History of Currituck County
Established in 1668, Currituck County was one of the first areas settled in the U.S. An original North Carolina county, 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 remodeled in 1898, and currently houses the governmental administrative offices. In 1776, the Colonial Legislature granted permission to build a jail in Currituck County. The Old Currituck Jail and Historic Courthouse are two of the oldest county 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 at Currituck Heritage Park is often referred to as the “Crown Jewel of the Outer Banks.” It was constructed in 1925 by wealthy industrialist Edward C. Knight, Jr. at a cost of $400,000. Corolla Island, the original name of the Whalehead Club, was built by Mr. Knight and his wife, Marie Louise, as their private residence. They chose the location along the Currituck Sound to satisfy their passion for waterfowl hunting.
In October 1992, the Whalehead Club and 28.5 acres of land were purchased by Currituck County. This former home, located at Curriutck Heritage Park in Corolla, is now open year-round for public tours.
Near 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, which is located in Corolla and includes the Whalehead Club, historic bridge, and boathouse, and the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education.
USA Today selected Corolla as one of the top ten beaches in the nation and described Currituck beaches as some of the “best undiscovered beaches on the East Coast.”
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 with a vision for a progressive tomorrow.