Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Several days ago I wrote about the great waves at the beach. Today I write about a different Waves -- the village on Hatteras Island. I have often wondered about the name, so recently I did a little investigation.

This is what I've learned: apparently, when the post office was established there in 1939, the Post Office Department decided that the original name of the community, Chicamacomico, was too difficult to spell. Not only was it difficult to spell, it was confusing. There was a South Chicamacomico (present-day Waves) and a North Chicamacomico (present-day Rodanthe). It seems the name Waves was chosen simply because of its reference to the environment.

I think it is unfortunate that the name was changed. Not only does Chicamacomico pay homage to the original inhabitants of these islands, it is much more colorful. And think of all the creative ways people would have discovered to misspell the name. That could have been a blog post also!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Hurricane House and the Hurricane Boards. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous8:22 AM

    As someone who long-ago had to learn to spell the name of the post office in the tiny Southwestern PA town that served the rural area where I grew up, Connoquenessing, today's blog post really struck a chord. Guess the town's alternate "Chicamacomico name" might've been shortened to Hills.

    Thanks for sharing your insights, Philip. Always interesting.

  2. I find it interesting that as one drives up highway 12 through Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo -- the local water tower there still reads "Chicamacomico". Costs a lot of money to repaint a water tower, huh?

  3. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Wouldn't need to repaint the whole tower, just the letters; but with so many it's prohibitively expensive. ;-)

  4. Anonymous6:54 PM

    My name is Sarah and I'm with Dwellable. I was looking for blog posts about the Outer Banks to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, drop me a line at Sarah(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)