Silent film started a long tradition

By on February 1, 2012

From the 2011 production. (

While the Paul Green production of ‚ÄúThe Lost Colony‚ÄĚ is widely recognized by locals and visitors of the Outer Banks, the play‚Äôs origins are not as well known.

A 1921 silent film of the same name inspired the play, and at the height of its popularity the film was part of North Carolina’s history curriculum.

Sunday, 3 p.m. at the Pioneer Theater

Familiarity with the silent film and the genesis of Green‚Äôs play have faded with time, but the 75th anniversary celebration of “The Lost Colony” hopes to rekindle awareness of the history and tradition associated with the nation’s second longest running longest historical outdoor drama.

In 1921 a five-reel silent movie depicting the story of the English settlement on Roanoke Island was written and produced by Mabel Evans Jones, a Roanoke Island native and the Superintendent of Dare County Schools.  It was the first silent film produced in the state. 

The movie’s cast was drawn from local residents who also built scenery and sewed the costumes.  Apart from the film, Jones wrote, produced and directed a series of local pageants based on the movie. 

They were performed on Aug. 18 as part of the birthday of Virginia Dare, the first English baby born in the New World. On this official holiday in Manteo, stores closed and families came to Fort Raleigh to celebrate their heritage and their community. The excitement of the film through the community encouraged Jones to consider other ways to tell the story.

Enter Bradford Fearing. Though Fearing was not born in Manteo, he moved here at the age of 5.  He grew up knowing the story of the colony, and was determined to make his home a tourist destination for history lovers while fostering economic and cultural growth.

Under Fearing‚Äôs guidance, roads were improved on the beaches, bridges were built and tourists started to visit this remote part of North Carolina. Fearing secured the necessary funds to start construction of what would soon become¬†“The Lost Colony‚Äôs” permanent home, the Waterside Theatre.¬†

Just as Mabel Evans Jones had done before him, Fearing turned to the local residents and businesses for support. The pageant’s organizers approached North Carolina playwright Paul Green, who developed a new pageant script.

On July 4, 1937 the entire island celebrated as their story was presented in a new theater.  On Aug. 18, the celebration continued as President Franklin D. Roosevelt attended the performance on the 350th Anniversary of Virginia Dare’s birth.

This year,¬†“The Lost Colony” celebrates its 75th¬†Anniversary Season.¬† It is a celebration of the community and the countless individuals who have shared in telling the story of America‚Äôs beginnings, and it is also a celebration of the Lost Colony production itself.¬†

A special showing of Mabel Evans Jones’ 1921 film was held on Sunday, Jan. 29,¬† at the Pioneer Theater in downtown Manteo.¬† The invited audience included decedants and friends of the people who created the original film, as well as members and supporters of¬†“The Lost Colony.”¬†A reception followed.

There will be a showing for the community this Sunday, Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. at the Pioneer Theater as well. There is no cost for this viewing, and parents are encouraged to bring school-age children.

Due to the size of the theater, reservations are strongly recommended.  Call Terry Fowler at (252) 473-4224. 

This viewing of the 1921 silent film is sponsored by Ace Hardware. The organizers also wish to thank Susan and Malcolm Fearing, Lib Fearing, John Wilson and Herbert A. and Elizabeth Creef for their support. 

For further information regarding the 75th Anniversary, visit


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: RooÔ¨Āng

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


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