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“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

-Henry David Thoreau, Walden


What an adventure we had on the Chowan River and in Edenton, NC!

 

Open Video in Theater Mode

Cypress trees everywhere, the historic waterfront in Edenton, NC, and a storm that chased us right out the river, were enough to give us our fill of adventure for a day.

Cypress trees at Chowan River in Edenton, NC

Kayaking in the Chowan River was a fantastic idea and is a wonderful place to kayak, fish, and swim.  The Chowan River is a blackwater river formed by the merging of Virginia's Blackwater and Nottoway rivers near the NC/VA line.  The Chowan river is almost 50 miles long and ends in the Albemarle Sound on the coast of North Carolina.  The river is nearly two miles at its widest point.

The 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse is a fantastic piece of history. It is believed to be the last remaining original screw-pile light left in the US and the world.

The 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse

The 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, NC positioned to set on land
  • Believed to be the last remaining original screw-pile light left in the US and the World
  • The last remaining of the fifteen screw pile light stations that once dotted NC’s inland waterways
  • The Town of Edenton gifted to the State an 1888 Fresnel Lens manufactured by F. Barbier and Company. This lens was original to the Holland Island Bar Light, Maryland. That lighthouse no longer exists. The US Guard gifted this lens to the Town of Edenton in the early 1970s. The lens original to the Roanoke River Lighthouses was manufactured by Henry Lapaute, and there are unfortunately no records indicating what may have happened to the original lens of the Roanoke River Light
  • The lighthouse was originally located on pilings in the Albemarle Sound, marking the entrance to the Roanoke River near Plymouth
  • In 1940 the lighthouse was abandoned by the Coast Guard and laid vacant for about 15 years
  • In 1955 the Federal Government ordered all remaining North Carolina lights to be removed or destroyed
  • Mr. Elijah Tate bought three of the lighthouses but two of them were accidentally demolished in attempting to remove them
  • Emmett Wiggins, a World War II Navy Engineer Captain and underwater Salvager bought the lighthouse from Mr. Tate
  • Mr. Wiggins performed a supposed engineering feat by recovering the lighthouse and transporting it to Edenton placing it on land at the mouth of Filbert’s Creek
  • It was lived in until 1995 by Mr. Wiggins and remained in his family after his death

The 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, NC on a barge

The above image shows the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse being moved on the river by barge.

  • On May 15, 2007, the structure officially became the property of the Edenton Historical Commission through a $300,000 grant provided by the NC General Assembly
  • On May 23, 2007, the structure was moved to its new home on the Edenton Waterfront in Colonial Park

The 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, NC positioned to set on land

What an undertaking it must have been to have moved this structure. The image above shows the lighthouse being moved carefully into position on land.

  • Restoration of the exterior was funded by the NC Department of Transportation using federal stimulus funds, as an example of historic transportation
  • The NC Department of Cultural Resources oversees the project and A. R. Chesson Construction of Elizabeth City & Williamston did the work

The 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, NC positioned to set on land

Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Waff Contracting, Inc. and Worth H. Hare & Sons House Moving, Inc. moved the lighthouse to its permanent location over Edenton Bay.

  • NC Department of Cultural Resources has obtained $150,000 in funding for the restoration of the interior and will begin soon
  • The Edenton Historical Commission is raising funds to furnish the Lighthouse as it would have been used during its commission as a navigational aid
  • The Historic Edenton State Historic Site will provide tours and interpretation of the interior once complete
  • For ongoing and up to date information on the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse, visit: www.edentonlighthouse.org

The 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, NC

The 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, NC.

Cypress trees at Chowan River in Edenton, NC

The cypress trees are like islands in the water. They are magnificent!

Kayaking the Chowan River in Edenton, NC in a Pelican Angler kayak

Kayaking is good for the body, you get a fantastic upper body workout along with beneficial aerobic exercise. Kayaks are versatile and adaptable. You can use them in most any body of water: lakes, rivers, ditches, sounds, bays, oceans, and even in pools! You can pack your camping gear and bring along with you several days (or weeks) worth of food to fuel your expeditions. The exploration we've had this past summer has been priceless.

Gear we're using:

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