The following detail from Coast Chart No. 45, Cape Hatteras to Ocracoke Inlet, 1885, clearly shows a large area of tidal flats called "The Plains." Today that area (from the eastern edge of the village to the NPS campground) is covered with sea oats, yaupons, cedars and other vegetation.
For much of Ocracoke's history, and as late as the mid-1950s, the Plains were almost totally devoid of vegetation, and subject to frequent tidal overwash. Only with the construction of a continuous row of man-made barrier dunes did growth take hold in this area.
Visitors to the island sometimes ask why our lighthouse is so far from the ocean. Click on the image to see a larger version of the chart. Notice how close to the lighthouse the Plains area extends in 1885. When the lighthouse was built in 1823 it was situated on the very edge of the "bald beach."
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Ocracoke Lodge No.
194, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. You can read the Newsletter here: