When the English arrived at the Outer Banks, they had Spanish horses on board. These were probably the first horses introduced to Ocracoke. For years, wild Banker Ponies roamed free on the island […]


Native Americans had hunting and fishing encampments on the island. Although there may have been permanent settlements on Ocracoke, no evidence has yet been discovered.  


Ocracoke was designated a town by the North Carolina Colonial Assembly. It was called “Pilot Town” in hopes of attracting ship’s pilots to guide merchant vessels through Ocracoke Inlet. The first pilots and […]


On November 17, the infamous pirate Blackbeard was killed by Lt. Maynard in a fierce naval battle off the coast of Ocracoke ending the “Golden Age of Piracy.”

1775 – 1783

During the Revolutionary War, Ocracoke Inlet played an important role as a main avenue of trade into and out of the colonies, and as an avenue for supplies to the Continental […]


Ocracoke Lighthouse is built and put into operation at the edge of Silver Lake Harbor replacing a wooden lighthouse built in 1798 on nearby (now underwater) Shell Castle Island. 


A U.S. Post Office is established on Ocracoke.  

1861 – 1865

During the Civil War, Fort Ocracoke, on nearby Beacon Island, was constructed at the onset of the war but quickly abandoned by the Confederate Army, and then destroyed as Union forces took over neighboring Hatteras Island. Although Union troops […]

1883 – 1996

The U.S. Life Saving Service was established on the island in 1883 to respond to ships wrecked or stranded in the Graveyard of the Atlantic. The first station was located […]


Ocracoke Ice and Electric Company was established with the goal of providing electric power to local businesses and homes, and to provide ice to fishermen so they could transport their […]

1940s – 1950s

Before the state-run ferry system was established and the road to Hatteras was built, Ocracoke’s primary route to the mainland was a privately owned and operated mailboat, Aleta, which carried […]


The U.S. Navy paved the first section of road on Ocracoke Island over what had always been deep sandy lanes. Gradually, the NC DOT took over and a majority of […]


On May 11, a German U-boat sank the HMT Bedfordshire off the coast of Ocracoke Island, killing everyone on board. The British Cemetery was established on a small plot of […]

1942 – 1946

During World War II, a U.S. Navy base was built on the island including a magnetic loop station to detect German U-boats, and served as the training grounds for a […]


The U.S. Navy operated a radar and sonar tower at Loop Shack Hill, a series of sand dunes just outside the village, with jamming equipment, radio high-frequency direction-finding gear, and […]


On September 14, one of the worst and most memorable hurricanes of that generation hit. Boats washed up onto shore, and houses floated off foundations.


Albert Styron, Jr, and his wife Mamie ran Albert Styron Store, which sold groceries and Philips 66 gas.


Stanley Wahab was a visionary and saw visitor potential for the island, marketing Ocracoke as the “Bermuda of the U.S.A.”


The first car ferry, which held three cars and was operated by Hatteras islander Frazier Peele, began running out of Hatteras. Ferry service to and from Atlantic, NC (original location) […]


The Cape Hatteras National Seashore was officially established.


Mounted Boy Scout Troop 290 of Ocracoke, North Carolina, is the only mounted troop in the history of the Boy Scouts of America. Each Boy Scout had to capture, tame, […]


Phone service first came to Ocracoke Island.


The Ocracoke Water Plant was opened and “city” water was available to residents by means of a reverse osmosis filtration system. Prior to then, the only fresh water access was […]


Ocracoke Health Center was established, and its doors opened. The Health Center was renovated in 2020 due to damages from Hurricane Dorian.


The U.S. Department of Transportation found the traditional maritime culture along the Byway worthy of the National Byway Designation.


Hurricane Dorian strikes Ocracoke Island. The flooding was historic and catastrophic, with storm surge hitting 7.5 feet. Through the devastation, the island came together and is rebuilding stronger than before.