|Ocean Isle Beach History|
By Nicole Puccinelli-Ortega
The discovery of Ocean Isle may have been fate. When Odell Williamson returned from World War II in 1945, he moved to Shallotte, a nearby community with his wife, Virginia. While flying over the area in his small plane, he spotted the tiny, then-uninhabited island. Odell investigated the island and discovered an old fishing shack, the only structure there.
“Everyone told him he was crazy to want the island,” says Marnie Waterford, the Williamsons’ granddaughter, who grew up on the island. “They said, ‘You can’t grow tobacco in the sand.’”
Still, the Williamsons purchased the land in 1953 and later named it
But that didn’t discourage Odell Williamson. He began developing the island once again and built his family a home there in 1964. A two-car ferry was the first transportation out to the island before a small drawbridge was built.
Odell Williamson served 12 years as a representative in the
Lined with quaint beach houses and oceanfront inns, the island welcomes visitors from all over the