Construction of the first Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was authorized by Congress in 1794. Price recounts the history of the lighthouse from its construction in 1803 until it was demolished in 1867 in order to build a taller one. A number of problems connected with the structure are listed. The main problem was finding a builder for the job. Later problems included illnesses of the contractor and his crew, poor oil quality, and erosion of the lighthouse base.