Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Lehigh

While approaching Ocracoke Island from Swan Quarter or Cedar Island the ferry will enter Big Foot Slough Channel and pass two metal piles a few miles northwest of the village. The piles are of unequal length, and many visitors wonder what they are.

These piles are called spuds. They are part of a sunken dredge (the Lehigh) which sank in 1942. Spuds are used to pinion a dredge to the bottom while working. Native islander Benjamin Early Spencer was captain of the Lehigh, and a couple of other Ocracokers were working on the dredge along with about nine other men.

The Lehigh was approaching Ocracoke to dredge the harbor in preparation for bringing vessels to the docks at the WWII naval base. The Navy's mission was to thwart German U-boat activity off shore.

Strong winds produced huge waves that swamped the dredge, and she quickly sank. Navy personnel at the newly established base rescued the captain and crew.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Ocracoke and the War of 1812. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102112.htm.


  1. Anonymous10:01 AM

    Swamped how awful. On another subject, old homes, interiors, decorating... is there an iconic look for Ocracoke Island ?? is there a "look" visitors bring back to incorporate in their own homes.... is it a lamp with a base filled with shells, a rope mirror? a color in a table cloth or a popular color for a front door??? SOmeone should write a book, a kids story with wistful images that draw inspiration decorating is fun! Maybe it is a collection of paint by number pictures of horses???

  2. Toni Walls2:15 PM

    We have kayaked passed the spuds several times and always wondered what they were. So glad to have another Ocracoke mystery solved.

  3. Anonymous11:40 AM

    It's kind of shocking to think that during those 71 years since the sinking no one has tried to blow up or pull out or topple over the remains to make things safer and not a eye sore or is it part of the tourist attraction package?