Brief History of Avon (Kinnakeet)

In its early years Avon village had always been known as Kinnakeet but the village received a different identity when the post office adopted the new name in 1883. Although there is no official records of why the post office selected Avon as the new name, it is speculated that it was named after the river in England. Kinnakeet is an Algonquian Indian word meaning [that which is mixed]. This name was originally given to identify the area because it consisted of several settlements bunched into one.

Very few people remember that Kinnakeet once had enormous stands of live oaks and cedars which were valuable for boat building. The early village flourished as a pre-colonial boat building and repair capital for eastern exploration ships. Kinnakeet was once the island's most prosperous local village right up until Hatteras Inlet was opened by a hurricane in 1846. From that point on Hatteras Village took its place (mostly due to the location).

Because of the massive commercial harvest of Kinnakeet's forests, eventually there were no trees left which also ultimately killed most other remaining vegetation. This resulted in a massive sand dune that traveled west about 20 feet per month and shrunk the area at an incredible rate into the small sliver of an island that is now here today.

Famous Little Kinakeet Lifesaving Station

History Tied to Mariners

This area was famous for being the location of Little Kinnakeet and Big Kinnakeet US lifesaving stations which were commissioned to assist in mariner rescues during our nation's early history. Also check out this link to the Wikipedia ongoing online reference page.

No discussion about the history of Kinakeet (Avon) would mean anything without first realizing how the area was so closely tied to saving mariners lives. The sea has played an important role in transportation and commerce throughout our nation's history. An unfortunate consequence of the nation's dependence on water transportation in the 18th and 19th centuries was the death of sailors and passengers due to shipwrecks. In the late 18th century, the new Federal Government established agencies which had some influence on the safety of ocean travel, ships, and their cargoes.

The U.S. Lighthouse Service, established in 1789, provided beacons to warn sailors about nearby dangers such as shallow seacoast waters filled with sandbars and rocky seabeds. The U.S. Revenue Marine, later called the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, was established in 1790 to help prevent smuggling and enforce the collection of customs duties. This organization eventually became responsible for sea rescues.