The Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station is one of Rodanthe's greatest treasures. This historical lifesaving station has been a popular attraction for Hatteras Island visitors for decades, and stands on the very edge of the small town of Rodanthe. Over the years, this station has been battered by hurricanes, ocean and soundside flooding, and ferocious gusts of winds, and yet it is still standing, and serves as a proud reminder of Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks' rich lifesaving history.
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Little Kinnakeet Lifesaving Station is the southernmost of the original seven constructed on the Outer Banks by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1874. Decommissioned and transferred to the National Park Service in 1954, it stands now north of Avon as a part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and a reminder of the brave crews that fought the treacherous waters and storms off Hatteras Island to locate and rescue shipwreck survivors.
Designed by Francis Ward Chandler, Little Kinnakeet was built in the Gothic/Stick style and later served as the boathouse for a larger station built in 1904, constructed in the more modern, Southern-type style. Restoration of the structures has been intermittent since both were moved to the sound side of the island for protection from the surf and stabilized. Great pains have been taken to keep as much original woodwork as possible and incorporate new woodwork in keeping with the original construction.
With destruction from Hurricane Isabel in 2003, the restoration project suffered a setback, but local groups and historians continue to seek funding and help from volunteers to complete the project. The ultimate goal is create an end result that enriches the community and appreciation of Hatteras Island history.
Even though the project is not yet complete, visitors can stop by and see both structures on Highway 12 between Salvo and Avon. If you look toward the sound past Salvo you should see the watchtower of the newer building rising above the brush.
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