Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Roanoke River Lighthouse Moved
To Colonial Park In Edenton

1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse
- Moved to Colonial Park in Edenton Bay, this day, May, 23rd, 2007

This morning I got up early to be a part of the latest history of Edenton. In the 1950s a local Edenton resident, Emmett Wiggins, bought the decommissioned light house that had once stood in the mouth of the Roanoke River (shown above) back in the days when most commerce moved by river or train. In the 1800s when the lighthouse was built there were no cars or trucks and our modern magnificent road network did not exist.

Though the Lighthouse was easily seen where Emmett Wiggins placed it across Filbert's Creek, actually getting to the site was difficult. It was hidden down a twisting driveway next to the classic old house (above) that is being restored. You had to open a gate marked "Do Not Enter" after you found the address on a side street in Edenton. I got there early and only one worker was around. Luckily I ran into him by the gate. He was leaving to run an errand but he gave me a directions to the site or else my early arrival might have not worked out so well.

As you wound down the twisting old driveway you would finally round a corner and there it was between some bushes and huge old trees, the water of Edenton Bay out beyond.

After finding a place to park I approached the old lighthouse. It had already been prepared for its trip this day and hooked up to the truck that would assist its move. This final move of the lighthouse was going to be much faster than the efforts that it had taken to move it here back in the 1950s.

As I got out of my car I disturbed a trio of rabbits who were getting their morning breakfast from among the flowers and shrubs near the old tower. I managed to get this picture before he hopped back into the bushes.

As you can see above, it was a really beautiful day, typical of the summers that make this historic Inner Banks town such a popular destination for people all over the east coast. The water was mirror smooth.

One of the people who loves this town of Edenton is the owner of Waff Construction, Inc., Paul Waff, a well known local contractor. Mr. Waff had obtained the contract to make this move mostly out of pride in being a part of something this special. Waff is the company that used pieces of the old "Chowan River" bridge to build the magnificent marina that sits over by Colonial Park, the destination this day, and also built Warf Landing, the new local marina and townhouse complex which we recently covered here.

This is the view most of Edenton has had of the old Lighthouse for the last 50+ years, viewed from Pembroke Circle across Filbert's Creek, one of the many fingers of water that breaks up the shoreline around Edenton.

As the sun gets higher in the sky, workers start arriving to start the move.

There was a considerable amount of news coverage this day, here the helicopter from WAVY TV circles the lighthouse.

With none of the more knowledgeable people around yet, I was interviewed by both WCTI and WITN. I got to sneak in a plug for my blogs while I was telling what I knew about the event. I heard that a portion of both interviews made the 6:00 PM news.

Nancy Nichols from the Chowan County Tourism Development Authority, was one of the first dignataries to arrive. Nancy's group has the great web site called Visit Edenton.

Across the way, you can see many local residents starting to gather on an open lot on Pembroke Circle to watch the move.

As the move is about to start, Waff holds a final gathering of the workers to review safety and details of specific assignments.

The Lighthouse starts to move slowly up the ramp.

After numersous starts and stops over about two hours to adjust planking in the ramp, it is almost on the barge. Nancy Nichols, and Peter Rascoe, special projects Coordinator for Chowan County are beaming with pride. This has been something they have worked on for 10 years.

With the Lighthouse and truck completely on the barge, one of the hardest parts of the move is over.

At this point I joined Mac Privott, owner of Carolina Classic Boats on one of his magnificent 35 foot fishing boats to watch the move by water. You can see details of this famous local company at their web site, The 35 is his top of the line boat, and it was a magnificent machine, something Carolina Classics is famous for. His boats are so well known, even internationally, that exports is a major part of his business.

As we move away from the dock and head out, the 1100 horse power from its twin turbocharged Cummins diesels is smooth, quiet and accelerates the boat easily.

In only a few minutes we have crossed the bay back to the location where they are getting ready to move the barges away from the old site and start the move to Colonial Park using two small tugs.

Moving something this big is not quick, but it does not take long before the Lighthouse is moving slowly along the banks of Edenton Bay, headed to its new home.

As the two smaller tugs move the barge into deeper water, they bring up a larger tug to take over the efforts.

The larger tug swings around the barge with the lighthouse and moves into place.

Ken Manning (above) has been hired to film the lighthouse move for production of a documentary . You can learn more about his services by clicking on his web site here.

The Lighthouse moves steadily foward with the two barges, one for the lighthouse and one for the crane that was used to help load it on the barge, still linked together at this point.

As they near Colonial Park, they stop long enough to separate the two barges.

The barge with the crane is the first to be moved into the Edenton Marina at Colonial Park.

After the crane is in place, they start to move the barge with the Lighthouse into place.

The wind has picked up, and part of the reason for the larger tug becomes obvious. Controlling the movements of the barge requires huge application of power from the tug. This is tricky.

The crew from the crane barge are continuing to set up the ramp to take the Lighthouse off, even as the crew on the Lighthouse barge are bringing it into place.

The wood pad (in the center rear) shows where the Lighthouse will be placed temporarily while it is restored. Ultimately it will replace the gazebo right next to the Marina entrance.

It is tight quarters and moving the barge with the Lighthouse into place takes time.

Getting close, the second barge is pushed into place.

Docked and ready for unloading.

Off the barge and in Colonial Park!

The truck pulls the Lighthouse over to the temporary storage pad awaiting restoration.

In Colonial Park, a large crowd has gathered to watch this historic occasion come to completion.

Above is the architects rendering of what the Lighthouse will look like, sitting at the mouth of the Edenton Marina, when restoration is complete (the gazebo on the left will be removed).

Some of the information about the Lighthouse that makes it so special:

One of the few screw-pile lighthouses left in the world.

The last surviving lighthouse among approximately 20 lighthouses that once dotted NC's inland waterways.

The Town of Edenton actually owns the 1888 Fresnel Lens that was originally located in the lighthouse.

The lighthouse was originally located on pilings in the Albemarle Sound, marking the entrance to the Roanoke River near Plymouth (see first picture at top of article). Plymouth has built its own duplication of an earlier lighthouse as a tourist attraction, but THIS is an original. Learn more about the duplicate by clicking here.

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 lighthouses 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, only this one of the three survived.

Emmett Wiggins, a World War II Navy Engineer Captain and underwater Salvager bought the lighthouse from Mr. Tate.

Mr. Wiggins performed a major 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.

For some spectacular VIDEO of the Roanoke River Lighthouse move click here.

On May 15th the structure officially became the property of the Edenton Historical Commission. For further information, you can contact Peter Rascoe, Special Projects Coordinator for Chowan County at (252) 482-8431, or Nancy Nichols, Director of the Chowan County Tourism Development Authority at (252) 482-3400.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Judges 6:36-40

by Mike Adams - May 9th, 2007 -

Some years ago, I knew a young man who drove some 700 miles to give a speech at his alma mater. When he arrived he saw a few old friends including an old girlfriend he dated in school. She was going through a divorce and she had recently been unfaithful to her husband.

They talked for hours that weekend and after all was said and done he got back in his car to drive home. He had a lot to think about on the twelve hour drive. Mostly, he thought about how miserable the lives of so many of the girls he had dated turned out to be.

How many men have failed to search for the woman that they should and instead searched for something else entirely? I am certainly guilty of that. It is probably why I am still alone in life. I had to look up the biblical reference used as the title to this article. In case this passage from the Bible is not familiar to you either, here is the text.

Judges 6: 36-40
36: Then Gideon said to God, "If thou wilt deliver Israel by my hand, as thou hast said,
37: behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that thou wilt deliver Israel by my hand, as thou hast said."
38: And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.
39: Then Gideon said to God, "Let not thy anger burn against me, let me speak but this once; pray, let me make trial only this once with the fleece; pray, let it be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew."
40: And God did so that night; for it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

This passage talks about our need to ask God for guidance in our lives. Sometimes he gives it. If he gave me guidance in my choice of women I surely missed it.

This is the second great article by Mike this week. The other is equally as admiring of women, though it focused on Moms instead of Wives. That other article is typically Mike Adams satire though and you can read it below. This article was something new from Mike. It is a really touching story of finding someone to share your life with that seems blessed by those coincidences that can only be a sign of the mystery we find in life, which is clearly a sign from God.

I am posting both of them on Mothers Day. God bless our Moms and all the women who we admire! The women in our lives are our most important signs from God. I hope you listened. Wish I had.

Seeking Trophy Wife:
M.R.S. Degree Required

by Mike Adams - May 7th, 2007 -

No reasonable person could be opposed to M.R.S. degrees for women who aspire to be “nothing more” than a wife and mother. The most important job any woman can ever hold is that of a mother. Important people like teachers can have an effect on thousands of students, but no teacher can have that much of an effect on a child she only knows for one year. Mothers, on the other hand, will influence their own children for about fifty years.
Mike Adams admires Moms.

I can clearly see the gnashing of teeth and hear the screaming in rage of all the feminists who accidentally read this article by one of the funniest writers on the right. Mike Adams is just as funny in person. I got a chance to meet him last year in Asheville, and he is really really quick and really really funny.

Sometimes you can get a feel for him in one of his articles, and this is a perfect example.

It is funny, and yet it is true. Mothers are the most important people in our society. We owe them so much. God bless them all. Thank your Mom! Thank all the Moms you know.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Wharf Landing Marina
Grand Opening

It was advertised as free music, food and drink. And was it ever. Wharf Landing puts on a good party. They have also developed a great Marina, the Chowan River's first new full service marina in quite a while, and a super Condo Complex. Wharf Landing offers the only waterfront condos in this historic area. Because it was overcast this night we did not get to enjoy the typical evening's spectacular sunset, but it was still a great view of Albemarle Sound.

When we arrived we found a temporary restaurant in a tent (shown at top) where the permanent restaurant is going to go, with food provided this evening by Nixon's catering. The small marina area shown above is where you can bring your boat to the restaurant to dine. An architects rendering of the restaurant to be built is shown below.

Almost everyone was grabbing a bite to eat before they headed out for the tour of the condo complex. The food, as noted above, was provided by Nixon's and it was their usual outstanding fare.

The music was provided by the Dreams, and it was superb.

As we walked over to the model set up in the condo complex, Stephani Powell and Nancy Adams, below, stopped to enjoy the great breeze blowing off Albemarle Sound.

We took advantage of the really special riverfront walk that runs along the entire complex as we walked over. The view makes it worth the couple of extra steps it took to get to the model by using the riverfront walk.

The model condo is on the first floor of one of the units that fronts the marina, shown below, already populated with a few of the boats that will soon fill it.

As you enter the model condo from the elevator, you walk into the spacious living room.

Below is the kitchen and dining area, looking out to the sunrise side sun room.

Below is the sunset side sun room, here configured as a reading area but which could also be set up as a breakfast nook if you wanted.

The Master Bedroom is beautiful, and opens out onto the huge balcony.

Stepping out on the balcony, you get a view of the large marina area. Shown at the rear of the marina is the start of the next set of buildings in the complex. This expansion is the reason for the great party that the developer was throwing this night.

After an enjoyable meal, typical of the lifestyle that this complex will provide, and a great tour of the condo complex itself, we walked back to the car and headed out.

Wharf Landing is a great addition to our area. Click on the title above or here to go to the Wharf Landing Web Site for more pictures and contact information for the facility.