Tuesday, February 12, 2019

East Howard Street

East Howard Street

This picturesque sandy lane is a portion of what was once merely a foot path, but then became the main road through Ocracoke village.

In 1835, petitioners requested permission to lay out a one-lane public thoroughfare on the North side of Cockle Creek, from “just North of Thomas Bragg’s House” (near the present-day School road) to “John Pike’s garden” (in the vicinity of where the OPS Museum is today) and then all the way to the Sound.

In 1957, when the state of North Carolina paved most of the island roads, the eastern end of this road was left untouched. Almost immediately Mr. Stacy Howard nailed a homemade wooden sign to a tree in front of his house and dubbed this "East Howard Street." At that time at least eight Howard families, all descendants of William Howard, Sr., colonial owner of Ocracoke, lived along this street.

Second-Generation Howard Street Sign

In 1759 William Howard, Sr., purchased Ocracoke Island. He was the last of the colonial owners, but the first to call Ocracoke home. Descendants of his son, William, Jr., settled in this area. Five generations of the original Howard family are buried in the several small graveyards along East Howard Street, protected by simple wooden fences.

Eventually the lane became known simply as Howard Street. It is generally only the older generation of islanders who still use Stacy Howard's original designation, East Howard Street.

This past fall the Howard Street sign disappeared. In a spirit of community that is so typical of Ocracoke, several friends and neighbors immediately made new signs.

Howard Street Signs, 2019


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  1. Anonymous7:28 AM

    I leave from Greensboro, go down I40/85 toward Rocky Mt, turn on to 264. At Whalebone Junction I et onto hwy 12. Take the ferry to Ocracoke, Drive to the village, park where I can....and walk down Howard St. By this time I am relaxed and glad that I am there. Been doing this twice a yr for over 45 yrs. Good blog and pictures Philip....A Daily Reader.

  2. Anonymous9:06 AM

    Light bulb moment....sell rustic handmade signs sporting the name of favored OI streets to be sold in the VC and a portion of the money raised funds a charitible cause be it scholarships or the fire department Just a thought...as always DD