Carolina Beach (Images of America)
by Lois Carol Wheatley
Federal Point was once the name of a peninsula 15 miles south of Wilmington, bounded by the Cape Fear River, the Myrtle Grove Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean. Fort Fisher, Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, and Seabreeze now line its sandy shores.
Fort Fisher played a pivotal role in the Civil War, and when it fell in 1865, the Confederacy lost its last supply line. A century later, the Fort Fisher Hermit became a local legend, teaching a litany of common sense and simplicity to legions of visitors.
Carolina Beach and Kure Beach suffered a spate of fires and hurricanes that destroyed amusement park rides, arcades, and especially fishing piers. Seabreeze was an all-black resort during the Jim Crow era, and its greatest legacy is the R&B music and dance of the 1940s that gave rise to today’s ever-popular beach music and shag dancing.
The Army Corps of Engineers created Snow’s Cut in 1930, connecting the river to the sound and turning the peninsula into an island that is now known as Pleasure Island.
Also see …
Ben Steelman’s article in the Wilmington StarNews Online – “Carolina Beach” in pictures
NOTE: We have signed copies of Lois’s book available in the History Center Gift Shop.
Series: Images of America
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (April 23, 2012)
About the Author
Members of the Federal Point Historical Society generously shared their memories and photo albums to contribute to Carolina Beach. Lois Carol Wheatley also drew from other sources, such as the Cape Fear Museum, New Hanover County Library, UNC’s Wilson Library, and the state archives.
She has 20 years of professional writing experience, an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Maryland, and a graduate degree in English from East Carolina University.
Lois Carol Wheatley grew up in a rural area of Maryland that is now the planned community of Columbia — so she likes to tell people she’s pre-Columbian. After graduating from University of Maryland and East Carolina University with degrees in English, she made her way to Carolina Beach near Wilmington, where the stories just kept coming her way, some of them not previously published. Her book “Carolina Beach” covers, among other things, a Jim Crow-era black resort that gave R&B music to the nearby white community (the ongoing soundtrack for shag dancing) and a Henry David Thoreau type fellow who lived on the beach and dispensed wisdom to the multitudes.