By Connie Leinbach
Judith Garrish was thrilled to see her childhood home restored to new glory during the Ocracoke Preservation Society’s historic home open house Dec. 5.
“I love it,” said the island Yadkin Bank branch manager. “They did a good job.”
Garrish, who was born in 1952, lived in the Emma and Simon (1881-1937) O’Neal house, 458 Lighthouse Rd., until 1974 when she married (Martin) and moved out.
“My grandfather Simon built it for my grandmother Emma,” she said.
According to the OPS information, the house was built around 1900.
In a state of near collapse, OPS purchased the house and resold it to Will Purvis and Jamie McGaskill of Wilmington with the understanding that it would be historically restored.
Along with a total inside and outside makeover, the house was raised off the ground several feet. The work included adding a screened in porch off the new kitchen. Another add-on was a third bedroom above the kitchen and a full bath.
Garrish has fond memories of growing up there, even scary times, such as when the waters from Hurricane Gloria (1985) covered the entire ground floor. While the family had weathered the storm in Greenville, a neighbor told them about the flooding, Garrish said.
One Christmas remains especially vivid—when she and her sister, Linda Gaskill, got bicycles.
“I have a fond memory of coming down the stairwell and seeing those bicycles,” she said.
This house went on the rental market this summer with Blue Heron.
The other house on the tour was the Fleig House, 107 Live Oak Rd., which is the first right turn off Lighthouse Road past the Lighthouse.
It is owned by Trudy and Wayne Clark, who received the OPS award in November for historic home renovation.
Built in the 1950s, this house is representative of island homes built shortly before the significant changes ushered in by the introduction of state-operated ferries in 1957 and the paving of NC Highway 12.
The Clarks hired Tom Pahl and his Landmark Building and Design crew to implement their vision of the restoration which has a retro look inside with furniture and décor with a mid-20th century look.
Trudy said she had a great time looking for retro items.
“We had a fantastic turnout, said Ann Borland, assistant administrator, about the tour. “With the beautiful weather we were able to leave the door open on the O’Neal house which brought more people in.”
This house also is available for rent through VRBO.