Fourth of July Through the Years

Shoo-fly Train

Shoo-fly Train

July 3, 1887(Advertisement) SURF BATHING ON THE FOURTH OF JULY AT CAROLINA BEACH. The steamer PASSPORT will run on the following schedule: Leave Wilmington 8:00 a.m.; 11:00 a.m.; 3:00 p.m; 6:00 p.m. Train leaves the Beach 1:00 p.m.; 7:00 p.m.; 10:00 p.m.


FOURTH OF JULY. Steamer LOUISE will leave her wharf at foot of Market Street, July 4th, at 8:00 a.m. for Rocks, Smithville and the Forts.


July 4, 1887 – Owing to the inclement weather on the 4th of July, there was not so large a crowd at the Beach as was expected, but those who went down had a good time. The Oceanic Hotel had “open house” and every excursionist paid the generous proprietor a visit. (Wilm.Messenger, 7-6-1887)

July 7, 1906 – Justice G.W. Bornemann meted out justice with an impartial hand. The judge is a firm believer in order at our two beaches and says that whenever disturbances are raised at the resorts he intended to deal with them in the severest possible manner.

Two men, Will Hudson and “Bill” Terry were before the judge charged with an affray at Carolina Beach on July 4th. The fighting began over Hudson cursing at Terry. Terry knocked down Hudson. The judge said Terry was justified in his action as he was not looking for any trouble at the time that he was cursed. Terry still had to pay the costs of court, and Hudson received a severe sentence for his conduct, the judge imposed a fine of $10 and costs, which amounted to $16.45. (Wilm Dispatch, 7-7-1906).

Carolina Beach Boardwalk

Carolina Beach Boardwalk

July 4, 1911 – Carolina Beach celebrated the Glorious Fourth in an appropriate manner. The Daughters of Liberty, an auxiliary of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics, operated an all-day excursion from Wilmington. Hundreds took advantage of the delightful trip down the river. Surf bathing was very popular. A band was on hand for the occasion and dancing was an attractive feature of the day. Including an excursion run from Town Creek, in Brunswick County, which brought about 200 people, it was estimated that there were over 1,000 pleasure seekers taking part in the day’s festivities. The steamer WILMINGTON was kept busy. (Wilm Dispatch, 7-5- 1911)

July 4, 1920 – Sheriff George C. Jackson spent the national holiday at Carolina Beach, and he commented that for the first time in many years no accidents, no disorderly conduct, or any display of effects of intoxicating liquors (a luxury of by-gone days), not even any drunkenness occurring from the consumption of the southern drink, monkey rum, was reported.

The traffic on the Carolina Beach Road was the heaviest that had been on the road for a long time, and two traffic officers were on duty on the road all day. Sheriff Jackson counted as many as 300 cars parked on the beach at one time. Between 4,000 and 5,000 people visited the beach and a safe and sane holiday was observed. (Wilm Dispatch, 7-6-1920)

July 1, 1930 – Plans for a gala 4th of July were going forward rapidly at Carolina Beach, according to T.A. Shepard, chairman of the 4th of July celebration committee. A large number of entertainment features had been arranged, including dancing from 10 a.m. until midnight, a fireworks display on the beach, boat races, swimming races, and numerous other events. The program will include a performance by Chief White Eagle, an Osage Indian, who was to do a snake dance, etc., and a boxing match between Burriss and Eddleman.  (Wilm News, 7-1-1930) ; (Wilm Star, 7-2-1930)

July 7, 1933 – A survey to determine the volume of traffic over the Carolina Beach highway was being made by vehicle counters stationed at the Inland Waterway Bridge. Deputy Sheriff W.J. Smith of Carolina Beach declared the data would be used to have the state highway department increase the width of the road through the use of federal funds.

A total of 7,051 automobiles passed through the bridge (one way) on the Fourth of July, while the number registered last Sunday was 5,200. Other counts were to be made. The Fourth of July crowd at the beach was estimated at 10,000 people by Deputy Smith. The recent development of the resort town was also to be used in the argument for a wider highway. Forty-two new cottages, stores and other structures had been built this season.  (Wilm Star, 7-8-1933)

July 4, 1934 – It was estimated that between 12,000 and 15,000 persons visited Carolina Beach alone during the holiday, while Walter Winner of Fort Fisher Beach reported the largest crowd of bathers and fishermen at that resort in the past four years. Kure’s Beach also reported a large attendance.

Thousands of blacks, traveling by automobile, by truck and on foot visited Seabreeze Beach during the day. Dances were held at the Carolina Beach pavilion and the Greystone roof garden. Each place reported a capacity crowd. Only one fatality was reported at any of the locations. A black man, Robert Harper, was drowned at Seabreeze when he ventured out over his depth in the Inland Waterway. His body was not recovered. Jimmy Tolbert and his Royal Melodians played at the Carolina Beach Pavilion and Cliff Smith and his Orchestra furnished music at the Greystone with Miss Julia Ellington as soloist. (Wilm News, 7-5-1934)

Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach

 Celebrating the Fourth of July Through the Years –  from the Bill Reaves Files