nps to open wright monument this summer
Towering over the Wright Brothers Memorial, the 158′ monument to the Orville and Wilbur’s achievement has been closed to the public for over 20 years. Jeff Hampton, writing for The Virginian-Pilot, explains that the doors to the base of the monument will be open weekly this summer so the curious can look inside and get the skinny on the tower from expert guides.
“Wright Brothers historian Darrell Collins climbed up the six-story monument, step by narrow step, before exiting to an open balcony at the top.
“This is the largest monument ever built for a living person,” Collins said.
White-capped breakers and miles of shoreline to the east and maritime forest to the west were not the focus of the amazing view. Instead, the point at the base directs onlookers northward to the grassy field of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first flight. It was all sand back in 1903 when the brothers flew 120 feet in 12 seconds. The fourth and final flight went 852 feet in 59 seconds.
That last flight is what set them apart, Collins said. “It would take the rest of the world four years to match that.”
The triangular granite pylon stands 60 feet tall on top of a 90-foot hill where the Wright brothers launched hundreds of glider flights. The Outer Banks landmark stands above U.S. 158, but people rarely see it from the inside.”