11. OBX Fun Facts

It’s a sand-spit off the coast of North Carolina.  A group of barrier islands which, from the outside, may simply seem like a glorious place to spend some time enjoying the beach, eating great local seafood and relaxing.  But did you know….

* Virginia Dare was the first English child born in the New World at Fort Raleigh on Roanoke Island. Virginia Dare and the other colonists of Fort Raleigh became known as “The Lost Colony” and their disappearance still intrigues historians today.

* In 1902, Reginald Fessenden made the first application of a successful, commercially adaptable technique of radio communications in North America and perhaps the entire world.  He later went on to broadcast the world’s first radio program for entertainment more than a century ago.

* On December 17, 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful flights in motor-driven flying machines, changing the world forever. These historical flights took place just south of Kitty Hawk on the sloping sands of what is now known as Big Kill Devil Hill.

* On November 22, 1718, Edward Thatch aka Edward Teach, better known as the infamous Blackbeard the Pirate, was slain by Lt. Robert Maynard of the Royal Navy in Ocracoke Inlet.

* The Cape Hatteras National Seashore was the first national seashore established by the U.S. government.  The purpose was to preserve this beautiful shoreline for the enjoyment of future generations.

* Richard Etheridge, a former soldier and surfman, became America’s first black lifesaving station keeper with his appointment to the Pea Island post in 1880. He served as keeper until his death in 1900.

* The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States.

* “The Lost Colony,” performed at the Waterside Theater on Roanoke Island, is the oldest-running outdoor drama in the country, celebrating its 75th season in 2012.

* During the Civil War the Federal troops won their first victories at Hatteras Inlet, Chicamacomico, and on Roanoke Island.  The inhabitants of the Outer Banks were not strongly attached to the Confederacy and many took the oath of allegiance to the United States.

* The Nags Head Woods Preserve is one of the finest remaining examples of a mid-Atlantic maritime forest. The habitat is made up of 640 acres of protected wetland, dune, and hardwood forest and is a national natural landmark.

* The oldest lighthouse in North Carolina is the Ocracoke Lighthouse. It’s the second oldest operational lighthouse in the United States.

* More than 400 species of birds have been identified at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, located on the north end of Hatteras Island.

* In 1874, the U.S. Lifesaving Service was begun by building a chain of seven lifesaving stations along the Outer Banks. The U.S. Lifesaving Service was the forerunner to the modern U.S. Coast Guard.

* According to the International Gamefish Association, the Outer Banks and the Virgin Islands are the most likely places to catch Atlantic Blue Marlin weighing more than 1,000 pounds.

* Jockey’s Ridge State Park, located in Nags Head, is the home of the highest living sand dune on the East Coast with peaks at more than 90 feet.

* The Outer Banks is home to almost 60,000 people, but the number of visitors each year can exceed 5,000,000!

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