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Currituck County Photographs

 Poyner's Hill Lifesaving Station
July 1937

Located 6 miles south of the Currituck Lighthouse, Poyners Hill Lifesaving Station was built in 1878. [To see more photos click here.]  When the Coast Guard base at Poyners Hill closed following World War II, the final chapter of the Poyners Hill community was written.  The old buildings closed long ago, and elegant vacation homes have been built on the site of the village.  It was the most famous shipwreck in the history of Currituck Banks that prompted the construction of the lifesaving station at Poyners Hill.  In the nearby offshore waters, the 879-ton, 198 foot Metropolis broke apart after hitting the outer bar of Currituck Beach on January 31, 1878.  Of the 235 passengers aboard, 102 died in the tragedy.  Portions of the old ship, a Civil War gunboat refitted for commercial service, survive at the wreck site, located about 100 yards off the beach in the surf zone.

Badge of a USLSS Surfman (Position 1) assigned to the station at Poyner's Hill, North Carolina from Port Orford Lifeboat Station.

1887 Report of the United States National Museum had the following entry from the Treasury Dept.: "Life Saving Service - A.J. Austin, keeper Poyner's Hill life-saving station, North Carolina sent two skeletons of a blackfish (Globicephalus melas)...."
1901 Annual Report of the Life-Saving Service had the following entry: "Letter from John Wescott, keeper of Poyners Hill Life-Saving Station, relating to his cartouch box and submitting a sample."
In a book entitled St. Nicholas: An Illustrated Book for Young Folks by Mary Mapes Dodge, the following letter was published in January 1903.

Poplar Branch, N.C.
     Dear St. Nicholas: I am a little girl twelve years old, and I live on one of the sand-bars of North Carolina, five miles from the mainland.  The nearest store and post-office is five miles away.  My papa is the captain of the Poyners Hill Life-saving Station.  We are bounded on the north and south by sand-hills, on the east by the ocean, and on the west by the Currituck Sound.  The land near and on which the station is situated belongs to the Currituck Shooting Club.  the club-house is the nearest one to us except the station.  The club does not allow any of the station men except papa to build on the beach.  We live only a few steps from the station and a little further from the sea, while the club-house is on the other side of the beach.  So you see, we have it lonely here sometimes.  Inclosed  [sic] find my contribution which I hope is worthy of a prize.
Yours truly,
     Mary Yeula Wescott
               (age 12)

Photograph is the property of Norman & Sandi Roberts and kindly submitted by Ben Bateman No part of this document may be used for any commercial purposes. However, please feel free to copy any of this material for your own personal use and family research.