MONUMENT TO OPEN FOLLOWING RESTORATION PROVIDED BY FIRST FLIGHT FOUNDATION
Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111
Superintendent Mike Murray announced today that the renovation of the monument at Wright Brothers National Memorial has been completed thanks to the outstanding efforts of the First Flight Foundation, a key partner of the National Park Service (NPS) at the National Memorial. To celebrate the completion of the project, the First Flight Foundation and the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce will co-sponsor a ribbon cutting event at Wright Brothers National Memorial on June 25 at 10 a.m., followed by an opportunity for visitors to climb to the top of the monument on a first-come, first-served basis. Superintendent Murray invites the public to join in the celebration, which recognizes the first facelift the monument has received in over a decade.
"Through the initiative and support of the First Flight Foundation, the monument has been restored to first-class condition and the underlying moisture issues that were causing its deterioration have been corrected," said Murray as he thanked the Foundation for its efforts to preserve the nations’ air heritage. "Now that the work is completed, the NPS will once again be able to provide visitors with opportunities to access the monument’s observation platform, which last occurred in 1993."
The monument restoration started on December 18, 2007 (the day after the 104th anniversary of the first heavier than air powered flight) and included cleaning the interior and exterior of the granite pylon, repointing the exterior mortar, painting the stairs as well as renovation of the electrical and mechanical systems. A new lighting scheme mirroring the historically documented version highlights the beautifully carved Mount Airy (NC) Granite "wings" at night. The dome and beacon at the top of the monument, 161 feet above sea level, were also cleaned and reworked for maximum efficiency.
John Harris, First Flight Foundation President, is pleased with the team who performed the restoration work. "We had the very best of the best experts with experience in historic restorations working side by side to complete a project with passion and excellence. She now stands tall for the nearly 500,000 annual national and international visitors to see," stated John Harris. "This has been an exciting legacy project at Wright Brothers," he said earlier this week.
Funding for the restoration was provided by the First Flight Foundation. Watson Electrical Construction Company of Chesapeake was the general contractor for the job with oversight provided by Moser Mayer Phoenix Associates of Greensboro. Other contractors included: Carolina Restoration and Waterproofing; Memorial Design and Sales; and R.A. Hoy Heating and Air Conditioning. Vendors and Services were provided by: Outer Banks Glass; Kitty Hawk Iron and Steel Works; Precision Pipe Solutions; Alldredge Plumbing; Mr. Rooter; W. G. Gillenwater and Associates; Evans-Mactavish-Agricraft; Sherwin Williams; Jefferson/Lightsmith; Dare Concrete; Electric Motor and Contracting; Associated Scaffolding; Albemarle Fence; Stone Buff; RSC Rentals; Sunbelt Rentals; Graybar; Rexell; A&A Atlantic; Action Mobile Industries; Coastal Ready Mix; Ace Hardware; and Home Depot.
Did You Know?
In the 1700s, Ocracoke Inlet was one of the busiest inlets in the East. It was one of the few navigable waterways for ships accessing inland ports such as Elizabeth City, Edenton or New Bern. It was here that Blackbeard the pirate found the inlet's heavy shipping traffic ripe for easy pickings.