401 National Park Drive
Manteo, NC 27954
Little Kinnakeet was one of the first seven life-saving stations erected on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. These were all 1874-type designs, and all built in 1874. A kitchen/mess room was added to Little Kinnakeet in 1892. In 1900 the station was moved to the west side of the highway to what is now mid-island and a Southern Pattern station house was added to the southeast corner of the grounds in 1904. The station was deactivated June 14, 1954. The 14.5 acre property was turned over to the GSA in 1970 and is now part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Restoration work on the 1874 building occurred in 1976 – 1978, returning it to its condition during the period of significance, 1885 – 1915. This included removal of some add-on wings not present in this period. Damage to the cedar roof and siding which occurred during Hurricane Isabel in 2003 was repaired. More recently, additional stabilization work on the 1874 building, the 1892 kitchen and the 1904 station house has occurred. Little interior work has been done on the 1904 building other than the addition of supports to shore up the tower. Restoration of the 1904 building currently awaits further funding and completion of the project will require connection to the water main, another expensive undertaking.
In the long term, the Seashore plans for this station complex are for it to be the primary site for interpreting the history of the U. S. Life-Saving Service. Like its sister station Chicamacomico to the north, this is a fine example of multiple buildings constructed on the same site during the Life-Saving era, and used well into the Coast Guard years.
The station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. A historic structure report was published July 24, 2012. The Seashore is interested in partnering with other organizations on Hatteras Island to find creative uses for the structures, but the extensive costs involved have hindered such potential associations.
Currently the 1876 structure is considered saved, while the 1904 building is still on our threatened list, although no immediate risks are present. The station grounds can be visited but the buildings themselves are all enclosed in a chain link fence.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore http://www.nps.gov/caha/index.htm
Additional details regarding the construction projects including photographs can be found at: http://beachbum.homestead.com/Life-SavingStations/Stations/Little_Kinnakeet.html