The year of restoration

Published 12:02 pm Thursday, March 21, 2024

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By Matthew Murphy, Maggie Shaver, Mia Scott and Jermaine Williams – Mattamuskeet School students

“So on the beautiful parcel of land
God planted almost everything used by man,
As the ages rolled on and men multiplied,
They decided they would call it the County of Hyde.”
Stephen Tyler Smith (1871-1932), minister of Fairfield Disciple Church, and visiting minister to other Hyde County churches.

On February 13, 2024, Hyde County launched the restoration of Mattamuskeet Lodge. There were several speakers such as county and state officials – such as Senator Bobby Hanig, Senator Norm Sanderson, Representative Keith Kidwell, Cameron Ingram, Kris Noble, and Earl Pugh Jr. – along with community members who attended. The “Kick Off” for the restoration of Mattamuskeet Lodge, located on the Mattamuskeet Refuge, brought in a crowd to commemorate the past and celebrate the future.

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The Mattamuskeet Lodge has always been a big piece of homage to the community of Hyde County. After almost a decade of speculation as to what is to come of the lodge, many questions have finally been answered.

Hyde County Manager Kris Noble kicked off the kick off with a sentiment view of the lodge. She stated, “The beauty of this day is not that we are new or this building is new but that we are being made new and today marks the beginning of our beloved Mattamuskeet Lodge becoming new once more.” Hearing this from Noble has put the lodge into a new light, opening many eyes to the endless possibilities available for this historic site. Noble not only appreciated what the lodge once was, but she acknowledged the lodge’s ability to evolve into something new and better.

In the lodge’s future, programs in wildlife and ecological education as well as historical preservation will be offered. Among them, there will be offices, such as Hyde County Cooperative Extension Service. Noble also mentioned bringing back events such as prom, weddings and private parties.

Many of the people at the ceremony have fond memories and stories of the lodge’s previous life, in all its glory. Several of them had their weddings and proms in the lodge. On the contrary, some of the younger generations had never even been inside the lodge.

Hyde County’s goal is to preserve and renew the lodge. The lodge was originally a pumping plant, then a lodge for hunters, before it sat vacant since 2000. The plan to repurpose the lodge has been a long time plan and investment. With help from other organizations, this will now be possible.

In the words of Senator Sanderson, “We must have the ability to see beyond where we currently stand.” The vision for the lodge’s future shows that Hyde County has that ability and the motivation to see it through for current and future generations.”

Editor’s Note: Mattamuskeet School’s creative writing class students went out in the field to the Mattamuskeet Lodge restoration kick-off and reported on the event. “What a better way to put their new skills to work!” noted Hyde County Schools.

Students writing this article are Matthew Murphy, grade 11; Maggie Shaver, grade 10; Mia Scott, grade 11; and Jermaine Williams, grade 10.