Many events have impacted Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. An 1846 hurricane opened the more-navigable Hatteras Inlet, thus diverting shipping away from Ocracoke. Union occupation of the Outer Banks in 1861 caused many islanders to flee, and the establishment of an ice plant on Ocracoke in 1938 helped energize commercial fishing. Other storms, wars, and "man-made" changes have had enormous consequences.
In September, 1969, a quieter, less dramatic event helped propel Ocracoke towards becoming a major tourist destination.
Starting on page 393 of National Geographic (September, 1969), author William S. Ellis and photographer Emory Kristof devoted 29 pages documenting the appeal of the Outer Banks with history, stories, and stunning photos. Three elements of the article stand out: a two-page aerial photograph of Ocracoke Village, a three-page map locating Outer Banks shipwrecks, and the dramatic, space-eye image of the Outer Banks made by the crew of Apollo 9.
This issue of National Geographic is available numerous places on-line, and can often be found in antique stores and thrift shops.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Electrification of Ocracoke Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022117.htm.