1921 Lost Colony Silent Film
The poignant story of Sir Walter Raleigh’s ill-fated colonists has long been told on Roanoke Island, where just over 100 men, women and children left England to begin life on untamed shores.

Local residents have always been particularly proud of the historic heritage of the island. In 1921, after the State Board of Education appropriated $3000.00 to create a motion picture about Raleigh’s Roanoke Voyages, Miss Mabel Evans, Superintendent of Dare County Schools, prepared a script and urged that the movie be filmed on Roanoke Island.

The production cast was made up of over two hundred people, including many Roanoke Island natives. Many costumes were made in local homes and shops. R.C. Evans allowed his downtown hotel to be used as a workshop. Fabric was died and wigs were tied. Miss Elizabeth Grimball came down from New York to direct the silent film, while movie men from the Atlas Film Corporation in Chicago brought cameras, equipment and expertise.

The popular film was shown throughout the state, educating North Carolinians about the cradle of American history on Roanoke Island. For more information see William Powell’s Paradise Preserved, UNC Press, 1965.

These photographs are part of the Meekins Family Collection and depict scenes from the 1921 silent film.
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