The first runway is now marked out in concrete, leading towards the towering Kill Devil Hill and the original memorial. A 19 ton granite boulder marks where the machine first took to the skies in short hops – four granite markers from the boulder with numbers and inscriptions show how far the plane flew for the first four flights – the first three are close by, and easily seen, showing the short distance of those initial flights. The fourth is at the far end of the field, an impressive distance considering that today their first crude machine was woefully underpowered.
We walked up the runway – Trixie’s cart helping Mum quite a bit – and parted ways, Mum and Trixie going to the centennial exhibit hall, while Pops scaled the Kill Devil Hill. He told us all about it. A grey granite monument built in the 1920’s stands, done up in a mix of art deco and symbology, evoking the idea of a wing, and standing on a five-pointed star base. Busts of Orville and Wilbur stare out towards the south, flanking a set of heavy metal doors that have panels showing the myth of Icarus, and the Wright’s labors. The loop handles are in the style of bicycle chain, since the brothers were bicycle mechanics. Once you could scale the interior of this monument, but no more – the doors are locked tight.
The views from the base are spectacular though – you could see the ocean and the surrounding towns easily.