Old Baldy Foundation
Old Baldy Lighthouse & Smith Island Museum of History
For nearly 200 years, North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse, Old Baldy, has marked the mouth of the historic Cape Fear River. Today, thousands of visitors make the exciting journey each year to beautiful Bald Head Island to learn about the island’s rich maritime past at the Smith Island Museum of History and experience Old Baldy up close – including the climb to the top for a breathtaking view of the surrounding area’s outstanding natural beauty.
Old Baldy was listed on National Register of Historic Places in 1975. In 1985 a group of dedicated individuals founded the Old Baldy Foundation, a public not-for-profit 501-c3 organization dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of Old Baldy Lighthouse. The Old Baldy Foundation is governed by a nine member board of directors and managed by an executive director. The lighthouse and property on which Old Baldy stands and the current Smith Island Museum were deeded over to the Old Baldy Foundation by the Mitchell Family in 1987.
For years visitors to Old Baldy could climb literally “at their own risk”. In 1991 the Old Baldy Foundation launched a campaign, “Steps to the Top”, to repair the steps to the top of the lighthouse. Between 1991 and 1995 Old Baldy Foundation raised over $125,000 for renovation efforts.
In 1997 plans were developed to recreate one of the three keepers’ cottages that stood on the site. The Old Baldy Foundation undertook a loan to finance the building of this one and a half story building. It now holds a small gift shop, museum exhibits and office space for staff. In 2000, upon opening this museum and gift shop the Old Baldy Foundation started to charge admission to see the museum and climb Old Baldy. Those fees, and the proceeds from the gift shop, are set aside for maintenance and long term preservation work.
To contact the Old Baldy Foundation, call 910.457.7481 To view Old Baldy's website, CLICK HERE.