PO Box 248
March 19, 2005
There has been quite a bit of construction taking place on Ocracoke this
winter. Sometimes folks shudder to think about new building, but it's not
all intrusive. Consider the following.
Last August Hurricane Alex came so unexpectedly, and brought with it so much
tide water (it was the most tide Ocracoke had seen in sixty years) that many
islanders have been working to raise their homes and businesses to protect them
from future storms.
Three homes on Howard Street are currently in the process of being
raised. Others in the village have also been raised. In addition,
several island businesses are under new ownership and/or are being remodeled or
moved. At least one business is currently for sale, a timely opportunity,
perhaps, for one of our readers to relocate to Ocracoke. Read on for more
The former home of Lela Howard, now owned by her nephew, Wilson Garrish and
his wife, Martha, is in the beginning stages of a major restoration
project. It sits across the street, and a couple of house down, from
Lela Howard Home
The house has been jacked up and footings poured. A crew is now on the
island laying the new brick piers.
A few doors west and on the other side of the street sits one of the oldest
homes on the island, the Eliza Howard & Benjamin Gaskins house.
Eliza & Benjamin Gaskins Home
A few years ago this home was restored by Betty Schotten, but several inches of
water poured in during Alex. It is now raised several feet and waiting for
new brick piers.
Closer to Highway 12 is a small cottage owned by Van O'Neal. This home
also had water during the hurricane. It has been raised and the new brick
piers are almost completed.
Van O'Neal Cottage
As many readers already know, I had raised my grandparents' home before the
storm so the rising water never came near enough to be of concern.
Homer & Aliph Howard Home
There are other construction and renovation projects throughout the
village. The James Henry Garrish home, formerly the Blue Door Antique Shop
on Lighthouse Road, will again become a private residence. The owners,
Michael & Paula Schramell, have moved their antique shop a few doors up the
road, next to the Island Inn, and plan to make the former building their new
home. Not surprisingly, the first step was to raise the house several
James Henry Garrish Home (The Blue Door)
Another classic home "down point" near the lighthouse, the Ollie
& Theodore Mutro home, has been raised after hurricane Alex. Dale Styron
Mutro and his father, Anthony have also remodeled most of the interior of this
Ollie Styron & Theodore Mutro Home
Carol & Warren Ritchie, owners of The Beach House Bed & Breakfast on
Highway 12 are undertaking a major remodeling project. A consequence of
adding additional rooms to the rear of the building is a modified roof
line. They decided to remove the entire original roof, so for several days
at least, the Beach House is a flat box covered with sheets of rubber.
Walter & Armeda O'Neal Home (Beach House B & B)
Several readers have asked about the Boyette House motel. Owner Jon
Wynn closed the motel last fall, and a crew of workers has been busy all winter
remodeling the building as condominiums. I understand Jon already has a
growing list of potential buyers.
The Boyette House Motel
Many people familiar with Ocracoke may have heard that the popular Fig Tree
Deli is now closed. Darlene Styron, owner of The Sweet Tooth, formerly
located on Silver Lake, will be moving her business to Highway 12 in the
building that used to be home to the Fig Tree Deli. To everyone's delight,
she will be adding deli sandwiches to her selections of confections and ice
cream. The building sports a new color & look, has been completely
remodeled inside, and is now more visible from the road. Be sure to stop
by on your next visit.
Sweet Tooth (formerly Fig Tree Deli)
Changes are underway for Teach's Hole, Ocracoke's premiere pirate shop.
George & Mickey will soon be moving from their location on the Back Road
(near the Fire House & Coffee Shop) to their newly acquired property on
Highway 12, across from the Variety Store. Their spacious two-story
building will include office and storage space upstairs as well as an efficiency
apartment for employees. Their will be ample parking also.
In other news, Video Dave, and his wife Laura, report that their business,
Eleven Eleven, is for sale. Their video store is located in
Spencer's Market on Highway 12 and has been in business over 3 years. Dave
& Laura are proud of their large customer base (both locals and visitors),
and are offering training, inventory, electronic equipment & fixtures for
sale. Dave says the price is negotiable, and he would like to hear from
serious inquirers. He has asked me to help spread the word. You can
contact Dave directly by clicking here. He'll
be happy to give you more information and answer any questions you might have.
Eleven Eleven Video Store
Change is sometimes threatening. At times it means progress; at other
times it can mean losing a valuable part of a community's heritage. I take
heart that more than half of the building projects I've described are
designed to protect or restore historic island homes. The Boyette House
project and the Sweet Tooth are both remodeled businesses rather than new
construction. Teach's Hole, though a new building, will house a popular
existing business, and will be set well back from the road. The sale of
Eleven Eleven will simply be a change of ownership.
Ocracoke, like nearly every place else, changes -- sometimes gradually,
sometimes quickly. Through it all, we seem to manage to maintain a
valuable sense of community, and even a growing awareness of the importance of
our unique island heritage.
Many islanders are working to see that it stays that way.