Fount on the sand

May 31, 2009 

North Carolina's Outer Banks surely would be a source of pride and joy even if a young David Stick hadn't wound up living there and becoming fascinated with his surroundings. But we would know a lot less about them, and history would, too.

For most of his 89 years, Stick was the foremost authority on this region of the state, having grown up there and fallen in love with historical research as a boy. The stacks of maps and charts and various essays and books written about the barrier islands or by Stick himself ("Graveyard of the Atlantic" may be his best known) used to fill Stick's home, almost to overflowing. Now they are, appropriately, in the Outer Banks History Center in Manteo.

Along the way, Stick also dabbled in politics as the first mayor of Southern Shores and in conservation, helping to write the state's Coastal Area Management Act. To his many friends (including those in the media), he was fascinating in his true tales of the Outer Banks. In fact, it's fair to say that when it came to story-telling, no one could top him. After all, in the place where flight began, Stick as a youth met Amelia Earhart and Orville Wright. That's why, in any conversation with David Stick, perhaps the most fun was to listen, which inevitably led to learning.

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