Sunday, August 24, 2014

Changing Times

Sometimes, as I read hundred year old newspaper reports about Ocracoke, I am struck with how differently the news was reported back then. I have a difficult time fathoming why writers and editors chose to mention certain details, and to ignore others. The following article was published in The Raleigh Christian Advocate on July 8, 1885:

"[Ocracoke] Island is about fifteen miles long by two and a half wide, about 450 persons live on it, the inhabited part not more than three and a half miles long by one and a half wide. They have not a bar-room here, and there is not a Jew, nor a lawyer, nor a doctor, nor a Baptist here, only one grown negro here and that one has not been away I think in eighteen or twenty years."

I really don't have any further comment, except to wonder again why the writer chose to mention Jews, lawyers, doctors, and Baptists...and not Muslims, florists, opera houses, Catholics, or any number of other religions and professions. I suppose you just had to live in the late 1800s.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here:  


  1. Anonymous9:10 AM

    The Raleigh Christian Advocate was an "organ" of the Methodist and Episcopalian conferences. It was published to inform their membership as to activities related to the church. As I garnered this background information from an internet search, the religious backgrounds of the few folks mentioned seems in keeping with the nature of the publication. Perhaps it was from a column, a column much like a blog contains whatever fancies the writer. One has to pause and imagine what life was like back then. Without all the modern times savers of today, the chores of yesteryear were indeed chores. Words such as drudgery come to mind, that is of course unless you had a house full of domestics to sew and darn clothes, cook and wash the dishes, prepare and serve the food , nannies to look after the children, Therefore the upper class would have had the means to consider visiting a remote island for investment purposes. And maybe this "filler" article/column ran to alert readers looking for investment opportunities.Or the writer needed to publish something to justify spending a few weeks on Ocracoke Island-- something to justify the expense account. It seems many religious organizations pooled their resouces to purchase land to build retreats for church members -- Is there not a beautiful retreat in NC called Lake Junaluska(sp) for Presbyterians?

  2. Anonymous12:19 PM

    2 weeks ago I read an article on why she state should get their pencils out again and drag out an idea that popped up 30 years ago. Building a bridge from Hatteras to Ocracoke. Back then it was a way to lower the annual operating costs of the ferry system and have a dependable way to get people off the island fast..
    We now have another problem - with keeping the channel open from Hatteras to Ocracoke and now the bridge idea has popped back up.
    It's only a few miles across the inlet however given the state of environmental groups and their constant negative attitude toward bridges any new bridge should take 30- 40 years of research, paperwork, over and over.
    It is feasible. It's just a bridge. No more ferry breakdowns or delays or annual repairs or working around the weather, just a simple drive. Why not? It just might happen.

  3. Anonymous3:31 PM

    The original bridge from Hatteras to Ocracoke was to begin around Woodall Ave not far from Hwy12 then proceed across the Hatteras Inlet to just around where the first beach access parking lot is on the left after you leave the Ocracoke ferry terminal heading south. I think they said it would be around 5.35 miles in length. The longest bridge in the state is now the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge from Manns Harbor to Roanoke Island. I think they said that bridge was 5.2 miles long. So a bridge is do able. You are correct in assuming that there would be a major tree hugger vs common sense legal battle. Don't plan on seeing a bridge across Hatteras Inlet in our lifetimes.
    By the way I think the bridge idea happens to be mentioned in a recent Island Press article. Looks like someone else is now on track with this long ago suggested idea.

  4. Anonymous7:45 AM

    It's just a bridge. It's just a bridge, really? Would it not be a game changer. A game changer, really. No more island time no more slow paced existence. Anybody can zip across a bridge and go to another Outer banks Island. Another Outer banks Island - just like all the other ones. No more effort to arrive at OI. no more ferry boat ride. no more inconvenience of living on a remote island. No more remote island. A bridge brings a direct link to what everyone was escaping from when choosing OI. I guess being out of the loop, yeah ,the novelty has worn off. Now is the time to get back in the rat race. Build a bridge and charge tolls, tolls that will increase every few years, now you know there is no free lunch. There will be no season, If residents are ready for a 24/7 open door policy constant barrage of invaders that need to be educated daily as to how to behave on the island-- well I say go for it. More police, higher taxes, road repairs car accident etc etc. Are you ready for that. Your peace and quiet will be only read about in OIJ posts of yesteryear.

  5. Anonymous5:43 PM

    well we all can't have a lazy existence can we. it's time to get your heads out of the sand. the real world awaits you. you can't hide just because you want to. why should everyone in the state have to pay for yearly fery upkeep just because certain people want to isolate themselves. I think a nice walmart next to howards pub would be successful. think how much money all those tourists and their families could save for suntan lotions and potato chips by not having to pay those inflated island prices. think of it. you island folks could hop into your 24 hr walmart and buy anything you want at lower prices anytime of the day. go pick up some plover or turtle food. have fun with this. think: do you really think that they would build a bridge to your hide away? as someone said above, not in your lifetime. the island has a better chance of being disappearing in the sea than in having a bridge built. calm down your head is safe buried where it is.

  6. Anonymous6:05 PM

    I think a bridge makes sense. go for it.

  7. Anonymous9:20 AM

    Plover or turtle food.??? Visitors should not feed the wildlife. The wildlife should be wild not dependent on people for food. When the summer visitors leave the animals return looking for the free hand out and become bothersome to the year round residents. The animals become weak and crazed and attack unsuspecting beachcombers. The island becomes a festering environment. The thought one is helping one is helping to create an imbalance with the animal population . As a population increases due to a food supply-- when the food supply is disrupted when the plover food buyers leave the lack of food is a new result. Did anyone consider that feeding wildlife including turtles is not -- is not is --not a good idea. How can the feeder justify creating an overpopulation???

    1. Anonymous9:53 AM

      Visitors to Ocracoke Beware! Crazed plovers and turtles may be out to attack you.

  8. Anonymous5:00 PM

    Isn't the internet fun.....