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Old Gray House Gifts and Shells 

Dewey Parr
Cape Hatteras Island Lighthouse

When I was growing up on Hatteras Island the two buildings I remember the most were The Old Gray House and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Everyday after school I would run up to Dark Ridge Road. to the Old Gray House to see Grandmother Gray. At the Old Gray House there was always something cooking on the wood burning stove, cookies and a big hug waiting for me.

The other building that played a big part in my life was the Hatteras Lighthouse. The Lighthouse was the Island's symbol of safety and security. It was also a center for Island social life.

In those days before electricity, there were few lights in the night other than the light from the lighthouse. This light was the one ray of hope shining in the dark to warn sailors at sea of the dangers of becoming shipwrecked on the dreaded diamond shoals. To the Islanders the flashes from the lighthouse across the night sky served as a comfort and joy.

On weekends the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was a gathering place for the Islanders. Children ran up and down the steps of the lighthouse. Ball games were played in front of the lighthouse, and picnics took place not to mention swimming and frolicking in the surf, and shell collecting. The lighthouse was a happy place for young and old alike.

To the family members of the Gray House the Lighthouse had a special closeness. Grandmother Gray's maiden name was Farrow. Her great-grandfather Pharoah Farrow was a Lighthouse keeper. There is a stone in the circle where the Lighthouse used to be with his name engraved on it.

The Old Gray House and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stand together as monuments to the past and present peaceful way of life to be found on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The Old Gray House depicts a typical sea faring families' daily struggle to survive the harsh weather on an isolated Island. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse symbolizes the perils of those who sailed the sea.

Dewey Parr
Dewey Parr sitting on his
great grandfathers stone honoring
his service as a lighthouse keeper

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