The building is the last remaining Greek Revival structure on the island. Built in 1903 by the Ocracoke Odd Fellows chapter for its headquarters, over the years it has also served as the island's schoolhouse, a coffee house, and Naval Officers' club during World War II, and as the Island Inn, a central piece of the village's social fabric for over one hundred years. In our small village, she is a cherished grand dame.
The popular Island Inn, which also had a famous restaurant, operated until 2010, when financial issues forced the property into foreclosure. The subsequent owner put it on the market in 2015. Recognizing the historic significance of the property, In 2018, the Ocracoke Preservation Society purchased it with the help of the Ocracoke Occupancy Tax Board and Hyde County government. When the property was acquired, the additional wings that made it an inn had deteriorated to the point of being unsalvageable and were torn down, but the original building remained sturdy.
We plan to rehabilitate and preserve the original building and utilize it as a Visitors’ Center and for badly needed administrative offices for other nonprofit organizations on the island. The expansive property will serve as a village commons and central gathering place. Landscaping will include a variety of Ocracoke fig trees and native plants.
We have had our challenges. In 2019 Hurricane Dorian slammed into Ocracoke causing massive devastation to the village and all available financial and physical resources shifted to aid island residents. Ocracoke Preservation Society deferred attention to the project during the recovery. The time has come to do more. We estimate that $750,000 will be needed to complete this vision.