Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Wreck of the Sarah D. J. Rawson

One of the most remarkable rescues performed in the 44-year history of the United States Life-Saving Service occurred in February, 1905, at Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

Surfboat Launch 

Sick with the flu, nine surfmen at the Cape Lookout station rowed 18 miles in an open boat and endured bitter cold for twenty-eight hours to rescue six mariners from the schooner Sarah D. J. Rawson

You can read the story in our latest Ocracoke Newsletter: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/the-1905-rescue-of-six-mariners-from-the-schooner-sarah-d-j-rawson/.

Monday, September 07, 2020

Howard Street through Time

As much as some things change, other things stay the same or change very little. Ocracoke's historic Howard Street, one of the iconic and enduring features of Ocracoke Island, has captured the attention of photographers for decades. These images below document Howard Street's appeal for residents and visitors alike. 

The image below appeared on a vintage postcard from the 1950s:











 
This photo was on a postcard in the 1960s:







 

This image of the eastern end of Howard Street is from the late 1960s:








 
The following photo was taken in spring 2020 by Shane Claridge, a first-time visitor to the island from Canada:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There have obviously been a few changes, but the primitive beauty of Howard Street remains. Be sure to take a stroll down this lane whenever you are on the island.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Concrete Turtle

We have just posted another Ocracoke Newsletter article, this time a story about how islanders coped before we had official street names. It is called "The Concrete Turtle."

We hope you find the story amusing. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/the-concrete-turtle/

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 18, 2020

House Raising and Moving on Ocracoke

If you've visited the Village Craftsmen in the last few days you surely have noticed that Amy & David's house is being remodeled and elevated. As I was walking around the site I noticed that 36 "C" clamps are supporting the entire weight of the house. I was amazed, so I talked to the house mover. He explained exactly how and why that could be.

David Tweedie's & Amy Howard's House















Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter includes a few words about the history of moving and elevating houses on the island, more photos of Amy and David's house, and an explanation of how 36 clamps can support the weight of the house.

You can read the Newsletter here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/house-raising-and-moving-on-ocracoke-island/.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Checking the Septic Tank Before Showering

Life on a barrier island offers many rewards. Along with the other residents of our small village I cherish our sixteen miles of natural, undeveloped ocean beach, the wide, seafood-rich sound, and the palpable sense of community we enjoy relatively isolated from the outside world.

But island life also presents numerous challenges. We are three hours from the nearest hospital, have no dentist, and must rely on ferries to make the twenty-five mile crossing to the mainland. Fog, strong winds, storms, and mechanical issues occasionally disrupt ferry schedules. Hurricanes, tidal flooding, and other natural and man-made disasters periodically leave us stranded without power, telephone service, or internet connections.

For years we have managed without a major grocery, any franchised fast-food restaurants or home improvement centers, a pharmacy, or a movie theater. Although we now have a small hardware store and a number of skilled tradesmen and specialists, for years we simply learned to be our own carpenters, plumbers, electricians and handymen.

In many respects islanders are nearly self-sufficient, and incredibly resilient.

Several months ago I was in Asheville when the battery in my cell phone failed. I found the nearest Verizon store and picked out a new phone. Then it came time to decide on a screen protector.

“I want to make sure the material is strong enough to protect my phone if I drop it or roll over on it while I am crawling around under my house,” I offered.

The clean-cut, necktie-wearing, mid-twenty-year-old employee looked at this 75-year-old customer with a puzzled expression. “Why on earth would you be crawling around under your house?” he inquired incredulously.

I started to explain that I might have to repair a leaking pipe, run a new electrical circuit, dig a trench for a drain pipe, replace insulation, or do any number of other tasks. It soon became clear that he couldn’t fathom what it entails to live on an isolated island, so I simply picked out a screen protector and we completed the sale.

A few days ago I was enjoying dinner with my daughter Amy, her husband Fiddler Dave, and their 15-year-old son Lachlan. I am temporarily living in a small apartment above my business, Village Craftsmen, and they are living in my house because their house had been severely damaged by flood waters during Hurricane Dorian. Due to recent heavy rains that raised the island’s water table and the fact that three people are now living in my house, my seventy-five-year-old septic tank is at near capacity. I advised all of them to use my outdoor shower to avoid over-burdening the system.

As my grandson stood up from the dinner table, he announced that he was going to take a shower, and requested to be able to use the indoor shower. “The mosquitoes are terrible tonight,” he explained.

Without a moment’s thought Amy said simply, “Go outside, open the hatch, and look into the septic tank and tell me how full it is.” He dutifully proceeded to his task. “Just don’t fall in, or you really will need a shower!” she added as he was walking out the door.

I turned to my daughter. “Do you know how unusual that request was?” I asked. “How many other teenagers, do you think, are asked to check the level of the septic tank before they can take a shower?"

With that we all began laughing.

My grandson returned a few minutes later to announce that the tank was nearly full. He realized he had to brave the mosquitoes in the outdoor shower.

I walked home wondering what the Verizon employee would think.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Edgar Howard

We have published another short video celebrating the life of native islander, Edgar Howard (1904-1990), who played banjo in vaudeville with his brother Walter in the band, the Five Harmaniacs, in the 1920s, and who returned home in the 1970s to entertain us with his music and song.

Edgar Howard, 1981, courtesy Art Mines & Elizabeth Dyer

















You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZJLb5F27Os&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3T634-T73OGy89gltmBHhNlKJ2jZvKhGxIkwW_ncJILUDRtMBUxd6L0ow.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Ansley O'Neal

Several  days ago Amy and I walked through the Community Cemetery and Amy made a video of me sharing a story about Ansley O'Neal (1911-1968), captain of the mailboat Dolphin. This is one of several videos celebrating some of Ocracoke Island's outstanding citizens who are no longer with us.



















You can view the short video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3MOpP3yU-g&feature=youtu.be