by Elaine Henson
This two lane swing bridge was in place from 1931 until the present concrete high-rise bridge opened on August 18, 1962.
In 1927 Congress authorized the continuation of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Beaufort, NC to the mouth of the Cape Fear River, adding to the 800 miles of waterway already in use from Cape Cod to Beaufort. This part of the sheltered inland passage measured 93 miles and was under the supervision of Major William Arthur Snow of the Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District. A graduate of West Point and MIT and a WWI decorated veteran, Snow planned the route through natural inlets, sounds, salt water rivers, bays and one land cut.
That cut was from Seabreeze to the Cape Fear River transforming the Federal Point peninsula into an island thus requiring a bridge to be constructed. A temporary wooden bridge spanning the new waterway was built in just ten days in February of 1930. It served until a permanent steel swing bridge opened September 9, 1931. This two lane swing bridge was in place from 1931 until the present concrete high-rise bridge opened on August 18, 1962.
For many years theories of what happened to the swing bridge after 1962 swirled around the area. Some said it was destroyed; others believed it was still in use in South Carolina, but no proof of either was ever documented. The question was put to rest a few weeks ago when Mr. Vernon Meshaw of Pender County contacted the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society. He revealed that the bridge had been purchased by the town of Sunset Beach. After determining it could not be retrofitted for their use, Sunset Beach contacted Mr. Meshaw to cut it up and sell it for scrap which he did.