Thursday, November 30, 2017

ULSS Hatteras Inlet

In the mid 1950s the United States Coast Guard Station (originally the US Life-Saving Station) at Hatteras Inlet finally succumbed to the relentless assaults from the sea. Today only a handful of pilings are visible in the surf, or on dry land, depending on tide, erosion, and changes due to storms.

Courtesy Ocracoke Preservation Society
Bill & Ruth Cochran Collection

Just a few years before the station finally collapsed, C. A. Weslager, visited the island. In his letter of July 31, 1949, he writes about the fate of the station:

"The Ocracoke Coast Guard Station on the north end of the island of the Hatteras Inlet is gradually being washed away by the sea. The lighthouse tower is leaning badly and waves lap at its base, whereas it was formerly 200 yards inland. The officer in charge told us that they had experienced a terrific twister the previous night, and it took nine of them to hold the door of their quarters shut. I explored this end for Indian remains (as I had done the southern end) but found no traces of any kind. At this point, one has the feeling that this handful of Coast Guardsmen are at the end of the earth -- our last frontier, so to speak. Their contribution to this island community is very great, as it is to the ships that would otherwise be driven into the treacherous shoals and reefs that surround Ocracoke. These men can tell many stories of ships in distress in these hazardous waters."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is my analysis of a sentence penned by surveyor Jonathan Price in 1795. The sentence reads, "Occacock was heretofore, and still retains the name of, an island. It is now a peninsula; a heap of sand having gradually filled up the space which divided it from the bank."  You can read my analysis here:  


  1. Anonymous9:07 AM

    C. A. Weslager mentions searching for Indian remains. I find it curious that there seems to be a lack of basket weaving on the OI. Apparently, Nantucket "lightship baskets of today are "related" to the baskets of Native Americans used as utility items. Related as the techniques were learned by colonists. Is there no history of basket weaving on the OBX? This morning on NPR anthropologists reported about the "Hidden" role women (played) worked back when. Hidden, it was not hidden, researchers were too busy looking at the leg bones of men and didn't study the arm bones of women. Arms bigger than Crew members on a scull suggests a contribution to the agrarian shift from nomadic hunter gatherers.She was scraping animal hides, preparing the fields, while raising children --super mom 6000 years ago. At least I get to remind/ mention it to y'all on the internet :)

    1. Anon. 9:07, interesting question. I will do some research and publish my findings about baskets in a future post.