Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Loop Shack Hill

During World War II Ocracoke was home to a large naval base. Between 500 & 600 men were stationed here. The base was located where the Cedar Island & Swan Quarter ferry terminals and National Park Service Visitors Center are located today. The establishment of the base helped stop German U-boat attacks against US merchant vessels. The only remaining structure is the large circular cistern near the Visitors Center.

On the edge of what was then the "bald beach" (on what became known as Loop Shack Hill) the navy erected a radar tower, with communications buildings nearby. The base of the radar tower and a few other buildings still stand. You can reach them by stopping at the "Beach Jumpers" marker at the edge of town and climbing the hill. Be careful of the Prickly Pear cactus!

You click on the above photo to view a larger image.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a list of traditional island remedies. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous10:40 AM

    that is is a lot of testosterone concentrated in such a small space. What kind of mindful and productive activities did these troops engage in during their free time? Fishing? going to the mainland? weaving baskets? perhaps old newspaper clippings will document the altruistic endeavors of the more community service minded.

  2. Anonymous4:34 PM

    That picture is great. I have ventured up over that hill, through the cactus field, to see the remains of those structures. It's a neat spot. The picture really shows how much more the area was "beach like" during those days. You've always told us how the area near Blackbeard's Lodge was practically "beach" in those days. This picture certainly confirms it. Amazing shot.
    As usual, thanks for sharing!

  3. Anonymous11:55 PM

    The photo, and the last comment, beg a question: What led to such significant change in the terrain over the years? Was it primarily Mother Nature or human intervention? I suspect the latter, but would be curious to hear your insight, Philip. Thanks.

  4. Anonymous9:38 AM

    The changes were most dramatic after the CCC added the artificial dunes. Philip can do a great job of explaining the ever changing landscape of the island.

  5. The CCC planted pines "down below" (just north of the NPS campground), and built wooden bridges over the "guts" in the village...and they may have set "sand fences" to build dunes...but most of the dune building, if I remember correctly, was done by the National Park Service in the 1950s and afterwards. The continuous row of dunes along the ocean side is man made...hence no more overwash, and now much vegetation.

  6. Some of the Navy and Coast Guard men stationed at Ocracoke married island girls. Many of the island men left Ocracoke to work up north (mostly in Philadelphia)...and married up there.