Posted on 06 January 2021

Orville Wright (just left of the 'G' in Genius) poses with his family in front of the memorial.


The Wright Memorial on Kill Devil Hill in Kitty Hawk, N.C., was dedicated. In June 1928, the Office of the Quartermaster General announced a competition for designing the monument. The winning design, by New York architectural firm Rodgers & Poor, was an Art Deco-inspired masonry shaft and base on a star-shaped foundation. The triangular shaft was embellished with relief carvings symbolizing stylized sculpted wings on the east and west sides. The design implied ancient Egyptian motifs, an important source for Art Deco designs. The 60-foot granite monument itself was built on a 90-foot sand dune stabilized through the planting of special local grasses. The dune was part of a larger natural embankment that the Wright brothers used to launch gliders in the years leading up to their famed first powered flights in 1903. Orville Wright was the guest of honor at the dedication and accepted the monument on behalf of himself and his deceased brother, Wilbur Wright (who passed in 1912). It has been stated that Orville was the only man ever to see a U.S. national monument erected in his honor during his lifetime. In 1953, Congress renamed and designated the monument as the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

The inscription on the monument reads:

“In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright. Conceived by genius. Achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith.”

Kill Devil Hills photographed by Wilbur and Orville Wright in 1901.

The Wright Brothers National Memorial on top of Kill Devil Hills.


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