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How to Use
the Map


Inquiry Question

Historical Context

Map 2




Table of

Locating the Site

Map 1: Outer Banks, North Carolina
and surrounding region.
[Map 1] with link to larger version of map.
(National Park Service)

The Outer Banks are a narrow chain of barrier islands stretching more than 175 miles along North Carolina's coast. Separated from the mainland by sounds up to 30 miles wide, the area is subject to severe storms and high winds. At the time the Wrights were looking for a site for their experiments, Kitty Hawk consisted of a few houses, a post office, a U.S. Lifesaving station to aid shipwreck victims, and a U.S. Weather Bureau station. According to Weather Bureau records obtained by the Wrights, Kitty Hawk was the sixth-windiest station in the country. After receiving assurance from local residents that the surrounding area offered wide flat beaches, tall sand dunes, and privacy, the brothers decided that this would be the best place to test their glider.

Wilbur left Dayton, Ohio, on September 6, 1900, with some basic supplies and crates containing parts of the glider. He traveled by train to Old Point Comfort, Virginia, and then took a steamer to Norfolk. From there he boarded a train to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and finally a small fishing boat to Kitty Hawk. That first journey took seven days. Orville joined Wilbur after finding someone to look after the bicycle shop.

Questions for Map 1

1. Using an atlas in your classroom or school library, locate Dayton, Ohio, and Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on a map of the United States. How would you describe the location of each? How did the Wright brothers decide to test their glider on the Outer Banks?

2. Describe Wilbur Wright's first trip from Dayton to Kitty Hawk. Based on Map 1, why do you think there were so many "legs" on the journey? Why didn't the brothers travel together?

* The map on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Map 1, but be aware that the file may take as much as 25 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.



Comments or Questions

National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.