Category Archives: buildings

Wilbur Gaskill

Corkey's

From the very first time I visited the island, Ocracoke has always struck a cord with me. On an excursion to the village in 1978, I was wandering the back roads near Corkey’s Grocery Store. There was an old timer sitting on the porch wittling wooden birds with a pocket knife. I was enthralled with this scene as I approached. A budding photographer, I was a bit timid shooting people, especially if I didn’t know them. I wanted a picture and asked for his permission first. He said okay and I took three or four shots.

Gaskill

It didn’t occur to me at the time that this encounter would never happen again. I have always cherished this photo of him. Wilbur Gaskill passed away two years later.

Salvo Relics

There were some things  around in the 70’s, remnants of folks living in Salvo long before me. In retrospect I wish I had taken a lot more pictures of those relics. Each year that goes by brings change. In with the new, yet the old ways deteriorate and eventually are gone. I always enjoyed the rural feeling, especially in the village of Salvo. There were remains there that I saw nowhere else.

mr. perry's                                            The old homesteads were simple and functional. Mr. Perry Farrow’s place was a hundred yards from a trailer that I rented. Cisterns were a common source for water. They called it sweet water.

whidbee houseAt the south end of town, the Whidbee place sat in a gorgeous, well sheltered maritime forest. Years later when the surrounding property was sold to a developer, most of that pristine forest was cut down.

outhouse                                        Nearby stood an outhouse that no longer served a purpose.

fire truckThe Salvo fire truck was parked in a lot next to the long-abandoned Community Store that was beginning to fall apart.miss kitty'sI never met Miss Kitty, but her old home next to Dan Leary’s store was covered in briars, honeysuckle and poison ivy.

church                                      One of the most well-maintained buildings in town was the “Little Church with a Big God”. I remember hearing about Lucy Hooper salvaging timbers from shipwrecks to build it. She was a pillar in the community and by the time I met her, she was getting quite old.

hattie creefIn the old days, the Hattie Creef was a mainstay of Outer Banks travel, and even played a role in bringing the Wright Brothers to Kill Devil Hills for their first flights. The boat was brought to Salvo and made into a most unusual restaurant.

fishermen                                    Fathers fished for a living and passed it down to their sons. One day in 1975, I watched as I D Midgett was getting underway from a Salvo creek in a wooden skiff with his sons. This just doesn’t happen here any more.

 

 

 

 

Elvin

My last blog entry had me digging into some old black and white negatives. Along the way, it opened up some chapters of my life more than 30 years ago. With most of my photography shot in color, the black and white images have been largely unseen.

One picture that caught my attention was a negative of my friend, Elvin Hooper. At the time, I was living and working in Elvin’s home town of Salvo. There was a northeaster blowing the sound tide out, and he picked me up to go to Brick Creek to look for clams and oysters. It was rainy so I took my Nikonos waterproof camera loaded with some Tri-X film.

Elvin

I’ve known Elvin ever since I moved here.  Always a gentleman, he grew up in the village of Salvo and is a lifelong Hatterasman. The area was completely different then, he was a part of it and he loves to reminisce. He also writes, and has recently published 2 books.

Two years ago, he called me about a cover shot for his first book. Entitled Chicamacomico How it was back then, it’s a fictional piece based on experiences growing up. We chose a Kodachrome slide that I shot of Chicamacomico Coast Guard Station in 1974. It shows a weathered building in an open field with nothing around it. That’s the way it was.

chicamacomico

About the same time he had another book in progress, a collection of personal memories called Gull Island and Other Stories. It was just published and launched 2 weeks ago. For me, it has some personal significance in that I spent several years as a hunting guide at Gull Island Gunning Club. For that cover we picked a shot of the club house taken in 1979.

club house

Elvin’s older brother, Burt, also worked as a guide at Gull Island. I got to know him and we became friends. We worked on lots of projects together for the hunt club, and Elvin dedicated the book to him. We used a picture of Burt that I took while we were building a duck blind in 1977.

Burt

Books are available through the author or by contacting Gee Gee at Buxton Village Books, 252-995-2420.

New Inlet

One of the first places I explored on Hatteras Island was New Inlet on Pea Island. The old remnant bridge that’s still there, was built after the storm of ’33 cut an inlet from sound to sea. As a result, traffic was interrupted on the sand road, so the state began construction of a bridge to span the troubled spot. The new inlet filled back in on it’s own, and the state halted construction before it was completed.

I used to walk out precariously on that deteriorating, unfinished bridge to catch hard crabs on baited strings. It wasn’t uncommon to come home with a few dozen nice ones. Since then, New Inlet has always brought me a feeling of wonder and tranquility.

I wasn’t the first one to get enjoyment there. Long before, there were fish camps where locals could hunt and fish for sustenance. It must have been a beautiful, bountiful outpost.

skiffOne of the first photographs that I made at New Inlet was taken in 1979 as I was testing a brand new 400mm Novoflex lens for the first time. I parked my truck on the shoulder of highway 12, stood in the bed and made 4 handheld, identical exposures to see how the lens worked. The shot later became a somewhat iconic image as the cover of Hatteras Journal, written by Jan DeBlieu.

bridgeI took a similar shot in 1982. John Herbert’s sail skiff, once again, served as a crucial element in the composition.

St. ClairBy January of 1985, the fish camp once owned by St. Clair Midgett had dropped from it’s foundation into the water. Later that same year, when Hurricane Gloria blasted through, it took what was left, completely away.

fish campIn May of 1985, I shot this smaller camp just northwest of St. Clair’s. It too was taken out by Gloria.

 

Moving Toes in the Sand

Last year Magnum photographer David Harvey asked me to help him on an assignment for a National Geographic story about rising sea level. He wanted to shoot the ocean encroaching on the Mirlo Beach subdivision in north Rodanthe, a familiar place.

The oceanfront at Mirlo has had a history of erosion for as long as I can remember, and the wave action there has attracted surfers for years. In 1984 Hurricane Josephine took out a protective dune line, and it has been a more vulnerable spot ever since.

Not only has the paved highway been taken out numerous times, but some homes have fallen into the sea as well. A few homeowners have moved their buildings to somewhat safer ground. The first house to be built on the Mirlo Beach oceanfront was called East Wind. It was built by developer Roger Meekins as a spec house. Later sold to new owners, it was renamed Toes in the Sand. It became the second house to be saved on that ill-fated oceanfront. Serendipity moved in 2009, was the first.

With Toes scheduled for relocation to another lot, David wanted to document it. Knowing that Cape Hatteras Electric Membership Co-op was going to be involved moving power lines, I contacted CHEMC to see if David could use of one of their bucket trucks in the process. Everything fell right into place.

David Just before the house was pulled off the beach, David waited with Carroll Midgett.

coming out With the house was underway, I drove David down the road to the bucket truck.

midwaybucket truck Once up in the air, he got the desired perspective.

up in the airbacking in Backing in was a piece of cake for Abode House Movers.

approval In the end, David was pleased.

D&C After a job well done, David pauses with Candy, his assistant… before going off to Mac’s for lunch.

For a look at the story, go to this web address:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/special-features/2014/07/140725-outer-banks-north-carolina-sea-level-rise-climate/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_fb20140725news-outer-banks&utm_campaign=Content&sf3855533=1