Touring the Outer Banks where history was made
By Tom Morrow
A few years ago, I visited the Outer Banks on the extreme coastal edge of North Carolina. Unless you’re in Maine, you can’t get much further east in the United States than standing on the white sandy beaches of this thin piece of land facing the Atlantic.
The Outer Banks is a string of small islands stretching from near the Virginia border to the north near the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay, down to Wilmington, N.C. One of the largest of these islands is Bodie Island, which includes the communities of Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head.
Of course, we all know Kitty Hawk was where the Wright Brothers made their historic series of flights in December 1902-03, but the actual site today is in the town of Kill Devil Hills, now an incorporated city. Back in 1903, the entire area was known as “Kitty Hawk,” so referring to both locations is correct.
The National Parks Service has developed a wonderful visitors’ center dedicated to the two brothers. The distance of those four-powered flights are marked in stone, and the rail they launched their powered flying machine is still there.
By the way, those four powered distances are: 120 feet, 175 feet, 200 feet, and 852 feet.
The arlier glider flights, beginning in 1902, were from Kill Devil Hill, which is to the south of the markers. When the Parks Service began its preservation in the late 20s, they discovered the sandy Kill Devil Hill had shifted south some 450 feet from where the brothers had actually launched their gliders. To preserve the entire area, grass was planted to hold the sandy hill in place.
LOST COLONY – The mystery of the Lost Colony on nearby Roanoke Island is the primary story being told at another National Parks visitors’ center at Fort Raleigh, a few miles south of Kill Devil Hill.
In 1585, the first English settlers in the New World were sent by England’s Sir Walter Raleigh to what was then known as Virginia. When the colony was running short of supplies, a ship was sent back to England. When it returned, to Fort Raleigh, they found the community was abandoned. For years searches turned up nothing. To this day, no more information is known about the fate of the colony.
SIDE NOTE – Famed actor Andy Griffith lived and died a few blocks from the Lost Colony’s Fort Raleigh on Roanoke Island, which is in the Dare County seat town of Mateo, N.C.
THAT’s A LOT! — A man was sitting in a cafe next to a woman engrossed in her newspaper, which held a headline blaring: “12 Brazilian Soldiers Killed.” The woman shook her head, then turned to the man and asked, “How many is a Brazilian?”
TO QUESTION — The Democrat National Committee is mad at Russia because the Dems ‘think‘ the Russians manipulated our election by exposing that the DNC was manipulating our election? Hmmmm.
TO PONDER — Some minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
FIND ‘UM – You can order any of my novels online at Amazon.com. For a list, just look for my name.
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