Tuesday, September 01, 2015


In the past I have written about the first paved road between Ocracoke Village and Hatteras Inlet. Eleven miles of what was to become NC Highway 12 was paved in 1957. The last three miles (at the north end of the island) was a single lane of WWII metal landing mats (with "pullovers" every half mile for passing oncoming vehicles). Unfortunately, I never had a good photograph of that early highway.

A few days ago my daughter, Amy, was given the following picture from the NPS archives via John Havel. The photo was taken by Verde Watson (1903-1978), first chief park naturalist at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, between 1955-1961.

Please keep in mind that this road was a great improvement. Prior to 1957 travelers arriving on Frazier Peele's 3 or 4 car ferry had to drive on the beach (between high and low water marks) to get to the village. Getting to Ocracoke in those days was quite an adventure!

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of whale and porpoise fishing on  the Outer Banks. You can read the story here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082115.htm


  1. Anonymous7:39 AM

    Now 58 years after this image was printed , posterity benefits due to a paper monthly newsletter such low tech. But it was scanned using technology of today. What will people see 58 years from today, will digital files of images generated to day exist? will the Archived copy of Garden and Gun ( under my bed) documenting a restaurant or city be scanned due to an interesting topic? Is this the only image known to be in the public domain of such a historical transportation nature??? My mind is boggled for those of tomorrow.

    1. I love these historical photos. In my opinion, the best way to assure our digital images survive to become historical later, is to make hard copies (prints) and preserve them.
      I wonder if that old Willys is preserved somewhere.

  2. Anonymous2:12 PM

    I recently sent a message via Facebook to the folks at the Ocracoke Preservation Society commenting on their efforts to digitize and distribute these images of old Ocracoke. What a great effort. And what a great way to share insight into life on the island way back when.

    Keep 'em coming!


  3. Anonymous8:46 PM

    That picture is like gold mine for me! I have been searching for a picture for a long time that clearly shows my family what I have described about how as children, our parents drove down from the ferry to the village and how the bareness contrasts with the vegetation today. When we arrived in the village the ponies would be all over town, begging hotdogs at the stand, and eating flowers in people's front yards. We would see the ponies galloping over the sand hills and dunes as we drove. Please tell Amy and John Havel thank you so much for that picture!! I am really excited!

    We made the trip from northern VA, in a 41 Ford Sedan. We camped in a tent at the Oregon Inlet campground. We made the excursion from camp down to Ocracoke at least once each year. By-the-way, there were two other ferries, one from the mainland to Kitty Hawk and one across Oregon inlet. We have evacuated from a couple of hurricanes also. So many good memories.