Perched over the water along Manteo’s waterfront boardwalk, the picturesque Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is perfectly suited to the town’s maritime setting. This Victorian stick-style lighthouse is a reproduction of the third Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, which never stood on the Manteo waterfront but in the Croatan Sound from 1877 to 1955. Out there in the sound, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse keepers lived on the lonely lighthouse platform and operated the light to help mariners navigate safely. This replica was built by the Town of Manteo and dedicated in September 2004. Inside the lighthouse are seasonal exhibits along with some boat-related exhibits, including the boat models of late local boat builder Warren O'Neal.
Also on this site, the Town of Manteo is keeping the century-old tradition of the Storm Warning Tower alive with the Manteo Weather Tower. This particular tower dates back to 1904, when the U.S. Weather Bureau set up its first Storm Warning Tower in Manteo. Using flags by day and lights by night, the towers provided a useful service to local residents, especially mariners and fishermen, but certainly for others as well. A. E. Drinkwater, the town’s telegrapher, was the weather observer, and the tower was located first at the downtown courthouse then at a location on the waterfront and then at Drinkwater’s home, where it stayed for decades until the Town of Manteo obtained it in 2005. The tower on the Manteo waterfront today is the original 1904 tower with the original signal lights and a bit of refurbishing. The Town of Manteo’s dock master changes the flags and lights according to weather reports, and locals and visitors enjoy interpreting the signals. If you need to brush up on your weather-warning flag symbols, a legend for the flags is available at the base of the tower and also on postcards available at the Maritime Museum and at Manteo's Town Hall on Budleigh Street.