Cooper’s draft budget includes $600K for Oregon Inlet Lifesaving Station

By on May 21, 2022

Oregon Inlet Lifesaving Station.

The Oregon Inlet Lifesaving Station may get an added boost in Governor Roy Cooper’s draft budget.

The governor’s proposal for FY 2022-2023 includes $600,000 to finish the rehab on the building and move it to a more secure place.

The lifesaving station has been tagged for removal to a new resting place for more than 10 years, but the delay of the replacement of Bonner Bridge has held up decision making. The 1897 station, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, can be seen when traveling south on the new bridge.

The station was abandoned more than 30 years ago and the weather wasn’t kind to it. In 2008, the sand reached up to the eaves of the building and work was done to lift the structure so that the sand could flow under it. At that time, the old added bunkhouse was removed and the outside of the buidling was renovated. The concrete flooring was replaced with wood. The three-story tower also was replaced.

The property was owned by Jesse Etheridge, who gave the land to the lifesaving service to use for the station. A condition of the land transfer was that if the use of the property ever changed from the lifesaving station, the land was to revert back to his ownership.

Etheridge married a woman in Virginia and moved there to live with her. When he died, they had no children so her heirs are the ones who should have inherited the land. Her heirs lived in the west, however, didn’t know about the inheritance and never claimed the land.

The senior U.S. Representative Walter B. Jones who then chaired the Merchant Marine and Fisheries panel, deeded the land from the federal government to Dare County, which in turn gave it to the state.



  • Breynn

    Boy! Dare county is all about steeling people’s land. Let me guess, they posted it in the local news paper and no one saw it. SMH…

    Saturday, May 21 @ 3:38 pm
  • RAJ

    Etheridge is a common enough name here. Lets see if this story brings some of those folks out to challenge this land transfer. How hard did the county or state look for the heirs?

    Saturday, May 21 @ 6:19 pm
  • The Captain

    I think there is an Identity Crisis here. The Building in question was the Old Oregon Inlet Coast Guard Station. I’m quite sure it was never a Life Saving Station in the old sense. There was a Boat Basin out front that harbored several CG Boats. The Coast Guard abandoned it because of the encroaching Inlet and the problem of maintaining enough water depth for their boats. You can still see some pilings near shore. They built the new Station on the other side next to OIFC. There was a Pea Island Life Saving Station which disappeared many years before this Station.

    Sunday, May 22 @ 7:51 am
  • Glenn

    Love that Station building…such history about it. That said…hmm…how that building ended up in the hands of the government warrants some additional investigating.

    Sunday, May 22 @ 8:46 am
  • Coastie

    Spent 2 and 1/2 years at that station 1968 to part of. 1971 would love to hear from old shipmates that was one busy station and rough inlet learned a lot about being on the water there

    Sunday, May 22 @ 11:19 am
  • Bill

    Speaking of life saving stations, is the Park Service ever going to restore the Little Kinnakeet Station north of Avon?

    Sunday, May 22 @ 12:18 pm
  • Freenusa

    I thought some years ago this property was deeded to the NC state board of education.

    Sunday, May 22 @ 3:24 pm
  • another old old Coastie

    If this is indeed the 1898 building, and I believe it is, then it must have initially served with the U.S. Life-Saving Service. The Coast Guard came along in 1915 when the U.S Revenue Cutter Service merged with with the U.S.L.S.S. The U.S. Lighthouse Service was added in 1939.

    In the late 70s and early 80s I was an H3 pilot at CGAS ECity, and we worked with Station Oregon Inlet often. They had a 44’ MLB in those days which was one of the CG’s coolest boats ever.

    One of my most memorable flights of that era was on September 4, 1979. With Hurricane David approaching, we made the very last emergency evacuation of the crew of Frying Pan Shoals Light Tower. Later that year it was automated. It is now a privately owned B&B, which is probably what the old Station Oregon Inlet should be.

    Sunday, May 22 @ 7:31 pm
  • Jeremy T

    Let the Ocean Take it back

    Sunday, May 22 @ 10:41 pm
  • Tman

    RAJ,being a native of Roanoke Island I have been privy to some of the Ethridge rumblings about how the transfer was handled.I wonder how it was done also.Those folks were pretty upset at the final outcome.

    Monday, May 23 @ 6:01 pm