Last month we ran an excerpt from John Hook’s interview of Jim Hannah. In reply Susie Burnett Jones has sent the following:
My father, John Henry Burnett of Burgaw, began investing in Carolina Beach in 1911; and in 1936 he built a six-bedroom cottage at 404 Carolina Beach Ave, North.
Until World War II the beach had two distinct groups of people: the summer folks and the year round residents, of which there were very few. At that time those living at the beach year round included business owners and their employees, commercial fishermen (the Freemans and the Winners) and those associated with the church and the elementary school. We were summer folks, and, like many others, moved to the beach in May of every year and returned home in late August. Of course, many rented houses or rooms, usually for two weeks, as we did before building our cottage.
In the 1930′s downtown Carolina Beach, referred to as “the boardwalk,” was an entertainment mecca for young people throughout the Piedmont and Eastern North Carolina.
Cliff Smith’s Green Lantern, and the Carolina Moon next door, were known throughout the state as the “places to be” for young dancers and “wannabes.” The Big Apple, the Little Apple and the Jitterbug kept their wooden floors red-hot every summer night. There was little or no crime. High school and college boys were allowed to “thumb” down by their parents, sleeping anywhere they could. All was well.
In the fall of 1939 [editor’s note: actually the fall of 1940] the boardwalk burned to the ground. The original pavilion and good solid beach-front hang-outs were replaced by small, poorly constructed buildings.
Pearl Harbor brought the end of an era. Soldiers and sailors from around the world now crowded the boardwalk mingling with shipyard workers, military police, summer visitors and permanent residents. Beer was bought and sold in every nook and cranny. The war changed the atmosphere of our wonderful family beach, where formerly beer had been only mildly visible after dark.
After the war Mr. Gene Reynolds from Greensboro built the Ocean Plaza building on a location …. Read more …