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. Terracotta 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.

Oral History – Andy Canoutas – Part 2: ‘A Kid in Kure Beach’

by Ann Hertzler

Downtown Kure Beach 1965

Downtown Kure Beach 1965

A kid in Kure Beach had a better life in the 40s than today. No TV, just radio.

Andy was the first life guard at Kure Beach when he was 15 (1950). He was paid by businesses in the center of town, and later by the town. His guard zone was south of the pier from the first jetty to the next jetty. Jetties were built to prevent erosion but aren’t allowed now. Tourists stayed in cottages. The beach got pretty crowded where Andy was because people wanted a life guard.

Parents looked after the little ones. The wild ones were 8, 9, 10, or 11 year old boys. A buoy helped rescue people from rip currents; a whistle warned people who were going out too far. Some swam at Wilmington Beach and Hanby Beach.

Andy enjoyed fishing on the pier – Spanish Mackerel, Blues, Pompano, Spots. As he got older, he enjoyed motor boats. He fished by net or seine for shrimp in Masonboro Creek or Hewlett’s Creek up next to a mud bank where shrimp like to stay. Andy did diving with air tanks and scuba gear on Civil War blockade runners bringing up artifacts – tin and lead bars with the name of the London Company. Lead was needed for sinkers.

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Oral History – Andy Canoutas – Part 1: ‘Canoutas Restaurant’

Interview by Ann Hertzer and Jeannie Gordon Article by Ann Hertzler

Andrew Arthur George Canoutas was born January 29, 1935 in Wilmington. Andy’s dad came to Wilmington from Greece in 1923. His mother, Lola Shukri, also Greek, was a British citizen who taught at the Greek school in Wilmington. In 1942 – 46 they lived in Virginia but came to Kure Beach every summer on vacation. In 1946 they moved permanently to the SE corner of 421 and K Ave where Jack Mackerel’s is now.

Andy lived upstairs. Downstairs was the Canoutas Restaurant with full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner- fish, steaks, chops, fried, & broiled; and a lot of Greek salads – one of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta cheese, and a special olive oil and vinegar dressing. When the Ocean Inn disappeared, George Stathis came to work. Son Andy worked at busy times at night running the cash register or waiting tables but not cooking. His dad rented ten rooms and three apartments over the Canoutas Restaurant and beachwear shop.

Andy’s mother had a beachwear shop on the east side of the restaurant on K Street. She also had BINGO sandwiched between the restaurant on the corner and the beachwear shop. Originally, in the 40s, two duckpin bowling alleys ran lengthwise here. Andy called BINGO – “On the first row, B, number 5… BINGO has been called, please do not disturb your card until checked… player could be wrong.” Tourists and local men and women played every night except Sunday. Depending on what type of BINGO you got, winners might get $5, 10, 25, or the big prize at night, $100 coverall. They could play as many cards as they wanted. First they had little windows that closed. Then they used little round plastic chips. When the BINGO ended, his mother expanded the beachwear shop.

Kure Beach Fishing PierKure Beach was called a family town, ’cause families were all that came down here. The only outsiders that came down here was during fishing season. Kure Beach was well known as a fishing beach. A guy on the pier in overalls might be the State Treasurer.
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