03/2/09

The restoration of the Oregon Inlet Coast Guard Station

Photo by Shiralee Timmons
Photo by Shiralee Timmons

After 20 years of being abandoned, the Oregon Inlet Coast Guard Station is currently undergoing a much needed facelift. The state-owned historic building is being raised 10 feet into the air and being placed on pilings, allowing sand to blow freely underneath, and help protect the weather-beaten structure.

In addition, the concrete floor is being replaced with wood, and the roof and three-story tower will be renovated as well. The nine-month project, estimated to cost $700,000, is expected to be completed during the summer of 2009.

Most recently used by the Coast Guard, the 1897 station, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, can be seen by drivers traveling south over the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge.

After the Coast Guard vacated the 10-acre site in 1988, it was turned over to Dare County, and in 2000, the county gave the property to the state, which assigned it to the North Carolina Aquariums to administer.

In 2001, a local construction firm designed conceptual plans for restoration of the 11,361-square-foot wood frame station – then referred to as the Oregon Inlet Coast Guard Station – and construction of three buildings, transforming the site into the marine and coastal wildlife research center on the Outer Banks.

While the ultimate purpose of the station is not yet set in stone, as a number of state agencies may make offers to take over stewardship or ownership once the renovations are complete, the Coast Guard Station now has a brighter and longer future ahead.

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