This summer for the first time in over 25 years the National Park Service is going to open the Wright Brothers Monument to visitors.
Towering over the Wright Brothers Memorial Park and everything else surrounding it the monument perches on top of a 90’ sand dune that has been stabilized. Including ht 60’ of the monument, at 150’ it’s the highest point on the Outer Banks until Bodie Island Lighthouse.
A little piece of history about the Monument—it was the original visitor’s center. From 1933 when it was dedicated until 1957 when the current Visitor’s Centers was completed, everyone trekked up Kill Devil Hill to get the inside scoop on gifts, books and information.
As long as the only connection to the outside world was a wooden bridge at Kitty Hawk and a couple of ferries coming from the west, that was fine.
But when real bridges connected the Outer Banks with the rest of the country, the small, cramped space inside was no longer adequate.
It is a beautiful piece of architecture and the interior is as starkly beautiful as the outside. There is a very narrow, twisting stairwell to what was once an observation deck at the top, but even a one time climb to the top is enough to convince anyone that the stairs are unsuitable and unsafe for use by the general public.
Kind of a shame, too, because the view from the top of the Monument almost feels like soaring above the earth.