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County History

Currituck County…

Rich in Heritage, With a Vision for Tomorrow

Named for an Algonquin Indian term meaning, “The Land of the Wild Goose,” Currituck County is abundant with waters, marshes, and woods. Hunting, fishing, water sports, and other recreational activities make the County a perfect retreat for the sports enthusiast.

Currituck County is now one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina. This spectacular growth has been highlighted by a careful balance between the environment and development. The County is a blend of a past that is rich in heritage and a vibrant present with a progressive vision for tomorrow.

Established in 1668, Currituck County was one of the first areas settled in the U.S. One of North Carolina's three original counties, Currituck County was one of the five original ports.

In the early 1700s, Currituck County’s original Courthouse was constructed. The building was replaced in 1842, and this new structure 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 buildings in North Carolina.

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 the Intracoastal Waterway.

By the late 1800s, Currituck County gained a reputation as a “sportsman’s paradise.” Wealthy industrialists were attracted to the county for it’s abundance of wildlife and numerous hunt clubs, including the Pine Island Club and Currituck Shooting Club.

The Whalehead Club, often referred to as the “Crown Jewel of the Outer Banks,” was constructed in 1920 by wealthy industrialist Edward C. Knight at a cost of $400,000. Mr. Knight built the winter residence and hunting lodge for his wife, Amanda Marie Louise LeBel, who also enjoyed the pleasure of the hunt and was denied admittance to Currituck’s all-male hunt clubs. In October 1992, the Whalehead Club and 28.5 acres of land were purchased by Currituck County. This home, located in Corolla, is open seasonally to the public for tours and the grounds are available for numerous special events including weddings.

Next to the Whalehead Club stands two additional restored structures: the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the Lighthouse Keeper’s House. The Lighthouse, first lit in the mid-1800s, warned ships hugging the chain of barrier islands along the North Carolina Coast. The red brick lighthouse is made up of over 1 million bricks and towers 163 feet. Because the village of Corolla was an isolated community, the Keeper’s House was provided for the keeper and his family. Tours of the lighthouse are held daily during the summer season.

Currituck Heritage Park in Corolla includes the Whalehead Club, historic footbridge, boathouse, and is the home of the Wildlife Resources Commission’s Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education. This newest addition to Currituck Heritage Park opened in 2005 and has welcomed throngs of visitors in its two years of operation.  The Wildlife Education Center offers exhibits of Currituck County's sporting history, wildlife, and programs for visitors focusing on the County's unique coastal ecosystem.