Captain Skippy Winner and Elaine Henson – May Meeting

The Young Skippy WinnerThe Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, May 18, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

The May meeting will feature a fascinating history of fishing at Carolina Beach and the creation and ongoing preservation of the Carolina Beach Inlet. Our speaker will be Captain Skippy Winner the first commercial captain to transit the Inlet after it’s creation in 1952.

Elaine Henson will accompany Captain Winner’s talk with pictures of the history of the Intracoastal Waterway, Yacht Basin, Canal, and artificially created Carolina Beach Inlet.

As a teenager, Skippy (David Carl Winner, Jr.) working for his father, Carl Winner, had Carolina Beach Inlet CVhartto take fishermen all the way to Masonboro Inlet just south of Wrightsville Beach to reach the ocean. Then, in the late 1940’s a group of Carolina Beach businessmen lead by Sam Blake collected money to hire a dredge to cut an artificial inlet from the Intracoastal Waterway transiting Myrtle Grove Sound to the ocean.

Then on September 3, 1952, 1,250 pounds of dynamite were used to finally open the inlet. The final cut was planned for a day with a full lunar tide and the differential in the tide between the sound and the ocean would be the highest. At first it was a very narrow opening but the tides rushing through quickly widened and deepened it.

Today the inlet is shoaling badly, so, in 2012 the CB_InletCarolina Beach Inlet Association was founded to secure an ongoing source of funding for continued dredging to keep the cut deep enough for the fishermen and pleasure boaters to use into the future.

Captain Winner, the first President of the organization, will also talk about the group and its current plans and projects.

From the President: May, 2015

Elaine Henson

Elaine Henson

This 1961 card shows the Carolina Beach Yacht Basin also called Boat Basin looking south.

Landmarks include the Carolina Beach Lake, Fisherman’s Steel Pier and the Municipal Building just south of the basin. Prior to 1939 when the canal and basin were dredged and widened, Myrtle Grove Sound was a very narrow meandering slough in places.

The dredge spoil created additional building lots and a new street called Canal Drive. Because of the possible instability of the land especially west of the new street, a twenty-five year moratorium was in place before building was allowed.

The canal connected to the Intracoastal Waterway and Snow’s Cut which was completed in 1930, but ocean access for our fishing fleets remained limited to Southport or Masonboro Inlet at Wrightsville Beach.

Carolina Beach Aireal shot

 

Speaking of Inlets… What Do You Think?

NC Rep. Michael Lee proposes doing away with “The Rocks”

Excerpted from StarNews Article by Gareth McGrath, April 28, 2015

For more than a century “the Rocks,” a breakwater built by the Army Corps of Engineers, has separated tMichael Leehe channels at the southern tip of New Hanover County from the Cape Fear River. But language added to legislation that would allocate funding to help North Carolina maintain the state’s inlets and waterways is looking to change that.

Senate Bill 160, which is currently before the NC Senate Finance Committee, calls for the portion of the Rocks south of Zeke’s Island – between Zeke’s and Smith Island – to be removed.

The language also would shift the boundary of the Zeke’s Island Reserve 200 feet eastward toward the Atlantic Ocean. The Rocks form part of the reserve’s boundary. According to the bill, the reason for the move would be “for ecosystem restoration and protection of navigational safety.”

But the idea of removing the Rocks has left officials – many of whom didn’t know about the proposal until it was added to the bill in committee – scratching their heads, wondering if there is more to the dam’s removal than just what’s stated in the bill. State Senator, Michael Lee, one of the bill’s primary sponsors, said that’s not the case. He said removing The Rocks would simply help restore the area’s natural equilibrium. “The general idea is that they don’t need to be there, so let’s see if we can get them removed,” Lee said.

Zeke's Island #1Removing the Rocks, part of which extend more than 30 feet down, would change the dynamics of the ecosystem that now inhabits the lagoon.

But the increased tidal flow also would likely put into motion a process that would see New Inlet reopened.

That inlet, which was opened by a hurricane in 1761, closed in the late 19th century – although other channels, including Corncake Inlet, have opened and closed nearby over the decades.

Historically, New Inlet was popular with ship captains but a thorn to officials trying to keep the Cape Fear River shipping channel open. As early as the mid-19th century engineers had concluded that the best way to solve the shoaling woes was to close the inlet.

So in 1875 the Army Corps began work on the Rocks, finishing the 4.25-mile-long dam in 1891 at a cost of $766,000. Shutting off the inlet’s tidal flows stopped most of the sand washing into the shipping channel – and allowed subsequent deepening of the channel to be feasible, including today’s 42 feet.

“Partially opening up the structure would significantly increase the chances of inlet breaches in the vicinity of the opening, which would cause shoaling problems to immediately reappear,” said Spencer Rogers, a coastal engineering expert with NC Sea Grant. But the reopening of the inlet also could offer vessels, assuming the channel was deep enough, a much faster and safer route to the open ocean – a point championed in a column in the April 25, 1971, issue of the Wilmington StarNews. “Reopening of the inlet would have immediate and long-range benefits,” the article states. “The initial results would be to reopen the once available channel from Southport to the Atlantic at Fort Fisher and northward without the long voyage around the shoals which extend seaward from the tip of Bald Head Island.”

But while a reopened inlet could save shippers time and the government maintenance dollars, it also could have major impacts on the environment – and that has some Bald Head officials concerned.

“If you’re opening up an inlet, you never know what’s going to happen,” said Andrew Sayre, mayor of the island village.

Of chief concern is what might happen to the island’s now-healthy East Beach, which could be starved of sand if the sediment that naturally flows down from Pleasure Island gets washed out to sea or into the Cape Fear.

“This could have a devastating impact on our island,” said Suzanne Dorsey, executive director of the Bald Head Island Conservancy.

Officials with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which manages the Zeke’s Island Reserve, also are zeke's Island #2concerned about what the removal of the Rocks would do to the reserve’s ecosystem.

Then there’s the question of whether the federal government would approve a change in the reserve’s boundaries, since the reserve is part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve system under the umbrella of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

DENR spokeswoman Michele Walker said the state in 1980 used $1.18 million in federal funds to purchase most of the land that encompasses the reserve.

With so many questions out there, no one expects anything with the Rocks to happen quickly.

Lee said if the provision is approved by the General Assembly he expected a series of studies to take place to gauge the environmental and other impacts from any removal work.

“This wouldn’t be a quick process,” the state senator said. “We’d certainly want to know all of the potential impacts before we took any action.”

Removing the Rocks, part of which extend more than 30 feet down, would change the dynamics of the ecosystem that now inhabits the lagoon. But the increased tidal flow also would likely put into motion a process that would see New Inlet reopened.

That inlet, which was opened by a hurricane in 1761, closed in the late 19th century – although other channels, including Corncake Inlet, have opened and closed nearby over the decades.

But while a reopened inlet could save shippers time and the government maintenance dollars, it also could have major impacts on the environment – and that has some Bald Head officials concerned. “If you’re opening up an inlet, you never know what’s going to happen,” said Andrew Sayre, mayor of the island village.

Of chief concern is what might happen to the island’s now-healthy East Beach, which could be starved of sand if the sediment that naturally flows down from Pleasure Island gets washed out to sea or into the Cape Fear. “This could have a devastating impact on our island,” said Suzanne Dorsey, Executive Director of the Bald Head Island Conservancy.

Officials with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which manages the Zeke’s Island Reserve, also are concerned about what the removal of the Rocks would do to the reserve’s ecosystem. Then there’s the question of whether the federal government would approve a change in the reserve’s boundaries, since the reserve is part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve system under the umbrella of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). North Carolina Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman, Michele Walker, said the state in 1980 used $1.18 million in federal funds to purchase most of the land that encompasses the reserve.

StarNews 4/28/15:  The complete StarNews article

~~~~~~~

Updates:

Lumina News 7/14/15:  Rock wall removal could cause shoaling in shipping channel, some say

The Rocks, south of Zeke’s Island near the tip of New Hanover County, is more than three miles long and at some points 37 feet high and 120 feet wide, said Spencer Rogers, a coastal construction and erosion specialist with N.C. Sea Grant.

Its purpose was to hold back sediment flowing in from an inlet that was opened by a hurricane in the 1800s.

“It’s the most complicated section of oceanfront in all of North Carolina,” Rogers said.

During the Civil War, the inlet was an asset to Confederate forces because blockade runners could navigate the shallow water near the opening, allowing them to get around Union ships that blocked the main channel, he said. But after the war it impeded shipping up the channel.

~~~~~~

StarNews 7/29/15:   Plan to remove ‘The Rocks’ opposed

BALD HEAD ISLAND | Local governments and marine experts say the explanation being given for a bill removing the structure known as “The Rocks” doesn’t pass muster, and they’ll oppose it until they get a better one.

The removal of “The Rocks” between Zeke’s and Smith (Bald Head) Island  on the southern tip of New Hanover County, which would also shift the boundary of the Zeke’s Island Reserve 200 feet east toward the Atlantic Ocean, is part of N.C. House Bill 97, the 2015 Appropriations Act. N.C. Senate Bill 160, which originally proposed the action, passed the state Senate in May, but has been stalled in a House committee since. Sen. Michael Lee, R-New Hanover, is a sponsor of the Senate bill.

“Ecosystem restoration and protection of navigational safety” are cited in the legislation as key reasons for removing The Rocks, but local experts say such action could have negative effects such as increased shoaling in the Cape Fear River and erosion on Bald Head Island’s East Beach. Local experts and officials also don’t think the ecosystem restoration reason holds water.

“What I smell in this is that we’re not being leveled with about what’s really going on,” said Larry Cahoon, a professor and oceanographer at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. “Ecologically, I haven’t heard an argument about what’s broken that needs fixing.”

The ecosystem in that area, Cahoon added, has developed over the nearly 150 years The Rocks have been there, and any major changes could be disruptive, particularly if an inlet were to reopen between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River.

Oral History – Rachel Bame

Interviewed on Aug 30, 2006 by Jeannie Gordon and Ann Hertzler

After the original wooden Bames Hotel burned down in September 1940, we rebuilt it with a brick one.

Later, and after so many of the family died or moved away, the oldest son George died. George was managing the hotel because the other two boys had the grocery store and the service station.

When George passed away, my husband Ernest, and his brother had their own businesses and they just couldn’t manage the hotel; they didn’t want to mess with the hotel.

So they leased the hotel to a minister and his wife, the man had retired. My husband, it was after his brother died, and the other brother didn’t want to worry with it.

But when my husband went in and saw the condition the hotel was in, he said it would ruin the name, so he had it [the second Bame Hotel] torn down. And that’s where the Marriott Hotel is located today – on that property. It had just gone down.

Bame Collection - slides color #2Hurricane Hazel. It really took my husband’s business – the Gulf station and the appliances.

During Hurricane Hazel, he stayed down at the business, I was living at the corner of Hamlet Avenue at the time. I wondered if he doesn’t come home…. During the height of the hurricane the ocean and the canal were almost ready to meet. And it did eventually.

And he was trying to save the appliances. He had just put in a car load of GE appliances. And they stayed down there and tried to save those appliances until it just got hopeless. The building was almost demolished. That’s another reason they had to get rid of the hotel – so much water came in. All that area just flooded something awful.

I think I mentioned the banker’s wife – we were playing bridge and heard the report that the hurricane was coming and she left.   Later, when I heard she had lost everything, we left our home on Hamlet and went up to the brick house on Cape Fear. When my friends on Canal Drive lost everything, we went up and dug clothes out of the mud. I took them home and washed them. That was a sad, sad time.

I had a dear friend who was one of the supervisors in the school system that lived on the southern extension at Carolina Beach. Had a nice home. And do you know after the hurricane Hazel, we found her buffet on the school lot. Everything was gone.

The original builder of Echo Farms had a beautiful home on the southern extension – a nd he loved the beach.  He was getting on up in age. Do you know during the hurricane he went into a shower stall, he wouldn’t leave. His home and everything was destroyed and he was left in the shower still alive. Now that was an experience that not any of us will ever forget.

snows_cut_1964Snow’s Cut Bridge. Well I do know that they were responsible for us having the bridge. My husband and Mayor Alsbrook from Wilmington and some of the county commissioners made a couple of trips to Washington. They really worked to get that bridge because that draw bridge was a handicap.

And at that time, a lot more small yachts were coming into this area. Which is good. We needed that bridge. They were very interested in getting that done and they worked with the state.

Churches. There wasn’t much social. The churches – the Baptist church and the Methodist church and the Deck House used to be the Presbyterian Church. It was a very active church. The churches, we had good groups. When we built the brick church, the Methodist church, the women of the church worked so hard to help finance that building. We used to have conventions on the beach. Oh the biggest group of people would come to the beach. And our women of the church would serve meals to make money to help build that church. We would serve sometime 200 people, we did work hard.

The Library: Let me mention one thing that was important to me at that time. We had a Women’s Club which was, you’ve File0001heard of Sorosis in Wilmington? The Sorosis helped to organize the women’s club and that’s when we built our first little library on Carolina Beach. Our Women’s Club was responsible for that little library. It was where it is now.

It was a little wooden framed building that the town let us use and we worked on it. And the Wilmington Library came in and helped us.

That was in the late ‘50s. It was strictly volunteers. We did have one elderly member of the Women’s Club, Mrs. Flogger. She was wonderful. And she volunteered her time – full time at the library. And that was a good thing. We got the books through the Wilmington library. It was affiliated. That was a good thing that we had for the beach. We needed that badly. And I did volunteer work there during the time.

 

Britt’s Donuts

Featured Business Member
May, 2015

by Tony (Lem) PhillipsBobby-and-Maxine-at-counter-1

This month, the History Center sends out a very sweet shout to a local legend, Britt’s Donuts. Located at #11 The Boardwalk, Carolina Beach, NC, they have been cooking up smiles since 1939 when the Britt family along with the Wrights opened up Britt’s Donuts on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Since selling the business to Bobby Nivens in 1974, they have not looked back. All of Federal Point, nay New Hanover County, looks forward to opening day each year.

Bobby-weigning-doughBe sure to go by and have a Boardwalk staple, a fresh hot sweet Britt’s donut and thank them again for supporting the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society each year as a Business Member.

If you would like to know more about Britt’s Donuts and their delicious history, stop by the History Center and take a look at Daniel Norris’s book, Britt’s Donuts-Forever Sweet from yet another valued Business Member, Slapdash Publishing of Carolina Beach, NC and visit them at https://www.facebook.com/slapdashpublishing

 

Daniel Norris and Britt’s have a wonderful collaboration on Facebook as well at

http://www.brittsdonutsfanclub.com/ The photos above come from Daniel Norris’s fan club Facebook page.

 

 

Society Notes – May, 2015

Linda NewtonMAJOR DONATION: Linda Newton’s daughters, Anna and Lindsey, have donated all of her historical and genealogical files as well as a number of local history books to the Society. In total there are 8 boxes and though it will take us a while to sort and catalog it all, it is a significant addition to our library and archives.

Thanks to Phil Sapienza for pressure washing the handicapped ramp and front sidewalk at the History Center. It looks b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!

The History Center recorded 81 visitors in April. We had 34 in attendance at the April meeting. The gift shop took $132.60 in April. The History Center was used by Got-‘em-on Live Bait Fishing Club, UDC-Fort Fisher Chapter and FCA-CC.

Thanks to Lois Taylor, Darlene Bright, and Cheri McNeill for all their help with the April Newsletter.

The Sugar Loaf Civil War Preservation Group continues to work on the Lewis/Town of Carolina Beach segments of the line. A huge thanks to Rick Both, Andre’ Blouin, Leslie Bright, and Victor Alocci who show up every time a work day is called.

Please welcome new members Frank Wright of Wilmington and John and Nancy Bailey of Oak Island.

And don’t forget! If you take a trip with Wilmington Water Tours please tell them you are a member of FPHPS! If you do we get a portion of your ticket price. Call us 458-0502, or them 338-3134. wilmingtonwatertours.net