Ocean Isle Ferry exhibit highlights local history

OCEAN ISLE, NC (WWAY) — On Saturday at the Museum of the Coastal Carolinas, a new exhibit will open highlighting the cable ferry system used to get on and off the island in the 1950’s.

The ferry was built in 1950, and used a series of cables and pulleys to get people, and their cars, across the Intercoastal Waterway and onto Ocean Isle. An operator worked the system to slowly get from one side to the other.

Gerald Strickland, a retired civil engineer, built a working model of the ferry system for the museum, to show people how it worked. He said the ferry was fascinating to him.

“It did intrigue me to see how people used their ingenuity to get something done,” Strickland said.

But Strickland will agree that the ferry was not a perfect system.

“It was inconvenient. But back then time was not as precious as it is now, they say,” said Strickland.

The ferry washed aground in 1954 during Hurricane Hazel, but it was rebuilt and remained in use until 1959, when a bridge was built for easier access to the island.

To those on the mainland, it was called the Brick Landing Ferry, but on the island it was simply referred to as the Ocean Isle Ferry. It’s something that Strickland looks on fondly, and he said he hopes the exhibit encourages people to come out and share their stories of the history of this ferry.

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