Two Outer Banks legends, photographer Aycock Brown left, and historian David Stick, right.
Author, historian, real estate developer, and philanthropist, David Stick is universally recognized as the Outer Banks preeminent historian. He was a close friend of Nellie Myrtle and told stories of getting frequent calls from her asking him if he "had a minute". He said "for you Nell, I have ten minutes". Invariably, he would have to break in to the "conversation" to tell her "you have used up seven of the ten minutes and haven't asked me a single question!".
Stick was a charter member of the Dare County Board of Realtors and In the early 1970's, he had become an impassioned spokesman for those favoring controlled growth on the coast of North Carolina. Opinion pieces that he wrote for local and regional newspapers and magazines had branded him as an adversary in the eyes of many developers and realtors involved in the local real estate business.
In March of 1973, Stick prepared a major speech on what he perceived to be the responsibility of Realtors in developing a long range land use plan for the Outer Banks. In the speech, titled “The Realtors Role in Shaping the Future of the Outer Banks", Stick asked a simple question:
“In our quest for growth and so-called progress, is it possible that we are gradually destroying the very things which make us love the Outer Banks and attracted us here in the first place?” Instead of criticizing other developers, I admitted my own mistake, saying I had “developed lots which were too low, or too close to the ocean, or too exposed to the winds” and had filled swamps and dug canals that had affected the water table, and “destroyed the natural habitat of countless animals and birds which might have been retained if I had known how to do it differently, or had realized that I shouldn’t have done it at all.”
"I then posed the following question: Will those of us living on the Dare Coast, and specifically the Realtors, provide leadership in determining what the Banks are to be like in future generations? Or will we continue sitting by while special interest groups, and agencies and agents of the federal and state governments, make the decisions for us?"
"I concluded the speech with the following:
"I am a writer by profession and I have labored over the preparation of these remarks for a period of weeks. I did not do this to impress those who might agree with me, or further anger those who do not. I did it because I am convinced that the day of reckoning is at hand. I did it because I hoped, if challenged this way, the Realtors of Dare County would respond with a sense of dedication for which they could always take pride; and I did it because I am convinced, if we do not act now, boldly and responsibly, we will in truth bring about the destruction of the very things which make us love the Outer Banks."
From: "Early History of Outer Banks Real Estate"
1962 - 1973
By the late David Stick