Mattamuskeet Lodge holds kick-off event

Published 11:45 am Thursday, February 22, 2024

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NC Sen.Bobby Hanig (District 3), NC Sen. Norman Sanderson (District1), and NC Rep. Keith Kidwell (District 79) joined about 300 other guests for the Mattamuskeet Lodge Kick-Off in Hyde County on Feb. 13.

Hanig, Sanderson and Kidwell were recently able to help provide partial state funding for the restoration of the lodge, which was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1980.

$6.5 million of the $17 million requested was allocated to the project in the 2023-2024 fiscal budget. A long-term lease between the County of Hyde and the State of North Carolina is currently being developed. The NC Wildlife Resources Commission (the State agency currently overseeing the Lodge), along with the NC Division of Natural and Cultural Resources, and the County of Hyde will review the draft lease. Their comments will be submitted to the NC State Property Office who will eventually finalize and record the lease.

The Mattamuskeet Lodge Society (MLS), a new nonprofit organization, has already begun working with the County of Hyde as a new long-term plan for the future use of the Lodge is activated. The new purposes for the Lodge include wildlife education, ecological appreciation, and cultural and historic preservation. The site will also, once again, become a place for events that will bring life back into the community. It will also house the offices for the Hyde County Cooperative Extension Service.

Interested parties are encouraged to visit the MLS Facebook page at to view the entire ceremony that was live-streamed. While you are there, be sure to like/follow their page for future updates.



Originally known as the “Pumping Station” it was built in 1915-16. At that time, it was the largest capacity pumping plant in the world. Situated on the south shore of Lake Mattamuskeet, North Carolina’s largest natural lake, the pumping plant removed water from the lake so the rich lakebed could be farmed.

Nearby, a town named New Holland was laid out on 850 acres around the pumping station. A hotel, houses, stores and roads were built. A fleet of freight and passenger boats named the “New Holland Boat Lines” was launched. Even a private railroad called the “New Holland, Higginsport, and Mount Vernon Railroad” was built.

By 1932, nearly 13,000 acres of lakebed had been planted in soybeans, corn and wheat. However, before that year’s crops could be harvested, the decision was made to discontinue the farming operations and once the pumping plant ceased operations, the lake began refilling.

In 1934, in the throes of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt bought the lake (including the pumping plant) and declared the lands and waters as the Lake Mattamuskeet Migratory Bird Refuge. The lake again became the winter home for vast flocks of tundra swans, geese, and ducks that returned to Coast Carolina from the Norther Prairies each fall.

The pumping station was converted into a hunting lodge and the headquarters building for the new refuge. Much of the conversion work was done by Company 424 of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Young men, 17 to 33 years of age worked side by side with civilian contractors to set up the refuge and convert the pumping plant into the rustic Mattamuskeet Lodge.

Hyde County became known as the “Canada Goose Hunting Capital of the World” and the Lodge welcomed guests from around the world, including many notable dignitaries. Following changes in climate and land-use practices, the number of geese that wintered on the lake declined, and in 1974 the Lodge was closed.

In 1995, a local grassroots organization (now dissolved) – the “Friends of Mattamuskeet Lodge” – was formed and efforts to preserve and protect the Lodge began. The building reopened for community and regional gatherings and events, only to have it closed again in November 2000 due to safety concerns.