Due to excellent wildfowl hunting conditions in the second half of the 19th century, private hunt clubs owned most of the land on the Currituck Outer Banks. In 1874 a group of wealthy Northeaster industrialists build the Lighthouse Club just south of here. In the 1920s Edward Collings Knight Jr. and his new wife, Marie-Louise Lebel, purchased the Lighthouse Club property and, for $383,000, built the house you see today. The Knights had the old club house torn down and a waterway dredged around the house. They wanted the property to be known as a residence not a "club", so they renamed the property Corolla Island.
A wealthy couple with other homes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Middletown, Rhode Island, the Knights made their fortune in sugar and railroads. To build this house they used the finest materials available. Architectural experts discovered that some of the house's Art Nouveau features, like the frieze that decorates the exterior, were reused probably after demolition of another structure owned by the Knights in Rhode Island.
Edward and Marie-Louise resided here during hunting season for nine years (1925-1934) until Mr. Knight became to ill to visit. Both Knights died in 1936.
Clockwide from above:
Mr. and Mrs. Edward Collings Knight Jr. Photograph courtesy of Arline Jussaume
Edward Collings Knight Jr. and companion on the bridge. Photograph courtesy of Joyce Gallop Gaus
The Knight's "Parma" patterned china used at Corolla Island.
The house shortly after construction was finished. Photograph courtesy of Rex and Gilbert Henley.