Wright Again

Wright Again

Kill Devil Lifesaving Station - Sunday, August 31, 1902

The History: In his personal diary, Orville wrote, "After dinner Will went over to Kill Devil Station."

Wilbur also wrote letters to their father, Bishop Milton Wright, and their sister, Katharine. Wilbur's letter to his father describes their activities since the brothers left their home in Dayton, Ohio for Kitty Hawk August 25th, August 26th August 27 and August 28.

In his letter to his sister, "Kate", Wilbur jokes that since he has been at Kitty Hawk he has been a cook, carpenter, furniture maker, upholsterer, well driver and next week he'll add house moving. Regarding the white oilcloth tabletop cover for their dining table, Wilbur has been given "strict orders ... to set nothing hot on it or anything that can discolor it."


The "Kill Devil Station" Orville refers to is a lifesaving station, one of seven in the region, created in 1874. Another station was located on the beach near Kitty Hawk. The stations were two-stories tall with a lookout tower, lifeboats and a boathouse with ramps. The following year, a weather bureau station was build next to the Kitty Hawk Station to track the weather and especially hurricanes.

The North Carolina coast had dangerous shoals. (A shoal is a sandbank or sandbar that makes the water shallow.) In addition to rescues, during storms the lifesaving station crewmembers would patrol the beaches with lanterns and flares to warn boats and ships of the treacherous conditions.

Most of the men in the Kitty Hawk area made their living as fishermen. Working at the lifesaving stations provided additional seasonal work. From December through March when the lifesaving stations were manned around the clock, a crewmember earned $50 a month. During the rest of the year, the crew was paid $3 each time they were called.


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