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PEA ISLAND PRESERVATION SOCIETY, INC.
The Pea Island Preservation Society, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Manteo, North Carolina. Our primary purpose is to preserve and interpret the history of The Pea Island Life Saving Station and the only African American Keeper in the USLSS, Richard Etheridge and African Americans of Roanoke Island. In partnership with the Town of Manteo and the East Carolina Pathways To Freedom Coalition along with a grant from Dominion Power and assistance from Charter Communications, local, county and state law enforcement officers, the original Pea Island Station Cookhouse was moved from Rodanthe, NC to Collins Park in Manteo on Historic Roanoke Island(donated by its private owner at the time) and turned into a museum honoring the history of the men who served there between 1880-1947. The Pea Island Cookhouse was the first stage of the Collins Park Project. Through grants from the N.C. Department of Transportation a life-sized statue of Richard Etheridge was commissioned by sculptor Steven Smith and located near the museum in a roundabout at Collins Park. Our most recent two projects were the dedication of the Herbert M. Collins Boathouse(the last surfmen stationed at Pea island in 1947) made possible by a gift from his family and a matching grant from the Dare County Tourism Bureau and the restoration of an original early 1900 Surfboat housed in the boathouse made possible by a grant from the Percy W. & Elizabeth Meekins Charitable Trust. We will continue to work with The Town of Manteo and its non profit partners to seek grant and/or gift funding to assist with a replica of the living quarters at the station. The future plans are for the buildings to be surrounded by the Dellerva Collins Memorial Gardens, a living tribute to one of Manteo’s beloved citizens. For more than 26 years, Dellerva served on the board of Commissioners for the Town and was Mayor Pro-Tem for several years. She was one of the founding members of the Freedman’s Colony Coalition and was married to the late Frank Collins, who was also a member of the US Coast Guard until his death while serving on active duty. This project meant the world to Dellerva, as her ancestors played an important role in the Pea Island legacy. The second building to be constructed will serve as a living history site where cultural heritage programs will be utilized to ensure that our children can continue to keep the rich legacy of our community and African American heritage alive and remembered.