This month we will take one last look at the empty lots at the boardwalk that are home to the rides each summer.
The empty corner lot at Cape Fear Boulevard and Canal Drive used to be the site of the Bame Gulf Station.
The station was managed by Ernest “Tite” Bame whose parents, J.R. and Amanda Bame, owned the Bame Hotel diagonally across the street. World War II took Ernest away in the early 1940’s to serve in the Army Air Corps so he asked his brother-in-law, Jim Knox, to manage the station while he was gone. Jim and Ernest’s sister, Ruby Bame Knox, had recently moved to Carolina Beach to live year round.
At the end of the war Jim Knox and Ernest Bame became partners and also opened an appliance store next to the station. It was housed in the bottom floor of a two story white building next to the Gulf station as seen in the photo above. Cooks and other employees of the Bame Hotel lived upstairs during the summer season.
“Hurricane Hazel. It really took my husband’s business – the Gulf station and the appliances.
During Hurricane Hazel, he stayed down at the business. I was living at the corner of Hamlet Avenue at the time. I wondered why he didn’t come home…. During the height of the hurricane the ocean and the canal were almost ready to meet. And it did eventually.
And he was trying to save the appliances. He had just put in a car load of GE appliances. And they stayed down there and tried to save those appliances until it just got hopeless. The building was almost demolished. That’s another reason they had to get rid of the hotel later – so much water came in. All that area just flooded something awful.”
After Hazel Jim and Ernest decided to move their business to the 1000 block of North Lake Park Boulevard. They also decided to go into the building supply/hardware and furniture trade erecting a building large enough for both in 1955. Ernest and Rachel’s son, Phil Bame, still runs Bame Ace Hardware in that block today.