Oral History – Andy Canoutas – Part 3: ‘Founding of Town of Kure Beach’

by Ann Hertzer

Community meetings in ’46 led to Kure Beach incorporation in ’47. Commissioners met in Town Hall, a room in the back of the realty office and Bud ‘n Joes on K Avenue.

When the town first formed in 1947, Lawrence Kure was the mayor. Local policemen had no space in Town Hall – just wherever he was at home or in his car. When Police Chief John W. Glover wasn’t on duty, Andy was First Deputy. Andy arrested drunks and speeders doing 50 to 60 past the stoplight which was put up in the 50’s.

Andy Canoutas

Andy Canoutas

The business people got together to get a good water works system because when a fire started, buildings burned to the ground. Fire service was a 500 or 1000 gallon tank in a big tin shed. The Water Tower where the Community Center is now came later.

The town bought a fire hose. The fire truck was an old beat-up Chevy with a water tank on it. They also had an American LaFrance chain drive, a monster to drive. Both were used for a while. Andy was a volunteer fire department truck driver.

Kure Beach floated bonds. The present day sewer system was put in in the 50s. Soon that will have to be replaced. Terracotta sewer pipes don’t last very long. Now plastic type sleeves are put inside the pipe; in 15 to 20 years the same kinds of problems are expected because every break where it’s been repaired is with sleeving.

Originally in the 40s, the drainage ditches to the beach and the oceans with storm water run-off was not much because we didn’t have that many people. But the oil and drippings of automobiles and everything else has polluted the runoff. Engineers came from the State to pioneer the system which is working. Everyone is looking to Kure Beach.


Andy decided to be a lawyer in junior high school. He skipped school to go to the courthouse and listen to cases with very eloquent, old stump lawyers who cussed you out in four sentences. It took two days to figure out what they said. Andy law clerked for General R.S. McLelland, the first Kure Beach town attorney.

Andy started in late 1963 as town attorney so he has been working with Kure Beach in one job or another for over 55 years. He was the Carolina Beach attorney for 12 1⁄2 years. Andy was in General Practice (criminal, contract, domestic) in Wilmington from October 1963 until June 2005.

The town attorney serves at the pleasure of Council. In the earlier years, the attorney was mainly to assure that they didn’t go beyond the bounds of law or violate any of the provisions of the State statutes. As time went on, people started attending meetings and became litigious and the laws became voluminous resulting in a nightmare to keep up with new cases and new regulations.

Kure Beach is no different than any other small town in North Carolina. Everyone has a different political view. To have a Board in total harmony is a rarity. Different opinions make for good decisions.

Oral History – Andy Canoutas – Part 2: ‘A Kid in Kure Beach’

by Ann Hertzler

Downtown Kure Beach 1965

Downtown Kure Beach 1965

A kid in Kure Beach had a better life in the 40s than today. No TV, just radio.

Andy was the first life guard at Kure Beach when he was 15 (1950). He was paid by businesses in the center of town, and later by the town. His guard zone was south of the pier from the first jetty to the next jetty. Jetties were built to prevent erosion but aren’t allowed now. Tourists stayed in cottages. The beach got pretty crowded where Andy was because people wanted a life guard.

Parents looked after the little ones. The wild ones were 8, 9, 10, or 11 year old boys. A buoy helped rescue people from rip currents; a whistle warned people who were going out too far. Some swam at Wilmington Beach and Hanby Beach.

Andy enjoyed fishing on the pier – Spanish Mackerel, Blues, Pompano, Spots. As he got older, he enjoyed motor boats. He fished by net or seine for shrimp in Masonboro Creek or Hewlett’s Creek up next to a mud bank where shrimp like to stay. Andy did diving with air tanks and scuba gear on Civil War blockade runners bringing up artifacts – tin and lead bars with the name of the London Company. Lead was needed for sinkers.

read more

Oral History – Andy Canoutas – Part 1: ‘Canoutas Restaurant’

Interview by Ann Hertzer and Jeannie Gordon Article by Ann Hertzler

Andrew Arthur George Canoutas was born January 29, 1935 in Wilmington. Andy’s dad came to Wilmington from Greece in 1923. His mother, Lola Shukri, also Greek, was a British citizen who taught at the Greek school in Wilmington. In 1942 – 46 they lived in Virginia but came to Kure Beach every summer on vacation. In 1946 they moved permanently to the SE corner of 421 and K Ave where Jack Mackerel’s is now.

Andy lived upstairs. Downstairs was the Canoutas Restaurant with full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner- fish, steaks, chops, fried, & broiled; and a lot of Greek salads – one of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta cheese, and a special olive oil and vinegar dressing. When the Ocean Inn disappeared, George Stathis came to work. Son Andy worked at busy times at night running the cash register or waiting tables but not cooking. His dad rented ten rooms and three apartments over the Canoutas Restaurant and beachwear shop.

Andy’s mother had a beachwear shop on the east side of the restaurant on K Street. She also had BINGO sandwiched between the restaurant on the corner and the beachwear shop. Originally, in the 40s, two duckpin bowling alleys ran lengthwise here. Andy called BINGO – “On the first row, B, number 5… BINGO has been called, please do not disturb your card until checked… player could be wrong.” Tourists and local men and women played every night except Sunday. Depending on what type of BINGO you got, winners might get $5, 10, 25, or the big prize at night, $100 coverall. They could play as many cards as they wanted. First they had little windows that closed. Then they used little round plastic chips. When the BINGO ended, his mother expanded the beachwear shop.

Kure Beach Fishing PierKure Beach was called a family town, ’cause families were all that came down here. The only outsiders that came down here was during fishing season. Kure Beach was well known as a fishing beach. A guy on the pier in overalls might be the State Treasurer.
read more

Oral History – Margaret and Bob Ford

by  Ann Hertzer

Margaret Ford

Margaret Ford

Margaret Newland finished high school in 1936 and came to live with her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis T. Weinburg, at Kure Beach and go to business school.

In 1940 Margaret married Robert Goode Ford. They lived in a garage apartment in the 2nd block of Atlantic Avenue right on the water. Margaret’s sons were born at New Hanover Hospital – Bobby in Sept ’41 (Pearl Harbor was in December); Tommy in ’43; and Jim in ’46. Sometimes there was a doctor who lived at Carolina Beach; the dentist in Wilmington; and a drug store at Carolina Beach.

A garage that Mr. Kure started was across from Big Daddy’s.

The home demonstration club met monthly to talk about crafts, landscape problems, and different things.

Breakfast was mostly oatmeal or grits, just plain with butter and salt; biscuits or cornbread for supper or dinner; noon hour was leftovers. Liver mush was like scrapple; the hog’s liver ground with cornmeal – sliced and fried. Dinner was a meat, potato, and a vegetable – a lot of sweet potatoes and a lot of fish. We tried to have a little garden.

A grocery store at the corner of K was bought by the Lewis’ family. Then for about 25 or 30 years, almost to the 1980s, Bob and Margaret Ford sold groceries, tackle, bait, and fish for eating – flounder, mackerel. On Sunday night they often closed the store early to go to the Carolina Beach boardwalk dancing and the kids would do the arcades.
Read on ..

Oral History – Isabel Lewis Foushee – Part 2: ‘Lewis Grocery’

By Ann Hertzer – from her interview with Isabell Foushee on January 12, 2007

Lewis Grocery at K Street and 421: Mrs. Lewis, her son, bus station sign and kerosene pump.

Lewis Grocery at K Street and Hwy 421
Mrs. Lewis, her son, bus station sign and kerosene pump.

When Isabel Lewis was 13 or 14, before World War II ended, the family moved to Kure Beach.

Her parents, Ed and Gertie Lewis, opened the Lewis Grocery or Kure Beach Grocery at the stop light at the southwest corner of K Ave at 421 Hwy – an old frame building that has since been torn down and rebuilt in brick.

The Lewis Grocery had 2 gas pumps out front and also had a kerosene pump at the end of the building, sold for cook stoves in cottages. It had an apartment at the end of the grocery store and a little store room. The Citco Station is now there.

A service station was located catty corner from the Lewis store; Canoutas Café where the vacant lot is now.

Gus from Burlington tried to sell them the Big Daddy’s land for $10,000. He might as well have said 10 million because Isabel said they didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Mr. Flowers opened a grocery store on K Avenue. When they moved to Kure Beach, the town was not incorporated yet. The governor appointed Ed Lewis to the first town council.

Because meat was rationed during the war, dad would get a cow or a bull off the island, have it butchered in Lumberton, and bring it back to the store to sell the meat. Isabel stood on a stool by the scales and told how many ration stamps were needed. People were more interested in how many rationing stamps it took than how much money it cost. They wanted some beef. When doors opened at 7 o’clock, a line would be waiting. One day while selling meat, Isabel found out that it was the pet “Booie”.  She just had to walk out.

Her folks built and ran a fish market at the Lewis grocery. Bob Ford (Margaret’s husband) worked at the store some and later rented it. If local fish wasn’t available locally, they’d get it from Failes wholesale fish house in Wilmington.

During the depression we didn’t have enough money to go to a bank. Mother would say “We’re banking and getting change in the Wilmington bank.” Back then, Monkey Junction was a big intersection with a grocery-service store combination and monkeys out back in cages.  About 1950 the Bank of Carolina Beach opened.

Going to the Carolina Beach boardwalk once a week was a special treat. Everyone would sit on the plank boardwalk (now cement) on the ocean side and watch the parade of tourists. We couldn’t wander away. We played around on the board walk and went on the rides. Most of the games came in at the end or after the war – penny pitch tosses, target shooting with rifles, or ball games to knock the milk bottles over – lots of tourist traps.

Many soldiers were down at Fort Fisher. Target planes would fly over. The machine gun embankments were out at the edge of the water. They would have the big guns out there, too. During anti-air craft training the pilings were shot out from under the Ft. Fisher Pier and finally went in the water. Isabel remembers going out at night on the beach and watching fires out on the ocean where the ships had been torpedoed. One German sub shot the land one time just above Kure Beach. During that time, we could not have lights shining at night. Dark blinds were needed.

Fort Fisher brought soldiers in by the 1000s for anti-air craft training. Convoys of big trucks would rumble by for 3 or 4 hours at a time. My folks’ property joined the base property. The MPs went up and down the road that divided the two properties. We could hear the men and the bugle playing taps every afternoon and we knew they were taking the flag down. We got to know a lot of them.

Isabel and her husband built the Center Pier two blocks this side of Wilmington Beach near the big high rise. They opened the pier the first of July; Hurricane Hazel came along October 15, 1954 and took it out. During the eye of Hurricane, her husband came back with a box of fish hooks in one hand and a piece of a reel in the other. It took the pier and the tackle shop down and moved the septic tanks out on the sand.

Isabel was out of high school 12 years before her three boys got up in school. Then she went to Wilmington College for two years and to East Carolina to finish a bachelors and a master’s degree. She then taught English at UNCW.

Oral History – Isabel Lewis Foushee – Part 1: ‘Mackerel, Milk, and Mountains’

Oral History Committee – Ann Hertzer, Jeannie Gordon.
From the interview with  Isabel Foushee January 12, 2007

Isabell Foushe

Isabel Foushee

Ed and Gertie Lewis and their four children, Sis, James, Isabel (born 1930), and Judy, lived at the river next to the Fort Fisher base and had a shack down at the Ft. Fisher rocks.

Ed made his living rowing fishing parties of three or four, leaving from the river near the ferry and going over to Zeeks Island in a boat about 18 feet long (no motor). They went out via Corncake Inlet and trolled across High Rock usually fishing for mackerel.

The first time Isabelle went fishing in the ocean she was about five. They bottom fished, each with two hooks on their line. Before the hooks got to the bottom, fish were on each of them. Her Daddy kept busy taking fish off and baiting hooks. They brought home a big five gallon bucket of fish. Daddy cleaned them. Mother dipped fish in flour or cornmeal and cooked in a big old thick iron pan with three legs. She also cooked beans, collards, donuts, French fried potatoes, turnips, and rutabagas in the same iron pot.

The home had a wood stove, later a kerosene one, but no electricity until Isabel was nine years old (1939). They had candles and Aladdin Lamps with a little net that hung on to the wick. At night they’d catch lightning bugs, put them in a quart jar, set them on the table, and turn all the lamps out. They burned trash and had a well. They didn’t get a phone until moving to Kure Beach. read more

ORAL HISTORY – Pearl Winner Fountain – ‘Growing Up in Carolina Beach’

Interviewed and edited by Robin Robertson

Family. That’s what Pearl Winner Fountain remembers most when she thinks about growing up at Carolina Beach. That’s understandable considering her family and her roots in this area. Pearl, who now lives in Wilmington, is one of Captain Carl Winner’s six children. Being the oldest, she helped raise her younger brothers and helped her father with his many business enterprises.

One of her duties included closing her father’s businesses at night, especially if he was off on a trip. After closing, she would take the moneybag from the arcade and restaurant and walk home by herself all the way over to Fourth Avenue. That was a time when people left doors unlocked and she never felt afraid. Of course, when she was around nineteen, she learned she had been even safer than she realized. One night she was sitting at the Winner ticket booth. It was a slow night and a couple of policemen were sitting and talking with her. She was surprised when one commented that she really shouldn’t walk home like that with the money. Naturally, she questioned how he knew and that was when she found out that they had been following her home every night, keeping an eye on her. For her, that was one of the benefits of living in a small area; it meant “everybody looked out for everybody.”    

Pearl also helped out at her dad’s fishing business. He actually started the party boat business at Carolina Beach, building his own boats in the beginning. Pearl remembers her father often saying, “If you can’t build a house, you don’t deserve to live in it.” She explained that’s how he felt about his boats: if he couldn’t build them, he didn’t deserve to use one to make a living. He was an enterprising man, as well. He kept several boats offshore, using smaller boats to ferry fishermen out to the larger boats. After the war, he began using amphibian “ducks,” bringing them up to the south end of the boardwalk where passengers would step right onto the duck for the ride out to the boats.

As a child during World War II,
Pearl recalls their windows painted black
and seeing action off on the skyline at night.

Pearl, wearing a white captain’s hat, could be found at the ticket office there on the boardwalk. Often, she opened up at 4:30 or 5 o’clock in the morning and would still be there at midnight.

That’s actually how her courtship with her future husband, Jim Fountain, began. Jim fondly recalls the time when they were around twelve years old and he would sit with her on the bench on the boardwalk, watching the moon rise over the ocean. Pearl is quick to point out that the reason he was sitting with her so late was that she was working at the ticket office and he would sit and keep her company.

For her, that was one of the benefits of living in a small area;
it meant “everybody looked out for everybody.”

Being at the ticket office also put her in a great position to observe all the action. She laughingly describes it being “like going to the circus” with “wall to wall people” on the weekends. Families would come out to enjoy the amusement park, the arcade, bingo, or just sit on the benches overlooking the ocean and watch other people walk by. There was also plenty of food. Pearl remembers the corn on the cob, served on a stick and slathered with butter, or her favorite, Britt’s doughnuts with a scoop of ice cream for breakfast. She also ate lots of hot dogs from Cliff Smith’s Landmark; in fact, she ate so many of them back then that she doesn’t eat hot dogs to this day.

Pearl’s long hours kept her busy, so busy that she didn’t actually date until she was nineteen. Although she was working all the time, she did meet a lot of people and kept up with some of them for years. She still gets Christmas cards from some of them. She admits that some people might not have found it as much fun as she did, but for her it was pleasant: “You think back what people paid to go to the beach and enjoy all that, and I had it day in and day out. Even if I was working, I could observe it. Families would go to the restaurant and eat, and then the would just parade up and down the boardwalk, eating cotton candy, popcorn, snowballs, salt water taffy. It was the good old days. Very family. And I got to know a lot of people that way…from all walks of life. Farmers, people from up North on their way to Florida would stop in and end up coming back and buying, settling down here. You know it was just a good family place.” She emphasized that while some may claim it was a “roustabout” that it wasn’t. Even with all the military, she never saw much trouble.

Families would come out to enjoy the amusement park, the arcade, bingo, or
just sit on the benches overlooking the ocean and watch other people walk by.

Life became a bit darker during the war. As a child during World War II, Pearl recalls their windows painted black and seeing action off on the skyline at night. It didn’t really affect her activity since she was only a little girl and “just did what Dad said.” War, however, did affect the family. Her mother, like many women during the war, went to work, becoming one of the first female bus drivers in Wilmington. Although the family had six children, her father joined the Merchant Marines, feeling it was his duty.

Also like other families during the war, the Winners rented out rooms in their home. They were fortunate to have a big two-story home, so they converted a couple of rooms to rent out to people working at the shipyard. As well as providing income for them, it helped out those who were from out of town but working in Wilmington. She remembers other sacrifices, including ration coupons for sugar, flour, and gas. However, with six children, they were never short since they received coupons for each one. And if there were extras, they shared, giving them to people who needed them.

Her favorite memories include more that just family. There were many special people she met during her early years at Carolina Beach. One of those people is Hannah Block, a well-known figure in New Hanover County. Mrs. Block helped organize the first Miss North Carolina Pageant in 1947 and used her show business experience to coach young ladies for pageants. One of those she coached was Pearl. Pearl laughingly recalls Hannah approaching her about the Miss Wilmington pageant. Pearl didn’t feel that it was her thing, but Mrs. Block succeeded in convincing her to represent Carolina Beach. Mrs. Block did more that just coach Pearl; she took her under her wing, having Pearl stay at her home, taking her shopping for a wardrobe to take to Raleigh for the state pageant, and traveling with her on the train to Atlanta for the Miss Southern Belle pageant, where Pearl represented North Carolina.

Eventually Pearl went off to school and worked for a couple of years with the CIA. She married the guy from her childhood at Carolina Beach and traveled with him while he was in the Air Force. She and Jim settled down in Wilmington in the 1960’s and still make this area their home.


Oral History – Teens On the Beach – 1940’s and 1950’s

From interviews conducted by Ann Hertzler and Jeannie Gordon – Oral History Committee
Compiled by Ann Hertzler from interviews with Andy Canoutas, Glenn Flowers, Margaret Ford, Isabel Foushee, Jeannie Kure, Jack Lewis, Ed Niedens, Mike Robinson, Ray Rothrock and Dub Hegler)

Some mothers went to the beach with their children. One family had a little dog that walked in front of their young son to keep him from going in the ocean. Some children could go to the beach in the day time where they could be seen, but not after dark. Older kids would sit on the pier or on beach blankets. No one had chairs. They’d play in the water, walk on the beach, look for shells, talk, and be teenagers. It was an innocent time. Lawrence Kure told 14 year old Isabelle Lewis, Punkie Kure, Roberts Hall, and Sun Waters not to jump off the end of the pier (1943-44). They nonchalantly walked out, and then ran to the end ironing_board_surfof the pier, jumped in the water, and swam back.

In the 1940s, the ocean had big waves. You used an inner tube or jumped on a wave and body surfed. Surf boards or boogie boards hadn’t been invented yet. Body surfing was swimming with the crested wave, going down like a surf board, and skidding in. A perfect surf board for riding the waves was mother’s ironing board – a flat board about 5 ft long – 2 ft wide that lay between 2 chairs or on the kitchen table. “When the wave breaks, you’ve got to keep the nose of the ironing board up. If the nose goes down, the point digs into the sand and you “could flat get a belly ache.” Some Moms didn’t know her son used her ironing board until he forgot to bring it home. Some surfers got a wide board and cut it bow-shaped. Later Andy Canoutas obtained a 15’ surf board made by a friend, hollow on the inside so water had to be drained after each use. Mike Robertson brought in surf boards to rent at Kure Beach Pier.

Life Guards: surfers
Andy Canoutas was the first paid life guard by local businesses at Kure Beach when he was 15 (1950). Andy guarded up to 1963 from the first jetty south of the pier to the next jetty with a stand for him to sit on. He wore short, tight suits like boxer shorts. Tourists from nearby cottages crowded the beach with the life guard. Parents would look after the little ones; but the 8 to 11-year-old boys were the wild ones. In times of danger, Andy had a whistle to get their attention. He used a buoy to rescue a lot of people because of rip currents. Bobby Ford and Eddie Neidens were life guards. No radio or phone was available to call for help; but the lifeguard had a key to the Town Hall to get to the oxygen system. Individuals also saved lives of friends and neighbors stepping in a hole in the beach with tremendous sand bars at low tide and quickly going from waist deep to neck-deep, or caught in the rip current.

Mrs. Fry’s Recipe Collection – 1932

Oral History
Interview and narrative by Ann Hertzler

MaFry 2Before the 1900s, favorite recipes of family and friends were recorded in a manuscript cook book, usually recipes that needed proportions such as fancy desserts. In the 1930s, home economists developed recipes for new super market products for use with new gas and electric ranges.  In a journal labeled Cooking Receipts – Mrs. C.B. Fry – 1932  Mrs. Fry filed print and picture recipes from magazines, newspapers, and food labels. The manuscript is now owned by her granddaughter, Brenda Fry Coffey of Kure Beach.

Mrs. C. B. Fry (Ada Sessoms Fry), alias Ma Fry, came to Kure Beach in 1943 with husband Pa Fry (Charles Brover Fry), their son (Therman J. Fry), his wife (Mary Lee Tyler Fry), and granddaughter (Brenda Lee Fry). Ma Fry and her daughter were wonderful cooks for “Fundy’s”, their family restaurant in Kure Beach after World War II. Mrs.

Fry was the secretary of the Progressive Association which applied for official town status of Kure Beach in 1946 and granted in 1947. She also rode on the first Kure Beach Float in Wilmington’s first Azalea Parade. The float depicted a fishing scene with adults and children fishing. Large plastic fish dangled from fishing lines.

Mrs. Fry’s recipe collection provides a look back in history. Home economists were teaching homemakers how to care for the electric refrigerator which could now store ice cream in limited amounts. Many of the recipes of the 30s continued to promote use of cream, butter, and gelatin. Favorite recipes in Mrs. Fry’s collection were baked calf’s heart and jellied tongue.   

scanMany of the printed recipes in Ma Fry’s book were advertised as developed and tested by – food scientists in government – Dr. Louis Stanley, Bureau of Home Economics, USDA. – home economists working for General Foods Inc, Better Homes and Gardens, and the Good Housekeeping Institute.
– columnist -Mrs. S. R. Dull, Atlanta; Housewives’ Exchange: The Charlotte Observer.
– home economists in food companies- Libby, McNeill, & Libby, Heinz, Minute Tapioca, Knox Sparkling Gelatin, Jello, Crisco, Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, Baker’s Best Chocolate, Coconut; California Prunes, Swift’s Premium Ham, Red Label Karo, Eatmoor Cranberries, Calumet Baking Powder, Swan’s Down Cake Flour, and Washborn Crosby Gold Medal Flour, the latter promoted by Kate Smith and Aunt Jenny.

Clipped recipes were kept in kitchen drawers, recipe files, and indexes as advertised in 1933 by Better Homes and Gardens. This was before the days of television.

Ads in Ma Fry’s collection pictured women in dresses and aprons preparing:
– homemade cookies, cakes and  gelatins;
– freshly caught fish;
– homemade biscuits, pancakes, waffles, muffins;
– home made sauces with fresh ingredients, canned soup, or bottled sauces;
– whipped cream from rich milk (cream) – (no fake whipped cream toppings);
– recipes with high sugar syrups canned fruits.

Men and boys in cooking ads in the 1940s were distinguished by chef’s hats and aprons preparing a special dish. By the 1950s men were shown “grilling out.”

Mrs. Fry’s Recipe Collection – 1930s & 40s

AuntJennyMost recipes were made from scratch except for a few canned goods available on the market. Canned foods advertised in newspaper clippings in Mrs. Fry’s book were tomatoes, pork ‘n beans, cream soups, canned milk, baby food, and condiments such as Worcestershire Sauce, ketchup, mustard, hot sauces, mayonnaise, and vinegar. Cooking fats were Crisco, lard, and butter. Margarine was mixed in a clear plastic bag. Kids fought over who popped the bubble to blend the yellow color into the white margarine.

Foods advertised in Ma Fry’s recipe clippings from the 1930s to the 50s were Instant Potatoes, Cheese Whiz, Kraft Singles, Reddi – Whip, Dannon Yogurt, Frozen French Fries, TV Dinners, and Instant Rice. Pizza was not yet a household item. Fast Food of the 1950s were not yet on the Island.

Ma Fry’s recipe clippings from The Charlotte Observer (ca 1939) included a column -Teach Children To Cook. It was written by a Charlotte Housewife for little girls with the “urge to cook.” Two-year-olds learned to make fancy pies and cakes in the sand box.  Lessons suggested helping mother stir custards, prick holes in the piecrust, and make food for parties and grandparents. Recipes provided for children were Jellied Waldorf Salad, Pineapple Chiffon Pie, Pig in Blankets, Brochette of Bacon and Sweetbreads, Creamed Onions and Bacon, Kidney and Bacon Grill, Frozen Tomato Cottage Cheese Salad, Crisp Bran Cookies, Scrambled Dried Beef with Bacon. A column on a Teen-Age Kitchen Party suggested teens cook their party foods: frankfurters, Chili-con-carne, and pork sausage patties. The Charlotte News Grocery Editor, Florence Thomas, featured ideas for Tea and Picnic Sandwiches – rolled, checkerboard, and ribbon shapes for the attractive tea table.

Mrs. Fry’s collection included the following recipes. Any look familiar? Straight from her recipe collection of 50 or 60 years ago, they are still delicious today.

ChefHatsOyster Sauce
Fry small oysters in a little fat for 3 minutes. Add a little cream and heat thoroughly. This is delicious with any broiled or baked white fish.

Parboil frankfurters, drain and cool. Roll baking-powder biscuit dough out thin, cut it into squares and roll one frankfurter in each. Bake 15 minutes in hot oven – 375 – 400 o. The dough may be spread with mustard before rolling up.

Savory Wilted Lettuce
1 cupful diced salt pork, 3 quarts cut lettuce, 2 tablespoons vinegar, salt, onion juice
Wash lettuce and cut in pieces. Cook salt pork in a heavy skillet until brown and very crisp, remove from the fat.  Add the lettuce to the hot fat and sir until it wilts.  Add the vinegar and cooked salt pork.  The time of cooking will very with the time to wilt the lettuce.  A small quantity of onion juice may be added.

Crunchy Cookies
½ c sweetened condensed milk        2 cups shredded coconut
Drop by spoonfuls on a well-buttered pan about an inch apart. Bake in a moderate oven (350o) until a delicate brown about 10 minutes.

Molasses Candy
The ingredients are 2 cups of molasses, 3 tablespoons butter, 2-3 cup of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.  First, melt butter, than add molasses and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil over slow fire until brittle when tried in cold water. If you use a confectioner’s thermometer, it should register about 255 o. Just before removing from fire, add vinegar, which will make the candy foam up. Pour into well-buttered pans.  
When the candy is cool enough to handle, you may pull until it turns light colored. Draw into sticks and cut into inch lengths. If you wish, molasses nut candy, add 1 cup of chopped nut meats and a pinch of salt, just before taking candy from stove.

2 cups cake crumbs or Crumbled Lady Fingers, 4 tablespoons Sherry Flavoring,  
3 tablespoons strawberry Jam, 1 Banana, ½ cup walnuts, ½ pint whipping cream
Place the cake crumbs in the bottom of a pudding dish and moisten with the sherry. Cover with a layer of whipped cream.  Add a layer of the sliced bananas and strawberry jam. Cover with whipped cream and sprinkle the top with the chopped walnuts. Refrigerate for several hours and serve.

Banana Pudding
5 bananas                   ¾ cup evaporated milk
½ lemon, grated rind and juice    ¾ cup water
1 ½ tablespoons butter         2 eggs
Fine bread crumbs            1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla            ¼ teaspoon salt
Line the bottom of a well greased baking dish with banana slices. Dot with bits of butter, sprinkle with lemon juice, and cover with fine bread crumbs.  Repeat the process. Mix milk and water, add lemon rind and scald. Combine the slightly beaten eggs, sugar, and salt. Pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, add vanilla and pour over bananas. Set dish in a pan of hot water and bake in a moderate oven (350o) until set – about 30 minutes.    

– Ann Hertzler  – Federal  Point Historic Preservation Society – Oral History Project. (Commercial illustrations from  clippings contained in the manuscript book.)


Oral History – Granddaddy, Crawford, and Ed Lewis – ‘Early Fort Fisher’

Oral History by Ann Hertzler

Auto at Fort Fisher

Auto at Fort Fisher

Granddaddy William Edward Lewis paid $700 for land at the Fort Fisher columns from the river to the ocean, brought his family from Shallotte, and died about a year later (1903) when his boat turned over.

His two sons, Crawford and Ed Lewis (born in 1904), married and lived at Fort Fisher.

Son Crawford Lewis and wife Ruth lived on Fort Fisher Road just right of the columns (Fort Fisher Gates) on the way to the river.

One way to take fish to Wilmington was to row a boat.

Crawford Lewis, Bud Waters, and others helped LC Kure build the pier in 1923.

When son Jack was born in the 1930s, Crawford was helping build the loop road across the bridge around the right side to Wrightsville Beach. He also worked at Ethyl Dow for many years.

Crawford’s house had three bed rooms, a bathroom, a long kitchen and front room. When son Jack was 12, the wood stove was replaced with a kerosene stove. They grew lots of hot peppers, made hot pepper vinegar, stayed busy canning, and had an ice box. They had no electricity and used kerosene lamps. Well water was for drinking, bathing in a washtub, scrubbing clothes with a washboard and drying on an outdoor clothes lines. They had chickens, a woods full of wild hogs, and lots of fish and shell fish nearby.

Ft. Fisher Traffic:  Jack Lewis reported that the first car to come down through the Fort Fisher area “like to scare everybody to death.” The car had a blowout and left the old tube. Daddy (Crawford) found it and thought it was something you wear. “He cut it in two, tied up the end of it, pulled it up his legs; said they were good boots.”

A busy afternoon in the 30s was watching 50 cars go by. One Sunday Crawford’s Model T Ford stuck in the beach sand. He picked up the entire front and set it to the right of the rut; then moved the rear, crab walking the car to the hard sand. Next day, the area reported a giant turtle had come ashore at Fort Fisher. Jack Lewis remembers trucking up the road in a 34 Plymouth at a “big 35 mph.”

IsabellHudsonEd Lewis, Crawford’s youngest brother, Ed was born in 1904 just after their father drowned in the river.

Ed, his wife Gertie, and their four children – Anna Lee (Sis), James Edward Jr. (Brother), Isabell, and Judy lived between Crawford’s house and the river on a beautiful little knoll.

The house had a living room, two bed rooms, and a kitchen on the first floor and a bedroom up stairs. The family had an old wood stove, later kerosene, to heat water for bathing in a big tin tub in the kitchen. Toilets were outhouses.

The Rural Free Delivery (RFD) mail box was at the road edge.  Aladdin Oil Lamps provided light until they got electricity at the river home when Isabell was nine years old (1939); and a phone when they moved to the store in Kure Beach in the 40s.

Before electricity, Ed listened to the news from Walter Winchell on his crystal radio set. After electricity in 1939 the kids listened to radio shows such as The Shadow Knows, The Lone Ranger, and The Creaking Door.

In the 1930’s Ed Lewis had cows he took on a barge to one of the islands with good vegetation. They had pig killings with all of the neighbors. Down on the river they had cows and pigs, ducks, chickens, and things from the water – a lot of clams, oysters, duck, fish and birds, and all kinds of wild life food. Ed Lewis said his mother would give him one shot gun shell and tell him to go get supper.

If he was going duck hunting, he’d wait till he got 2 or 3 lined up so that he could get them with one shell. He did exaggerate at times.