State grants Hyde County $6.5 million for Mattamuskeet Lodge restoration

Published 3:15 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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Hyde County has received $6.5 million from the North Carolina General Assembly to renovate and restore the historic Mattamuskeet Lodge, whose doors were closed more than 20 years ago. A large crowd gathered inside the lodge on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 to commemorate this special occasion.

Before the Mattamuskeet Lodge became a community gathering place and event center, it once operated as the world’s largest pumping station. Built in 1915, the structure was intended to drain the surrounding lake. However, that project fell to the wayside and by 1937 it was converted into a world-renowned hunting lodge. The United States government acquired Lake Mattamuskeet in 1934 and turned it into a wildlife refuge, which attracted visitors from all over the world. By 1974, though, the Canada goose population took a nose-dive and hunting was no longer allowed in the area. Despite the private events and classes that were hosted at the lodge following its closure to the public, the building began to fall apart. In 2000 the lodge was considered condemned and closed for good. Or, so everyone thought.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs and obstacles we thought we’d never overcome, but we’re here today to see the rebirth of this amazing facility,” said Kris Noble, Hyde’s county manager. She had a hand in working with the state to facilitate funds to get the lodge back up and running again. The vision for the lodge differs from its prior uses, but one thing will go back to how it was: life will fill the space once again.

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Cameron Ingram, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s (NCWRC) executive director, was ecstatic over the opportunity to promote wildlife resources from the lodge, right in the heart of the refuge. Having taken classes as an ECU student back in 1992 inside the building, Ingram remembered thinking 30 years ago how special it was. “We can’t wait for buses to pull up out there,” he said in looking forward to students learning from the building and area itself how important conservation is.

Noble shared that the county intends to partner with the state and the Mattamuskeet Lodge Society to complete the restoration of the lodge. Once finished, the building will house local co-op extensions, provide programs and resources and serve as a gathering place to meet the needs of the Hyde County community. “We want to focus on wildlife education, ecological appreciation and historic preservation … on the great land that surrounds us and its history.”

“Persistence overcomes a lot of obstacles,” noted NC Senator Norman Sanderson. He was impressed with how the community had come together to tackle such a large task. Indicating that 2024 has been dubbed the “year of restoration,” Sanderson added that this year will serve as one which takes people back to their original intent. Coming together as a community naturally brings about unity, he offered, and that unity can then spread to surrounding communities, states and even the nation.

This momentous occasion would not have been possible, Noble pointed out, without the support of the community. New renovations are set to include retail shops, offices, events and a museum for both residents and tourists to enjoy. The renovation is projected to take two to three years to complete. More information can be found by visiting