The Dismal Swamp Canal

With the opening of the Dismal Swamp Canal, maritime traffic on the Roanoke increased so much that the U.S. Congress appropriated $10,000—about $342,000 in 2023 dollars—for a lightship, or floating lighthouse, to be anchored in the Albemarle Sound at the mouth of the Roanoke River. The Roanoke River Lightship was built in Elizabeth City and went on station in 1835.​ ​

The dismal swamp canal map.

the Roanoke River Lightship​

The Roanoke River Lightship held its post at the mouth of the Albemarle from 1835 to 1861, steadfastly guarding the waters. 

With gratitude to David Gobel of Charleston, South Carolina, whose skilled hands crafted this model of the Roanoke River Lightship, we honor a chapter of maritime history steeped in bravery and dedication.

Roanoke River and Albemarle Sound Light Stations & their Keepers.