Holiday Shopping – FPHPS Gift Shop

 

Local Flavor - CookbookDoes everyone in your extended family have one of our Local Flavor Cookbooks?  How about friend and neighbors!

At $25.00 it’s the perfect homegrown gift for every cook you know. It is full of “cookable” recipes mostly built from ingredients you already have in your pantry or can pick up at any local grocery store.  And, it has a section with historic highlights of well known restaurants of Federal Point.

Don’t forget our t-shirts are a real bargain at  $12.00 each..  We’ve got plenty of the Society shirts in every size and color.  We’re also well stocked with the Ocean Plaza BIRTHPLACE of the SHAG shirts.  Anyone with a history of the Boardwalk would love this reflection of  our history.

Books, Books, Books! We have lots of books that relate to the history and culture of our area.  The two most important are Elaine Henson’s Carolina Beach in Postcards and Brenda Coffey’s new Images of America: Kure Beach.  Both are well researched and would be a great present to anyone who’s interested in the history of our local area.

Carolina Beach in PostcardsCarolina Beach, North Carolina, has been a destination for beachgoers, boaters, and fishermen since the 1880s. Visitors came first by the combination of river steamers and a train and later by automobiles to seek respite from the summer’s heat and the daily grind. This book shares the history of this seaside community through the postcards its visitors sent home. From the early hand colored cards printed in Germany to the modern chrome cards of today, we see the people and places of Carolina Beach.

Kure Beach derived its name from a Danish immigrant named Hans Anderson Kure, Sr. He began acquiring land in the area in 1891, and  by 1900, he had purchased 900 acres just south of Carolina Beach to Fort Fisher.

He established the Kure Land and Development Company and in 1913 produced a map of Fort Fisher Sea Beach, which would later become Kure’s Beach and eventually Kure Beach. In 1923, the first wooden fishing pier on the Atlantic coast was constructed by Lawrence Kure.

DAN PRI, one of the first surfboard companies on the East Coast, was also established at Kure Beach.

The area is rich in historical significance from Verrazzano’s discovery to Cape Fear Indians, pirates, lighthouses, the “Rocks,” the Ethel Dow Chemical Plant and the community’s role in both the Civil War and World War II.

 

President’s Letter – December, 2018

By Elaine Henson

Once again, we are asking our members for help. This is a postcard of the Guilford Cottage.

It was a guest house operated by Mrs. S.R.Jordan and was “in the center of all social activities” according to the information on the back.

It was postmarked August 9, 1940, and was sent to Mr. Howard R. Fields in Glendale, California, from his mother.

She was inquiring about when he was coming home or if he had plans to stay and also implored him to write and let her know. She also asked him if the picture of the Guilford cottage meant anything to him. Perhaps the family had stayed there on a beach vacation in the past.

Do any of you remember this cottage and where it was located? Did you know Mrs. S.R.Jordan? I seem to recall reading about a Dr.S.R.Jordan who had a medical practice at Carolina Beach, but can’t remember where I read it.

If you have any information, please call the History Center at 910-458-0502.

 

Tooting Our Own Horn?

By Elaine Henson

Several months ago, we were asked to present a program on our Historical Society by the Kiwanis Club in Wilmington for their monthly meeting.  Don’t know why we had not thought of doing that before, but we got a program together and presented it at their August meeting. A few days after that we were invited to come to the Wilmington Civitan Club meeting in September and then by the Men’s Breakfast Group at Carolina Beach Presbyterian in October.

On January 8, 2019, we will be presenting a shorter version at the Carolina Beach Town Council Meeting having been invited by Mayor Joe Benson.  So, it seems that we have taken our show on the road.

The presentation begins with an overview of who we are, where we are, what we do and what we collect.  It talks about our monthly meetings, our exhibits, our newsletter, our special programs like the Historic Boardwalk Tour, and our awesome website that has so much of our archives online.

Then, there are two short history lessons.  One is about the beginning of Carolina Beach as a resort in the early1880s, the Winners, Capt. John Harper, the Steamers and Shoo Fly train, first Pavilion, etc.  The other is how our Federal Point Peninsula became an island with the coming of the Intracoastal Waterway 1926-1932.

If you know of an organization that has monthly meetings or any group that looks for programs, please tell them about us.  We would love to visit them!

 

President’s Letter – November, 2018

By Elaine Henson

Boardwalk, Part VII

Even though the future looked bleak during the dark days of 1993, our boardwalk story does have a happy ending.  From the mid-1990s into the new twenty-first century, many successful building blocks for boardwalk revitalization were laid.  All of the mayors and council members we’ve had since then have been dedicated to restoring it to its former glory.

Some used our building and fire codes to clean up buildings in need of repair.  There were committees like the Carolina Beach Citizens for Progress, Carolina Beach Boardwalk Preservation Association, Pleasure Island Merchant’s Association and Paint the Town Group formed with government and citizens working for the goal.

Perhaps the biggest shot in the arm was the announcement of a new Courtyard by Marriott Hotel to be built on the boardwalk.  The ten story 144 room hotel, which opened in 2003, came at the perfect time and provided a catalyst for further development.

The next few years saw several big projects planned, some of which materialized and others that went belly up in the recession of 2008.  But, there were new boardwalk businesses such as Wheel Fun Rentals, the Fudgeboat, the Blackhorn Restaurant and the Island Ice Factory added to the old standbys like Frank’s Pizza and Britt’s Donuts whose opening in 1939 holds the record of being the longest continuous business and mainstay, constantly drawing visitors to the boardwalk.  With its long lines of devoted fans coming back year after year and being the recipient of many awards, Britt’s remains a number one boardwalk destination.

In the Fall of 2007, the Boardwalk Makeover Group was formed by then councilman, Dan Wilcox, and business owner, Duke Hagestrom, and others which really got the ball rolling.

Council kicked in $53,000 to fund the improvements in 2008, which included new landscaping, public bathroom upgrades, colorful planter boxes, trash cans, ashtrays, benches and bike racks.  There were attractive directional signs and banners hanging from new lamp posts.

They extended the Chamber of Commerce’s Thursday night fireworks shows, begun two years earlier, with live music at the Gazebo.  The excitement was real as others joined in to help and contribute monetarily like the Chamber and private individuals.  Then in 2009, when the carnival rides returned to the boardwalk, it was the icing on the cake.  The family friendly atmosphere was back.

Elaine Henson leads FPHPS Historic Boardwalk Tour

But there was more to come!  In the fall of 2013, a $1.5 million-dollar boardwalk makeover was announced to be funded by grants and tourist revenue.  It opened in 2014, with an all new 750-foot-long, 16-foot wide boardwalk along with swings, gazebos, shade sails, showers and five ADA accessible walkways combined with available beach wheelchairs.

Then in 2016, the new Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton opened at 1 Harper Avenue, in the same spot as the Ocean Plaza which was torn down in 2006.

The 106 room, 8 story hotel is located at the beginning of the 875-foot boardwalk extension going all the way to Pelican Lane.

The new and improved family friendly boardwalk prompted FPHPS to launch a Historic Boardwalk Tour in 2018 every Tuesday, during the summer, at 10 am.  It was a huge success and will be back next summer.

 

 

FPHPS Awards Price Cottage Plaque

On Saturday, November 3, 2018, Federal Point Historic Preservation Society had a ceremony to award a plaque for the Price Cottage built in 1939 by Grover Cleveland Price and his wife, Tessie Price, of Rocky Mount.

It is located at 405 Carolina Beach Avenue North.  The cottage is now owned by Mrs. Price’s grandchildren, Susan Harris Gibbs, Danny Harris and Roney Harris.  Susan Gibbs and her daughter, Lauren Gibbs, completed the application for the plaque and wrote a story of the cottage.  Ned Barnes, a business member of FPHPS, provided the deed research which is required.

The ceremony was attended by members of the Price family, President, Board and Members of FPHPS, Mayor Joe Benson, Council Members LeAnn Pierce and Tom Bridges.  The family had a reception in the dining room on a table built by the builder of the cottage, Mr. Ira Hines.

Anyone with a house in the Federal Point area that is at least 50 years old is eligible for a plaque.  Houses 50 to 74 years old have a black band around the plaque, 75 years or older has a gold band.  Call or stop by the History Center and we can give you a packet with an application and directions.  The fee is $100 which is the cost of the plaque.

 

Storm of 1899

[Editor’s Notes:  Since most of us are recovering this month from the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, we thought it might be interesting to you to read about one of the most disastrous storms on record on this coast.]

It was the Caribbean Storm of November 1, 1899, which reached Wilmington in full force Monday night at 10 o’clock.  Telephone connections had been cut off and no details could be secured from Carolina Beach, but the ocean made almost a clean wreck of the cottages.  Mr. Tom McGee, who is in charge of the beach, wrote to Captain John. W. Harper, general manager of the New Hanover Transit Company, that nearly every cottage was washed away.

It is said that in all eighteen cottages were either washed clean away or totally wrecked.  The hotel, Sedgeley Hall Club House, Hanover Seaside Club House, Mr. D. McEachern’s cottage, and Mr. Hans A. Kure’s cottages were about the only houses left standing on the beach.  The railroad track was also washed away in places.  The damage at Carolina Beach is estimated at about $12,000.  Carolina Beach pier sustained very little damage.

New Hanover Transit Co.’s pump house turned over and water tank undermined and tilted.  New Hanover Transit Co.’s pump house turned over and water works destroyed.

The bridges and gangways on the beach are all gone.  The New Hanover Transit Co.’s railroad track from the Kure Cottage No 2, up the beach to Sedgeley Hall Club, totally destroyed and washed over into the sound.  The track from the Curve near Mr. Kure’s club house to the beach is ruined.

Telephone connection had been cut off and as the beach could not be reached, nothing definite could be secured for publication yesterday morning.

The most intense anxiety was felt by the cottage owners, and many of them went to the beach yesterday, expecting, however, to find little to give them hope.  A party went down in a wagonette, others went in buggies, and some went on the steamer Wilmington and reached the beach from the pier by means of a hand-car.  Among those who went down were Major D. O’Connor, and Messrs. J. A. Springer, H. C. McQueen, J. C. Stevenson, D. McEachern; Major Croom, G. W. Linder, J. J. Fowler, A. D. Brown, R. C. Stolter, J. G. L. Gieschen, Dr. Webster, and others.  They returned to the city in the afternoon.

Capt. J. W. Brock, who with his party of fishermen consisting of three other men, were thought to have been lost during the recent storm on Zeke’s Island, arrived in the city yesterday afternoon from Federal Point all safe and sound.

It will be remembered that on Tuesday his trunk was found floating with the tide up the river by J. W. Howard, janitor at the Custom House, and this gave rise to apprehensions for his safety.  The trunk was restored to him upon his arrival yesterday and this with a small boat in which he and party escaped to Federal Point, constituted all his earthly possessions, the waves having demolished his houses on the island and swept all his household goods, fishing tackle and other property up the river, on the occasion of last Tuesday morning’s storm.

On the island were two cottages in which he and companions lived.  The tide began rising at 8 o’clock Monday night, he said, and reached a climax at 4 o’clock Tuesday morning, when the entire island was covered and the breakers were rolling high over their heads.

He and companions managed to hold a boat between them by steadying themselves with a few bushes, which were above water.  They were then standing in water waist deep and remained so until Tuesday afternoon, when they managed to bail the water from the canoe, clear it of sand and by desperate effort reach the land at Federal Point.

Besides houses and household belongings, Capt. Brock lost two fishing shacks, five nets, and a large interest in between twenty and twenty-five barrels salt mullets.  He said it was the roughest experience of his life and he had given up hope at one time of escaping alive.

Capt. Brock says that the jetties built from the island to Federal Point to throw the current in Cape Fear channel are cut in twain in nearly a dozen places.  Zeke’s Island is now a sand bar, not enough soil being left, as a member of the crew expressed it “to raise a row on.”  Formerly vegetation grew upon the land and gardens were cultivated by fishermen.

The other fishermen on the island are reported safe and there is known to have been no loss of life at this point.

 

The above excerpts were taken from an article published in the Wilmington Star News, November 1899.

 

President’s Letter — October, 2018

By Elaine Henson

Boardwalk, Part VI

The summer of 1978 opened without the iconic rides that had long been an integral part of the boardwalk’s charm. Looking back, many believe this was the beginning of a decline that led to dark days for the Carolina Beach landmark.

The 1980’s boardwalk was filled with many vacant stores and properties in various states of disrepair.  By the latter part of that decade there were 14 bars in a two block area which made for many problems.  The town spruced up Cape Fear Boulevard with new paving, landscaping medians and built the Gazebo.  In the early 1990’s they built a wooden boardwalk over the dunes, added new landscaping and lighting.  The town assigned a police officer to patrol the boardwalk and enforce ordinances nightly.

By 1993 there were 16 bars, two of them, Honey Bares and Roadies, featured topless dancers.

But the most troubled establishment was the Longbranch Saloon where on April 8, 1993,a fight broke out over a pool game that ended with one man being stabbed to death.  A few months later on September 22nd,a construction worker was hit with a chair at the Longbranch and died two days later.

A third death happened at the saloon that year when a man was beaten to death in a fist fight on November 20th.  The bar closed by November 30th after the landlords did not renew the lease. Dark days were here indeed.

 

 

Next month:

Boardwalk Part, VII

 

Carolina Beach Surfing Guide

Cape Fear Coastline, Carolina Beach is a favorite destination for East Coast surfers. This beach town features a wide range of beaches to choose from, as well as traditionally gentler waves in the summer months that are great for beginners.

As a result, visitors who’ve always dreamed about the surfing lifestyle – or who just wanted to see what all the fuss is about – will feel right at home at this vacation destination where daily life revolves around the beach.

Newcomers will likely want to head to the local lifeguarded beaches, (there are roughly 20 lifeguard stands in a three-mile long stretch of shoreline in the summer season), to ensure safety and to enjoy smaller waves that are perfect for beginners. Lifeguards are available from Memorial Day until Labor Day, and generally from roughly 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. or so, depending on the spot.

More experienced surfers who want a little more of a challenge – even if the overall terrain is flat in the Carolina Beach waters – will want to go to the beaches close to the Carolina Beach Fishing Pier, which have become a hotbed for visiting and local surfing vacationers alike.

Regardless of where you go, Carolina Beach’s waves are generally optimal for longboard fans and surfing newcomers, although the area can experience a nice swell when a seasonal hurricane or nor’easter passes miles offshore.

Expect leisurely rides throughout the year and a little bit of competition for the good waves. Surfing is popular in this region of NC, and many Wilmington residents and inlanders will make a trek to the beach for the day if the waves are exceptional.

Surf Lessons in Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach is a fantastic destination for beginning surfers, thanks to a shallow and gently sloping ocean floor, generally small waves in the summer months, and ample wide beaches for preparation. As such, it should come as no surprise that there are a number of local surfing schools and instruction options available for people who want to learn.

One of the most popular local schools, the Tony Silvagni Surf School, has one of the best teacher-to-student ratios in the area, (with an average of “one teacher for every two students”), and as such, offers a wide range of classes that can range from adults who want to hone their skills, to kids who want to try a new adventure. Additional options, like Odysea Surf and Kiteboard School, or a number of private instructors that can often be contacted through local surf shops, are also available, making it easy to take a willingness to learn to the next level.

Instruction can range from 1-2 hours on the beach to full-day camps where all the fundamentals are covered (and then some). Surf lessons and camps are prevalent throughout the summer season, Memorial Day through Labor Day, and additional shoulder season options may be available as well – specifically in the spring and fall months – when swells can be bigger and more challenging. Most all equipment is accounted for at a surf lesson or camp, although surfers will want to bring along plenty of sunscreen for the adventure.

Surf Rentals and Surf Shops in Carolina Beach

There are a number of surfboard and equipment rental providers, as well as surf shops, which are dotted throughout Carolina Beach, and especially along its “main drag” of Business,US 421.

Local surf shops offer new boards for sale, as well as a suite of accessories that can make a surfing adventure easier despite the weather conditions, such as full wet suits or spring suits, surf wax, sunglasses, flip flops, and other must haves. In addition, visitors who just want to invoke the surf vibe will find a number of name-brand apparel and accessories such as Rusty, Quicksilver / Roxy, Reef, and more, which are all famed companies that specialize in apparel, footwear, and accessories that are perfect for life at the beach.

As for rentals, a number of local establishments, like Pleasure Island Rentals, offer a host of beach gear supplies which can include surfboards and extras like wet suits. Surf board rentals can be available for a few hours, a day, or even a full week, and can be ordered in advance online for extra convenience.

Surfing Events and Competitions in Carolina Beach

There are a number of surfing events which periodically land on Carolina Beach, and which have the potential to attract the “best of the best” surfers from all across the East Coast.

The Eastern Surfing Association, (or ESA), is dedicated to the sport of amateur surfing and has been attracting surfers from all over the Eastern Seaboard since it was first established in 1967. The organization hosts a number of events in the Carolina Beach region, which includes a HotWax Challenge in March, a 17th Street Shred Fest in August, and a Wahine Classic in the late summer / early fall. In addition, it’s not unusual for special events – which can include regional competitions – to be held in the Carolina Beach area if the conditions are right. For a full schedule of upcoming ESA events, visit http://esa-snc.com/calendar/.

In addition, Carolina Beach is home to a new event that’s already gaining steam, the Carolina Beach Longboard Club Surf Contest. Held in the spring, and featuring a Guppies Division, an Amateur Division(s) and a Professional Division with a hefty Men’s Pro Longboard Cash Purse, this surfing tournament is poised to put a spotlight on local Cape Fear surfing at its best.

Regardless of a visitor’s surfing pursuits, the sheer number of tournaments that arrive on the Carolina Beach shores make it an enticing destination for visitors who want to join in, or just take a back seat and watch the action. Best of all, with steadily warm waters throughout the year, virtually any visit can be a great time to catch a surf tournament or two on Carolina Beach.

Surfing has always been hot on Carolina Beach, and with such a laid back atmosphere, as well as steady summer waves that are ideal for newcomers, it’s easy for new visitors to join in the fun.

 

President’s Letter — September, 2018

By Elaine Henson

Boardwalk, Part V

After WW II, life on the Boardwalk got back to normal.  Beachgoers were walking the wooden boards enjoying the arcades, bingo parlors, miniature golf, amusements and rides along with salt water taffy, snow balls, donuts and great short order food.  There were still soldiers, most from nearby Camp Lejeune, who came for some rest and recreation.  For soldiers that might have a little too much R & R, there was the steady presence of Military Police on the boardwalk that continued for many years.

Dancing was still an important part of boardwalk life with many establishments having juke boxes providing music to dance by.  There was also the Ocean Plaza, built in 1946, with a ballroom on the second floor to replace the pavilion and its dance floor that burned in 1940.

Hurricanes always brought damage that had to be repaired time and time again. Hazel was the worst being the only Category Four hurricane to hit our area in all of the 20th Century to the present day. It destroyed over 300 homes at Carolina Beach along with most of the boardwalk businesses.  But changes were coming.

The 1960s and 70s brought beach erosion concerns. They were addressed with berms of sand planted with sea oats that made the beach wider.  As a result you couldn’t see the ocean from the boardwalk which was now made of concrete.  Beach goers had to walk on ramps over the berm to get to the sand and surf.  Some of the boardwalk charm was gone.

In 1972, Mayor Richard Kepley proposed tearing down the boardwalk and replacing it with a three story complex.  There would be parking on the bottom, an entertainment mall on the second floor with a hotel on the top.  The proposal was not well received by boardwalk owners and town officials and soon faded away.

But, in 1977, another proposal became reality. Seashore Amusement Park announced that they would reopen in 1978 on Lake Park Boulevard as Jubilee Park leaving the boardwalk with no rides.

Next month Boardwalk, Part VI

 

August Meeting – Memories of Summer – Panel Discussion

 

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, August 20, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Our program this month is entitled “Memories of Summer; Growing Up on the Boardwalk.” 

Elaine Henson will run the projector and moderate stories from our long time members as they remember their teenage years.  Dancing, eating, playing, and working.

Join us for this unique oral history program which will include innumerable stories from the 1940s to the 1960s.