In 1928, The National Aeronautical Association wanted to suitably mark the spot where Orville Wright first began to move along the ground when the first flight was made.
The Association asked Bill Tate to assemble the eyewitnesses to the event for the purpose of agreeing and marking the spot.
The eyewitnesses were:
Adam Etheridge, John Daniels, and Will Dough from the local lifesaving station, and W.C. Brinkley, a local lumber buyer from Manteo, and Johnny Moore, a young man who lived with his mother in a shack in Nags Head woods.
Tate was able to find Dough, Etheridge, and Moore to perform the task. Daniels and Orville Wright were not able to attend. The others were deceased.
The task was not easy because the landscape had significantly changed since 1903. Getting the correct spot was important because the association was planning to erect a monument at the spot and they did not want any future disputes over the location.
Here are the exact words (misspellings and all) of their finding:
“Beginning with the site of the building which housed the Wrights’ plane at the time, distinctly remembering the wind direction at the time, and that the track was laid directly in the wind, collaborating our memory on these facts by the records of the Weather Bureau, remembering that we helped bring the machine from the building and placed it on the track, referring to distances laid down in feet in Orville Wrights article, “How We made our first flight.”
“We proceeded to agree upon the spot, and we individually and collectively state without the least mental reservation, that the spot we located is as near correct as it is humanly possible to be with the data in hand to work from after a lapse of twenty five years. We marked the spot with a copper pipe driven into the ground.”
In 1932 at this location, The American Aeronautical Association placed a large granite boulder containing a commemorative plaque consisting of the pictures of Orville and Wilbur and a statement that reads, “THEY TAUGHT US TO FLY.”