Currituck County: Additional than a family vacation destination

Currituck County: Additional than a family vacation destination
Currituck County: Additional than a family vacation destination
5. Spanish Mustangs of Corolla. Supply: Wikimedia Commons

Currituck County is arguably much better regarded than all of the other Albemarle counties. But it is not recognised for its 17th century settlers or its roots of American Quakerism like other nearby counties.

In its place, Currituck County contains a stretch of the Outer Banking companies, a location of sand and surf frequented by above 1 million persons every 12 months. But Currituck County’s history is additional than seashore residences and recreation. It is a county of agriculture, political management, and stories of intriguing people today who lived on each sides of Currituck Seem.

The very best way to recognize the background of this distinctive county is by its two geographic halves. The western 50 percent of Currituck County, stretching from North River to Currituck Sound and the Virginia border, was settled about 1650 as portion of the Virginian migration to the Albemarle area. In accordance to David Leroy Corbitt, Currituck commenced out as a single of the unique precincts of Albemarle County ahead of becoming a county of its individual in 1739.

1 of the earliest settlers was Thomas Jarvis, who originally lived in Perquimans County in the vicinity of leaders this kind of as George Durant and Nathaniel Batts. Jarvis eventually served on the governor’s council and as deputy governor of North Carolina. Ahead of his demise in 1694, Jarvis moved to his plantation on Whites Island in Currituck County, now recognised as Church Island east of Coinjock. 

4. Thomas Jordan Jarvis. Source: Wikimedia Commons
4. Thomas Jordan Jarvis. Resource: Wikimedia Commons

The Jarvis loved ones finished up remaining just one of the most influential in the county’s record. Samuel Jarvis was a longtime political chief in the county who fought in the Revolution in accordance to David Stick. Thomas Jordan Jarvis served as governor of North Carolina and assisted to found what later on became East Carolina University.

Agriculture has dominated the heritage and financial state of Currituck County’s western fifty percent. Early wheat and tobacco culture was supplemented by logging and shingle manufacturing from the trees in the county’s swamps. These pursuits, like just about all agricultural processes in japanese North Carolina at this time, employed slaves. According to the Hergesheimer map of 1860, Currituck’s populace was 35% enslaved, which was the cheapest total in the Albemarle however bigger than 45 other North Carolina counties.

In transportation, Currituck County benefitted from one particular of North Carolina’s few antebellum canals. The Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, completed in 1857 as pointed out in Alexander Crosby Brown’s reserve, connected the Albemarle Seem with Norfolk by way of a channel slash by means of Currituck County at the city of Coinjock. There was also a port in Currituck County for a time, but it was always of negligible measurement and ceased to operate when Currituck Inlet closed up in the 18th century.

Currituck County Courthouse. Source: Susan Rodriguez
Currituck County Courthouse. Photo: Susan Rodriguez

Like Camden County to the west, there are no included cities in Currituck County. The most significant communities in the western fifty percent are Moyock, Grandy, and Coinjock. Currituck is a little local community on Currituck Audio that is made up of the historic jail and the 19th century courthouse, a sizable brick framework described by Ruth Very little-Stokes as getting notable neoclassical facts.

Just one of North Carolina’s couple remaining Rosenwald faculties, which are educational facilities designed for African People in the early 20th century, is now being restored close by. Currituck also has a ferry to Knotts Island, a historic island in Currituck Sound that is made up of a wildlife refuge and a vineyard.

Coinjock Colored School, a Rosenwald school being renovated in the community of Barco, 2016. Source: Eric Medlin
Coinjock Colored Faculty, a Rosenwald college remaining renovated in the local community of Barco in 2016. Image: Eric Medlin

The jap half of Currituck County has a a great deal different background dominated by tourism and the shifting mother nature of the Outer Banking companies. Recognised as Currituck Financial institutions, this segment used to be an island until Currituck Inlet at the northern edge shut up in the 19th century. Till the formation of Dare County in 1870, Currituck County’s eastern section originally stretched down to the place of current-working day Kitty Hawk the recent border, a line north of Duck, applied to be the now-loaded Caffey’s Inlet. 

The initial European to take a look at the region may have been Giovanni De Verazzano, who explored parts of the Outer Banks in 1524. Early settlers had been handful of and much concerning. William Byrd talked about two of them in a tale relayed by David Stick in his “History of the Outer Banking companies.” The people explained by Byrd were hermits who lived in a hut, “subsisted mainly on Oysters,” and wore no outfits except for their beards and hair.

7. Whalehead Club. Source: Library of Congress
Whalehead, a household afterwards converted into a clubhouse, was designed in 1922 on the Currituck Seem. Photo: Library of Congress

In the mid-19th century, Currituck Financial institutions started to bring in wealthy people. Determined by tales of massive flocks of geese, the to start with shooting club opened in the space in 1874. It was followed in 1922 by the Whalehead Club, an ornate lodge occupying 35 acres of what was then undisturbed marsh.

One particular of North Carolina’s famed lighthouses, the Currituck Seaside Light-weight, was created in 1875 in the community of Corolla. It is tied for the 2nd-tallest lighthouse in North Carolina with the Bodie Island Light and can be climbed numerous months out of the yr.

2. Currituck Beach Light. Source: Library of Congress
The 1875 Currituck Beach front Gentle in Corolla. Image: Library of Congress

By the 1920s, jap Currituck County started to open up up to visitors from throughout the nation. Tourism was facilitated by the Very good Roads Movement and a range of necessary bridges, most notably the Baum Bridge in 1928 and the Wright Memorial Bridge in 1930. Guests liked the white sand seashores, searching grounds, and the wild horses in Corolla.

At some point, Carova Seashore grew to become a secluded tourist destination. It is notable for being only available by boat or by driving on the seaside. As Kip Tabb wrote in a 2017 report on development at the beach front, “Although traffic has been growing, the lack of infrastructure and paved roadways has saved visitation modest by comparison to other components of the Outer Financial institutions.”

The variations between eastern and western Currituck County are stark. Japanese Currituck County’s population swells in the summertime months to about 50,000 folks, extra than double the 12 months-spherical populace of the complete county. Visitors are confined in the western fifty percent whilst comprising virtually the entire economy of the eastern 50 %.

The vacationers and tourists on Currituck Banks consist of some of the wealthiest and most strong men and women in the environment. Former Supreme Court docket Justice Antonin Scalia owned a house in Corolla, and Monthly bill Gates was rumored in 2021 to have the moment rented one. In contrast, western Currituck County, which is the dwelling of the majority of Currituck’s 1,377 African People in america, is rural, isolated and mostly totally free from movie star sightings.

A onetime roadside gas station in Grandy. Source: Library of Congress
A onetime roadside gas station in Grandy. Source: Library of Congress

These disparate circumstances amongst the two halves will only proceed to grow. The western 50 % will probably be bolstered by the mid-Currituck bridge and the growth of Elizabeth City and Hampton Roadways. This section of Currituck County may perhaps turn into either a end on the way to the Outer Banks or a distant bedroom local community for Chesapeake and Suffolk, Virginia.

The eastern 50 %, on the other hand, will proceed to catch the attention of visitors but is slash off from Virginia by Phony Cape Point out Park, which does not permit vehicular entry from North Carolina. These differing paths and encounters give Currituck County its character and make it just one of the most outstanding counties in all of North Carolina.