News from the Ghost Island of the Outer Banks

Fall-Winter 2017 Doctor’s Creek Journal, newsletter of The Friends of Portsmouth Island


By Ray McAllister

One of the things I do on the side — and one of the most rewarding — is edit the newsletter of the FRIENDS OF PORTSMOUTH ISLAND. The new Doctor’s Creek Journal, I’m happy to say, has just reached the hands of members …

And could easily be in your hands.

Portsmouth Island, for those who don’t know — which includes, frankly, nearly everyone — is a once-thriving but now deserted island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, across the inlet from the beloved Ocracoke Island. It has been empty for nearly a half-century. That’s right. Nearly 50 years. Yet the houses still stand, as do the church and the post office and the life-saving station and other buildings.

Not surprisingly, Portsmouth is known as “the Ghost Village of the Outer Banks.” (Or the “Ghost Island.” Either Way. Your choice.)

The physical village owes its continued existence to a partnership between the National Park Service and a private group, the Friends of Portsmouth Island. Where does the FPI get its money? Mostly from donations — and ridiculously inexpensive membership dues. (They’re only $15 apiece, or $20 for a family. So join, darn ya. JOIN RIGHT HERE!)

If you join now, you’ll get the new newsletter, of course — plus you’ll get information for the large guided tour of the village that takes places only every two years. The next one is April 21.

So if you love the OBX or just love history, check it out. And if you want to know the story of the island, here’s the book: PORTSMOUTH: THE WAY IT WAS. (Disclaimer: I was involved in having it republished. It’s good, anyway.)

From the Fall-Winter 2017 Doctor’s Creek Journal, newsletter of The Friends of Portsmouth Island

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