The Pea Island Cookhouse Museum is located in the town of Manteo on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Commonly called the Cookhouse Museum, the museum is housed in the original cookhouse building that was part of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station.
In 2006, the cookhouse was moved to Sir Walter Raleigh Street at Collins Park, a small park a few blocks opposite downtown Manteo. After renovating the cookhouse, in 2008 the Cookhouse Museum was opened to commemorate and remember the dedication and service that the black lifesavers of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station contributed to the history of America.
In 1880, Richard Etheridge, a former slave born on Roanoke Island who was taught to read and write and who had also served with Colored Troops during the Civil War, was named the Keeper of the Station.
Under Etheridge’s leadership the crew of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station performed hundreds of rescues in some of the most treacherous of seas along the coastal United States, an area referred to as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” for the many ships that sank there.
The station is most known for the October 11, 1896, rescue of the entire nine member crew of the three-masted schooner the E.S. Newman when the vessel caught in a terrifying storm was blown 100 miles south off course and came ashore two miles south of the Pea Island station.
Albeit some one hundred years later, in 1996 Richard Etheridge and his crew were posthumously awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for this rescue, a rescue that has been documented as one of the most heroic rescues in U.S. Coast Guard history.