Friday, February 16, 2018


Modern tourism on Ocracoke Island is a consequence of several factors:
  • Electrification of Ocracoke Village in 1938
  • Paving of the first roads in 1942, then again in the early 1950s
  • Establishment of ferry service in 1950
  • Various other developments including telephone service, a municipal water system, and internet access. 
However, people have been visiting Ocracoke for rest, health, and relaxation since soon after the establishment of a settlement on the island in the early-mid 1700s. Jonathan Price wrote this about Ocracoke 1795!: "[T]his healthy spot is in autumn the resort of many of the inhabitants of the main[land]."

In the nineteenth century well-to-do North Carolinians ventured to Ocracoke aboard steamships. They stayed at the large Victorian hotel in the village.

The Ponzer, or Ponder, Hotel ca. 1890

After the hotel burned down in 1900 hunters and anglers continued to visit Ocracoke Island, especially in the fall and winter months. Eventually many of them brought their families to the island in the summer. By the mid-twentieth century a tourist economy was well on its way to becoming the predominant economic force on Ocracoke.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about Old Christmas in Rodanthe. You can read it here:   


  1. Anonymous6:57 AM

    Did OI ever have trailer parks? Was the cost of an acre of land back in the 40s affordable to the average person? Certainly a veteran could buy something with a $O down payment VA loan. Perhaps if many early residents were eligible veterans, thus the US government contributed i.e. roads built with transportation dollars, the Ferry funded by both state and Federal transportation dollars, public utilities raise money by selling bonds and folks invest in municipal bonds as a safe investment for long returns.
    Who was OI member of congress during those Wonder Years for OI's growth and leap into the "modern" age?

    1. No Ocracoke has never had a trailer park. I just discovered that in 1922 a parcel of land was sold on the island for $15!

  2. Anonymous5:41 AM

    Tourism..2 buddies and myself graduated high school in 1973. we told our parents we were going camping on my friends farm. We heard they built this big bridge across some inlet. It was a choice between an adventure trip or Myrtle beach..we chose the adventure trip. I think we stayed at the Island Inn back then. The electricity went out like every hour...the water was yellow and stunk, the bugs were unreal – plenty of mosquito bites. There was a BIG storm one night..there were no girls on the beach, there was nothing to do. I did not buy a t-shirt. We are a lot of seafood. We almost ran out of money. Gasoline was maybe .40 cents a gal. All in all we had a GREAT TIME. So great that almost 50 years later I still remember it fondly. I have been a tourist to Ocracoke twice a year ever since that first trip. You know what...each trip there I still have a GREAT TIME. I thank all those good people on Ocracoke for making me feel welcome! I am ready for another visit.

    1. Anonymous3:09 PM

      That is wonderful to hear. The water was yellow and stunk sounds like the local tap water on Edisto Island, S.C. 2018. Ha.

    2. Anonymous9:45 AM

      Please how do you define a great time? How much on average does this Great Time cost you? I am curious as to the amount of money the average visitor to OI expects to spend on a Great Time/Vacation? Have you ever cut back on eating out to say, stay a few more days thus spending more on your accommodations. It is asked of you because of your years of experiencing change on the Island and that you could address this issue. Now, If you stay for free at a friend's house and just walk the beach daily and relax to the ocean waves-- well I suppose you are the Outlier because I would guess the average visitor rents a beach house and saves up for the visit or somehow writes it off as a business expense some how or other. Thank you in advance for your reply:)

  3. Anonymous6:20 PM

    anon 9:45....just go have some fun. you sound like you need to smile a little bit.cheer up.


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