As the spring and summer seasons approach it is common to see pleasure yachts and sailboats in Silver Lake harbor. This was not always the case. Although commercial schooners and other sail boats used Ocracoke Inlet for several hundred years (in 1840 alone, at least 1400 sailing vessels passed through the inlet), it was unusual for pleasure craft to visit the island. In fact, Silver Lake (originally called Cockle Creek) was just a wide, shallow tidal creek until it was dredged in the 1930s, and again during WWII.
By the late 1940s and early 1950s private pleasure boaters were beginning to discover Ocracoke. They were remarkable enough that the Outer Banks newspaper, The Coastland Times, ran this short blurb on June 5, 1953:
"OCRACOKE GROWING PORT FOR YACHTS
"Dr. and Mrs. W.H. Willis, Jr. and daughter, Nancy, were here recently on their yacht with guests, Dr. and Mrs. James and Belle Parker, also of New Bern. They fished with Capt. J.N. Midgett, coming in with fifty trout, and four channel bass."
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a history of Village Craftsmen (1970 - the Present). You can read the Newsletter here: