Boardwalk Leading to Shore Jockey's Ridge State Park Sand Dunes A Horseshoe Crab Washes up on the Beach Near Salvo Click for Cape Hatteras, North Carolina Forecast Windsurfing Ocracoke Light I Surfers Silhouetted on Jockeys Ridge in Jockey Ridge State Park
Outer Banks History Fun
A Brief Early History of the Outer Banks

Driving from Currituck to Kitty Hawk in the 1930's; . courtesy
of the Outer Banks History Center.............See More History
Wind, Waves and Fisherman in an Suv on a Beach in the Outer BanksSunrise on Beach, Outer Banks, NCBodie Island Lighthouse, Part of the Cape Hatteras National SeashoreCurrituck Light IOrville Wright Taking Plane For 1st Motorized Flight as Brother Wilbur Wright Looks at Kitty Hawk
Historic Photographs & Videos of the Outer Banks Area
Native Americans on the Outer Banks
Indian Village of Pomeiooc Indian Village of Pomeiooc
Buy this Giclee Print at
The Arrival of The Englishmen in Virginia
The Arrival of The Englishmen in Virginia
Buy this Giclee Print at
Before the European Explored arrived, the lands around the Outer Banks were populated with native Americans who lived in villages, practiced farming and fishing. These drawings were prepared by artist John White, a visitor to the area when the English first arrived. The village of Secoton was believed to have been located near present day Manns Harbor. Far from being uncivilized savages, the local indians had developed a working culture that benifited their entire community.
The Indian village of Secoton, book illustration, c.1570-80
The Indian village of Secoton, book
illustration , c.1570-80
Buy this Giclee Print at
Map of Raleigh's Virginia
Map of Raleigh's Virginia
Buy this Giclee Print at
Indians Fishing
Indians Fishing
Buy this Giclee Print at
Indian Village of Secoton
Indian Village of Secoton
Buy this Giclee Print at
Indian Conjuror
Indian Conjuror
Buy this Giclee Print at
Indian Priest
Indian Priest
Buy this Giclee Print at
Indian Man and Woman Eating Indian Man and Woman Eating
Buy this Giclee Print at
Indians Dancing
Indians Dancing
Buy this Giclee Print at
Life After European Exploitation and Settlement
Long before the Wright brothers made Kitty Hawk famous with their flight experiments, this area experienced a rich history. Native American Indians first settled on the Outer Banks over a thousand years ago.
The area was visited by French and Spanish explorers in the early 1500s. The English Captain Arthur Barlowe arrived here in 1584. This explorer traveled to Albemarle Sound through an inlet that was located at the present day site of Jeanguite Creek in Southern Shores. The Captain explored Kitty Hawk as well as the Roanoke Island area. The following description by Captain Arthur Barlowe about the area comes from David Sticks excellent book entitled, “The Outer Banks of North Carolina”.

“Wee viewed the lande about us, being…very sandie, and lowe towards the water side, but so full of grapes, as the very beating, and surge of the Sea overflowed them, of which we founde such plenty…that I thinke in all the world the like aboundance is not to be founde..
We passed from the Sea side towards the toppes of those hils next adioyning, being but of meane height, and from thence wee behelde the Sea on both sides to the North, and to the South, finding no ende any ofboth waies. This lande laye stretching it selfe to the West, which after wee founde to be but an Island ot twentie leagues long, and not above sixe miles broade. Under the banks or hill, whereon we stoode, we behelde the vallies replenished with goodly Cedar trees, and having discharged our harquebushot, such a flocke of Cranes(the most part white)arose under us, with such a crye redoubled by many Ecchoes, as if an armie of men had showted all together.
This Island had many goodly woods, full of Deere, Conies, Hares, and Fowle, even in the middest of Summer, in incredible aboundance…and the highest, and reddest Cedars of the world”.
In 1584 the first English colony in the new world was established at Roanoke Island, less than 20 miles from Kitty Hawk. This was 34 years before the Jamestown colony in Virginia was established. The settlement didn't prosper, and the starving colonists left In 1585 aboard a ship in the visiting fleet of Captain Sir Francis Drake. Drake was visiting the Kitty Hawk area after a successful cruise plundering spanish treasure ships. This is the same Captain, that in 1588 defeated the Spanish Armada. The King of Spain sent the armada against England in an effort to put a stop to the English habit of raiding spanish gold ships sailing from the new world back to Spain. Drakes victory against the Spanish, signaled the decline of Spain and the ascent of England as a world power.
That first group of settlers were replaced in 1587, by another group of colonist on the north end of Roanoke Island. This attempt was organized by Sir Walter Raleigh and produced Virginia Dare, the first English child born in America. This colony vanished into an unknown fate. When re-supply ships finally arrived in 1590 delayed by the war with Spain, no colonists were to be found. The only clue being the word "Croatoan" carved into a tree. Archaeologists are still attempting to solve the mystery of the lost colony. Raleigh would later meet his death in the famous Tower of London for other misdeeds of his time.
Years later, the area was ravaged by Black Beard the pirate. Eventually, Lieutenant Robert Maynard of HMS Pearl began the hunt for Blackbeard, which led to an engagement in Ocracoke Harbor. In a brief but fierce battle, Blackbeard was defeated and suffered his head being hung from the bowsprit of the warship. Since then the North Carolina coast has remained relatively free from pirates.
The famous union ironclad Monitor fought the merimac just a few miles north of Kitty Hawk, and later journeyed past this coastal area towards its tragic sinking in a storm off Cape Hatteras about sixty miles away.
Some locals say that the name Kitty Hawk is derived from the local Native American name for goose hunting season: "killy honker" or "killy honk." Others say the name evolved from mosquito hawks that populated the area, or from ospreys that preyed on the area's kitty wren.
Looking for a remote site, away from prying eyes, Orville and Wilbur Wright came here to experiment with gliders after hearing that the "winds were always steady, generally from 10 to 20 miles per hour ... and not a tree or a bush anywhere to break the wind current." The Wright brothers lived in Kitty Hawk Village and conducted many of their experiments there, but it was actually in Kill Devil Hills, about three miles south, that they made their historic first engine powered flight.
Kitty Hawk's initiation as a vacation destination took root in the 1930s, when the Wright Memorial Bridge Company created a three-mile wooden span across the Currituck Sound to the Outer Banks. Today, only a few of the first cottages built on the beach can still be seen due to the ever-changing shoreline. Since 1993, scores of houses have been swept away during hurricanes and nor'easters.
Although Kitty Hawk owes much to the Wright Brothers for bringing attention to the area, history has touched this area in many other ways that few places can compare with. Thanks for visiting our history page and please enjoy the selected pictures that represent only a part of the areas rich history. editor
For more information about the Outer Banks, I suggest “The Outer Banks of North Carolina” by David Stick.
English courtier, navigator, and historian Sir Walter Raleigh (below) sponsored the first English colonists in North America. The settlers established a village on Roanoke Island (below), off the coast of present-day North Carolina. That colony saw the birth of the first english child ,Virginia Dare before vanishing to become the mystery of the lost colony. Sir Walter was later imprisoned in the Tower of London and beheaded in 1618
Sir Francis Drake
The Golden Hind. Drake's famous ship;
and a visitor to the Kitty Hawk area.
Drawings by John White showing
residents of the Outer Banks about 1585
Indian in Body Paint
Indian in Body Paint
Buy this Giclee Print at
 Indian Woman
Indian Woman
Buy this Giclee Print at
Outer Banks, NC from Space   - ©Spaceshots
Outer Banks, NC...
24 in. x 36 in.
Buy This at

Indian ritual dance from the village of Secoton, book illustration, c.1570-80
Indian ritual dance from the village of Secoton, book illustration, c.1570-80
Buy this Giclee Print at

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at Sunrise
Cape Hatteras...
Buy This at
The Elizabeth II at left is a composite design of a 16th-century ship and is named after one of the seven vessels that sailed the ocean when Sir Walter Raleigh first brought colonists to Roanoke Island in 1587. The ship is docked in Shallowbag Bay in Manter North Carolina. Tour the ship while costumed guides portraying mariners and colonists bring the history of Raleigh’s voyages to life. Roanoke Festival Park

The world at about the time Roanoke Island was settled.

Kitty Hawk Lifesaving Crew about 1903
Wright Brothers with their
glider at Kitty Hawk

All of the historic areas in Kitty Hawk can be visited by bicycle. Since the Wright Brothers were bicycle
this is especially appropiate for bicycle enthusiasts. Check out Kitty Hawk Cycle Co. for bicycle rentals, repairs and group rides. 261-2060

Kitty Hawk bicycle path
Bicycle path on the Woods Road.

Bicycle Historic Kitty Hawk
The major bicycle pathway runs along The Woods Road through historic Kitty Hawk. This pathway connects US 158 with Kitty Hawk Road. Starting at 158 and The Woods Road, a separate pathway runs south to Kitty Hawk Road. From Kitty Hawk Road to the Beach the bike path is a 2 foot wide apron on both sides of the road. A mile east of the Woods Road, a detour onto Moore Shore Drive takes you on the historic main road from Kitty Hawk to Nags Head. On this route you will see a monument on the right. This was the location of William Tate's home, where the Wright Brothers first stayed in Kitty Hawk. (See right column for pictures.) Moore Shore Drive continues south along Kitty Hawk Bay to the new Wright Brothers Memorial multiuse path scheduled to open in May 2004. This route winds along historic Kitty Hawk Bay toward Kill Devil Hills and the Wright Memorial National Park. For a beach ride, journey back to Kitty Hawk Road and continue east to the ocean. Crossing US158 toward the Beach Road, you will see the Black Pelican restaurant on the right. Look closely, and you will notice this was part of the old Kitty Hawk Life Saving station. (picture in right column) The Beach road can be ridden north to the historic Kitty Hawk Pier or south towards Kill Devil Hills and beyond. A note to riders; Kitty Hawk Road and the Beach road requires you to share the roadway with cars. This route can be dangerous for children and should only be taken by experienced bicyclists. The Woods Road and Kitty Hawk Bay routes have separate pathways and traverse residential roads that are less dangerous.

Above, the Kitty Hawk Life saving station about 1902. today it is part of the Black Pelican restaurant below .

Kitty Hawk Life Saving Station today.

Kitty Hawk Life Saving Station about 1900. More

Historic Judy Rand Hotel on Kitty Hawk Rd.
This was a school in early Kitty Hawk history.

Kill Devil Hills Life Saving Station
presently located in Corolla

An early Kitty Hawk Post Office in the village of Kitty Hawk. Outer Banks History Center
Wight Brothers and Their Place at Kitty Hawk
Wight Brothers and Their Place at Kitty Hawk
Buy this Art Print here
Framed   Mounted

William Tate, Post Master and family at the Kitty Hawk Post office about 1903. Today the monument below on Moore Shore Drive. recognizes the location of the post office and first house that the Wright brothers stayed when they first visited Kitty Hawk .source
Wright Brothers Flight at Kitty Hawk
Wright Brothers Flight at Kitty Hawk
24 in. x 36 in.
Buy this Art Print at
Framed   Mounted
Wright Monument

USS Monitor
Twenty-five priceless artifacts from the U.S.S. Monitor, a Civil War-era war ship, were publicly granted to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum (GAM) at a press conference held at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh Monday. GAM, located in Hatteras, received the pieces from the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Va., where the famous icon of naval history has been stored for conservation and exhibition since 1987. story
The Whalehead Club, an exquisite Hunt Club located in Corolla, 20 miles north of Kitty Hawk. Construction began in 1922, and was completed in 1925 at a cost of $383,000.00. Built by Edward Collings Knight, Jr. for his wife, Marie Louise, this ''mansion by the sea'' is the most exotic and unique of the shooting clubs. Its Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts style, signed and numbered Tiffany lighting fixtures, corduroy walls and cork flooring made it a ''comfortable'' winter retreat for the wealthy northern industrialist and his wife. Rooms carved with water lilies and morning glories, with window and door hardware to match the floral motif, further captures the eloquent beauty found throughout. It was the first home on the Outer Banks to have a basement, a swimming pool, and an elevator. Originally named ''Corolla Island'' by Mrs. Knight, the name was changed to Whalehead Club by the second owner, Ray T. Adams in the early 1950s. source

Edward Collings Knight, builder
of the Whalehead Club in Corolla

Looking west from downtown Manteo 1930s. Outer Banks History Center

Looking east from downtown Manteo 1930s. Outer Banks History Center
Buffalo City, a ghost town in Dare county. Sound Landing in Nags Head. before
there was a bridge to the Outer Banks.
The Buffalo Post Office opened for business on October 11, 1889. In it's hay day there were over 2,000 Residents. There was a hotel, Company store, and all other necessities. There were reportedly 8 Trains that came to the city. Lumber was taken by train, barge or just floated to nearby Elizabeth City. The Post office closed August 15, 1903. But, it was reopened February 29, 1908. During Prohibition Buffalo City flourished, as it was hard to get to, by any means other than boat or Train. Whiskey was a big business, and special boats were used to drag the 5 gallon "jimmy johns" tied to a "trott line" if the revenuers were spotted, the ropes were simply cut, and the whiskey would sink to the bottom. The Post Office closed for good June 11, 1947. Completly deserted about 50 years ago. source
Manteo about 1895

Guest Cottages in the Kitty Hawk area
about 1940s ? Outer Banks History Center

The roads on the Outer Banks before blacktop.
Mayor Harris welcomes Dayton Ohio cyclists
Kitty Hawk Mayor Bill Harris welcomes the Dayton Cycling Club after their amazing 900 mile ride from Dayton, Ohio to the Wright Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. more bicycling on the Outer Banks
Snowboarding 120x90
A virtual super store
for sporting goods  
125x125 CanvasOnDemand banner
Above, Kitty Hawk Bay in 1900, Picture was taken by the Wright Brothers. Below Kitty Hawk Bay as it appears today.
Two views of historic Moore Shore Drive. Above as a sandy pathway and below as the new Wright Brothers Multi-Use Path. This was a major roadway in early Kitty Hawk history.
On this sandy hilltop in Kitty Hawk, The Wright's perfected their skills of wing warping to control movement on their large gliders. This was the technical area of flight that the Wright brothers led their peers. After perfecting their warping method, This achievement was integrated into the engine powered machine. With a control method perfected, the brother's went on to become the first in getting an engine powered flying machine into the air.

Below is a picture of Moore Shore Drive about 1960, This photo was taken at the top of the dunes, close to where the Wright brothers experimented with flight. The view is to the south. Picture courtesy of Mrs. Foreman. The current route of the Wright Brothers Multi-use pathway follows this historic roadbed.

The Steamer Trenton.
The steamer Trenton was a common sight for early Kitty Hawk residents as it steamed by Kitty Hawk Bay on its route between Manteo, Nags Head and Elizabeth City. Nags Head was a major resort for wealthy planters from eastern North Carolina and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds were the major highways of the time.

Looking toward Kitty Hawk 1931. Outer Banks History Center

Looking toward Currituck County from Kitty Hawk. Outer Banks History Center
This is a good example of an early house in Kitty Hawk. Notice the kitchen to the left, separated with a walk through. This helped keep the kitchen heat out of the other parts of the home in the hot summer months.
The house on the left, viewed from the east.
Many Kitty Hawk families still earn their living as their anscesters. This is a modern crab operation.
Austin cemetery is the resting place for many famous names in Kitty Hawk history. Located near the end of Kitty Hawk Road.
Wilbur Wright in prone position on glider Photograph - Kitty Hawk, NC
Wilbur Wright in prone position on glider Photograph - Kitty Hawk, NC Buy This
Katharine Wright with Orville in Model HS Plane Photograph - Kitty Hawk, NC
Katharine Wright with Orville in Model HS Plane Photograph - Kitty Hawk, NC
Buy This
Wright Brothers' 1903 "Kitty Hawk" Motor Photograph
Wright Brothers' 1903 "Kitty Hawk" Motor Photograph
Buy This
Glider at Kitty Hawk Photograph - Kitty Hawk, NC
Glider at Kitty Hawk Photograph - Kitty Hawk, NC
Buy This
Wilbur Wright's Aeroplane
Wilbur Wright's Aeroplane
Buy this Art Print at
At left the Wright Brothers, center, one of their bicycle shops in Dayton Ohio. At right the plane on the Outer Banks.

Wilbur Wright after failed flight Dec. 14, 1903 source

First sucessful Flight on Dec. 17, 2003 source

Failed flight exactly 100 years later. Dec. 17, 2003

The attempted repeat of the Wright brothers powered flight exactly 100 years later in Kill Devil Hills. Using modern equipment to reproduce the original plane, the attempt failed because of poor wind conditions. This proved how difficult the task was for that original flight. The Wright Brothers performed their glider experiments in Kitty Hawk and their famous powered flight took place at Kill Devil Hill. The reproduction plane used in the photo is in the Ford museum.
Monument to Flight, Wright Brothers National Monument. 2003 Centennial Celebration
Kill Devil Hills

Windmills of the Outer Banks

19th century Outer Banks windmill source

Icarus Monument to a Century of Flight. located next to the Aycock Brown Welcome Center at milepost 1 in Kitty Hawk
The World's Largest Map Store!
Flying Machine Takes To The Air!
Flying Machine Takes To The Air!
12 in. x 16 in.
Buy this Art Print at
Framed   Mounted

As we contemplate our future energy needs, it helps to be guided by the past. Our need for energy has been paramount in our inability to remove ourselves from Middle Eastern oil fields and culture. This has brought about a great clash between our two cultures. One side attempting to control the resources it desperately needs to remain a super power; and the other wishing to retain their culture, and benefit from their natural resources. Read what vsitors from another great conflict found when they first came to the Outer Banks.
Union soldiers were surprised at the number of windmills along the Outer Banks when they visited the state in 1861 with the Union invasion force. Charles Johnson, a young Swede who landed at Hatteras with Hawkins' Zouaves, had these impressions of Hatteras Island: "Everything on the Island seems to be devoid of paint -dwellings, barns and windmills, of which latter there are a greater number than I supposed were in existence in the whole country."
In the 19th century, the Outer Banks and coastal North Carolina were devoid of the running water that provided power for gristmills in the Piedmont and mountain regions of the state. Instead, maritime communities turned to the most obvious natural resource at hand: wind. At that time there were about 50 windmills located on the Outer Banks. Although those windmills are long gone, the natural resources that powered them are still with us.
The Wright borthers harnessed this efficient resource in Kitty Hawk, and it is still available to us. We only need direct our minds to this important task in order to make it so.
Wind is a natural resource that does not pollute, and is owned by no one. Let’s not forget the past as we journey into the future. sources


This windmill was displayed behind the Windmill Point restaurant in Nags Head for many years. The original milling stones appear in the left photo. The windmill was moved to Island Farm on Roanoke Island during 2011
Bodie Island Lighthouse built in 1872, 156 feet tall
Below, are two photos of the historic Winks grocery located on the corner of Eckner and Virginia Dare Trail, or the "Beach Rd". in Kitty Hawk. The first photo is looking from the air toward the southwest. This picture was taken before Art's restaurant was built. The second building south of Winks was the original Kitty Hawk Fire Station, later used as a book store by noted Outer Banks author David Stick. Today, the old Fire Station is a coffee and wine shop. I think this picture was taken about 1958-60 ?. Notice that Lindberg street doesn't exist in this photo. The dark area at the top of the picture are trees. The sound is visable at the top left.

Looking southwest toward Wings Grocery 1950s.
Looking north towards Winks from the air. 1950s ?

Kitty Hawk beach and pier in background.1950s.Outer Banks History Center

Picture of Whale Skeleton at Whalebone Junction in Nags Head about 1950?
Read the History of the
Hatteras Weather Bureau Station
First US Weather Bureau Station at Hatteras
Island was built & Managed by the Army in 1874
Old advertisment for the Kitty Hawk Pier Old Advertisment for the Journey's
End Motel in Kitty Hawk..............
Great History of Ocracoke's Assembly of God
Church and Religion on Ocracoke Island
Home Surf Movie Discovered: A Hatteras Odyssey, 1975
DDuring spring break in 1975 a group of friends from frm Alexandria, VA. that included Dave Bence, Frank Dorenkamp, Brian Tissot, Pat Fulks spent a few days on the Outer Banks and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina during a trip to Florida and made a film about their adventures. Their film contains some great images of the Outer Banks during a less rushed time in history.
Story of the Mail Boat to Ocracoke Island

The Mail Boat Aleta.source
During the 1940s and early 1950s Ocracoke's communication lifeline to the mainland was a privately owned and operated mail boat named Aleta. The Alete made one daily round-trip between Ocracoke Island and Atlantic, North Carolina. She would leave the remote island at 6:30 every morning and arrived back home around 4:30 each evening. Read the story of the Aleta.
UNC “Capstone” Project “ Looking Back to Move
Forward Sustainably" Provides Great Reading on the
History of the Outer Banks & Nags Head.....

Outer Banks Voice . To 127 page report
Links to Historical Articles, Videos & Images of the Outer Banks
John White Collection of New World Drawings

View Old Post Card Pictures of Roanoke Island

Deadly Outer Banks Shark Attack
Decline of the Outer Banks Indian Tribes

Roanoke and Hatteras Tribal Indian History

Wright Brothers Flight Video
Historic Outer Banks Pictures from the Town of Southern Shores
Island Farm
Residents Speaking & Discussing Outer Banks Brogue Vocabulary
Wright Brothers Flight Video
Wright Brothers in France
Wright Brothers History of Flight Video
Wright Brothers Pictures from Kitty Hawk and others

Video: Nags Head Brings Traveling Carnival to
Outer Banks to Celebrate Town's 50th Anniversary

Video of the Dedication of Fort Raleigh in 1934

Video of the Roanoke Island Homecoming Celebration, August 1934
Brief History of Dare County

UNC “Capstone” Project “ Looking Back to Move
Forward Sustainably" Provides Great Reading on the
History of the Outer Banks & Nags Head.....
Flying Over Oregon Inlet, the New Inlet, Mirlo Beach,
and Rodanthe in November 2012 after Hurricane Sandy
Video: Wildfire Smoke Engulfs Kitty
Hawk on Morning of June 23, 2011...
Home Surf Movie Discovered: A Hatteras Odyssey, 1975
Panaramic video of Kill Devil Hills Beach, June 26, 2011
Outer Banks Drum Circle & Hula Hoopsters on Kitty
Hawk Beach, June 21, 2011 (Watch Video)...
Video: Nags Head 50 Anniversary  
Historic Outer Banks Movies and Videos:
Hatteras Island in the 1960's............
1960 Home Movie Made on Hatteras Island
Home Movie: Fishing at Cape Point in the 1960's
Home Movie: Fishing at Cape Point 1960's
Outer Banks English
Nags Head Brings Old Timey Traveling Carnival to
Outer Banks to Celebrate Town's 50th Anniversary
Great Video of Outer Banks Residents Speaking
& Discussing Outer Banks Brogue Vocabulary
Matt Lusk sight casting puppy drum in
the skinny water of the Outer Banks
Reconstructed Hut, Roanoke Island, North CarolinaEnglish Colonists Landing on Roanoke Island, 1587Richard Grenville Attacking a Native American Village, Roanoke IslandInhabitants of Roanoke Island Stage an Annual Play, the Lost ColonyRoanoke Island, North Carolina - The Lost Colony Replication, Indian Scenes
Outer Banks Historical Sites and Web Pages
Wright Brothers Flight at Kitty HawkWright Brothers Wilbur and Orville with 1903 Airplane "Kitty Hawk" on First FlightWright Brothers 1903 Machine at Big Kill Devil Hill Photograph - Kitty Hawk, NCGroup portrait in front of glider at Kill Devil Hill Photograph - Kitty Hawk, NCGlider at Kitty Hawk Photograph - Kitty Hawk, NC
Thanks for visiting
Outer Banks Free Press