Honoring the Outer Banks Life-Saving Service

By on February 11, 2024

Oregon Inlet Life Saving Station. (Courtesy Jen Carlson)

The History of the Oregon Inlet Station

By Jen Carlson

This year, 2024, marks the 150th Anniversary of the US Life-Saving Service on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first seven life-saving stations in North Carolina were on a very remote and inaccessible barrier island chain that are today’s easily accessible Dare and Currituck County.

The Chicamacomico Historical Association is providing a weekly series of articles about rescues and other significant events in the Service’s history on the Outer Banks and we will be publishing them on the Voice.


What’s in a Name?

The history of the life-saving station known today as Oregon Inlet has a unique beginning. In 1846, a great hurricane created an inlet between Bodie Island and Pea Island. An unsuspecting vessel named Oregon was caught in the storm but escaped to the safety of the ocean by using the newly formed inlet.

Because of the vessel, locals began calling the new inlet, Oregon’s Inlet, in honor of the vessel’s narrow escape. In 1874, when the first station was built near the Oregon Inlet, it was actually misnamed Bodie’s Island Life-Saving Station even though it was built on Pea Island. In 1878, construction of the second round of life-saving stations included one being built just north of the Bodie Island Lighthouse which was first called Tommy’s Hummock. In 1883, Tommy’s Hummock was renamed appropriately as Bodie’s Island Life-Saving Station and the original Bodie’s Island station was then renamed to become the Oregon Inlet Life-Saving Station.

On Sept. 3, 1881, the morning lookout at the Bodie’s Island Station reported seeing a sailboat with only one man onboard drifting with the tide out of the inlet and in danger of capsizing on the breakers. The crew immediately launched the surf boat to go to his assistance. They ended up towing the sailboat back to shore and assisted the man in reaching land safely.


All in a Day’s Work

Sometimes it’s all about manual labor: On Oct. 15, 1885, Keeper Daniel B. Austin and one other surfman from the Caffey’s Inlet Station assisted the master of the schooner, Weathercock, after she had grounded on a shell bank about two and a half miles west of the station. The small schooner was carrying a load of lumber in addition to other building supplies. In order to get her afloat again, the men had to first partially unload the schooner to lighten her load so they could maneuver her off the bank.

After successfully refloating her, the cargo was loaded back on board and the Weathercock proceeded down the sound unaffected by her grounding.

SEE ALSO: Honoring the Outer Banks’ Life-Saving Service: Rescuing from the wreck of the Metropolis


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: Roofing

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 https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com 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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