Sixty-two years ago on October 15, 1954, Hurricane Hazel slammed into our area as the only Category 4 storm to hit the Carolinas in all of the Twentieth Century or since. It came in on a lunar high tide which added to the flooding damage with winds at our beaches clocked at almost 100 miles an hour. It was possibly the most devastating hurricane to ever hit the NC/SC border.
This picture shows what is now the 200 block of Carolina Beach Avenue North with the two-story Sessoms’ Rooms and Apartments (on the right) after Hazel. It was pushed over with the bricks formerly covering the exterior tumbled on the sand.
This post card (below) shows what Sessoms’ looked like before Hazel. It is not postmarked, but the Ford parked next to the building is a 1952 model. So, this card could be 1952, 53 or even 54 since Hazel hit in October and the photo could have been taken earlier in that year.
On the porch sit several aluminum chairs with webbing which were very popular in the fifties. You entered through a screen door with an aluminum floral design also popular mid-century. All the windows have screens to let the cool ocean breezes in. You can also see a parking meter by the curb showing that at one time Carolina Beach had meters along that stretch of Carolina Beach Avenue North. Do you think the guests parked in the sand lot cordoned off by the chain?
Sessoms’, 52 Carolina Beach Avenue North, address was before the center of town was moved 2 blocks north which would put it in the present day 200 block. It was owned by Edger and Novella Sessoms who also owned another Sessoms rooms and apartment. across the street.
Their niece, Carol Sessoms Ford, used to live in the white 2-story building in the Hazel picture. It was purchased by the Sessoms in the late 1950s or early 1960s and still remains at 236 Carolina Beach Avenue North, now part of Surfside Motel. Carol stated that the Sessoms’ brick building was torn down to make room for a three-building modern motel with a pool in the center which is still there, and also, a part of Surfside.