Bruce and Sara as National Park Rangers at
Cape Hatteras National Seashore

July 20, 2006

A Visit to Historic Portsmouth!

Just across the harbor and inlet from Ocracoke is the "ghost town" of historic Portsmouth.

In 1753, the North Carolina Assembly approved an act that created Portsmouth Village. By 1770, the village had grown to be one of the largest settlements on the Outer Banks, and for nearly a century the town was a major port on the Carolina coast. In 1842, over 1440 vessels and two-thirds of the exports of the state passed through Ocracoke Inlet.

During the 1840's, however, major changes started to take place. The shoals (shallow areas) in Ocracoke Inlet were growing, and a new and deeper inlet at Hatteras was opened by a hurricane in 1846. Shipping routes shifted north to the new inlet. In addition, more and more goods were being carried by railroad, and Portsmouth's days as a commercial center were drawing to a close.

In 1860, there were 685 residents; in 1956 the population was just 17 residents; and in 1971, the last two people living in Portsmouth reluctantly left for the mainland.

Today, the village is a "ghost town" and part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore. It's just a short 20 minute boat ride from the village of Ocracoke, however, and a great place to visit!

Here's some pictures....
visitor center
A former home and current Visitor Center to the Village, and a view of Portsmouth from the top of the Lifesaving Station

The Portsmouth Beach
Pelicans on an island enroute to the Village, and the Portsmouth Beach

Go to the next page..... The Rangers at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse!

Return to opening page Bruce and Sara in Cape Hatteras

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