Friday, August 15, 2014

A Prescient Pastor

An earlier post included a quotation by the Reverend Jno.[John] F. Butt about Ocracoke. In that same 1885 article he goes on to say,

"With a short walk you can find Ocean bathing, and wonderful to say, you can get good board there for four and five dollars a week, considerable cheaper than two and a half and three dollars per day. Some capitalist might make a profitable thing to go there and fit up for a summer resort, where it is real pleasant and healthy. They offer to give any one a lot of an acre or two who will go there and build on it."

Needless to say, "some capitalists" did discover Ocracoke. In the same year this article was written entrepreneurs from Washington, North Carolina, recognizing the potential for profit on Ocracoke Island, built a large Victorian hotel where the decommissioned Coast Guard Station stands today. 

The Ponzer Hotel, 1885-1900

Look for more information about the hotel, and steamship traffic to Ocracoke, in an upcoming monthly Newsletter. 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous8:01 AM

    "They offer to GIVE ANYone a lot of an ACRE or TWO who will go there and build on it." Who is they?? Capitalists did discover Ocracoke, hmm , giving land away--- could not anyone step up for an acre or two with the promise of building on it. If they give you the land was there a time frame to Build? What was required to build would a shack do? Back then-- how were all the quaint houses built? Were they Sears and Roebuck house kits shipped by boat, built by local carpenters?. That is the story! the craftsmen that hand built the Quaint houses everyone finds so charming. That is, once you get over the fact the acres were Given away free-- if I read the post correctly!!!!

    1. I am not aware of any Sears & Roebuck kit houses having been built on Ocracoke...but perhaps there were. I will publish more about "free" island building lots on Sunday, August 17.

  2. Anonymous6:28 PM

    I thought most of the houses were built just junk found on the beach or scrap materials? Sears & Roebuck? Really? Who had $$$ on Ocracoke back then for a high tech kit house that was delivered!

    1. I wouldn't say island houses were built of junk found on the beach. Very often ships that wrecked were loaded with lumber...perfectly good lumber. Of course, anything of value was taken and used if possible. And, although no one was wealthy (with money), a few folks would have been able to afford a kit house...although, as I said, I don't know of any on the island.