An endangered Rodanthe beachfront home comes down

By on November 16, 2023

Removal of House at 23292 East Beacon Road, Rodanthe. (Cape Hatteras National Seashore video)


UPDATE on Nov. 16: According to reporting by the Island Free Press as of Thursday afternoon, November 16, both oceanfront homes on East Beacon Drive in Rodanthe that were purchased by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) have successfully been demolished, with no incidents resulting in excessive debris polluting the local shoreline, per multiple reports.


The first of two endangered Rodanthe oceanfront homes purc, hased by the National Park Service in October was demolished and removed on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

The homes, located at the end of East Beacon Road, were purchased for a reported $749,000 with funds provided by the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the National Park Trust. National Park Service funds were not used for the purchase of the properties.

The goal, according to Outer Banks Group Superintendent Dave Hallac, is to bring the beach back to its original condition. “Ideally, when this project is completed, this will be a pristine restored natural beach,” he said.

The east or oceanfront pilings of the homes are within the boundaries of Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS), but the west side of the structures are likely still on private land. “When we went into acquiring them, they were partially within the boundary of the Seashore,” Hallac explained. “The Seashore’s boundary is always from the low water to mean high water.”

Although the mean high tides have increasingly reached the dune line to the west of the homes, that is not necessarily the mean high tide line. Both homes were built in the 1980s and at the time they were built, they were well back from the high tide line and behind protective dunes.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent Dave Hallac talking about the demolition of the two houses in Rodanthe. (Photo credit: Kip Tabb/OBV)

This was not the first time the National Park Service (NPS) had removed a structure at the CHNS. Hallac pointed to the Frisco Pier project that began in 2017 and took almost two years to complete. Hallac wasn’t sure, but it is possible that the purchase and demolition of the homes is a first for the National Park Service. “I’m not aware of other parks that have done this, but I cannot speak on behalf of [them],” he said. “We have 425 national parks.”

The actual process of removing a building goes surprisingly quickly. According to contractor Mike Dunn, owner of W M Dunn Construction in Powells Point, demolishing a house is fast work.  “Once we get it set up, we’ll have it down within 30 minutes…I’m hoping we can get the majority of the debris loaded tonight. If not, we’re going to get it as high and dry [on the beach] as we can,” he said.

With the homes so close to the ocean, demolition work can only be done at low tide. The construction crew also can’t work at night. Nonetheless, Dunn and Hallac felt the project would be completed within the 30-day window called for by the contract, although there are provisions for weather events.

Dunn has also worked with CHNS before. It was his company that helped when the Rodanthe homes collapsed onto the beach over the past year.

Taking the building down begins with an excavator ripping the outside stairs from the structures, then workers notch the piling under the house so it will fall landward. A cable runs through the upper and lower floors and is attached to another excavator that pulls the house down. After the house is down, the first excavator goes to work, tearing the rest of the house apart.

Everything is loaded onto a truck, hauled away and after the house is demolished, the septic systems are removed—Dunn explained that in older beachfront homes there are often more than one—and the sand is raked and cleaned.

In remarks to reporters, Hallac stressed that purchasing the properties was a mitigation program and not a buyout. “In a typical buyout program, the purpose is to assist the homeowner to get out of a very difficult situation they’re in. In this case, we are happy to help the homeowners, but the primary purpose is to protect the resources of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the visitors that are here,” he said.

The two homes at the end of East Beacon Road being demolished are the first two properties that have been purchased for that purpose. Questioned if there is interest from other property owners in the program Hallac said that “We’ve heard from multiple homeowners.”

Asked by the Voice how much the demolition project cost, Hallac said the total cost was $72,000 for both houses.


Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

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  • Travis

    I’m sorry, explain the part to me again why anyone – government or private fund – has to pay anything for two houses that have absolutely zero value AND pay for the demolition?

    I’m sure insurance companies abandoned those clients long ago, but was anything paid by insurance to the homeowners for loss of the property?

    Thursday, Nov 16 @ 11:04 am
  • D Jay

    I’m glad that there’s money there to preserve the beach for the future. The sad part is, that the houses had to be torn down. Was there any way they could be moved and saved? Those are the homes that really look like the old beach homes. And it’s sad to destroy them and not save them. Just a thought ……

    Thursday, Nov 16 @ 1:43 pm
  • Jay

    Hallelujah! Demolishing a house BEFORE it falls into the ocean and becomes a safety issue with all the debris rolling around in the surf! I’m trilled the NPS finally took my advice. 😊

    Thursday, Nov 16 @ 2:04 pm
  • Steven

    Lucky house owners, got the federal government to purchase what no one in their right mind would. (Except for that guy in California that bought a house in the water, sight unseen. Mainly due to the immoral realtor..)

    Thursday, Nov 16 @ 3:34 pm
  • Bob

    Why can’t they go through these houses, if still structurally safe to do so, and strip out anything of value or use? Such as cabinets, windows, doors, etc. before demolishing them? At least donate those type things to Habitat for Humanity or similar so it’s not a compete loss?

    Thursday, Nov 16 @ 5:54 pm
  • Bobby

    If this was not taxpayers money being used, it would have never happened.

    Friday, Nov 17 @ 7:59 am
  • Bob

    I’m with D Jay – couldn’t these homes be moved? What is the cost of moving vs. demolition? Perhaps someone would be willing to buy the home at a reduced price, could be a win-win. Though perhaps that is just not a feasible option either…I certainly don’t know! Just seems a waste to tear them down if they could be put to use elsewhere.

    Friday, Nov 17 @ 9:35 am
  • democracy

    Just to clarify…to MOVE those houses means someone has to pay the cost of the moving (not cheap, at all) AND there has to be a PLACE to move the house to (also not cheap).

    And yes, this is a bailout by the federal government. And there are LOTS more people out there — homeowners, realtors, developers — who vote for “small government” and “lower taxes” and profess to believe in “personal responsibility” and “free markets” who WANT IN on this deal…they want the bailouts to go forward because it is – in essence – a federal subsidy for them to make money, which comes from taxpayers.

    Not hard to figure out who the real “bad guys” are here.

    Saturday, Nov 18 @ 7:37 am
  • mikem

    Even in the bible is clearly states only a fool builds on shifting sands…

    In Matthew 7, Jesus said everyone who hears his words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Then he went on to say everyone who hears his words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand (Matthew 7:24-26).

    Saturday, Nov 18 @ 3:31 pm