Mattie Midgette's Store & The Twiford Midgette House

The view from the second floor front deck above Mattie Midgette's Store overlooking the
National Register  of Historic Place's Nags Head Beach Cirttage Row Historic District



8-3-2019 UPDATE:

You can see the property listing for 
Mattie Midgette's Store & House
on the Preservation NC Website

The Twiford ~ Midgette House, circa 1890, seen here in a 1842 photograph at it's present location.


 Speaking about this historic site 

 at the time of its listing in the 

 National Register of Historic Places, 

 Outer Banks historian David Stick said: 

 "Let’s put it this way, I would say next to Jockey’s Ridge 

and the Wright Brothers Memorial, it is the most historically 

significant place on the northern Outer Banks. It is an 

integral part of the Nags Head Cottage Row Historic District." 


Mattie Midgette's Store and House:
National Register of Historic Places
2004 Nomination:

MMS NRHP Nomination DR0574.pdf MMS NRHP Nomination DR0574.pdf
Size : 1643.283 Kb
Type : pdf

Photo credit: Celia Pearson

Mattie Midgette's Store and House

We have been working with the NC State Historic Preservation Office and retired National 
Park Service Historian and Cultural Resource Manager Doug Stover on pinning down the 
history of the back house and having that corrected in the National Register of Historic Places. 
The house, once thought to have been constructed on site after the Store was moved from the soundside is actually the William Otis Twiford homestead, the last remaining house from the 
old Nags Head Woods community of locals, where it was built circa 1890. Twiford sold 
developer Frank Stick his first large parcel of land, a 772 acre tract from ocean to sound
which included "Kill Devil Hill", in 1926. We are awaiting word from NC SHPO Raleigh 
regarding the status of our proposed amendment to the original nomination.

 Both buildings are individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places giving prospective buyers the potential for tax credits available for a "Certified Restoration" 
of the properties. While Mattie's Store is currently used as a residence, the property is located 
in a C-2 zone which allows for commercial and residential development. The Twiford - Midgette House is a circa 1890 "dilapidated" structure, a unique and invaluable representation of an 
original Nags Head Woods family home which was moved to the soundside resort circa 1931. 
It will require a complete renovation similar to but not as extensive as the "Little Keeper's House"  at Corolla Light  HERE

The property will be sold to a buyer who is committed to preserving the history the site 
contains and represents. It will not be sold as a tear down. 

Contrary to what many people think, the listing of a property in the National Register 
of Historic places no obligation or restriction on a private owner using private resources                   to maintain or alter the property. Over the years, various federal incentives have been 
introduced to assist private preservation initiatives. A private owner of a National Register 
property becomes obligated to follow federal preservation standards only if the owner 
seeks and receives a special benefit that derives from National Register designation, 
such as a grant or a tax credit as described below. 

The file below contains recent information discovered 
while researching the history of the Twiford home:

National Register FACT Sheet HERE

Information about Tax Credits available                                                                                                   
for a "Certified Restoration" of the site....HERE

Drone video over the site & Old Nags Head...HERE

Looking south from the second floor deck at Mattie's Store.

Inside the old store, which now is home of the Nellie Myrtle Beachcomber Collection, 
AKA the Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum.

The office in the 1953, one story addition to the store.

Looking east inside the old grocery.

Back stairwell in the store leading to the second floor.

       Circa 1914 Midgette's Store layout


2004 Property Survey: 62'x300' Lot:
MMS Plat survey 2004 pdf.pdf MMS Plat survey 2004 pdf.pdf
Size : 554.625 Kb
Type : pdf
View from west side of the property
               Circa 1890 Twiford Midgette House layout

This 1932 aerial photograph of the area shows the Cottage Row Beach Cottages 
on the right and Mattie Midgette's Store and House on the left. 

The Twiford - Midgette House is the sole surviving home from the old soundside community of locals in Nags Head Woods.

While the building is in a dilapidated condition, it is in restoreable condition. The Corolla Lighthouse's Little Keepers House 
was in much worse shape when it was restored along with the Keepers quarters in the 1980's. 

"The dilapidated Little Keeper's House was "discovered" when dense growth was removed during the restoration of the larger duplex Keepers' House. Some local officials thought the condition of the building was to far beyond repair." Gibbs Building Inc.

As you can see from the photo below, the building was restored to it's original condition, saving the tandible and intangible 
value the structure represents as a link to our collective past and the potential it holds to inform us about a bygone era.

The completed renovation has given this historic structure new life as a gift shop and offers historical displays.

Midgette's Store and House are on the right, with two empty lots to the south on the left. 
The lot adjacent the property is for sale for $350,000(Lot 1) and Lot 2 may be available as well.


                           Mattie Midgette's Store 

Miscellaneous Information about this Historic Site:

Mattie Midgette's parents, William and Nellie Twiford

Willie Otis Twiford, seen here in a photograph taken 
at his Nags Head Woods homestead, was a surfman 
at the Kill Devil Hill Life Saving Station at the time the Wright Brother's historic flight at Kill Devil Hill in 1903.
Mattue Midgette's House was the family home there 
before being moved to the Soundside circa 1931.

David Stick writes about the relationship between 
Twiford and his father Frank Stick in the document below...

W Twiford Stick exhibit text 11-25-2011.pdf W Twiford Stick exhibit text 11-25-2011.pdf
Size : 82.329 Kb
Type : pdf

Mattie Midgette's Store has been the home 
of her daughter's now internationally recognized Nellie Myrtle Pridgen Beachcomber Collection, also known as the Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum, since 2003.  

Sea glass and beachcombing expert Richard   LaMotte's 2015 book, The Lure of Sea Glass,                is a sequel to his classic, Pure Sea Glass:   Discovering Nature’s Vanishing Gems,                   which was published in 2004.  

That book, which  has become the definitive                 book on the subject, helped peek interest in                     the increasingly popular pastime of collecting        treasures by the sea.

"Her gatherings from the shore are a time           capsule of goods from the first half of the   20th century.  She spent the majority of her                 life methodically accumulating and researching       over 50 years of American history, along with a few objects that pre-dated her by several hundred years. Most of the collection is neatly archived in boxes or cases, on shelves or in piles. 

This is not a hoarder’s mess, Nellie was well read     and understood history quite well, but the       collection seems to have outgrown the modest cottage. Glass bottles and sea glass make                       up a noteworthy part of the menagerie."

More on Richard LaMotte's 

"The Lure Of Sea Glass" >>> HERE...

Nellie Russell Twiford

The Nellie Myrtle Collection was highlighted
in sea glass and beachcombing guru Richard LaMotte's 2015 book, "The Lure of Sea Glass". 

LaMotte writes...

"In old Nags Head, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, is an important piece of history that could soon be lost to the fury of an Atlantic hurricane.

Inside a weary 1920s bungalow patiently sits the most extraordinary and diverse collection of seaside relics ever amassed by a beachcomber. 

Known today as the Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum, this classic coastal cottage was once   a local Nags Head grocery store and home to Nellie Myrtle Pridgen.

Nellie was a woman with one primary passion since the 1920s; she walked the beaches almost daily in search of treasure, not gold or silver but virtually any items lost to the sea. "


For the latest information from the

Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum,

Follow us on Facebook   here...



"I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull's way and the whale's way 

Where the wind's like a whetted knife."

From ~ Sea Fever ~ By John Masefield 

"For most of her 74 years, Nellie Myrtle – as everyone called her – walked at dusk and dawn, day in and day out, along the oceanfront, the sound side and the dunes at Jockey’s Ridge, scouting for beach glass, bottles, old dolls, anything interesting that the sea tossed aside or the sands gave up. By the time she  died in 1992, she had amassed jar after jar of sea glass, sorted by color; seashells of every distinction; colorful plastic toys that fill a big basket; bottles of every color and size, some containing messages; and numerous nautical artifacts."

 Catherine Kozak ~ The Virginian Pilot ~ Norfolk Virginia 



A stunning 12"  antique Japanese fishing net float hangs from the ceiling in the museum.



Nellie Myrtle, circa 1943 



This water color of Jockey's Ridge was painted by Rev. Frank Dinwiddie, longtime Pastor of the old Nags Head Baptist Church.  More...


A portion of a giant Fulgurite Nellie Myrtle 

found on nearby Jockeys Ridge.  More...

Carol Lambert's "Passion for Sea Glass: had a chapter on                                                                                                                                                        Nellie's collection titled, "The Soul of the Outer Banks"

The Nellie Myrtle Collection...  


Beach glass from the Collection:

A large piece of cobalt bonfire glass, a variety of blue beach glass, one stunning lavender chunk

and background cameos by green make this sunset array by Dorothy Hope a classic!







 Scenes from 

The Nellie Myrtle Beachcomber Collection

Mattie Midgette's Store ~ Old Nags Head 


 Jars of sea glass including rare lavender glass in the Ball jar at the center. 

 Old, blob top soda bottles.



The beach out front of the property



  Below, the morning sun lights up some of the shelves in the museum. 






                    Red Cedar heart wood in an old candy jar.










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