News Articles – 1887

Federal Point, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher
– from the Wilmington Star, Wilmington News, Wilmington Post, Wilmington Dispatch, Wilmington Messenger

Bill Reaves files: Federal Point/Carolina Beach/Kure Beach/Fort Fisher 1725-1994


January 14, 1887
The Carolina Beach Company, recently formed, had begun work on a railroad which was to run from near Sugar Loaf, about 13 miles below Wilmington on the Cape Fear River, across the peninsula to the Atlantic coast, near the head of Myrtle Grove Sound, and just below old Camp Wyatt. The iron rails have already been purchased and the rolling stock provided. The railroad work was to be completed in about two months, and the line was not to be more than two miles in length. At the terminus of the railroad on the ocean side will be put in perfect order and a “playground” will be furnished for the excursionists where they can go and enjoy themselves. (Star 1-14-1887)


May 1, 1887 …. Carolina Beach
Capt. Beach was to have charge of the hotel which was to be erected at the new summer resort being developed south of Wilmington. The building was to be put up as soon as the railroad from the river to the beach was completed and made available for the transportation of building materials received from Wilmington. (Star, 5-1-1887)


May 4, 1887 …. Carolina Beach
A locomotive for the railroad extending from the Cape Fear River to old Camp Wyatt and then to the ocean beach was sent down from Wilmington. (Star, 5-5-l887)


May 5, 1887
Three railroad cars, intended for use on the railway from the river to the beach at Carolina Beach, were taken from the shops of the builders, Messrs. Burr & Bailey, to the wharf at the foot of Dock Street, for shipment. (Star, 5-6-1887)


May 20, 1887
Capt. John Harper “slaughtered” a glass snake at Carolina Beach. (Star, 5-21-1887)


June 4, 1887
Moonlight excursions to Carolina Beach bid fair to be “immensely popular.” The trip up and down the river is delightful, and a large pavilion at the beach is a splendid place for dancing. The steamer PASSPORT carried down another large party last night. The day excursions are a source of great enjoyment to very many persons. The ride on the river and across to the beach by rail, with a stroll on the beach, a fish and oyster feast, and a cup of excellent coffee at Capt. Bache‘s restaurant fills the day with enjoyment for most of the visitors.

The fresh water lake is a pretty sheet of water and decidedly a novel feature for the seaside. It is about one mile wide, three or four miles long. It abounds in fish, and alligators are by no means scarce. Recently an alligator about 4 feet long was caught there.

A few years ago, the coast from this point to Fort Fisher, two miles below, was lined with wrecks of blockade runners that had been beached to escape the Federal cruisers. All but one of these have disappeared, and this lies close to shore and affords good fishing ground for sheepshead. Farther out are famous banks, easily reached by boat, where pig-fish are caught in abundance. (Star, 6-4-1887)


June 7, 1887
A nine-foot alligator was caught in the lake at Carolina Beach. (Star, 6-8-1887)


June 5, 1887
Fifteen miles from Wilmington on the banks of the ocean is situated Carolina Beach which is daily, rapidly, and deservedly growing in popular favor. . .How is it reached?. . . One hour is hardly spent on the steamer PASSPORT when the boat moves slowly to Harper‘s Pier, where the pleasure seekers disembark to find in readiness a train of cars awaiting to carry them to their destination. These cars are made after the manner of cars used at Coney Island and are convenient and commodious. A ride of five or six minutes through a level and interesting country, filled with flowers and green shrubbery, brings you in full view of the ocean.

Out of the sand many houses have arisen, and a spacious pavilion, with smooth floors which invite the dancer, stands ready for the reception of guests. Bathing houses, conveniently situated, are erected.

The shore is hard and as level as a ballroom floor, and so gentle and sloping is the incline that the swimmer can easily and without danger penetrate beyond the breakers. . .

Opposite the beach are wrecks of blockaders, and he who is fortunate enough to find a day so calm as to allow him to reach them, will find the merriest sport with hook and line and sheepshead that the Atlantic coast produce; and just beyond the wrecks are the far famed blackfish grounds, whose reputation for numberless fish has enticed many landsmen to visit them.

About a quarter of a mile from the pavilion, within 100 yards of the ocean, nestles a quiet little lake, asleep in tender and surrounding arms of budding tree and bush. It is a lovely place. Quiet and peace are its companions. It lives there by its little self. This lake abounds in fish, and the lazy alligator suns himself on its banks. Boats have been placed on it and a sail on an inland sea can be had at will. Carolina Beach is a coming place, and we say. “Let her boom.” (Star, 6-5-1887)


June 24, 1887
The Wilmington Light Infantry held a shooting contest at Carolina Beach within sight of Camp Wyatt, the rendezvous of the company in the days of 1861. The first prize, a very handsome silver pitcher, was awarded to Mr. J.S. Hooper; the second prize to Mr. E.W. Moore, being a silver goblet of an unique pattern and very chaste workmanship. (Messenger, 7-12-1887)


June 29, 1887
Work was progressing on the Club House at Carolina Beach. Several other structures were in the planning stage. “A building boom at this popular resort is not at all unlikely.” (Star, 6-29-1887)


June 29, 1887
A strip of land like the Carolina Beach is in the position of a millionaire who locks up depreciated securities in a box. The bonds probably were bought for a nominal price out of sympathy of capital and have been valued at little. Suddenly the securities begin to be quoted again in the money market. The owner of this almost forgotten possession recollects his possession. They are drawn forth from the darkness and all seem to be worth sterling gold. . . . At any rate, the time of Carolina Beach has come for notice and material development. . . . Already there is a boom. The eyes of the people are opened and lost time is now being made up . . . . .

Visitors must not expect to find Carolina Beach strewn with mammoth hotels, costly cottages and the style of many summer resorts. For the most part it is only in the germ, yet, with all this, it would be hard to find a place so full of charms. The universal pleasure which seems to diffuse itself over the minds of all at the sight of the mighty ocean can be fully indulged. We could rhapsodize upon its fathomless depths and shore less expanse; we could talk of its coral reefs and pearly beds which we cannot see; we could discount upon the rising sun ascending from the great waters like a globe of fire, or the far off sundown splendor dispensing glory to the meadows of the sea; upon the phosphorescent glow of the evening ripple, and of the white crest of heaving billows. We might speak of this all, if it had not been worked up into poetry and prose a thousand times. . . .

We cannot look upon these waters without enthusiasm, and as the waves break at our feet we fancy they may be the same billows that laved the side of the ship that, in 1665, landed the explorers in this region of North Carolina. . .. In this locality are to be seen tracts of the ‘days which tried men‘s souls,’ Fort Fisher and Camp Wyatt, are both within sight. Now crops are shooting from the ground which were the whilom scenes of strife. Thus death supports life; the fields enriched with human gore teems with nourishment for the living race.

The distance of Fort Fisher, southwest, is five miles. The width of the beach is from 600 to 1,000 feet, affording one of the finest drives in the country, while to Masonboro, northeast, it is twelve miles thus affording an uninterrupted beach, as hard and smooth as a floor, of seventeen miles.

The location of the beach is most desirable, conveniently near to the City of Wilmington, thus enabling every one to enjoy the bathing. The improvements have been phenomenal, and the work goes finely forward. At an early date, Bryans Oceanic Hotel will be erected which will be constructed with the view to comfort and elegance.

The pavilion which occupies the central part of the building will be 16 feet wide and 166 feet long. The restaurant and billiard rooms will meet the wants of the most fastidious, while the hotel proper, with its reception rooms, bathrooms, etc. will be admirably arranged for the comfort of its guests. The hotel will be run in connection with, and by the proprietors of the Orton House in Wilmington which is a guarantee that it will be first class in every particular. (Messenger, 6-29-1887)


July 1, 1887
A license to retail spirituous liquors at Carolina Beach was granted to G.W. Linder. (Messenger, 7-6-1887)


July 1, 1887
The hotel and cottages at Carolina Beach are nearing completion. The beach is gaining popularity daily. (Messenger, 7-1-l997)


July 1, 1887
The fame of ‘The Rocks’ as a fishing ground goes undisputed, and it is more popular this season than for many previous years. (Messenger, 7-1-1887)

Mr. Bryan, of the Orton Hotel, announces that peculiar circumstances prevent his hotel at the Beach from being opened as was contemplated, but the delay will not be long. He will, however, undoubtedly have the café in fair condition by the 4th. (Messenger, 7-2-1887)


July 3, 1887
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 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. W.A. Snell, Master


July 6, 1887
J. H. Haven, of Federal Point, was serving as a member of the New Hanover County Board of Equalization. J.L. Winner, of Federal Point, had his property value increased from $1,800 to $2,500.

The property of the North Carolina Phosphate Co., of Federal Point, was increased form $10,000 to $15,000. (Messenger, 7-13-1887)


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 ‘open house’ and every excursionist paid the generous proprietor a visit. Mr. Bryan will be ready to receive guests in a few days.

The Carolina Beach Club are progressing with their spacious building and are already doing a fair business. We will give a full report of this enterprise in a few days.

John Harr is doing well at the pavilion refreshment counters, and Jim Dray is serving soda water to his visitors over at the sound. Capt. Bache keeps up his earned reputation at the St. Joseph, and everybody is satisfied with the accommodations and the improvements at this favorite resort. (Messenger 7-6-1887


July 7, 1887

  • CAROLINA BEACH THE ATLANTIC CITY OF THE SOUTH – One hour‘s ride from Wilmington, by steamer and rail, brings you directly to the Beach. Excellent Fishing, Boating and Surf Bathing.
  • BRYAN‘S OCEANIC HOTEL – Will be open July 14th, with ample accommodation for all visitors. CAFÉ, RESTAURANT, BILLIARD HALL, Connected with the Hotel

–W.A. BRYAN, Proprietor



July 7, 1887
With the thermometer at 98 degrees in the Pavilion, a sentimental maiden, inebriated with the exuberance of her imagination and listening with credulity to the whispers of fancy, wrote from Carolina Beach to her ‘appreciator’, not a hundred miles from Clinton, N. C., words to this effect: “The dark Blue ocean, spread out before me, is just as blue and just as ever it was. Since time was young, these waves have rolled to the short—winter and summer, rain or shine, all the same, free as the winds that kiss their liquid lips.”

Here you can sell all styles of dress and fashions – quite different from such secluded spots as the Warm Springs and Kittrells, and -, where people strive to dispense with dress, where gloves are never stained, because they are never worn, and where the chief aim seems to be wear old clothes. Here is not only “stuck- up” Raleigh and meek and lowly Goldsboro, but effete Newbern and sober and dignified Wilmington; not only the bangs and flouncing of the cities, but the combined comeliness of dress and form of the country lassie. Last night was quite cool, and I declare it felt real nice to pull two wraps over the beautiful form of yours truly.” (Messenger, 7-7-1887)


July 9, 1887 …. Federal Point
Capt. K.J. Braddy, of Bladen County, was in Wilmington. During the Civil War he bought 300 acres of land adjoining the present Carolina Beach property. At the time he failed to have the deed recorded and it was later stolen by some of Sherman‘s bummers. He was now making arrangements to perfect his title. (Star, 7-9-1887)


July 25, 1887
To accommodate the increasing travel to Carolina Beach, a handsome barge was built to seat 150 persons, at Capt. Skinner‘s shipyard at Wilmington. It was named the CAROLINA and was used for the first time today. (Star, 7-22-1887)

The steamer PASSPORT brought up a large load of passengers to Wilmington from Carolina Beach. She did not tow down her barge CAROLINA in the afternoon, there being ample room for all of the steamer. (Messenger, 7-25-1887)


July 29, 1887
Sixty-five guests were fed and roomed at the Oceanic Hotel, although not quite completed yet.(Messenger, 7-31-1887)


July 29, 1887
Mr. Sidney L. Alderman, a former Wilmington photographer, but now of Greensboro, photographed Carolina Beach. The picture was pronounced very artistic. (Messenger, 7-31-1887)


July 29, 1887
So vast was the crowd disporting themselves at Carolina Beach that the steamer PASSPORT was compelled to make two trips to return them to the city. The first load contained 350 passengers, a large number being women and children. Nights are delightful at the beach – blankets being required to cover with.

The moonlight excursions to Carolina Beach were pronounced very enjoyable affairs. The Italian Harpers were in attendance and rendered good music, which gave the young folks an opportunity to indulge in tripping the light fantastic to their heart‘s content. These excursions are well patronized. (Messenger, 7-30-1887)


July 30, 1887
(advertisement) R.R. STATION RESTAURANT Carolina Beach Capt. C. Cache, Proprietor
Meals served in the very best style. The best accommodations for excursionists. No disappointment. Always a supply of Pigfish, Oysters, soft-shell crabs, clams, etc. Bathing suits – best quality. (Messenger, 7-30-1887)


July 30, 1887
The new Bryan Oceanic House at Carolina Beach was “booming.” It supplied a long-felt want. (Messenger, 7-30-1887)


July 31, 1887
Mr. W.W. Harriss, Jr., of Wilmington, was in charge of the office at the Oceanic Hotel. The guests were profuse in their compliments as to his polite attention and good nature. (Messenger, 7-31-1887)


July 31, 1887
The cottages being erected at Carolina Beach were nearing completion. They were of a pretty design and very comfortable. (Messenger, 7-31-1887)


July 31, 1887
Quite a crowd took dinner at the Railroad Station Restaurant at Carolina Beach last Sunday and everybody was pleased with the manner in which Mrs. Bache served the guests. (Messenger, 8-2-1887)


August 1, 1887
Paths of pleasure are not always paths of peace. After a festive party of black excursionists reached Carolina Beach and the “terpsichorean carnival was at its zenith” two of the male excursionists were implicated in a cutting affair. One man was so severely cut in his neck and wounded in his side that he was not able to return to the city.

Affairs of this sort were not permitted to make sad the soul of the average excursionist, and the way back to Wilmington was regaled with music and song that pleasantly floated over the river and was sent back from the river banks. They arrived at the city wharf at 12:20 in the morning. (Messenger, 8-3-1887;  8-7-1887)


August 1, 1887
The black excursionists to Carolina Beach filled the steamer PASSPORT and a barge and left a Wilmington dock full for want of room. (Messenger, 8-2-1887)


August 6, 1887
A party of six fishermen from Wilmington caught at the Rocks in an hour and a half thirty-eight drum that aggregated 190 pounds – an average of over five pounds each. The Rocks is a paradise for disciples of Sir Isaac Wilton. (Messenger, 8-8-1887)


August 7, 1887
Messrs. F.A. Newberry and W.W. Shaw have fitted up comfortable summer homes at Carolina Beach. Mr. J.L. Winner has greatly improved his place. (Messenger, 8-7-1887)


August 7, 1887
Chief Justice‖ Freeman opened a law dispensary at Carolina Beach, and he was prepared to issue “writs at living prices. Special attention given to mandamuses, quo warrants, scieri facieses, capiases and respondum, etc. The blind goddess always on hand with scales in good condition.” (Star, 8-7-1887)


August 30, 1887
Through the benevolence of Mr. James Sprunt, the inmates of the City Hospital in Wilmington were given a sail down the river to Carolina Beach on the steamer PASSPORT. After they arrived and enjoyed the surf and breezes, a sumptuous banquet was given them by the same kind-hearted gentlemen. Who will follow this worthy example? (Messenger, 8-11-1887)


August 16, 1887
Mr. Albert Gause was hired at the Olympic Hotel at Carolina Beach. (Messenger, 8-16-1887)

August 17, 1887
The wind blew a perfect gale at Carolina Beach, and at Zeke‘s Island, it was reported the houses were in danger of blowing over. (Messenger, 8-20-1887)


August 21, 1887
A fleet of yachts visited Carolina Beach. The yachts IDLER, Capt. Pembroke Jones of Wrightsville; BONNIE LASSIE, Capt. Joe Price of Summer Rest; MADGE, Capt. W.L. Smith; and MARK LILLINGTON, Capt. T.B. Harriss of Masonboro, formed the fleet. The whole distance was sailed in two hours and twenty minutes. The jolly and clever passengers took dinner at the Oceanic Hotel and returning left the beach at 1:30 p.m.. The party spent a delightful day. (Messenger, 8-23-1887)


August 23, 1887
The first of a series of pleasant excursions to Carolina Beach was afforded to the poor and needy of Wilmington. Tickets had been issued to 100 adults and some children. The steamer PASSPORT left Wilmington at 9 a.m. and returned about 7:30 p.m.

The menu at Bryan‘s Oceanic Hotel offered clam chowder, chow chow, tomatoes, boiled sheepshead with wine sauce, shrimp, fried pig fish, clam fritters, crabs, potatoes, onions, white bread, corn bread, muffins, watermelon, tea and coffee.
Dinner was served at 2 p.m. and sandwiches were also furnished at 12 noon. There was also ice water provided and there was fresh milk furnished for the more feeble. A committee of Wilmington ladies accompanied the party to see that their comforts were attended to. The Rev. F. W.E. Peschau was to ask the blessing at dinner time. (Messenger, 8-23-1887)


August 24, 1887
In contemplation, or in case of heavy storms which are liable to visit the coast during the fall, the proprietors of the Oceanic Hotel at Carolina Beach were tying down the roof with tarred rope, making it secure to the main building – a very good idea and commendable for thought. (Messenger, 8-24-1887)


August 30, 1887
Those who wish to visit Carolina Beach and behold the grandeur and beauties of old ocean should not fail to await themselves of the opportunity afforded tonight. Probably this will be the last moonlight excursion for the season. (Messenger, 8-30-1887)


September 7, 1887
The Wilmington Baseball Association gave an excursion to Carolina Beach on the steamer PASSPORT for their own benefit. There was a fine band of music along and it was a day replete with enjoyment for all who attended. (Messenger, 9-11-1887)


September 11, 1887
(advertisement) ROASTED OYSTERS AT CAROLINA BEACH! The finest of Myrtle Grove oysters will be served at the Oceanic Hotel today. — W. A. Bryan (Messenger, 9-11-1887)


September 12, 1887
The dredge boat engaged in twisting obstructions from the river nearly opposite Carolina Beach drew up a large anchor and chain. How it had come there could not be determined. (Messenger, 9-13-1887)


September 20, 1887
An excursion to Carolina Beach was given to the old black citizens of Wilmington by Capt. Harper of the steamer PASSPORT and his associates. (Messenger, 9-21-1887)


September 29, 1887
The steamer PASSPORT ran her last trip to Carolina Beach. This closed a season of well deserved success at this popular resort. Between 17,000 and 18,000 visitors were at the beach during the summer, of whom 5,000 were surf bathers. No accidents of any kind marred the pleasure of the trips due to the care and vigilance of Captains Harper and Nolan. (Star 9-30-1887)
Bill Reaves files: Federal Point/Carolina Beach/Kure Beach/Fort Fisher 1725-1994