The Cape Light: Away from the Edge

The Cape Light: Away from the Edge
By Scott Mason, WRAL-TV

Imagine lifting up and moving the tallest lighthouse in America – the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse – 208 feet high, 10 million pounds of brick and granite. It is a structural masterpiece, moving the lighthouse an engineering marvel.

WRAL-TV5 documents the move in a one-hour special, The Cape Light: Away From The Edge. It is a sequel to WRAL’s The Cape Light which aired in December, when two opposing groups were battling over whether to move the tower. But the move finally did get underway, and this latest documentary picks up where the other left off. WRAL photographers have been on site every day since March 1, capturing the painstaking process. They were there when workers cut huge granite boulders from beneath the beacon. They witnessed the drama of the light’s initial inch up and the thrill as it began its journey half a mile back from the ocean.

The Cape Light: Away From The Edge focuses not only on the move, but also on the men who made it happen. They have their own stories to tell. One worker explains how the light saved his life. And there’s still the controversy – it did not end with the move. There are some who are still bitter, who believe their tower should never have been touched. There’s also the light’s colorful history – the story of the man most responsible for building the beacon 130 years ago. Dexter Stetson is a man history forgot. There is only the masterpiece he left behind, a memorial to Stetson, a monument to mankind. And now it is a monument to the men who moved it, who did what many thought could never be done.

Just how did they do it? The documentary takes you there every step of the way, every inch up, every foot back. It takes you along the light’s incredible journey and into the lives of the men altering the landscape of history. The drama is in the details and in the latest chapter of America’s greatest sentinel to the sea, The Cape Light: Away From The Edge.

WRAL-TV and the UNC Center for Public Television will simulcast the historic relighting of the Hatteras Lighthouse in a 1-hour special on Saturday, Sept. 4 at 8pm. In addition to the broadcast, WRAL’s coverage is available on WRAL OnLine,, and through an exclusive CD-ROM. The Cape Light CD-ROM is an interactive, educational CD that documents the lighthouse move in audio, video and still images. It also contains an interactive timeline with lighthouse history. The CD, and a VHS copy of the special, can be ordered online by visiting the WRAL iShop, or by calling 800-217-6161. The CD sells for $10; the tape sells for $15. (Note: The 800 number will not be active until Friday, Sept.3rd).

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