President’s Letter – May, 2018

By Elaine Henson

This summer we are planning to conduct guided historical tours of our boardwalk.  They will be on a weekday morning, last about 40 minutes and include the history and pictures of the ten to twelve historic buildings/businesses we will feature.  We are also planning a new Boardwalk exhibit at our History Center.

Looking at the definition of the word “boardwalk” the dictionary says: “1. a wide sidewalk, usually made of boards, near the water at a shore resort:  The boardwalk at Atlantic City is a famous promenade2. any sidewalk made of boards.  They enabled early beach goers to walk without getting bogged down and their shoes filled with sand.

Carolina Beach began as a resort in the summer of 1887.  Captain John W. Harper had been taking steamers from downtown Wilmington to Southport and back for many years passing the Federal Point peninsula along the way.  He had the idea to build a pavilion, a hotel, and a restaurant near the ocean for excursionists.  They would ride the steamer down the Cape Fear River to a dock then board a little train that would carry them over to the sea beach. The tracks followed present day Harper Avenue.

The picture above is a vintage post card of Captain Harper’s pavilion with the train pulled up to the back where the passengers would step down onto a boardwalk to enter the pavilion. The front faced the ocean and also had a boardwalk that connected to the Railroad Station Restaurant and the Oceanic Hotel that first year. Later there were bath houses, amusements, and houses connected by boardwalks. Notice the board from the track over to some marsh grass. The pavilion burned in 1910 and was rebuilt opening the next year.  Both were designed by Wilmington architect Henry Bonitz who also designed Wrightsville’s famed Lumina.

The photo to the right shows the later pavilion during the 1920s with three lovely ladies standing at the end of a boardwalk with a fourth, in middy attire, standing on the sand. Hans Kure had several businesses and a summer home at Carolina Beach in the early 1900s.

 

 

This is a photo of his Ten Pin Alley and Bar with a banner advertising Trap Shooting.  Alongside the railroad track is a boardwalk which connected all the buildings there in those early days.

Next Month: The Boardwalk, Part II

 

Carolina Beach Boardwalk in Postcards — Front and Back

 

Carolina Beach

“Carolina Beach, North Carolina, has such a fine hard beach that at low tide automobiles can be driven for miles on the water’s edge. It is one of the few Atlantic Ocean Resorts where one can drive directly to the beach. This playground is located fourteen miles south of Wilmington and is gaining rapidly as a popular Summer Resort”.

 

 

Carolina Beach, N. C. by Moonlight   “The South’s Miracle Beach”

“This is the kind of resort which offers everything dear to the hearts of the vacationist; a beach strand which stretches into the distant haze; spacious hotels, large guest homes and cottages, and hundreds of private homes. It is a haven to the young high school and college crowd. With two long piers jutting out to the very breeding grounds of the game sea denizens, it is ‘’fishing home’ to countless thousands of sportsmen all over the South.”

 

 

 

“At Night on the Midway at

Carolina Beach, Near Wilmington, N. C.”

 

 

 

 

Carolina Beach

“This is the kind of resort which offers everything dear to the hearts of the vacationist; a beach strand which stretches into the distant haze; spacious hotels, large guest homes and cottages, and hundreds of private homes. It is a haven to the young high school and college crowd. With two long piers jutting out to the very breeding grounds of the game sea denizens, it is ‘’fishing home’ to countless thousands of sportsmen all over the South.”

 

 

 

Carolina Beach, N. C.

“Main walk way and playground area at Carolina Beach, the friendly resort of Southeastern North Carolina.”

 

 

 

Beauties on Parade on Main Boardwalk

Carolina Beach, N. C. “The South’s Miracle Beach’”

“This is the kind of resort which offers everything dear to the hearts of the vacationist; a beach strand which stretches into the distant haze; spacious hotels, large guest homes and cottages, and hundreds of private homes. It is a haven to the young high school and college crowd. With two long piers jutting out to the very breeding grounds of the game sea denizens, it is ‘’fishing home’ to countless  thousands of sportsmen all over the South.”

 

 

 

Boardwalk Scene, Carolina Beach, N. C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Lion’s Club Wishing Well at Carolina Beach, N. C.

The Friendly Resort”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Society Notes – May, 2018

By Darlene Bright, History Center Director

 

Free to a Good Home

Early issues of the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society Newsletters

New to the Society? 

Interested in reading about our early history?

We’ve uncovered a stash of old Newsletters and are giving them away free.

Stop by the History Center any time we’re open and check out what’s left.

… or read early digital issues of Federal Point History here.

 

   

DON’T FORGET! Our June meeting (June 18, 6:30 pm) is our annual potluck picnic.

A perfect time to invite a friend who might be interested in joining our friendly and welcoming group!


Our Gift Shop’s Current Bestseller!

Images of America: Kure Beach
By Brenda Fry Coffey

Arcadia Books, April 2018

 

 

 

 

 


VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! We will be conducting weekly “Historic Boardwalk” tours on Tuesday mornings this summer. If you are up to about a 40 minute walk, we’ll provide the script and pictures you can show to people about how it looked in “yesteryear.” If you can help for one or two Tuesday mornings this summer, please call Darlene Bright at 910-228-3424


  • The History Center recorded 101 visitors in April! We had 30 in attendance at the April Meeting.
  • Thanks to Cheri McNeill, Darlene Bright, and Rebecca Taylor for the refreshments for Brenda Coffey’s book signing event. We had a great turnout and the book is selling well.
  • The History Center was used for meetings held by the Got-Em-On Live Bait Fishing Club, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project and the Ryder Lewis Civil War Park Committee.
  • Thanks to this month’s volunteers. Mary Anne Targonski and Peg Fisher who brought refreshments for the April meeting.  Darlene is in the process of training our new treasurer, Ed Capel!