Danielle Taylor, Broker, SRS, CLHMS
Direct (Text Friendly) 252-489-9185

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Kill Devil Hills

Kill Devil Hills definitely has one of the most interesting names in the Outer Banks, maybe even in the country!  References to the area date back to the 1700's and it was referred to a "Kill Devil Hill" and "Kill Devil Hills".  Kill Devil Hill or Big Kill Devil Hill refers to the grassed over area on which the Wright Brothers Memorial has been erected.  It was here that the Wright brothers took their actual flight on December 17, 1903.

Kill Devil Hills residential areas are designated as Oceanside (east of Hwy 158 bypass) and West side (west of Hwy 158 bypass).  The Oceanside area further distinguishes homes as "between the highways", meaning between the bypass and the beach road (Highway 12) and Oceanfront (or semi-oceanfront) for homes located on the beach road (also known as Virginia Dare Trail). 

Another area of note in Kill Devil Hills is Colington Island.  Colington Island was the first gifted land by the Lords Proprietors and the first land in the Province of Carolina - September 8, 1663.  While it is usually referred to as one island, it is actually two islands Big Colington Island and Little Colington Island.  There are lots of wonderful homes and subdivisions in Colington including the gated community of Colington Harbor, which offers a wonderful marina, community pool and center. 

Origin of the name - as one would guess with such a unique name, there are an abundance of theories on where the name came from.  Here are a few theories/legends that are particularly interesting.

  1. A ship loaded with "kill-devil rum" wrecked opposite the sand hills and the dunes  became littered with the bottles, hence the name Kill Devil Hills.  In fact, in 1728 William Byrd of Virginia wrote "Most of the Rum they get in this country comes from new England and is so bad and unwholesome, that it is not improperly called Kill-Devil", suggesting in fact there was a Kill-Devil rum. 
  2. There is also reference in 1851 in the Norfolk American Beacon that the name originated due to the fact that "sailors say, it is enough to kill the devil to navigate that part of the sound", referring to the shoreline.
  3. The name could have also derived from a small shore bird once common to the area known as a  Killdeer.  It could have morphed in the name of "Kildeer hills" and over time become Kill Devil Hills.

Kill Devil Hills offers public beach accesses and sound accesses.

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