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Explore Hatteras: Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station

19 May 2014
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Hatteras History

The blanket of rich history that makes Cape Hatteras so special is intricately woven and well-kept by it's community. Tales and stories from old-timers and local historians alike, help pass down it's heritage from generation to generation and preserved buildings and structures send a salute to a different time on Hatteras Island.

One such example is located approximately a half-mile into the town of Rodanthe, the first village you come to when entering the island from the north. Perched on the ocean-side of NC Highway 12 is the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, which was restored by the Chicamacomico Historical Association that was founded in 1974 at the direction of community activist Woodrow Edwards. As printed by the association, they are a private, nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to restore, preserve, protect and interpret the buildings, grounds and history of the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station and early Coast Guard on the Outer Banks. This particular station encompasses seven acres and eight original buildings, a couple of which are still a work in progress and closed to viewing as they have not yet been fully refurbished, a task that sits at the hand of public donation.

They have held true to their mission statement as this historic site and learning museum are set up as if they were thrown into a magical time machine and placed into our day in time. Throw the reenactments in which they are in full traditional garb into the mix and you begin to wonder if it was you that was tossed into the time warp or if perhaps you are in an oddly charming "Back to The Future-esque" dream (side note: if you see the DeLorean DMC-12 parked in the area, you are in dream--that's not part of their gig).

While perusing the grounds, you'll fall in love with Hatteras Island's unique history building by building, but one that we at Midgett Realty hold close to our hearts is the 1907 Midgett House. Donated by two of our top Real Estate Sales Agents, Bette Gray and Trisha Midgett, the home was originally owned by Cornelius Payne Midgett, the brother of Keeper John Allen Midgett, Jr., and his wife, Daisy. It was then passed to his niece Wilma Midgett and husband Palmer, who was stationed in the area in the 1940's. The house stands as a reminder of what life was like in the early 1900's, before today's luxuries were so prominent in the area.

There is so much to learn about Hatteras Island, North Carolina and the East Coast in general at the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station. You can take a self-guided tour, visit for a reenactment program, cruise through the gift shop and much more, but no matter how you take your visit, you are sure to come out with a new appreciation and understanding of the Hatteras Island way of life!