|Lightering, NPS Illustration|
By the 1770s Portsmouth was one of the busiest and largest communities on the North Carolina coast. In 1840 more than 1,400 sailing vessels passed through Ocracoke Inlet. But the opening of the more navigable Hatteras Inlet in 1846 was the beginning of steady decline for Portsmouth. Subsequent storms as well as the disruption from the Civil War and the growing importance of railroads (which led to the decline of coastal shipping) eventually led to the total abandonment of Portsmouth village. The last residents left the island in 1971.
You can read more about Portsmouth here: https://www.nps.gov/calo/learn/historyculture/portsmouth.htm.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is Lachlan Howard's essay about the Fresnel Lens and its use in theater, solar ovens, cameras, and industry, as well as lighthouse illumination. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/the-fresnel-lens/.