Thursday, July 26, 2018

Emergency Telepones, 1956

I believe readers in this present age of almost ubiquitous cell phones will find the following newspaper article from Sept. 5, 1956, quite interesting. It was written the year before the paved road from Hatteras Inlet to Ocracoke village was completed. At that time motorists drove on a deeply rutted soft sand road down the middle of the island or, whenever possible, on the beach at low tide.

Emergency Phone
Similar to the One Described in this Article

"The U. S. Coast Guard, Fifth District, has done a very commendable act in establishing four telephones on their Ocracoke Island line, so that motor travelers in distress can contact the local Ocracoke unit for assistance. These four ‘phones, according to a recent announcement by Benjamin O’Neal, commanding officer of the Ocracoke Station, are located at the first bridge north of Ocracoke Village, at the corral familiarly known as the “cowpen,” at Styron’s Hill, and at the end of the Island near where the Hatteras Inlet ferry lands. Until the new paved road is completed down Ocracoke Island there is always the possibility of cars getting stuck in the deep sand, especially at incoming tide, but with these telephones available to the public the Coast Guard can be quickly called to help. The ‘phone at the “cowpen” had been only installed two days when two Ocracoke residents of the fair sex found it extremely useful when their jeep stuck in deep sand on the beach ridge. Walking from the beach about three-fourths of a mile to the little red ‘phone box on the telephone pole, they quickly got through a distress message and were pulled out by the Coast Guard truck in time to continue their trip northward to Hatteras Inlet before time for the noon ferry to arrive. Ocracoke Civic club will include in its tourist publicity this information about the service rendered by the Coast Guard in this respect."

If you have ever wondered how the street you live on or vacation on got its name, or are just curious about other street names, take a look at this month's Ocracoke Newsletter. We have compiled a list of every official street in Ocracoke village, along with one or more paragraphs explaining how they came to be named. You can read the Newsletter here.


  1. Anonymous4:20 PM

    Remember the phone booth 2 feet from the side of the street on the end of the community store? Before cell phones that and the phone booth across the street from the island inn were probably the busiest phones on Ocracoke in the summer. sometimes there were lines of visitors (mostly teenagers) waiting to use the coin operated phone. Philip, do you have any idea when those phones were finally taken out? Fun times back then - they stay with you forever.

    1. I just saw the Island Inn phone booth in a pile when they were tearing down the northeast wing. I wish I had made a photo!

  2. Anonymous5:37 PM

    I can't imagine how many people used that phone to call back home while on their Ocracoke vacation.

  3. Anonymous5:41 PM

    I just noticed something about your comment about the NW wing has been tore down...just this week I was someone wearing a RESTORE THE OCRACOKE ISLAND INN T-shirt. This was in Greensboro. Looks like the shirt didn't do any good if they already tore part of it down.