By Elaine Henson
Carolina Beach Hotel, Part IV
The Carolina Beach Hotel opened on June 4, 1926, it was destroyed by fire on September 13, 1927, and its’ owners were acquitted of arson charges on January 20, 1928. In a year and a half, the hotel’s story had come to an end. The city block bordered by South Fourth and Fifth Streets, Atlanta Avenue and Clarendon Boulevard sat empty for the next ten years.
In January, 1938, construction began on the Carolina Beach School in the same city block where the hotel had been. Another similarity was that the builder of the new school, W.A. Simon, also built the hotel.
Until 1916 Carolina Beach elementary students attended a school near the river in the area where Dow Road and Henniker’s Ditch are located. Katie Burnett Hines was the principal of that school that burned in 1916.
After that the pupils were bused to Myrtle Grove School near Myrtle Grove Road with the promise that the school board would build a new school on the beach. About 70 Carolina Beach students went back to the beach for the 1937-38 school year. They used a temporary school located on the boardwalk and called, appropriately, the Boardwalk School.
There were two classrooms: one for grades 1-3 and the other for grades 4-6. The rooms were separated by a sheet hanging from the ceiling. It was located near Britt’s Donuts present location.
You can see our late member, Ryder Lewis, in this photo of the fourth, fifth and sixth grades from that 1937-38 Boardwalk School. He is on the third row, second from the left. (click image) The late Juanita Bame Herring is on the same row, fourth from left. You can tell this was post WWI, pre-WWII, and at a time when boys were crazy about planes from all the aviator caps in the photo.
The new school on South Fourth Street was begun in early January of 1938. It had an auditorium and four classrooms. You can see how quickly it went up from this mid- February picture from the Sunday Star News.
In April, 1938, the New Hanover Board of Elections made plans to move Federal Point’s polling place to Carolina Beach School since 70% of the voters lived south of Snow’s Cut. Previously they had voted at Robinson’s Store on Carolina Beach Road.
New Hanover Schools Superintendent, H.M. Roland announced that 105 students were enrolled when the school opened in fall of 1938. Mrs. Madge Woods Bell was principal the first year. She moved away the summer of 1939 and was replaced by Mrs. C.G. Van Landingham who was still there when the first of several additions was added in 1941.
Carolina Beach School celebrated its 75th birthday in 2013. [This is the only image we have of the early school. If any of you have a photo we would love to scan it for our archives.]