Kevin Cutler, editor of one of our island newspapers, "The Ocracoker," includes a column entitled "Ocracoke Yesteryear." Here Kevin quotes excerpts from the "Ocracoke Island News," which was published at the school years ago.
Last night as I was going through my mail I read the following in Kevin's column, from the March, 1960 issue of the "Ocracoke Island News:"
"Beach View Lunchstand is to be the new name of the former Island Lunchstand. The structure is the one opposite the Gift Shop."
"The Gift Shop!" Now that says volumes. It's just "The Gift Shop."
If I remember correctly, the Island Lunchstand was the small "hamburger joint" on the harbor. This site was later made into the Windjammer Restaurant (still later to be known as Captain Ben's). This building (on the dock) burned down in the 1970's. Joyce's of Ocracoke is located on that property today. I never paid any attention to the official name of the lunchstand. We teenagers just called it "Maude Ellen's" after one of the owners.
(The lunchstand's name was changed because Maude Ellen & her husband, Maurice, moved the business to the edge of town. Hence, Beach View Lunchstand.)
The Gift Shop was part of the Harborside Motel. This was the island's very first shop catering to tourists. I guess it didn't need a proper name. Not in 1960 anyway.
In the late 1960's Myrtle Doolittle established "Capt. John's Junque Shop" in Wabab & Elizabeth Howard's small building near the (then) Post Office. Down Point Decoys is in that building now. About the same time Noma Hardin, an art professor from Greensboro, NC, started a quality craft shop near Sam Jone's "Castle" (the Castle B & B today).
Village Craftsmen began in the summer of 1970, in a tent on Howard Street, where our parking lot is now.
Today Ocracoke has many unique, colorful, and eclectic shops with creative names. Forty years ago there was just one, simply "The Gift Shop." Oh how times have changed!