The whole area was once known as Chicamacomico or Chicamacomico Banks, derivatives of Indian names that dated back to the Raleigh colonists and the earliest maps. In 1874 the postal service changed the name of the entire northern end of the island to Rodanthe. Growth in the area continued however, and by the early 1900s, three distinct villages had become established in the broad Rodanthe area. By the 1930s, this village was know as South Rodanthe (Waves), and was the center village between North Rodanthe (now Rodanthe) and Clark, aka Clarksville (now Salvo).
Confused? So was the Postal Service. In 1939, South Rodanthe got its own post office and became Waves. The northernmost village became "Rodanthe," no longer needing the "North" to distinguish it from its sister village.