Ocrocoke is a small community and the site of the oldest Light House still operating in North Carolina. During the 1800s it was essential to guiding hundreds of ships per month through the inlet. Anyone who has visited this lovely island is quite aware of its treacherous seas. There was an earlier Light House, built sometime in the 1700s on nearby Shell Island which was destroyed by a fire caused by lightning. The wooden stairs were replaced with ones made of steel after World War II. The house of the keeper was used by the Coast Guard and ultimately it went to the National Park Service. The Light House is visible up to fourteen miles out to see. The pirate, Edward Teach (Blackbeard) was known to have buried some of his treasures here. As the story goes, Teach came to the island in 1718 from the Carribbean in his stolen vessels (four) with four hundred pirates.