Remembering the Outer Banks’ best salesman

By on November 17, 2021

New video pays tribute to Aycock Brown

Twiddy & Company

As part of its “Icons of the Outer Banks” series of mini-documentaries, Twiddy & Company has produced this 4 minute, 21 second piece on Aycock Brown, the man widely credited for using his journalistic and marketing skills — as well as tireless energy — to put the Outer Banks on the map for the rest of the county. Brown died at the age of 79 in 1984.

Below is the text accompanying the video.

The Outer Banks has evolved into a prosperous vacation destination, in part due to the storytelling efforts of Aycock Brown. A colorful writer and photographer, Aycock Brown saw firsthand how special the Outer Banks was and spent his career telling the world all about it. His voice was instrumental in putting the Outer Banks on the map in the tourism industry.

In the 1950s and ’60s, Aycock Brown devoted his time as a photographer and publicist to promoting the Outer Banks. His energetic stories and accompanying pictures conveyed that this magical place was family-oriented, nature-oriented, and just plain fun.

Aycock Brown served as the first director of the Dare County Tourist Bureau in the early 1950’s. His goal was to get the word out about why the Outer Banks was a great place to visit. He was often seen around town in his straw hat with several cameras around his neck, always ready to document the next story. Whether it was a record-setting catch being weighed on the dock at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center or checking out the latest shipwreck that washed up on the beach, Aycock Brown was there to get the scoop. He then mailed his photos with press releases to newspapers around the country.

One of Aycock Brown’s most well-known photos is of the Wright Brothers National Memorial with the crescent moon in the background. The iconic photograph was taken on the evening of July 20, 1969, the same day Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. Over the course of his career, Aycock Brown took thousands of photographs of the Outer Banks. In 1976, his photos and stories were published as a much-loved book, Aycock Brown’s Outer Banks, with the memorable 1969 photo of the Wright Brothers National Memorial gracing the cover.

He mailed his stories and pictures to publications around the country. His goal was to show how truly unique a place the Outer Banks was. Aycock Brown created the idea that the Outer Banks is a place like no other. During his time as director of the Dare County Tourist Bureau, the Outer Banks saw an uptick in visitors that wanted to experience the area for themselves. By the time he retired in 1980, the Outer Banks was a popular vacation destination that families returned to year after year.

 

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Comments

  • RAJ

    Brown died in 1984. I wonder what the “best salesman” would think of OBX if he where here today? Would he have regrets?

    Thursday, Nov 18 @ 8:29 am
  • hightider

    Hi RAJ – my thoughts exactly. I bet he would feel sick about today although his past achievements should not be criticized. Once this was a paradise and he captured that – sometimes there are unexpected consequences of being better than the others, and in the right place and the right time.

    Thursday, Nov 18 @ 10:12 am
  • Sean

    The history that man captured here can not be duplicated by anyone. He sure had an eye!

    Thursday, Nov 18 @ 8:47 pm
  • Billy

    One of my best friends in high school and I worked at the Coastland Times after school and Wednesday evenings – and natcherly Saturday morning . Both of us were “into” photography and at the time Aycock was the man . He allowed one of us at a time to go in the small Time’s darkroom and watch – learn as people proficient in darkrooms were a must at the time . He was patient , always explained why he did something or tell you the settings he should have used , learned a whole lot from him . Maybe not by blood but still a true Outer Banker – Aycock Brown .

    Saturday, Nov 20 @ 12:22 am
  • Surf123

    Thanks for nothing. Members of my have been visiting since the 40’s (well before the bonnet bridge) and did not advertisements to get them here. I relocated here in the mid 90’s before the influx of people who had ruined their beach resorts invaded. Watched many a landmark fall as the chains moved in. It’s really a shame.

    Sunday, Nov 21 @ 10:35 am