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Schooner leaving Oriental Harbor, heading out into the Neuse River. "Uncle Lou" would have come past here, only the jetty wouldn't be built until 1948.
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Oriental was booming in the early 1900's. Hard to beleive what is this little town was once vibrant and progressive enough to be the first town in North Carolina to have an actual school bus.
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Oriental History in a Nutshell


Oriental was settled by Lewis B. Midyette in the 1870’s. Legend says that "Uncle Lew" anchored his sailboat in the protected waters of Oriental to escape a gale. He was sailing from New Bern back to his home in Dare County where he was a farmer and a fisherman. Storytellers claim that the next morning Lew went ashore and climbed a tree. He was captured by the beautiful landscape and all of the waterfront created by the many creeks. He returned home to persuade others to join his family in moving to the area.


From the early 1900's Oriental's economy was supported by lumber, fishing and farming. The train came to town, providing both cargo and passenger service (train service stopped in the 1950's). The last sawmill closed just about the time that sailors began to discover the village - in the early 1960's. Just 4 sailboats called Oriental home in 1960 - today the number has grown to near 3,000. Oriental is known as the "Sailing Capital Of North Carolina."


Fishing remains an important part of the town. Fishing trawlers still grace the harbor, bringing in a catch of shrimp, crab or perhaps flounder depending on the season.  In recent years, a number of fishing guide services have sprung up to cater to the fast growing interest in local sport fishing.  The Neuse River and Pamlico Sound abound in a broad range of sport fish such as Giant Drum, Trout, Puppy Drum, and in Summer, the big one...Tarpon.


Conveniently located on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), Oriental is a popular stop for "snowbirds" cruising south for the winter or heading north for the summer.  Many residents will tell you that their first visit to Oriental was by water while cruising coastal North Carolina.  The population, according to the 2000 census, is 875, with many newcomers settling in the county subdivisions near the the town.