Ocracoke started out with some notoriety with shipwrecked English sailors in 1585. Even so it became a very busy inlet because it was the most navigable between different port cities on the East Coast. With all of the boat traffic a lighthouse was clearly needed. In 1794, the first lighthouse was constructed, but was later destroyed by lightning in 1818. The new lighthouse was built on the south end of the island in 1822. Built of solid brick it is 75 feet tall and is the second oldest operating lighthouse in the nation. The grounds are open (9 AM to 5 PM everyday) to the public, although the building is not.