A beloved piece of North Carolina’s coastal history will be gone in the next five months, despite various efforts to save it.
The storm-damaged Frisco Pier on Hatteras Island is to be dismantled by May. It’s a project choreographed by the National Park Service, which bought the pier in 2013. It will cost about $500,000, media outlets report.
Tourists have visited the pier since the 1960s, using its vast 600-foot-extension into the ocean as a place for everything from fishing to marriage proposals. The pier’s slow demise has become popular with photographers from around the world, who see art in its skeletal ruins juxtaposed against coastal sunrises and midnight skies.
An online petition to save the pier gathered over 1,000 signatures through February, but had no impact on the outcome.
Project Superintendent Eric Anderson told the Outer Banks Voice that the project hits close to home, even for him: “I've been fishing and surfing at the pier since 1979 or '80.”
He believes it’s better for people to keep their memories of the pier in its prime, rather than as the wreck and safety hazard it has become. “She will be missed,” he told the Outer Banks Voice.
The iconic yellow pier house will be the first part to disappear, now that initial work has stripped it of asbestos. The pier is to be dismantled piece by piece, to avoid creating debris along the beach and in the water. Some of the pilings are lodged 30 feet deep and will need to be completely removed for safety reasons, according to the Island Free Press.
The Frisco Pier was built in 1962, and began to deteriorate in the 2000s. The original 600 feet of pier is now just 150 feet long. Officials with the Cape Hatteras National Seashore say the fatal blow was in 2010, during Hurricane Earl, when storm waters ripped away portions of the pier and buckled others.
The pier has its own Twitter account and a Facebook page where fans are lamenting their loss.
“The rock and roll of the wooden pier as the waves crash or wander ominously beneath always had a wonderful lulling feeling and I found it intensely relaxing,” posted one commenter on Facebook. “We could bring our sleeping bags out to the end of the pier and sleep out there under the stars and over the waves.”
The May deadline has been set to make sure works stops in time for sea turtle nesting season. If the work is not finished by then, it will be stopped until nesting season is over, officials said.
When the work is done, the parking lot and road will remain open to the public, and a future comfort station with restrooms is proposed for the site, reported the Island Free Press.