Brothers National Memorial is easy to find on US 158 at Kill
Devil Hills. The monument itself is an imposing 60-foot tall
granite monolith atop a great 90-foot high dune that has been
stabilized with grasses.
Center (left) offers displays about the Wright Brothers.
Even the sewing machine they used to sew the wing material is
on display. But the centerpiece and biggest attraction is the
of the 1903 Wright Flyer (below).
up to the centennial celebration, visitors were treated to detailed
talks on the Wright Brothers exploits, conducted by knowledgeable
park service volunteers (below).
click thumbnails for a larger image view )
Flight Centennial Pavilion" building set up at the
memorial site especially for the celebrations (see additional
Pavilion photo) held
various displays, including one that described what life on
the Outer Banks was like for the Wright Brothers. A reproduction
of the glider they used for testing before making their
later powered flights was a major part of the pavilion displays
memorial grounds have granite
markers (right) showing the distances
of each of the Wright's first four flights (left).
Replicas of the hanger
and living quarters used by them give some feel for the
primitive conditions under which the Wright Brothers had to
persevere to achieve their historic accomplishments.
Replicas of the hanger (left bldg.), and living quarters
Below: Facing the memorial pylon from behind
memorial pylon's appearance changes with angle and lighting.
A bright clear day shows the true gray/white granite color
( 3 upper photos). The golden light of a sunrise (below)
changes the appearance drastically.
Back 30 Years: In
1973 (left), there were a few trees and bushes on the west and
south face of the hill. In 2003 (right) there was not so much
as a single small bush.
the First Flight Centennial celebration there was a new "sculpture"
installed just south of the memorial pylon. The Wright's historic
take-off is recreated with three figures (the Wright brothers
and the photographer) sculpted in bronze, and the Wright plane
in bright stainless steel. The detail and figure action is amazing
lifelike. Though it is frozen in time, it looks as though it
is moving. You can feel the excitement, as Orville takes off,
and Wilbur runs along behind, arm outstretched as if yelling
"Go, go!" to Orville and the plane. The figures and
the plane are life-size, and the plane is supposed to be sturdy
enough for children to play on. Yet, it still looks as if it
could actually fly. Be sure to see this sculpture when visiting
the Wright Memorial. It is visible from the road along the south
end of the memorial property, but to access it, you must be
inside the park, and drive or walk around to the south side
of the dune.
Four more figures will be added to this action sculpture scene
in the future. They are the only other witnesses to the flight.
The first to be added will be Adam Etheridge, who was a member
of the Kitty Hawk Life-Saving Station, and who helped the Wrights
at every opportunity.