As people all along the East Coast dig out and assess the damage from Hurricane Irene, one image stands out as a vivid reminder of the storm’s aftermath.
Captured by Scott Olson of Getty Images, it’s a photo of a devastated dad, comforting his daughter on a set wooden steps surrounded by water. The staircase is all that remains of their 108-year-old family cottage, swept away by Hurricane Irene.
The Stinson family – dad Billy, wife Sandra and daughter Erin – lost the cottage on Albemarle Sound at Nags Head, North Carolina, Sunday to the storm.
”We pretended, just for a moment, the cottage was still behind us and we were sitting there watching the sunset,” Erin Stinson said of the photo.
The Stinson’s turn-of-the-century home was built in 1903, one of the first vacation homes built on Albemarle Sound. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The cottage found itself in the eye of Hurricane Irene, and the results were devastating. The hurricane first made landfall on North Carolina’s famed Outer Banks, destroying vulnerable beach houses along the shoreline before ripping up the East Coast, causing 40 deaths and still untold amounts damage.
The Stinsons, the home’s owners since 1963, say their neighbors and the community are helping them get through this tough time.
A May 2010 story in Our State magazine tells the story of the Stinson’s family home.