What a beautiful day we had yesterday for the Southern Shores Historic Flat Top Cottage Tour. Not a cloud in the sky, moderate temperatures, just perfect.
What the tour does is highlight a remarkable piece of the architectural history of the Outer Banks. The flat tops were built from the late 1940s to the early 1960s based on a design that the founder of Southern Shores, Frank Stick, created.
The Flat Top Unique Construction in Southern Shores
Noted for their square, one story shape and constructed from native juniper and concrete created from the sand of the Outer Banks beaches, the homes have withstood weather and time remarkably well.
Nonetheless, there are less than 30 of them left in Southern Shores. Preserving them is a complex issue involving questions about the best use of a property, what 21st-century vacationers want in a rental home and number of other issues.
Southern Shores is taking steps to preserve homes if the property owner wishes to have their home designated a Historic Landmark.
The houses are beautiful in their simple lines. The interiors often include exposed juniper beams, giving a homey, almost rustic feel to the building.
Interestingly some of the most outstanding features of the buildings—the concrete block construction and the juniper beams—came about as a way to save construction costs. After purchasing the land that is now Southern Shores in 1947, Frank Stick and his son David, had very little money to build the homes on the lots they wanted to sell.
The sand was readily available for the concrete and at that time, juniper was being harvested in northeastern North Carolina making it the most cost-effective wood for construction.
Proceeds from the tour benefit the Flat Top Preservation Fund.