Watermen’s Exhibit – Photo by Bill Birkemeier, 2014.
OCRACOKE, N.C. On November 7, 2013 The Ocracoke Foundation acquired the Community Square, a 0.5-acre waterfront property in the heart of the Ocracoke Island historic district. The Foundation was able to purchase the property with generous financial support from Foundation partners and The Conservation Fund’s Land Conservation Loan Program. Read original press release.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Community Square and Docks is located on Ocracoke’s Silver Lake and has served as a hub for commerce and social activity since 1918, beginning with the Community Store, the Will Willis Fish House, the Ice Plant, and the island’s first electric service.
Today, the Ocracoke Foundation, a local nonprofit organization, is restoring these historic buildings and docks to continue preserving the heritage and cultural activities that are the heart of Ocracoke life for visitors and residents alike.
The Ocracoke Foundation and its ‘Community Square Revitalization Project’ welcomes and needs your help to restore and rebuild. Your sponsorship will help ensure current and future use of this historic and public place for generations to come!
Donations for the Community Square Revitalization Project (CSRP) and/or Operating Expenses for the Foundation (OFI) can be submitted online. Please specify CSRP or OFI.
For more information give us a call at (252)921-0365. Thank you!
174 attended this year – almost double that of last year! This summer marked the 4th season the Outdoor Classroom Summer Programs were offered to the public. The programs have been held at NCCAT in the interim until the Watermen’s Exhibit, located at the Community Square (Will Willis Fish House and Store ca. 1930) is restored. Four different programs were offered:
How to read a NC Beach,
Estuaries: where the rivers meet the sea,
The Incredible Journey ( a water cycle game ).
Each activity based program follows the North Carolina Essential Standards for Science and are taught by Elizabeth Hanrahan who is a full time Ocracoke resident, an Ocracoke Foundation (OFI) Board member, a certified environmental educator and a licensed wildlife rehabilitator through the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Existing shoreline next to dock at Working Watermen’s Exhibit.
The Community Square property includes 216 feet of shoreline – a combination of a sand shore, bulkhead, boat ramp and rock. It provides protection from erosion and is being redesigned to aid in storm water management which will help to enhance the water quality of Silver Lake. The sand shore, shown in the photo, will be turned into a “Living Shoreline” to further aid in water quality protection and provide a clean waterside area for the public. Once completed the Outdoor Classroom Programs can be held onsite. Pending funds available, the targeted date for completion is January 31, 2016.
Waiting for the Aleta – Photo from Earl O’Neal, Jr.
The following is an excerpt from: The Story of Ocracoke’s Historic Community Square by Pat Garber.
Sometime around 1930, Captain Will G. Willis had a dock and fish house built. The building was a one-story, two-bay structure with a hipped roof and several shed porches. Fishermen brought their boats, full of fish to sell to the local people, and docked here. It became an unofficial center of commercial fishing. According to Blanche Joliff, they sold big blocks of ice for use in homes and on fishing boats before 1938 when electricity and refrigeration arrived on the island. Ten years later Willis turned the business into a general store as well, selling commonly needed merchandise. Read More
The Ocracoke Foundation | P.O. Box 1689, Ocracoke, NC 27960 | (252) 921-0365 | login | sitemap | website design by LeGa Design Group