History burns bright at Bodie Island

Capt. Anthony Popiel is pictured here speaking at the relighting ceremony for the Bodie Island Lighthouse Station, April 18, 2013. The Bodie Island Lighthouse had been unlit for the past three years while undergoing repairs and restoration. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Capt. Anthony Popiel is pictured here speaking at the relighting ceremony for the Bodie Island Lighthouse Station, April 18, 2013. The Bodie Island Lighthouse had been unlit for the past three years while undergoing repairs and restoration. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Post written by PA3 David Weydert

The light at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Station once again pierces the darkness of the Atlantic Ocean, April 18, 2013, after three years of being extinguished when the lighthouse underwent repairs and restoration.

At an evening ceremony attended by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society, the National Park Service and local guests, descendents of past lighthouse keepers relit the light.

A Coast Guard color guard from Sector North Carolina region stands in formation at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Station during their relighting ceremony, April 18, 2013.  The Bodie Island Lighthouse has been unlit for the past three years while undergoing repairs and restoration. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Capt. Anthony Popiel.

A Coast Guard color guard from Sector North Carolina region stands in formation at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Station during their relighting ceremony, April 18, 2013. The Bodie Island Lighthouse has been unlit for the past three years while undergoing repairs and restoration. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Capt. Anthony Popiel.

One such descendent attending the ceremony was Capt. George Bonner of the Coast Guard. A native of Manteo, N.C., Bonner watched with pride as his children helped reactivated the light that their great-great-great-grandfather, Lighthouse Keeper Peter Gregory Gallop was in charge of.

“I’m definitely proud,” said Bonner. “It’s a beautiful light and a symbol of pride for the community. It’s great to see what the park service has done with the light, to restore it and preserve it.”

Bonner’s ancestor, Peter Gallop served as the lighthouse keeper from approximately 1878 to 1906, the longest-serving lighthouse keeper of the Bodie Island Lighthouse.

“My mom and my aunts would talk about their great-grandfather [Peter Gregory],” said Bonner. “Their grandmother was actually born in the lighthouse [keeper’s quarters].”

The Bodie Island Lighthouse, as it currently stands, is the third lighthouse constructed in the Bodie Island region.

The first lighthouse, constructed in 1847, was a 54-foot tower built without a solid foundation, and as a result, was abandoned in 1859 after it started leaning. The second lighthouse was constructed nearby but only lasted until 1861 when retreating Confederate troops blew it up to deny its use to the Union.

Then, that sandy stretch of the Atlantic Ocean stayed dark for more than ten years until the third and current lighthouse was constructed in 1872.

Capt. George Bonner, his wife Andrea and their there children, Logan, Lea, and Lanely, are pictured here in front of the Bodie Island Lighthouse Station at the relighting ceremony, April 18, 2013.Bonner and his children are descendents of  Peter Gregory Gallop, who served as the Bodie Island Lighthouse Keeper from 1878 to 1906.  U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Capt. George Bonner, his wife Andrea and their there children, Logan, Lea, and Lanely, are pictured here in front of the Bodie Island Lighthouse Station at the relighting ceremony, April 18, 2013.Bonner and his children are descendents of Peter Gregory Gallop, who served as the Bodie Island Lighthouse Keeper from 1878 to 1906. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

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