Currituck County History
Established in 1668, Currituck was one of the first areas settled in the U.S. An original North Carolina county, Currituck County was one of the five original ports.
Named for an Algonquin Indian term meaning “The Land of the Wild Goose,” the Currituck Outer Banks abundant with waters, marshes, and woods.
In the early 1700s, Currituck County’s original Courthouse was constructed. The building was replaced in 1842 and remodeled in 1898, and currently houses the governmental administrative offices. In 1776, the Colonial Legislature granted permission to build a jail in Currituck County. The Currituck Jail and Historic Courthouse are two of the oldest county buildings in North Carolina.
No part of North Carolina was spared the ravages of the Civil War, and although no battles were fought in Currituck County, it was caught up in the sweep of history. From the southern tip of the county at Point Harbor to the rich farmland of Shawboro, home of Colonel Henry Shaw of the Confederacy, the story of the War Between the States unfolds in eight historic markers that line the highways of Currituck County.
A pleasant day trip--perfect for a family history day, or a quick stop on the way to or from the beach--the markers are reminders of the sacrifices men and women on both sides of the conflict made . . . "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom . . .”
Click here for more information on North Carolina Civil War Trails
, or view the list of Currituck Historical Markers.
In the early part of the 1800s, Currituck County became known for its fishing villages and peaceful way of life. The Albemarle Chesapeake Waterway
, which opened in 1859, became a vital water passage from Maine to Florida. Known today as the Intracoastal Waterway, it separates Currituck County’s southern mainland from the northern mainland. Marinas and restaurants serve the pleasure and commercial vessels that navigate Waterway.
By the late 1800s, Currituck County gained a reputation as a “sportsman’s paradise.” Wealthy industrialists were attracted to the county for its abundance of wildlife and numerous hunt clubs, including the Pine Island Club, and Currituck Shooting Club.
One of the best venues for seeing how the wealthy lived in Corolla is The Whalehead Club
, which has been renovated into a historic house museum. Near the Whalehead Club stands an additional restored structure: the Currituck Beach Lighthouse
. First lit in the mid-1800s, the lighthouse warned ships hugging the chain of barrier islands along the North Carolina Coast.
Currituck County is now one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina. Unprecedented growth has been highlighted by a careful balance between the environment and development. The Currituck Outer Banks are a blend of a past that is rich in heritage with a vision for a progressive tomorrow.
In the old village of Corolla, local businesses are working hard to preserve history. More than a century-old Corolla Schoolhouse was restored by Twiddy & Company
in 1999 and is now home to Corolla Wild Horse Fund & Museum.
The Twiddys have distinguished themselves through their commitment to historic preservation on the Outer Banks. To date, they have carefully restored nine structures. They meticulously restored and relocated the Kill Devil Hills Lifesaving Station (circa 1878) and Wash Woods US Coast Guard Station #166 (circa 1917), which is situated on the four-wheel-drive beaches. Their focus has been in historic Corolla village, where a community of restored homes has been repurposed into retail shops, office space and a NC BBQ joint. They refurbished the old Corolla Schoolhouse to its original form and in it created an exhibit on the wild horses of the Currituck Outer Banks, realizing their goal of using the space to once again educate and provide insight into the past life of this historic coastal village.