This Day in NC History: Memorial to Wright brothers dedicated

On March 2, 1927, President Calvin Coolidge signed legislation authorizing the Kill Devil Hills National Monument. Five years later, a 60-foot granite monument was dedicated in Dare County.

The monument itself was built on a 90-foot sand dune stabilized through the planting of special grasses. The dune was part of a larger natural embankment that the Wright Brothers used to launch gliders in the years leading up to their famed first powered flights in 1903.

The Wright Brothers National Memorial, circa 1939. Image from the State Archives.

The Wright Brothers National Memorial, circa 1939. Image from the State Archives.

Designed to mimic the look of a marine beacon, the monument’s double entrance doors each have six panels depicting moments from mankind’s attempts at flight. The inscription notes the momentous achievements in the history of flight that the Wright Brothers attained at Kill Devil Hills.

Though the monument’s 1932 dedication was expected to draw tens of thousands of people bad weather kept all but a handful away. Orville Wright was in attendance and the featured guest of honor. In 1953, Congress renamed and designated the monument as the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

It continues to be on the premiere attractions on the Outer Banks, drawing more than 425,000 visitors each year.

Visit: The Wright Brothers National Memorial, located in Kitty Hawk operated by the National Park Service, is open to visitors year-round.

This Day in North Carolina History is a production of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources.

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines

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