Fire Destroys the Original Cotton Gin

Fire destroyed the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg.
Fire destroyed the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg.

The original Cotton Gin on the Currituck Mainland has been so much a part of Outer Banks life that it’s hard to imagine what it will be like without it. After Saturday’s blaze the left only charred remains of the store, we’ll have to face that reality.

We don’t know yet what caused it or why it burned fro eight hours and the Currituck Fire Departments were unable to put the blaze out.

We can hope the Wright family who own the Cotton Gin will be willing to and have the resources to rebuild it.

But we don’t know any of that right now.

All we know right now is that one of the most remarkable and wonderful stores ever is gone. 

Wandering through the Cotton Gin was like walking through an attic that was a combination rambling old mansion and barn. There was a randomness about how it all came together that made exploring the many rooms—none of them very large—the type of activity that could keep anyone, man, woman, child, occupied for hours.

The product selection was, well, different. In a wonderful individualistic way. That the store was successful was obvious. Why it was successful —that’s a bigger question.

In the world of retail that now exists, the Cotton Gin is exhibit A that most of the experts don’t know what they’re talking about.

This is not, or was not in this case, an example of a slickly merchandised store. Just the opposite. Instead there was a beautiful charm that it exhibited was founded on not being perfectly organized.

It absolutely would not work in almost any other store or setting. But for the Cotton Gin it was perfect.

There are three Cotton Gin stores still in existence—Corolla, Nags Head and Duck. They are very nice store; Corolla comes closest to the original. But nothing will ever quite match the original Cotton Gin.

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