Federal Point, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher
– from the Wilmington Star, Wilmington News, Wilmington Post, Wilmington Dispatch, Wilmington Messenger
Bill Reaves files: Federal Point/Carolina Beach/Kure Beach/Fort Fisher 1725-1994
February 15, 1902
The Southern Bell Telephone Company announced that they would extend its service to Carolina Beach next summer. The company now had control of the government line which was built to the Signal Station in 1898. Mr. McManus, the company‘s manager in Wilmington, said that the service would be extended only for the benefit of patrons. It would probably not pay more than the expenses of operating it. Heretofore the Interstate Telephone Company had the only line to Carolina Beach. The government line was first class in every respect and it was 14 miles long. In case of war it was to go back to Uncle Sam. The only phones to be operated at the Beach was to be about three pay stations. (Dispatch, 2-15-1902; Star, 2-16-1902; Messenger, 2-16-1902)
February 23, 1902
The annual overhauling of the track and rolling stock of Carolina Beach railroad was to begin soon, with Capt. Tom McGhee in charge. Capt. Harper reported that he had many inquiries as to the lease of the hotel at Carolina Beach for next season. (Star, 2-23-1902)
March 1, 1902
The annual overhauling of the engine, rolling stock and roadbed of the Carolina Beach railroad began today. New truck wheels were to be put on the engine, and the driving wheels were to be re-turned. (Dispatch, 2-22-1902; 3-4-1902)
March 1, 1902
Capt. John W. Harper was contemplating the erection of a pier head at “The Rocks” near Fort Fisher. He gave the contract to Mr. A.J. Robbins, of Southport, and the work was to be completed by April 15th. (Dispatch, 3-8-1902)
May 10, 1902
Capt. John W. Harper, of the handsome steamer WILMINGTON, proclaimed that everything was in readiness for the opening of the season on Carolina Beach, on May 20th. The railroad was in excellent repair, and the fare had been reduced to 10 cents each way. The round trip from Wilmington to Carolina Beach, about 30 miles, was now 20 cents.
The Hotel Oceanic was to be in charge of Mrs. Rebecca Eilers, and it was to be run as a restaurant. The rooms will be open to the public and chairs and cots were to be supplied for their comfort free of charge. (Dispatch, 5-10-1902.; 5-22-1901; Star, 5-11-1902)
May 17, 1902
A sturgeon, 7 feet long and weighing over 300 pounds, was caught at ‘The Rocks’ and taken to Wilmington on the steamer WILMINGTON. The fish was a monster. (Dispatch, 5-17-1902)
May 20, 1902
The Wilmington Light Infantry (Company C, 2nd Regiment, North Carolina State Guard) was celebrating its 49th anniversary with an excursion to Carolina Beach. There was music, dancing, competitive target shoot, and a grand time in general. (Messenger, 5-15-1902)
May 30, 1902
Mr. D. McEachern‘s family has moved down to Carolina Beach. (Dispatch, 5-31-1902)
Mr. D. McEachern‘s family will occupy their cottage at Carolina Beach in a few days. Dr. Ed. C. McEachern is already on the beach and hopes that his stay there will soon benefit his health. (Messenger, 6-1-1902)
May 21, 1902
The Gun & Rod Club was thinking of giving a ‘blow out’ when the new club house on ‘The Rocks’ was completed. It was expected that the club house would be completed in about 3 weeks. (Dispatch, 5-21-1902)
Mr. Freeman Woods has the contract for erecting the club house at the ‘Rocks’ for the Fort Fisher Rod & Gun Club and he has now started work on the building. (Messenger, 6-13-1902)
The lumber for the new club house of the Fort Fisher Rod and Gun Club was sent down to the ‘Rocks’ and Messrs Wood & Barker began work. The building was to be of the very best material. (Star, 6-11-1902)
June 15, 1902
A large number of people went down to Carolina Beach to hear a sacred concert by the Fort Caswell post band. It consisted of 14 pieces and the several selections were exceedingly well rendered. Mr. Phillip Burhhardt was the leader of the band and was a very clever gentleman. (Messenger, 6-17-1902)
June 18, 1902
Colonel Walker Taylor‘s Boy‘s Brigade had their annual excursion to Carolina Beach on the steamer WILMINGTON. The company and about 200 of their friends went down and had a most enjoyable time. At the beach there was dancing at Sedgeley Hall Club up to 10:30 p.m., when the train left for the last boat for the city. (Messenger, 6-19-1902)
July 4, 1902
Visitors to Carolina Beach were very severe in their criticisms for the poor supply of iced drinking water. There was an abundant supply of good water to drink, but it was very warm and no ice could be bought on the beach at any price. There was a refreshment stand at which could be had lemonade at five cents per glass, or if you preferred they would sell ice water at the same price. Capt. Harper explained the shortage of ice. He said that he did not furnish ice on excursions run by others, and the fault was with the committee of arrangements. (Dispatch, 7-5-1902)
July 6, 1902
(advertisement) – FOR RENT – Sedgeley Hall, at Carolina Beach. Suitable for a family, fishing or marooning parties. Apply to D. O‘Connor, Real Estate Agent. (Star, 7-10-1902)
July 10, 1902
The woods between the pier and Carolina Beach were on fire and the flames cast a bright reflection on the cloud-covered heavens. The engine was used to put the fire out. (Dispatch, 7-11-1902)
July 27, 1902
The Fort Caswell Post Band gave a concert at Carolina Beach. (Star, 7-24-1902)
July 26, 1902
James Batson, an old negro, who formerly lived on Henry Taylor‘s plantation in Federal Point township, was arrested and locked up on the charge of abandonment. Batson says when he left Federal Point township he asked his wife to go with him, but she refused to go. Now it turns out that Batson‘s wife died about ten days ago. He had moved to Pender County. (Dispatch, 7-26-1902)
July 30, 1902
The handsome summer cottage of Mr. Duncan McEachern at Carolina Beach was completely destroyed, with its contents, by fire. It started from the explosion of an oil lamp in one of the bed rooms upstairs about 11:30 p.m. The family had not retired for the night and all the occupants of the house, including several guests, escaped without injury. The explosion of the lamp was probably due to a gust of wind which blew the flame down into the bowl containing the kerosene. Only a few trunks and other household goods were saved, the remainder of the contents, including a fine piano, going up in smoke and causing a total loss of at least $2,000. The house was insured for $1,200 and the contents for $300. (Star, 8-1-1902)
August 6, 1902
News reached Wilmington at 4:30 in the morning of August 7th that a storm had played havoc at Carolina Beach on the night of August 6th. The hotel was blown down and several people were injured, though no lives were lost.
Mrs. Alice Phillips suffered a broken ankle and contused back. She was in the ruins for 1 1⁄2 hours before help could reach her. Capt. John Barry suffered sprains and other injuries to both ankles. Mrs. John Barry had a severe injury to her left lower limb, fracture of the femur and ankle, which caused suffering on account of her advanced age from the nervous shock. Capt. John Fitzgerald, of Richmond, nephew of Capt. John Barry, suffered a contusion of the left shoulder and chest, and perhaps several broken ribs. M.H. Kelly suffered laceration of the forehead and other severe injuries. The four injured persons mentioned were at the home of Capt. John Barry, and were attended by Drs. Schonwald and Bellamy. Mrs. Owen Martindale suffered contusion and laceration of the face and head, injury to back and ankle. Mrs. Martindale‘s 3-month-old child was asleep on the second floor of the building. When taken from among the debris it was found that the baby had dropped miraculously to the ground upon a mattress that came down with the collapse. It received not a scratch.
Tobe Howard, bar-keeper at the hotel, suffered a laceration of the scalp, with contusion of both arms, jaw and shoulders. Mrs. Tobe Howard suffered a laceration of the forehead. Mrs. Howard, after her rescue, went bravely into the rescue work and in the absence of a physician she assisted nobly Miss Furpless, even going as far as to tear her own clothing to make bandages for the injured. J. E. Haywood and 5-year-old daughter, of McColl, S. C. were in the hotel. Mr. Haywood suffered a severe sprain of the right ankle, left leg broken just above the ankle and a dislocation of the same ankle: a severe contusion of the spine. The little girl was on the second floor of the building and escaped with out injury. Accompanied by Mr. J.S. Thompson, of Hasty, she will return home today. Mr. Haywood and Mr. Thompson came down the day before and expected to stay some time, but the storm changed their minds. J.M. Rumley, of Beaufort, N. C. suffered injury to the back, left hip and knee.
The old Oceanic Hotel had not been used strictly for hotel purposes in several years and during the past two seasons, Capt. Harper had refused to rent it as a hotel but merely as a pavilion for the entertainment of excursionists, with a restaurant attached. It was fortunate that it was not used as a hotel, else the consequences of the storm might have been more terrible. Capt. Harper and every person connected with his boat or interests on the beach did all in their power for the suffering ones.
The first knowledge in Wilmington of the catastrophe at the beach was through Robert Freeman, colored, who was sent for Dr. Andrew H. Harriss by Capt. Furpless. Though alone at the beach, Dr. Harriss accomplished wonders in administering to the wants of the wounded and improvised cots and stretchers were made and all placed on a flat car, which reached the pier safely. The wounded ones were placed on the steamer and by 8 o‘clock all the sufferers were taken to the hospital in Wilmington and later to their homes. At the hospital Dr. Harriss was assisted in his work by Dr. Pride J. Thomas, and Dr. W.D. McMillan.
Mrs. Louis Freimuth, of Wilmington, was a guest at the hotel at the time of the collapse but had just stepped out to use the telephone to call her husband in the city. Her little 5 year old son was asleep on the second floor but escaped without a bruise. When the debris was being removed, it is said the little fellow was found, under it all, quietly asleep on the sand as if nothing had ever happened.
Mr. W. H. Biddle, of Masonboro, reported that the tornado, or cyclone, lasted for about five minutes, carrying destruction in its path. There was much damage to corn, trees were uprooted, fences blown down among other damages. The cyclone moved in a path nearly two miles. The most serious loss and injury by the storm was in the wreck of the old Hotel Oceanic, the large two-story wooden structure, owned by the New Hanover Transit Company, and operated by Mrs. Rebecca Eilers, of Wilmington.
The storm came in from the south-west and it blew the middle part of the hotel toward the ocean. Eight of the occupants of the hotel were engaged in dancing at the time in the dining room of the old hotel and were taken completely unawares. The only one to escape was Mr. Sebastian Winner, who was picking a guitar for the dancers. He was near the door and got on the outside before the crash came, but his guitar was smashed to smithereens. He received only a slight injury on the leg. Mr. Marion Winner, father of Sebastian Winner, was the first to reach the scene, but very soon afterwards he was joined by Capt. Thomas McGee, Mr. Robert S. Collins, who was spending some time with his family at the beach; Mrs. Hans A. Kure, Captain Furpless, Capt. J. C. Smith, Mr. Henry Stolter, Mr. J.S. Thompson, of Hasty, who was stopping at the Kure House across the sound; Miss Furpless, daughter of Capt. Furpless, and Mose and John Evans, two colored men employed by Capt. J.W. Harper. All the injured ones except Mr. Hampton Smith, who was most seriously injured were taken from the hotel ruins by 10 o‘clock.
Young Smith, the son of Capt. J.C. Smith, the well known steamboat man, was not rescued until two hours later and it was then by the heroic effort on part of Capt. Tom McGee. He is said to have lifted almost the entire roof of the building using two railroad jacks for hoisting purposes, two saws, two axes and a pinch bar. When the roof was lifted and removed six people came out, badly frightened and badly injured. Young Smith was taken out, was so badly injured that he cried pitiably for some one to kill him. He had a concussion of the brain and would not be out of danger for some time. At the hospital in Wilmington, he was treated by Dr. Pride J. Thomas who reported that the patient was doing nicely, as were two other patients remaining there, Mr. J.E. Haywood, of McColl, S.C. and Mr. J.M. Rumley, of Beaufort, N.C.
The other injured persons were at their homes and all doing well. The injuries of Hampton Smith were laceration of scalp and face, several contusions of the left shoulder, chest and back and a very severe contusion and laceration of the entire left leg. He also suffered from a concussion of the brain. He had been pinioned between a partition, floor and roof for three hours. His left leg was jammed between a girder and a water cooler.
Mrs. Rebecca Eilers, proprietor of the hotel, suffered a laceration of the scalp, contusion of the left shoulder, back and ankle. Miss Nettie Eilers, daughter of Mrs. Eilers, suffered a broken ankle and nose, and suffered a severe shock.
The only other damage at Carolina Beach besides the hotel was the blowing down of a part of the kitchen of Mr. W.L. Smith‘s cottage near the hotel.
The residence of Mr. Owen Martindale, 4 miles from Wilmington, in Masonboro township, was badly damaged by the cyclone. A chimney was blown down; doors and shutters torn off and the plastering in several rooms twisted about. It was Mr. Martindale‘s wife who was injured in the fall of the hotel at the beach. (Star, 8-8-1902)
August 8, 1902
The fifteen people who were injured in the destruction of the former Hotel Oceanic building at Carolina Beach by the recent cyclone were all getting along nicely. Some were in the James Walker Memorial Hospital and others at their homes throughout the city and all showed improvement. When the hotel building was wrecked a cat and two dogs were inside. They got out without a scratch, which was remarkable for the cat, to say the least of it.
Mrs. Rebecca Eilers, who conducted the house, had a fine little dog, and when she came to herself under the wreck and was pinioned so she could not get out, her dog was by her licking her hand. He was brought up to the city and was frisky as if he had never passed through such an ordeal as that on that dark and stormy night. Among those who worked heroically to rescue the injured from the building, three men were unlisted. They were Messrs. Otto Banck, Ben Rathjen, and Martin Rathjen, Jr. They all did splendid service. (Messenger, 8-9-1902)
August 20, 1902
The Hanover Lodge of Odd Fellows, of Wilmington, gave another enjoyable excursion to Carolina Beach, Southport and out into the Atlantic Ocean. Many remained at Carolina Beach for the day. There was a big dance at the Sedgeley Hall Club at night. The music was provided by the Boston Italian Band. The moon was full and the return ride on the river at 10:30 p.m. was beautiful. Fare for the round trip was only 25 cents. (Dispatch, 8-20-1902)
August 20, 1902
Mr. Eugene Beery and Messrs. E.O. and Van Toomer, all of Wilmington, spent a week in camping and fishing on Zeke‘s Island. They reported their camp was an ideal one. (Dispatch, 8-20-1902)
August 30, 1902
Captain John W. Harper, general manager of the Hanover Transit Company, had work commenced on the commodious and handsome new pavilion at Carolina Beach. The work is being done under the supervision of Mr. Thomas McGee.
The new pavilion will be located on part of the site of the old Hotel Oceanic, and will be 125 feet from the ocean. The structure will be in the shape of a Maltese cross, and will front 133 feet on the ocean and run from east to west 124 feet. It will be on four foot pillars and will have 12 foot piazzas clear around it.
It will contain 10,000 square feet for promenading and lounging, besides a commodious dancing hall 40 by 40 feet, a dining room 38 by 40 feet, a ladies‘ reception room, 20 by 20 feet, several retiring rooms, kitchen, etc. The dance hall will be specially floored for the purpose and is to be so commodious that it will contain 2,500 people, so that there will be ample room or the biggest excursion that ever went to the beach. The ladies‘ reception room is to be a nice and convenient affair. It will be furnished with dressers, hammocks, cots, tables, rocking chairs, etc.
The pavilion is to be shingled on the outside and will have eighteen 6-foot doors. The dance hall will be in the centre and wide doors will open into it from all other rooms. It is to be specially built for picnic and excursion parties, and will make the beach more popular than ever next season. Rocking chairs and neat benches will be provided all over the pavilion.
The train will run within 30 feet of rear door of the structure. The restaurant is to be run on the European plan and this will be another feature that will be welcomed by the people. Besides the big pavilion Captain Harper will erect four neat cottages with sleeping rooms for the accommodation of those who want to spend awhile at the beach.
The bath houses are also to be greatly enlarged and much improved. The old pavilion is also to be practically rebuilt, and other improvements will be made at the beach by next season. Several private parties will build cottages at Carolina Beach next season. (Messenger, 8-31-1902.; Dispatch, 8-20-1902; 10-4- 1902)
September 1, 1902
Capt. John W. Harper began work on the handsome pavilion at Carolina Beach. Capt. Tom McGee was to superintend the work. (Messenger, 8-21-1902)
September 25, 1902
A big consignment of lumber went down to Carolina Beach for the new pavilion to be built there by Capt. John W. Harper. (Star, 9-26-1902)
October 5, 1902
The foundation was laid for the new pavilion at Carolina Beach. It was hoped that the structure would be completed by November 1st. (Star, 10-5-1902)
October 15, 1902
Prof. Washington Catlett announced that he would deliver an address at Oak Hill School, Federal Point Township, on Thanksgiving. (Dispatch, 10-15-1902)
November 13, 1902
The Standard Oil steamer CITY OF EVERETT, the tugboats MARION, BLANCHE and ALEXANDER JONES pulled on Oil Barge No. 93 which was on a shoal near the Carolina Beach pier, but it would not budge. All the steamers combined could not move the barge an inch. It was decided to pump several thousand barrels of oil out of her bow into the steamer EVERETT, which would lighten the barge enough to pull her off on high tide. (Dispatch, 11-13-1902; 11-12-1902)
Bill Reaves files: Federal Point/Carolina Beach/Kure Beach/Fort Fisher 1725-1994