Wright Memorial Bridge as it appeared when opened in 1930.

Wright Memorial Bridge as it appeared when opened in 1930.

Dare County is now 150 years old. The official anniversary was February 3, so if we’re just a little bit late in reporting, at least we know it’s true.

It was an inauspicious beginning for the county. Really. The county was really formed from the left over bits and pieces of Currituck, Hyde and Tyrell counties. The parts of the counties that were the most inaccessible and poorest.

The closest thing to a central point, and one of the few towns in the new county was Manteo, so that became the county seat.

It was a bit smaller when it was founded in 1870. The northern boundary at that time was the Kill Devil Hill/Kitty Hawk town lines. Kitty Hawk and what is now Duck and Southern Shores were still a part of Currituck County at the time.

The 1870s was a pretty active time for the new county.

150 Years Ago-What Was Happening in Dare County

The creation of the county was not the only big event that happened in Dare County 150 years ago. It was also the year the Hatteras Lighthouse was finished.

Two years later, using some leftover materials from the Hatteras project, the Bodie Island Lighthouse opened. The two lighthouses look very similar because much of the same material was use and the same architect designed and oversaw its construction.

The 1870s was also when the Lifesaving Service, the predecessor to the Coast Guard, started making giant strides to become a professional organization.

The Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station was completed in 1874—the first Lifesaving Station in North Carolina. That was followed quickly by Little Kinakeet—now Avon and Kill Devil Hills.

It wasn’t all good news for the Lifesaving Service or Dare County. In 1877 the USS Huron wrecked just 250 yards from the Nags Head shoreline with a horrific loss of life. At the time LSS stations on the Outer Banks were only manned during hurricane season. November 24 when the Huron ran aground was three weeks too late for a rescue.

History is everywhere on the Outer Banks. Explore our world when you stay at a Brindley Beach Vacations home.