For years the Currituck County, North Carolina, government officials battled the nonprofit Outer Banks Conservationists for ownership of the famous Currituck Lighthouse. It is important to note here, right at the start, that the county never spent a dime to save or restore the light station, while the nonprofit group spent millions restoring the light station to its original glory.
In fact the county commissioners and their legislative sidekick, Congressman Walter Jones, even tried to circumvent the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act thinking that they were above the law. They have played and used every dirty trick they can think of to make life miserable for the nonprofit Outer Banks Conservationists.
Now they are at it again. Now the county government is going to build a five-foot fence, which we will call a "Mini Berlin Wall," in between the Whalehead Club and the Currituck Lighthouse, preventing visitors to the lighthouse from using the public facilities that were paid for, in part, by the Outer Banks Conservationists.
In their mean-spirited battle the county commissioners don’t care if the fence will hurt tourism and prevent many of the approximately 100,000 visitors annually from visiting the lighthouse. In fact, the fence will hurt the Whalehead Club, owned by the county, more than the lighthouse since most of their visitors visit only because of the lighthouse. But they still don’t care. They are on a vendetta that they call enforcing zoning ordinances. Ordinances that were enacted many years after the lighthouse was built as their revenge for their feeble and unsuccessful attempt to own the lighthouse.
Even the people who run the historic Whalehead Club, a tourist attraction in its own right are against the fence. But not the county commissioners who, have not wavered in their stand.
The original plan called for Currituck Heritage Park, with a single ticket needed to visit the Whalehead Club, the lighthouse and the state wildlife education center. A one-way drive would go through the Hunt Club property to the road next to the lighthouse. The restrooms were paid for in part by the lighthouse group with the agreement that they would be open to everyone. The fence would nix all that.
So, the county offered to buy the lighthouse, which would not be allowed under the current covenants of the deed. The lighthouse is not for sale and never will be. But the county government continues to do everything and anything it their power to continue to harass the good people who saved the Currituck Lighthouse. But, as long as they get reelected their evil ways will continue. What amazes us at that over the years the county has refused to compromise on anything to do with the lighthouse. Maybe its time for the State of North Carolina to step in and seize control of a county government that is out of control and still operating in the "good ol’ boys" days.
If you would like to write to the county commissioners with your comments, suggestions, or thoughts, their names and addresses are listed here.
Paul R. Martin
107 White Heron Dr.
Currituck, NC 27929
Elden L. Miller, Jr.
P.O. Box 127
Moycock, NC 27958
J. Owen Etheridge
169 Maple Knoll Rd
Shawboro, NC 27973
2155 Sandfiddler Rd.
Corolla, NC 28927
S. Paul O’Neal
893 Waterlily Rd.
Coinjock, NC 27923
This story appeared in the
April 2005 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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