Fund is rolling to repair lighning damage at Chicamacomico
By IRENE NOLAN
O’Neal and crew from North Beach Construction of Hatteras Island
are becoming lifesavers themselves as they begin the repairs on at the
1874 Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, which was struck by lightning
response to the call for funds to restore the 1874 building at the
Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site has been overwhelming,
according to officials at the Chicamacomico Historical Association.
The 1874 build was badly damaged by a lightning strike in August.
There was no insurance. A donation of $20,000 came almost immediately came from the Outer Banks Community Foundation.
“The Foundation feels that this is a very important piece of our
history and that it clearly should not only be repaired but also
restored. We hope that this action on our part will inspire others to
donate and to spur on the full restoration of this marvelous building
and the unique history it represents,” according to a
spokesperson for the Outer Banks Community Foundation.
“They are certainly well named,” commented the
Chicamacomico Site Manager, James Charlet, referring to the generosity,
speed of response, and genuine care for the community. “We also
have a total of about half that amount already from private, individual
The emergency repair goal has already been met, and work began this
week. That work entails construction of temporary exterior braces to
hold the building together until permanent repairs can be made.
“We are actively working on a specific plan with specific
individuals to do these permanent repairs,” said site restoration
specialist Ken Wenberg. “We want to keep this wonderful
momentum going. The 1874 Life-Saving Station has long needed major
restoration or eventually we will lose it. If general donations keep
coming in like the lightning fund donations did, we will be in great
shape very soon.”
The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site is a seven-acre
site on the beach in Rodanthe. It contains eight historic buildings,
seven of which are U.S. Life-Saving Service structures, all of which
are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Wenberg and the Chicamacomico staff have developed a three-step plan
for the site. The first stage includes the immediate temporary
repairs to the 1874 Station to brace it and prevent collapse, which
have started. Step two is to complete permanent repairs, which
will be far more extensive and may even require partial dismantling to
replace broken beams. The third step will be the
restoration of all buildings on site.
Chicamacomico is a privately owned, non-profit organization.
“Because we are not in any agency’s regular budget to help
sustain this site, we rely on donations, sales in the gift shop, and
membership dues to help raise all necessary funds, even for daily
operations,” said Linda Molloy, site operations manager.
“Chicamacomico has the potential to become one of America’s
premier historic sites”, said James Charlet, site
manager. “The initial public response was
overwhelming. We want this to continue. All of the buildings are
late 19th to early 20th century and require constant maintenance.
Complete restoration of the entire site has been the dream and goal of
the Chicamacomico Historical Association since it was created in
1974. There will be nothing like it in the country. Already
it is the largest and most complete U.S. Life-Saving Service complex in
the nation, and visitors are amazed by this site.”
Donations for continued repairs, restoration, and operations can be
made in person, mail, or e-mail, or by credit card. Contact Linda
Molloy at Chicamacomico Historical Association, P.O. Box 5, Rodanthe,
NC, 27968. Call 252-987-1552 or e-mail at
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