Camille Lawrence's work in saving the First Colony Inn, seen above, serves as a blueprint for our preservation efforts.    

The First Colony Inn          

To the best of our knowledge, the last effort to move and preserve an historically significant building in Nags Head for public use occurred in 1988, when Camille Lawrence moved the First Colony Inn off the oceanfront to a 4.4 acre lot between the highways at mile post 16. Since that time, the historic landscapes of the northern Outer Banks have been diminished by the loss of the Carolinian Hotel, the Baum St. Claire Coast Guard Station, and the Croatan Inn, to name a few.

The potential loss of these structures created some public outcry from their communities, but they were eventually torn down to make way for additional large rental cottages and a high density condo on the oceanfront. Once gone, such iconic sites cannot be replaced. Both towns have also seen the loss of smaller oceanfront cottages that contributed value to the character, history, and charm that made them a desirable destination for visitors, many of whom are drawn to those unique aspects of our area.

"On January 18, 1932, Marie LeRoy purchased eight adjacent oceanfront building lots in Nags Head from Greenville, N.C. developer S.W. Worthington. These lots were purchased for approximately $750.00 each. In February of that same year construction began on LeRoy's Seaside Inn, which would be renamed First Colony Inn in 1937. The LeRoy's new hotel         was built in the traditional style of Nags Head architecture -- simple wood-frame construction, form and features dictated        by climate and function, and utilization of readily available materials."

"With its wide two-story encircling verandas, the First Colony Inn was known for many years as "the place to be" on the    beach at Nags Head. An atmosphere of romance, charm, and relaxation has always prevailed under its sweeping roof.         The Inn was the weekend retreat for many a businessman from Elizabeth City and Edenton, N.C., and Newport News and Norfolk, Va., whose family was staying at the inn for a week or more. Guests and relatives of nearby cottage owners also stayed at the inn during the peak vacation season."

"By the spring of 1988, the Inn had fallen into disrepair and was in imminent danger of destruction. The property had changed hands and the encroaching Atlantic Ocean threatened to destroy the inn. After efforts had failed to save the inn and it appeared there was no hope, the Lawrence family stepped forward in a last-ditch effort. With roots deep in the area, they      felt that the inn was too valuable for the community to lose. In August, 1988, after overcoming a myriad of obstacles,       house-movers cut the building into three sections and reassembled it over three miles to the south."   

The First Colony Inn as it looks today on its new site at MP 16 , Nags Head.

"Following the move, the new owners spent three years rehabilitating the inn to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards, selectively removing earlier inappropriate additions, repairing deteriorated features where possible, and refurbishing the interior and exterior finishes to retain the historic quality. Although relocated, the inn is situated in a setting that recalls the open, natural qualities of the original environment. The building, reopened as a bed and breakfast inn in 1991, retains its original, handsome simplicity and architectural integrity."  Read more Here

Visitors to the Inn have private access to the oceanfront.

Looking northeast over the expansive grounds of the Inn.

Preserve and Prosper

Awareness has been growing among responsible destination stewards that insuring cultural and environmental sustainability and promoting heritage tourism is not only a responsible approach, but also a long-term economic strategy that creates destination diversity and economic vitality in resort communities.

The east deck, a favorite spot to watch the sunrise.

As defined by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, “Cultural heritage tourism is traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present. It includes cultural, historic, and natural resources. The story of the authentic contributions previous generations have made to the history and culture of where you live is the one that will interest visitors, because that is what distinguishes your area from every other place on earth. It is this authenticity that adds real value and appeal. Your area is unique,        and its special charm is what will draw visitors."

The repurposing of Mattie Midgette’s historic grocery into what is now known as the Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum, follows what has become a popular and successful strategy within the cultural heritage preservation movement: the creative reuse of historic properties as productive, private, for profit enterprises that ensure their long term viability and well being.

With this proven principal in mind, it is our belief that by moving Mattie Midgette’s store and house to a location   that better serves the value of these core Outer Banks historic assets, we can provide a much needed historic   cultural attraction for the millions of visitors that come       to the Outer Banks annually.

Nags Head Hammocks

When they expanded their retail presence, Nags Head Hammocks preserved some of the native landscape
and created a unique shopping experience. Customers are encouraged to "sit a spell" and enjoy the view.

By building in the Old Nags Head vernacular, they achieved a look that evokes a bygone era,
steeped in local tradition, that adds an historic element to their shoppers' experience.

Walking Path & Heritage Trail

Providing a walking trail through the property will increase interest and create a variety of interpretive signage.

This collection of photographs was taken at the Kill Devil Hills Town Complex. The walking paths, native trees,
and a variety of use areas that have been "accessorized" serves as an example of the kind of heritage
venues and natural areas for seating and display that can be incorporated on our unique landscapes.

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