From the President: December, 2015

From: Elaine Henson

Last month one of our FPHPS Facebook readers, John McMains, asked about the origin of calling our area “Pleasure Island.” We found a reference to the name in the Bill Reaves Files that led us to the July, 1983 issue of Scene Magazine and an article called Carolina Beach: Past and Present.

 “The name Pleasure Island was adopted in 1972 by the founders of the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce and it includes both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, Hanby Beach, Federal Point, Fort Fisher and Wilmington Beach…..”

(Photo courtesy of the Hugh Morton Collection, Wilson Library, UNC)

(Photo courtesy of the Hugh Morton Collection, Wilson Library, UNC)

 

Please note that a Chamber of Commerce at Carolina Beach had been in operation for quite a while before 1972. It was headquartered behind the Municipal Building that faced Canal Drive and across from the Yacht Basin in a small white concrete block building. It can be seen in this Hugh Morton photo from October, 1954 during Hurricane Hazel.

The Whale of a Beach float was Carolina Beach’s entry in the Azalea Festival parade in April of 1955. The float had been parked at the Chamber building and had survived Hazel.

In the 1955 Azalea Festival parade, local girls in bathing suits rode atop the float. To confirm that the beach had recovered from the devastating category 4 hurricane, they added the wording “More Alive in 55”.

 

From the President: November, 2015

by Elaine HensonElaine Henson

In our September newsletter, I asked for help with the location of the post card of Gray’s Grill, Cottages and Service Station.

Thanks to Bobby and Maxine Nivens for responding with information on the card and sharing some great photos of the same site.

gray's cottage

Click any image – for more detail

Gray’s Grill was located where Burt’s Surf Shop is now at 800 North Lake Park Boulevard. The vacant lot next to the grill is where Spectrum Paint is at 810 N. Lake Park. The two story building with dormers and a gallery railing on the roof was on the present site of the Scotchman Store at 900 N. Lake Park.

There is a house and another grill beyond that. The cottages were behind those buildings that faced the road. Charlie Gray owned it when the photo for the card was taken: the post card is dated c. 1945.

Spur's Cottages #1In the 1950s-60s, Maxine Niven’s mother and stepfather, Carra and Norman “Jim” Spurbeck bought the property with the exception of Gray’s Grill pictured in the card.

They renamed them Spur’s Cottages and rented the eight or nine cottages behind the buildings on the road beginning at $6 a night.

Bobby Nivens remembers them always full on summer weekends. They also operated a grill north of the two story building with dormers and gas pumps called Spur’s Coffee Shop. The grill had a counter and booths inside and also offered curb service with car hops which was very popular in the 50s and 60s.

Spur's Cottages #2Bobby and Maxine lived in the house on the property and helped run the cottages from 1963-1965. In 1966 they ran them with Vito and Ann Martin. The Spurbecks later sold the property to Jim and Mary Burton; other owners followed them until the buildings were torn down.

Spur’s Cottages were on North Lake Park Blvd. where the Scotchman is presently located

There were eight or nine cottages behind the buildings on the road and each had two or three bedrooms and kitchens with refrigerators and gas stoves.

 

From the President: October, 2015

From: Elaine HensonKure Pier Postcard

 Fall brings good fishing weather and lots of fishermen to our piers. This post card shows Lawrence Kure (1886-1957) dressed in a tie and hat on the Kure Pier, maybe to conduct town business since he was Kure Beach’s first mayor after the town was incorporated in 1947.

Kure Beach was founded in the early 1900s by Hans Christian Kure (1851-1914) who was Lawrence’s father. Lawrence built the pier in 1923 and used pine poles from trees along the Cape Fear River.

Within one year, wood-boring ship worms caused the pilings to collapse. Not to be outdone, he rebuilt the pier in 1924, this time with reinforced concrete supports with inner cores of steel made from molds he designed.

Elaine Henson

Elaine Henson

In 1930 Lawrence’s brother, Hans A. Kure, Jr., died. Sometime later he married his brother’s widow, Jennie Linder Kure, and his five nieces became his stepdaughters. One of those daughters, Jennie Kure, became the next owner of the pier along with her husband Bill Robertson who bought it from Lawrence in 1952.

Two years later they had to rebuild as Hurricane Hazel washed the pier away when she came in on October 15, 1954. Hazel hit on a lunar high tide as a Category Four hurricane causing massive damage to beaches along the Carolinas and the eastern seaboard.

Robertson was a colorful character and with a promotion/retail background. He enlarged the tackle shop with space for souvenirs and other merchandise. He also built a dance floor and bingo hall. Bill used his writing background to write a book of fishing pier stories called Man! You Should Have Been Here Last Week

Bill and Jennie’s son, Mike Robertson, bought the pier from his father in September, 1984 after Hurricane Diana took out about half the pier. He started his ownership by rebuilding the pier and making his own improvements.

In July, 1996, Hurricane Bertha again destroyed the pier followed in September by Hurricane Fran. Mike rebuilt again and continues to make repairs from the weather and other storms every winter as this grand old pier and landmark graces Kure Beach in her ninety second year.

 

From the President: September, 2015

From: Elaine Henson

Elaine Henson

        Elaine Henson

 This month I am asking your help in identifying a post card and a photograph.

gray's cottage

[Click – for detail view]

This post card shows Gray’s Grill, Cottages and Service Station.

Ed Turberg identified the cars in this manner, “The car in the foreground is a Ford, c. 1937-38. The cars with the sloped backs are GM (Pontiac, Olds, Buick) which were popular from 1940 to 1948.”

He estimates the date of this card to be c. 1946. Does anyone remember where Gray’s was?

 

 


 

President's message Sept 2015

[Click – for detail view]

The building in this photograph is an inn or rooming house and appears to be on the corner of Lake Park Boulevard and what was then Myrtle Avenue, now Carl Winner Drive. You can see the yacht basin in the background.

I asked my friend and FPHPS member Charlie Green and he agrees on the location as that corner. Does anyone know what it says on the sign out front?

 

postcard date

 

On the back of the photo is written:
Carolina Beach.  May 1944

 

 

 

 

 

From the President: August, 2015

From: Elaine Henson, President

August usually marks the beginning of the end of our summer season. Many cottages, duplexes, motels and hotels are seeing the numbers of tourists dwindle as schools start and vacations are just pleasant memories. Looking back are two postcards of mid 20th century cottages on Carolina Beach Avenue South.

Unks Bunk #2

“Unk’s Bunk” was across the street from the ocean as you can see in the photo but as there was no house on the ocean side, it was billed as ocean front. The description includes five bedrooms with box springs and mattresses, a large refrigerator, hot water heater and a stove. Fridges, hot water heaters, stoves and mattresses are rarely advertised as amenities today.

2015 ads for summer rentals most likely boast of cable, Wi-Fi, DVD players, high-definition televisions (HDTV) and hopefully plenty of electrical outlets to charge smartphones and laptops.

Ballyhoo

The Ballyhoo was in the 100 block of Carolina Beach Avenue South. It had three bedrooms with a combined living room and kitchen much like our modern open concept. It was conveniently located close to the boardwalk and Fisherman’s Steel Pier where today’s Marriott Hotel stands.

Does anyone remember these cottages? Let us know if you do, we would like to add the information to our archives. 

From the President: July, 2015

From: Elaine HensonElaine Henson

Last month I wrote about Big Daddy’s at Kure Beach on the corner of K Avenue and Fort Fisher Boulevard. If you look closely you can see that the restaurant was actually two buildings housing a seafood restaurant (behind Tommy Lancaster) and steak house (one story on extreme right) sandwiched together. The family lived upstairs.

In 1963 Tommy Lancaster started out on that corner serving short order food in a much smaller building called the Sea Isle Pavilion. He also had a miniature golf course, an arcade with pool tables and rented motor scooters and bicycles. It quickly became a hangout for local and visiting teenagers. They thought that Tommy resembled the “Big Daddy” character, played by Burl Ives, in the 1958 movie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and began calling him by that name. It stuck and he changed the name to Big Daddy’s Pavilion and later it became the name for the new restaurants he built on that same corner.

Big Daddy'sTommy Bryant Lancaster was born in Wayne County on June 20, 1918. As a husband and father, he would take his family to Kure Beach for summer vacations and decided to open a business there which grew into Big Daddy’s Restaurant. His son Bryant Fred Lancaster or “Bud” grew up working in the restaurant at Kure Beach. Tommy bought a restaurant at Lake Norman near Mooresville, NC sight unseen in 1974 and named it Big Daddy’s too.

Bud’s son and Tommy’s grandson, Freddie Lancaster, grew up in the Lake Norman restaurant and is the present owner/operator. Freddie is assisted by his wife Susie and two daughters Sarah and Nikki and son-in-law, Marcus Young.

The family sold the Kure Beach Big Daddy’s in 1981 to Doris and Joe Eakes.

Their patriarch, Tommy Lancaster, died March 28, 1995 in Wayne County and is buried in the Pikeville Cemetery.

Many thanks to Nikki Lancaster Young and her dad, Freddie Lancaster, who are my sources for much of the information in this article.

Downtown Kure Beach Postcard

From the President: June, 2015

Big Daddy's

Tommy “Big Daddy” Lancaster

This summer Big Daddy’s at Kure Beach is open under new management launching a new chapter in its history.

This post card shows Tommy “Big Daddy” Lancaster in front of the original restaurant on the corner of K Avenue and Fort Fisher Boulevard that opened in 1963. The family’s living quarters were upstairs.

Elaine Henson

Elaine Henson

His traveling billboard Cadillac with a real longhorn hood ornament must have turned heads wherever it went enticing diners to try his fare.

Tommy Lancaster was from Pikeville, North Carolina, where there is a Big Daddy’s Road named for him.   He later opened another Big Daddy’s at Lake Norman near Charlotte, NC, which is still in operation, run by his grandson.

 

 

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

 

From the President: April, 2015

Elaine Henson

Elaine Henson

This is a photo of Carolina Beach’s float in the 1955 Azalea Festival Parade and it says that Carolina is “A Whale of a Beach.”

The same float was in the 1954 parade and was later parked on Carl Winner Avenue across from the yacht basin and beside the Chamber of Commerce Building for all to see.

Whale in HazelIt was there on October 15, 1954 when Category Four Hurricane Hazel blasted our shores; amazingly it survived as you can see in this Hugh Morton photo.

For the ’55 parade they added “More Alive in Fifty-Five” to reassure everyone that Carolina Beach was up and running for beach season and better than ever.

WhaleBack in those days Carolina and Wrightsville Beaches always had floats in the parade, maybe we should do that again!

 

From the President: March, 2015

Elaine Henson

Elaine Henson

This post card is called Beauties on Parade and shows two lucky soldiers flanked on either side with bathing beauties walking along the Carolina Beach boardwalk in the mid-20th century.

CB Boardwalk

Click any image – for higher resolution

In the background are many of the businesses on the boardwalk including the famous Britt’s Do-Nuts, Henderson’s Beach Wear, Benway’s Department Store, The Shooting Gallery and Wave Theater.

 

Under the theater’s marquee flutters a banner announcing to all that there is frosty cool air inside.

This was before the days of central air conditioning in homes and businesses but it was a standard in most theaters.

Many beach goers were enticed to get out of the sun and cool off while watching a movie. On Saturday, June 9, 1960 this was playing:

The Wave