Oral History – Jimmy Davis – Part 3: ‘Up and Down the Beach’

Interview by Ann Hertzler and Jeannie Gordon

Oral_History-JimmyDavis_Pt4-1Now my first memories of Kure Beach are the pier and the Greek restaurant there. It was right on the edge of the pier. Just as you started on the pier. I worked carrying the papers for a while maybe when I was 15 or 16 years old.  And we’d stop in there every morning and get a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. He had all kinds of pies and everything. It was a good little beach but nobody there. There was a grocery store there, and a little post office; and a little 2 lane bowling alley, and 2 or 3 little restaurants there.

On what is now the Sunny Point land, you could go back there any time you wanted. The only thing that was on that side of Dow Road, was the old Dow Plant. It was down toward Kure Beach almost where that bad curve is they made poison gas during the war.

Now Fort Fisher, there was a pier down there at that time. Now this was before the army moved down there. You know there was an army base to start with. The history place, we didn’t even know them mounds was there during that time. That was just all woods. After the army moved out they started the museum and all that and started cleaning it off. And that’s when they found all of the hills and everything. We never knew there was a hill there.

There’s a memorial down there and there’s rocks down there to keep the ocean from coming in. They had to keep moving that monument back because over half of the fort has been washed away. But they always had the rocks that went from the tip over to Zeke’s Island that connected everything. The rocks were always there. And there was a dirt road from where the 2 monuments are as you enter Fort Fisher.

Yeah we’d go down there all the way down it was dirt at that time. It was about 400 yards toward the ocean. But the ocean took all that out.v20NO9 September 2013 FINAL PDF-007

To get on the island you took 421 which was paved. And there was the old turn bridge, you had to come across the old turn bridge. It set right in the middle of the water way, and it turned this way. In other words, you come in this way, and when it turned it would be like this. Then when the boats would get through, the boats would go under, and then it would turn back straight. What used to bug me to death going to school, was when we’d get caught and have to sit. It had a big bell on it. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding; you know like a railroad crossing. And we’d have to sit on that school bus for 10 or 15 minutes for them boats to get through. And that thing going bam bam bam ……..

Now Seabreeze during the 30s and 40s, the blacks, you couldn’t go down there. The only ones that would go down there was going down there to buy whiskey. There v20NO9 September 2013 FINAL PDF-008was lots of eating places and rooming houses and stuff like that. The blacks had a little beach area over on the other side and they just had a jukebox and a big round building there where they would dance. They would go from Seabreeze across the water way and then walk from there over to the beach which is almost a mile I guess. The only blacks that was allowed on the beach at that time was somebody that owned one of them big houses and everything and had a maid. And they had to wear a white uniform or they couldn’t go on the beach at all.