105-year-old building on North Carolina’s stormy Hatteras Island is
going to see some wear and tear. The hurricanes and nor’easters of the
past decade have not been kind to the 1911 Chicamacomico
With every stiff wind, the windows of the historic old station would
rattle, and it seemed that fortune rather than caulk was keeping the
antique glass panes within the window frames.
So, it was very good news for the Chicamacomico Historical
Association when the Dare County Board of Commissioners approved a
$65,000 grant from the Dare County Tourism Board to renovate and
restore the station’s windows.
“The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station has played a starring role
in Dare County’s history and has been a popular tourist destination
since it was saved from demolition and opened to the public more than
three decades ago,” said Association President John Griffin. “We are
greatly indebted to the county commissioners and tourism board for the
recent grant and all the other support they have provided to the
station over the years.”
"Chicamacomico tells an essential story of the Outer Banks, the heroic
accomplishments of the life-saving station and the determination of the
human spirit,” said Lee Nettles, executive director of the Outer Banks
“The Dare County Tourism Board,[which operates the Visitors
Bureau, is proud to be a grant contributor and assist this
important attraction’s refurbishment as we prepare for the 100th year
commemoration of the famous Mirlo Rescue," Nettles said. “Chicamacomico
has served our area for generations. We look forward to those yet to
contractor Ocean Builders of Nags Head, with the assistance of Double
Hung Restoration of Greensboro, N.C., and Moss Designs, a painting
contractor from Manteo, is doing the restoration work.
Double Hung specializes in the restoration of historic windows and
doors. Among its previous work has been the Virginia Supreme Court and
U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals buidlings in Richmond, Va., and
the Oak Island Life-Saving Station near Wilmington.
A local property owner has donated a rental house for Double
Hung’s crew to use when it’s in Rodanthe, a generosity that will save
the historical association a considerable sum, Griffin said.
The windows have now been removed from Chicamacomico and replaced with
plywood, and Double Hung has taken the windows to the company’s shop in
Greensboro, where their historic parts and glazing will be used in the
restoration. The restored windows should be reinstalled at
Chicamacomico not later than Memorial Day but possibly by early April.
“Definitely, we’re very honored to be able to work on the building,
given its history and importance,” said Pete Kauffman, who along with
Tommy Twiddy, owns Ocean Builders. “ We take a lot of pride in what
we’re doing … being very careful to keep the building as original as we
can,” he said.
Kauffman said he hopes Ocean Builders’ involvement with Chicamacomico
does not end with the window project. “We do like to adopt projects
like this … because we have a sense of involvement in the community.”
The Chicamacomico Life Saving Station is a historic site and museum in
Rodanthe, N.C. operated by the Chicamacomico Historical Association
Inc., a private non-profit group formed for the purpose of preserving
the memory of the U.S. Life Saving Service and its life saving stations
on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
The Chicamacomico site offers visitors access to two historic
structures -- the 1874 Chicamacomico Life Saving Station and the 1911
building that replaced it --and their associated out-buildings. The
station was taken out of service by the Coast Guard in 1954.
For information about visiting the station, go to www.chicamacomico.net.