President’s Letter – December, 2017

by Elaine Henson

During WWII our busy bus station was inside the Carolina Beach Drug Store on the corner of Lake Park Boulevard and Harper Avenue.  Long lines of soldiers would line up along the sidewalk waiting for buses to take them back to Fort Bragg, Camp Davis, Camp Lejeune and other military installations.

In May of 1947, Hal Love, manager of Queen City Coach Lines, announced that a new bus station was to be built across from the drug store on the corner of Lake Park Boulevard and Raleigh Avenue.

The new station, of masonry construction, opened on July 30, 1948, with several dignitaries from Queen City Coach Lines, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wilmington and New Hanover County in attendance. At the grand opening, Mr. Love declared, “This terminal was built for the benefit of the people of Carolina Beach and for the thousands of visitors to this popular resort.”

It had a spacious waiting room with terrazzo floors, three comfortable benches, roomy telephone booths, and rest rooms. There was a separate waiting room for blacks reflecting the Jim Crow era of our history in the South. In that same vein, the soda shop with sandwich bar and soda fountain was for whites only.

The terminal was heated in the winter with gas heaters and cooled with big fans in the summer months. The Queen City buses provided local service from Fort Fisher into Wilmington with several stops in between as well as service to major cities and connections beyond.

They served Carolina Beach for many years until car ownership was the norm, bus travel declined and the terminal closed.  After that it became home to the Battery Restaurant.

In 1982 Carolina Savings and Loan Association purchased the property and hired architects Ballard, McKim and Sawyer to draw plans for renovation.

The building and loan institution moved into the former bus station/restaurant in 1983 making the Carolina Beach branch their fifth location in southeastern North Carolina.  Today the property is home to BB&T Bank at 7 North Lake Park Boulevard.