The town of Saluda, North Carolina, is home to the steepest standard-gauge mainline railway grade in the United States, with a gradient of 4.7%.
Dare County, located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, has a rich and diverse history. The area was originally inhabited by Native Americans, including the Algonquian tribes, who lived off the land and coastal waters. European exploration and colonization began in the 16th century when Spanish explorers arrived seeking riches and claiming the land for Spain. However, it wasn't until the mid-17th century that permanent European settlement occurred.

In the early 1600s, English settlers arrived in Dare County, marking the beginning of the colonization attempts by the Roanoke Island Colony. Led by Sir Walter Raleigh, the first group of settlers mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind only the word "Croatoan" carved into a tree. This disappearance, along with subsequent failed attempts at colonization, including the ill-fated "Lost Colony," has captivated historians and researchers ever since, and remains an unsolved mystery.

Throughout the following centuries, Dare County developed as an agricultural and fishing community, relying on the abundance of natural resources from the surrounding waters and land. The area gained prominence as a stopover for ships traveling along the coast, and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was built in 1803 to guide these ships through the treacherous Diamond Shoals.

Dare County also played a crucial role during the Civil War. The Confederate Army took control of Roanoke Island, resulting in the Battle of Roanoke Island in 1862, a significant Union victory that marked a turning point in the war. The area's beaches, including the famous Kitty Hawk, gained attention in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as vacation destinations for the wealthy.

Today, Dare County continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors with its beautiful beaches, outdoor recreational activities, and historical sites. The area's history, including the mystery of the Lost Colony, remains an important part of its identity, celebrated through various cultural events and attractions.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Dare County, North Carolina.

  • 1584 - Sir Walter Raleigh sends an expedition to Roanoke Island, making Dare County the birthplace of English colonization in America.
  • 1587 - The Lost Colony is established on Roanoke Island, but mysteriously disappears.
  • 1663 - Dare County becomes part of the Province of Carolina, under English control.
  • 1729 - Province of Carolina splits into North Carolina and South Carolina, with Dare County falling under North Carolina's jurisdiction.
  • 1870 - Northern part of Dare County is established as Currituck County.
  • 1870 - Dare County is officially formed, carved out of portions of Currituck, Hyde, and Tyrrell Counties.
  • 1873 - First lighthouse built on Cape Hatteras to aid ships navigating the treacherous Diamond Shoals.
  • 1930s - The Civilian Conservation Corps constructs the Oregon Inlet Coast Guard Station and Hatteras Village School.
  • 1939 - The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is established, protecting a large stretch of Dare County's coastline.
  • 1940s - Dare County experiences significant military presence and activity during World War II.
  • 1950s - Interests in tourism and beachcombing grow, leading to the development of beach towns and vacation rental properties.
  • 1963 - The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge opens, connecting Hatteras Island to the mainland.
  • 1999 - The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is moved inland to protect it from erosion caused by the encroaching Atlantic Ocean.
  • 2017 - Completion of the new Bonner Bridge, replacing the aging Herbert C. Bonner Bridge.