Hatteras Lighthouse was activated in December 1870. The light towers 208 feet in height and is located 1,500 feet from the water's edge. With its distinctive black and white candy-cane design, it soon became a landmark of the Carolina coastline. It is the tallest lighthouse in the United States, and has served as a primary navigational aid for mariners rounding the treacher-ous Diamond Shoals. Because of its historical importance to the region and the nation, the lighthouse and its associated station buildings have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.