for this free event. No tickets or reservations are necessary. Immediately following the lecture there will be a reception in Mattocks Hall. This lecture is presented by the New Bern Historical Society in partnership with Tryon Palace, and is made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

New Bern Historical Society

511 Broad Street

New Bern, NC 28560


Lynne Harakal, Executive Director