Oral History – Andy Canoutas – Part 3: ‘Founding of Town of Kure Beach’

by Ann Hertzer

Community meetings in ’46 led to Kure Beach incorporation in ’47. Commissioners met in Town Hall, a room in the back of the realty office and Bud N Joes on K Avenue. When the town first formed in 1947, Lawrence Kure was the mayor. Local policemen had no space in Town Hall – just wherever he was at home or in his car. When Police Chief John W. Glover wasn’t on duty, Andy was First Deputy. Andy arrested drunks and speeders doing 50 to 60 past the stoplight which was put up in the 50’s.

Andy Canoutas

Andy Canoutas

The business people got together to get a good water works system because when a fire started, buildings burned to the ground. Fire service was a 500 or 1000 gallon tank in a big tin shed. The Water Tower where the Community Center is now came later. The town bought a fire hose. The fire truck was an old beat-up Chevy with a water tank on it. They also had an American LaFrance chain drive, a monster to drive. Both were used for a while. Andy was a volunteer fire department truck driver.

Kure Beach floated bonds. The present day sewer system was put in in the 50s. Soon that will have to be replaced. Terra cotta sewer pipes don’t last very long. Now plastic type sleeves are put inside the pipe; in 15 to 20 years the same kinds of problems are expected because every break where it’s been repaired is with sleeving. Originally in the 40s, the drainage ditches to the beach and the oceans with storm water run-off was not much because we didn’t have that many people. But the oil and drippings of automobiles and everything else has polluted the runoff. Engineers came from the State to pioneer the system which is working. Everyone is looking to Kure Beach.

Andy decided to be a lawyer in junior high school. He skipped school to go to the courthouse and listen to cases with very eloquent, old stump lawyers who cussed you out in four sentences. It took two days to figure out what they said. Andy law clerked for General R.S. McLelland, the first Kure Beach town attorney.

Andy started in late 1963 as town attorney so he has been working with Kure Beach in one job or another for over 55 years. He was the Carolina Beach attorney for 12 1⁄2 years. Andy was in General Practice (criminal, contract, domestic) in Wilmington from October 1963 until June 2005.

The town attorney serves at the pleasure of Council. In the earlier years, the attorney was mainly to assure that they didn’t go beyond the bounds of law or violate any of the provisions of the State statutes. As time went on, people started attending meetings and became litigious and the laws became voluminous resulting in a nightmare to keep up with new cases and new regulations.

Kure Beach is no different than any other small town in North Carolina. Everyone has a different political view. To have a Board in total harmony is a rarity. Different opinions make for good decisions.