Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jack & Danny

I recently discovered a decades old magazine with black and white pictures and a story about the Outer Banks.

The cover and other identifying pages of the magazine are missing, so I have to guess about some details, but the magazine was clearly affiliated with the Standard Oil Company (originally Ocracoke's only service station was a franchise of Standard Oil Co.), and was published soon after the Herbert C. Bonner bridge was built in 1963 (a photograph caption says the bridge "now crosses Oregon Inlet").

In an interview with Jack Willis (owner of Jack's Store, which was located on the dock where the Working Watermen's exhibit is today) and Danny Garrish (who operated the Community Store) the author includes this quotation by one of the men: "...[I]t is rather enjoyable around here even when our slack season comes. I guess you would have to live here awhile to know the peace of mind that the outer Banks offers. We've lived here all our lives. We think we are capable of handling just about any situation. Even when that old Atlantic starts snorting, we don't think too much about it. We are as tough as it is, and that's satisfying, too."

I'll second that thought! And I wish Jack and Danny were still around to share their insights and good humor.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous7:12 AM

    Love the quote from the old magazine you found....especially the part "When the old Atlantic starts snorting...."....what a great, salty way to describe how the storms passing through affect living on Ocracoke! So genuine....

  2. Anonymous10:39 AM

    I remember that publication. It was a size less that 8.5" X ll" right. It was a soft sell travel magazine by a gasoline/oil company mostly pictures some copy. My local library had back issues in the magazine stacks and I would spend hours reading them during the summer while school was out of session. Perhaps share holders received a copy as a childhood friend's parents also received the publication.

  3. Anonymous10:46 AM

    The internet is a wonderful thing. The University of Louisville has a 500,000 image collection of photos from the Standard oil co photo collection. No doubt the images from this 1943- 1950s ish era of incredible images of detail published in the soft sell travel magazine documenting everday life in America is the source for the magizine you found without the cover

  4. Oil Companies at one time considered exploring for oil on the Outer Banks (I think that was in the 1950s)...but also, Ocracoke then (as now) had only one service station, and it sold Esso (Standard Oil) products (today it is a Texaco station). Standard Oil sent a photographer to Ocracoke (and Hatteras) in the 1950s who took many iconic pictures on the island and in the village. These are now housed, as our reader points out, at the University of Louisville.

    I have seen smaller format magazines with articles about Ocracoke and the Outer Banks (but they are not right now before me). However the magazine I mentioned in this blog is 8.5" X 12". I suspect that the photos published there may not be from the 1950s Standard Oil collection. The article was clearly written after 1963. The three photos of Ocracoke are ones I don't remember seeing in the University of Louisville collection. I'm really not sure of their provenance, and the pages I have do not list any credits.

  5. Anonymous1:26 PM

    Wasn't the community store in the Garrish family for several generations? Who runs it today?

  6. The Community Store was started by Amasa (Mace) Fulcher in 1918. Later Jesse Garrish owned and operated the store. When Jesse died his wife Lucille continued to own the store, and her son, Danny, operated it. Eventually my wife and I purchased the Community Store (primarily to protect it from development), but in just a couple of years we sold it to David and Sherrill Senseney. David still owns the store. Island native James Paul and his wife Susan lease the building and run the business.

  7. Anonymous4:02 AM

    Philip, what wonderful interesting tidbits of info you shared about The Community Store!

    Did I read on one of the OBX real estate web-sites recently that the entire commercial area, including the iconic Ocracoke Community Store, is up for sale??? Wish I had the money to purchase it all, but $3 Million is beyond this mainlander's reach....just her wildest dream.

    I never realized you once owned The Community Store. No wonder you have a special kindred feeling about that place and you enjoy rocking a spell on the front porch on breezy October afternoons!!!!

    I hope if someone does purchase those businesses, that they not only have a deep wallet; but, vitally more importantly, they have the powerful sentimental yearning to protect the rich Ocracoke histoy, those iconic buildings represent.

    The Community Store is one of the first "old friends" I love to see after I've left the ferry from Swan Quarter and find myself slowly weaving my vehicle through the village. My goodness, I just feel like waving as I pass by to get to my room. Soon after I settle, though, I'm out walking and making a bee-line to that store!

    My heart literally jumps a beat when I start stepping up on those old steps, pausing to read the bulletin board news, gazing at the view from the quaint front porch, saying "hello" to strangers and receiving friendly greetings back, sitting a spell and chatting with the likes of you and others; and then, of course, going into the old store. The sights and earthly smells immediately comfort me in a way that is hard to describe as my eyes adjust to being inside.

    My family owned a hardware/general store for over seven decades (two different buildings as the business grew) and general stores from past eras speak to my very soul. These amazing rural stores once served as the pulse beat of a community, as well as supplying basic (and sometimes unusual) needs to folks. The Ocracoke Community store is such an important, historical icon.

    I dearly hope The Ocracoke Community Store will continue "to be" on the island...lasting through hurricanes; all weather seasons; easier & tougher economic times; periods of happiness and sorrow.

    Indeed, it's like an old cherished friend who this mainlander hopes to count on every time she arrives on dear Ocracoke.

    I have the same passion for The Island Inn....oh, if I just had "deep wallets". :)


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