Friday, September 22, 2017

Springer's Point Cistern

The following 1733 map shows Ocacock Inlet and Ocacock Island. If you look carefully just above the "k" of "Ocacock Island" you will notice the word "well." Although wind and tide have reshaped Ocracoke Island over the intervening years, various people have speculated that this well was located in the vicinity of present day Springer's Point.

As it turns out the brick structure pictured below, now fitted with a heavy wooden cover, can be found at Springr's Point. Some people have theorized that this is the exact location of the old well.

Although I have never probed the depths of the structure, I always assumed it was an enclosed tank, or drinking water cistern, with a solid bottom, not a well.

The following document, a series of dates and notes (from 1878 to 1900) jotted down on the back of an envelope by E. D. Springer, should settle the matter.

Although it is difficult to make out from the photo, a notation entered after July 8, 1899, clearly reads "built cistern."

So, the brick structure at Springer's Point is a water cistern. But where was the well? We will probably never know for sure, but it may have been located on Springer's Point as well.

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


  1. I watched a program (Expedition Unknown) where a guy, assuming that was a well, used it to try and locate Blackbeard's treasure. He used the well marking to line up the sat. image he had, with ( I think...) the drawing you posted here. So... a little more questioning and digging might have revealed to him that they're possibly not one in the same. I guess an argument could me made that they are...

  2. Anonymous8:14 AM

    Now these folks took reuse and recycle to heart. Why dig another whole hole in the ground when one already exists? Now a well was recently discovered at Williamsburg, ( article to read on line ) and as I thought, as modern day wells are dug and electric pumps are used a water source is located. But Back then in the 1700s VA a central location selected for the well was made. water would seep into the brick lined well and rain water would collect too I suppose-- I hope I have this right. therefore if the OIwell morphed into a cistern or why would they not want two sources of water? If the well was not functioning -- if a well runs dry why build another one right near the old one?? Cistern vs well, the differences are.... I know this is a deep subject sooo early in the morning.

  3. Anonymous3:28 PM

    I agree, Anon 8:14, make sense. ("DEEP subject") ha

  4. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Philip, What was it like on Ocracoke this past summer? We completely missed it. Everytime we thought that we could get away for a couple of days something happened and we could not leave town..Other than the fireworks returning was it another laid back summer? This is the first time in 15 years that we have missed not visiting.

    1. Other than the unexpected electric outage caused when a crew working on the new Oregon Inlet bridge severed the main power line, this was another delightful Ocracoke Island summer...beautiful weather, warm water, and plenty of opportunities to relax in the evening enjoying island music.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.