Friday, September 29, 2017

Cousin Elsie's

Two days ago a reader asked this question about the building behind the Slushy Stand: "how long has that been there and what is it?"

Here is a photo of the building in question (in the center of the picture), taken sometime in the early 1950s:

Courtesy OPS, Mary Ruth Dickson Collection

The reader went on to comment that newer buildings and other structures have crowded out many views around the harbor. This area is a prime example. This photo was taken from the edge of Silver Lake, on the corner where Ride the Wind stores its kayaks. The road on the left (NC12 South) leads past the Community Square to the Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferries. Proceeding around the corner on the right (NC 12 North) the road passes Spencer's Market on the way to Hatteras Inlet. 

The large area of green in front of the house in the center is where the Slushy Stand is today. To the right, around the corner on NC12, is the location of the Island Ragpicker. 

The house in question (with two dormers) was the home of Murray Tolson and his wife Elsie. Elsie, my father's first cousin, was the daughter of Rev. Lawrence Olin Wyche and Lorena Howard (and granddaughter of Capt. James W. Howard, keeper of the Cedar Hammock Life Saving Station). Elsie was also the sister of Major General Ira Thomas Wyche (you can read his story here: 

After Cousin Elsie died the house was sold. For a while it was used as a bed and breakfast. At one time it was connected to the Island Ragpicker. Today it is a year-round rental house, accessible via a sandy driveway from Lawton Lane.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter highlights several noteworthy staircases in historic island homes. To read the newsletter, and see photos, click here:


  1. Anonymous7:53 AM

    I have to admit I am always a tiny bit jealous of your rich island heritage Philip. You are kin to everyone on the island and your family has such a wonderful history. I have always thought I should have been born on Ocracoke! Alas, this Virginia boy will just have to settle for frequent visits to the island.

    Thank you for the always interesting blog.

  2. Anonymous4:43 PM

    ah, ok Philip, I was disoriented as to the location of the slushy stand. once you put this other picture of the house in I now know where I am looking. Thank you explaining things.