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The two RV Gypsies at
Pea Island Life-Saving Station
and National Wildlife Refuge
June 24, 2020

USA map showing location of North Carolina

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Crossing the bridge, the Two RV Gypsies noticed a building in the middle of a sand dune. The sign for Pea Island Life-Saving Station was crunched and on the ground so at first they thought it strange that a house could be in the middle of the sand dune. But of Course, it was the Pea Island Life-Saving Station.

bird on the bridge railing

view of Pea Island Light from the bridge

The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge sign could not be seen from the direction that the Two RV Gypsies crossed the bridge. But they turned left to see the building on the sand dunes and that is when they saw the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Sign.

The Refuge covers 13 miles of Cape Hatteras National Seashore land. The refuge is famous for providing temporary accommodations to nearly 400 species of migrating birds and other wildlife.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge sign

A small path led the Two RV Gypsies around a bunch of big boulders to see the beach. There were several people on the beach and a few people in the waters. The sign warned that among other things, nudity is prohibited. Interesting!!

rocks and the swimming beach no nudity sign

As the two RV Gypsies started up the path to see the Pea Island Life-Saving Station, they took a look back at the bridge they just crossed.

the bridge and dunes the bridge and dune
Lee Duquette The Pea Island Life-Saving Station

history bookPea Island Life-Saving Station is located on Pea Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was the first life-saving station in the country to have an all-black crew, and it was the first in the nation to have a black man, Richard Etheridge, as commanding officer. On August 3, 2012, the second of the Coast Guard's 154-foot Sentinel-Class Cutters, USCGC Richard Etheridge (WPC-1102), was commissioned in his honor.

Richard Etheridge was the first African American to hold the rank of keeper of a life-saving station. This meant that, under the racial standards of the times, the entire crew under his command would have to be black. Although other black men had served as surfmen at Pea Island and other stations, Pea Island Station came to be manned entirely by a black keeper and crew. The other LSS stations, in North Carolina as well as throughout the nation, would be manned and run by whites.

Five months after Etheridge took charge, arsonists burnt the station to the ground. Etheridge served as the keeper at Pea Island for twenty years. In January 1900, Etheridge, at the age of 58, fell ill and died at the station.

Pea Island continued to be manned by an all-black crew through the Second World War. The station was decommissioned in 1947.

One of the last surviving surfmen to serve at the station, William Charles Bowser, died at age 91 on June 28, 2006.

Herbert Collins, who served in the 1940s and put the locks on the station when it was closed, died Sunday, March 14, 2010.

In 1996, the Coast Guard awarded the Gold Life-Saving Medal posthumously to the keeper and crew of the Pea Island station for the rescue of the people of the E.S. Newman. Etheridge and his family are buried at the Pea Island Life Saving Station memorial on the grounds of the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. In 2010, the town of Manteo erected a bronze statue honoring Richard Etheridge.

Above quote From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and

The Pea Island Life-Saving Station

Below: A view of the road leaving Pea Island

the road leaving Pea Island

look below

go to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies Continue on in order to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a lunch break on the beach, and other scenery and buildings on the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway.


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