Yesterday afternoon island homeowner, Fred Garst, and his crew moved an old brick cistern for the Ocracoke Preservation Society. It was quite the scene. The movers used a large crane to hoist the cistern from the yard where Milan & Nina Williams' house stood until recently. The cistern was trucked to the OPS museum where it was lowered into place near the rear porch.
Until the mid-70s everyone on Ocracoke depended for drinking water on rainwater that ran off the roof and into a large wooden or brick cistern. Cisterns are now almost a thing of the past since we have had a municipal, reverse osmosis desalination plant for about thirty years. There are still a few homes in outlying areas where the water system does not yet extend. Today those homeowners generally rely on fiberglass tanks to collect rain water.
The following photos are courtesy of island native, Dale Mutro. (The cistern is wrapped with reinforcing material to keep it intact.)
Our current monthly Ocracoke Newsletter is Gary Mitchell's essay "I Believe in Pot-Lucks," published January 23, 2006. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012306.htm.