Oregon Inlet Project Scrapbook, PC.5279

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Oregon Inlet Project Scrapbook, PC.5279

Abstract

The Oregon Inlet Project Scrapbook, 1947-1983, documents local, regional, and national efforts to secure legislative support for deepening Oregon Inlet in order to allow safe passage and harbor for commercial fishing vessels bound for Wanchese. The primarily contains clippings from area newspapers related to public and private meetings, campaign initiatives, and legislative developments instigated by Alvah H. Ward, Alvah H. Ward, Jr., Rep. Herbert C. Bonner, Colonel George W. Gillette, Rep. Walter Jones, and others connected to the project. Additionally, many clippings document shipwrecks happening at Oregon Inlet as a result of shoaling, presumably included as justification of the campaign.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Oregon Inlet Project Scrapbook
Call Number
PC.5279
Creator
Unknown
Date
1947-1983
Language
English
Repository
Outer Banks History Center

Series Quick Links

  1. Collection Contents

Restrictions on Access & Use

Access Restrictions

Available for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by the United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying these materials.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], PC.5279, Oregon Inlet Project Scrapbook, Outer Banks History Center, Manteo, NC, U.S.A.

Collection Overview

The Oregon Inlet Project Scrapbook, 1947-1983, documents local, regional, and national efforts to secure legislative support for deepening Oregon Inlet in order to allow safe passage and harbor for commercial fishing vessels bound for Wanchese. The primarily contains clippings from area newspapers related to public and private meetings, campaign initiatives, and legislative developments instigated by Alvah H. Ward, Alvah H. Ward, Jr., Rep. Herbert C. Bonner, Colonel George W. Gillette, Rep. Walter Jones, and others connected to the project. Additionally, many clippings document shipwrecks happening at Oregon Inlet as a result of shoaling, presumably included as justification of the campaign. In addition to clippings, the scrapbook also includes photographs of two 1951 shipwrecks in Oregon Inlet, a photo of the "Pride of Carolina" (which sank off Oregon Inlet in 1967), and a letter dated 19 September 1973 from Col. Albert C. Costanzo to Rep. Walter B. Jones regarding the status of the project. The scrapbook itself ends in 1973, but an additional folder of enclosures comprises clippings dated 1975-1983, presumably collected for eventual inclusion in the scrapbook. The scrapbook's creator is unidentified, but the initials "A.H.W." on the cover imply that the scrapbook was created by Alvah H. Ward and/or his son, Alvah H. Ward, Jr.

Arrangement Note

Chronological.

Biographical/Historical

Formed by a hurricane in 1846, Oregon Inlet served as a major thoroughfare for commercial fishing trawlers and other vessels for 100 years before ultimately becoming too shallow for many major vessels to utilize. In 1948, Alvah H. Ward, owner of the Dare County Ice & Storage Company in Manteo, North Carolina, called a meeting of Eastern North Carolina citizens to discuss deepening Oregon Inlet and creating a passageway for larger vessels to safely harbor in Wanchese. Ward believed that this action would encourage the growth of the fishing industry by establishing a point of harbor access for commercial fishing vessels operating between Norfolk, Virginia, and Beaufort, North Carolina. Ward quickly gained enough supporters to establish the Fisheries and Waterway Committee of the Dare County Chamber of Commerce, and a series of public meetings generated seemingly unanimous regional support of the measure. Colonel George W. Gillette, executive director of the North Carolina Ports Authority, presented a plan for the project to representatives in Washington, D.C., after which the project was added to a congressional waterway bill. By 1951, no funds had been appropriated for the project, and supporters of the project reframed their argument to advocate for dredging the inlet as a means of national defense during the Korean War. In 1952, the project suddenly lost its greatest champion when Ward died unexpectedly after a brief illness. His son, Alvah Ward, Jr., would take over as chairman of the Oregon Inlet Project

After Ward's death, activity in support of the project appears to have stalled until the early 1960s, when a renewed effort was spearheaded by Congressman Herbert C. Bonner, a longtime supporter of the project. In January 1965, a severe winter storm created severe shoaling along the inlet, requiring an emergency response by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who dredged the inlet to a depth of 14 feet, still too shallow to allow most vessels to pass. In November 1965, Bonner also died before seeing the Oregon Inlet Project completed. By 1968, Alvah Ward, Jr. and his committee were successful in getting the project approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the project was included in the Public Works Omnibus Authority Bill in 1970. On 31 December 1970, Congress approved the $11.2 million Oregon Inlet Project. However, despite the appropriation, the project became caught up in a stalemate between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of the Interior, who disagreed over the efficacy of constructing jetties to alleviate shoaling. In the late 1970s, the Wanchese harbor area was significantly revitalized to create the Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park. However, the construction of the park did not ultimately provide a strong enough impetus to initiate the dredging project. By 1983, when this scrapbook ends, no work on the Oregon Inlet Project had been completed in the 35 years since efforts began.

Contents of the Collection

Collection Contents
Oregon Inlet Project Scrapbook, 1948-1973
Scrapbook
Enclosures, 1975-1983
Enclosures

Subject Headings

  • Bonner, Herbert Covington, 1891-1965
  • Gillette, George W.
  • Jones, Walter B., 1913-1992
  • Ward, Alvah Haff, 1929-
  • Ward, Alvah Haff, 1894-1952
  • Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park (Wanchese, N.C.)
  • Dredging--North Carolina
  • Fisheries--North Carolina
  • Fishing--Economic aspects
  • Shipwrecks--North Carolina--20th century
  • Oregon Inlet (N.C.)
  • Oregon Inlet (N.C.)--Environmental conditions
  • Acquisitions Information

    Donated by Angel Khoury, November 2014.

    Processing Information

  • Processed by Samantha Crisp, July 2018.