The entire northern end of Hatteras Island was once known as Chicamacomico, but in 1874 the postal service changed the name to Rodanthe, perhaps seeking something easier to spell. However, by the early 1900s, three distinct villages had become established in the Rodanthe area --North Rodanthe, South Rodanthe, and Clark. As the postal sections were subdivided, the northernmost village kept the name "Rodanthe," while the others were assigned new names once again.
In 1861, the Confederates landed troops on the northern end of the island in an effort to re-take Fort Clark and Fort Hatteras, which had fallen to the Union's first naval invasion of the South. The southern troops chased the 20th Indiana back to their lines near present-day Buxton, only have the Federals reinforced from the southern end of the island. The Union then chased the Confederates northward in a half-hearted skirmish that wags mockingly named "The Chicamacomico Races."