The Salvo Day Use Area Cemetery is in dire need

Salvo Cemetery photo by Dan Murphy

This is a recent photo of the Salvo Day Use Area Cemetery. It was taken from the edge of the Pamlico Sound looking east towards to ocean. It shows that the soundside fence is gone, much of the land was washed away, which undoubtedly carried away graves. Gravestones are tumbled, broken, buried or lost. Entire tombs and vaults are being exposed. Immediate repairs to this private property are planned and will mitigate the damage, but contributions are sorely needed. Photo courtesy of Dan Murphy.

The Salvo Day Use Area Cemetery has become a historic, cultural site. As a family cemetery, it dates back to 1872, primarily for the Midgett family initially, and it was purposefully located in that pastoral spot. Hollywood should use that scene.

When the National Park Service established the Salvo Campground, which became today’s Salvo Day Use Area, the Salvo family cemetery was not part of that; it remained private property, just like the rest of the village.

Then came freaky hurricanes that hardly ever come from the sound. But Hurricane Irene (2011) and Hurricane Arthur (2014) did, driving flood waters over soundfront property. This has done extreme damage to the Salvo Cemetery. In her excellent article for the Island Free Press, Joy Crist wrote, “Headstones have broken, washed away, or have been removed by concerned family members who worry they could disappear altogether, and tombs are becoming exposed as the soundfront area steadily recedes from a regular battering of high water and waves.”

An irreplaceable human historic treasure is extremely endangered. What is the deadline for getting it fixed? The next hurricane.

Would you like to be a part of a significant and meaningful Hatteras Island native family event? You certainly can! Here are the options:

Efforts to remedy the cemetery situation have been spearheaded by island descendants, Hatteras Island Genealogical and Preservation Society (HIGPS), along with The Rodanthe Waves and Salvo Civic Association. Jenny Farrow Creech, president of HIGPS, has researched the possible solutions thoroughly. She has come up with a Plan A and a Plan B. The latter is the permanent plan, and it is expensive. Jenny will announce the details of Plan A about “Adopt-A-Sandbag” at the Dinner on the Grounds event on Friday, August 26 at the Salvo Day Use Area near the cemetery. No grants are available. All of this funding is being raised by the Hatteras Island Genealogical and Preservation Society, along with the Rodanthe Waves and Salvo Civic Association. They started a GoFundMe page: Save the Salvo Day Use Cemetery. Now comes a great family fund-raiser! You can be a part of all of this!

Dinner on the Grounds on August 26 will be a traditional Hatteras Island meal of chicken and pastry with a cup of Hatteras-style clam chowder for a minimum donation of $10, but more is encouraged and graciously accepted. 100 percent of the donations will go directly to the cemetery repair – there are no administrative costs. All donations to this 501 (c) (3) are tax-deductible. The dinners will be served at the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo (RSW) Community Building (opposite Chicamacomico Museum), and participants are then instructed to go to the Salvo Day Use Area (directions provided) to picnic on the spacious green lawns near the cemetery to enjoy the beautiful view. Several events at press time were still being planned, such as speakers, entertainment, a bake sale and perhaps a raffle. Updates will appear on the Facebook page Salvo Day Use Cemetery Friends and Descendants. Also look in the Coastland Times, on and on posters.

Want to help?

  1. Adopt-A-Sandbag
  2. GoFundMe: Save the Salvo Day Use Cemetery
  3. Attend Dinner on the Grounds
    Friday, August 26, 3 to 7 p.m.
    $10 donation or more
    Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Center, 23186 Myrna Peters Rd., Rodanthe
    Facebook: Salvo Day Use Cemetery Friends and Descendants

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