News Articles – 1937

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

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


March 1, 1937
A building contract for a 750-seat theatre at Carolina Beach was let to A.E. Dixon, local contractor. The theatre was being built by Dr. Carr, of Durham, N.C. Construction was to begin soon and was to be completed before the opening of the resort season. WILM.NEWS, 3-2-1937.


March 4, 1937
The lower house of the state legislature passed and sent to the senate three bills relating to the Town of Carolina Beach. The bills were introduced by Reps. J.C. Hobbs and T.E. Cooper of new Hanover County. The bills gave the town board authority to adjust taxes, to provide a town treasurer, and to increase the pay of the town board members from $25 to $75 yearly. WILM.NEWS, 3-4-1937.


March 17, 1937
A large group of residents from the section bounded by the canal at the north and Kure‘s Beach at the south, gathered at the town hall at Carolina Beach to begin a movement to secure a graded school for Carolina Beach. A committee was elected to seek erection of a school at the resort. The committee included J.W. Davis, W.L. Kure, W.J. Smith and Mrs. H.C. Fields.  The meeting, ‘from the bridge at Snow‘s Cut to Kure Beach’, was called by Mayor R.C. Fergus. WILM.NEWS, 3-18-1937; WILM.NEWS, 3-17-1937.


March 31, 1937 …. Federal Point
H.H. Thomas, managing director for S.O. Chase, owner of Fort Caswell, said that Stone & Webster had estimated that a road and causeway could be constructed from the southern terminus of Route No. 421 at Fort Fisher to Smith‘s (Bald Head) Island at a cost of $125,000.

Mr. Thomas declared that “If the people of this section will only wake up to the fact that Bald Head is the greatest single asset in North Carolina, they will do something toward developing this wonderful island.” WILM.NEWS, 4-1-1937.


April 1, 1937
The Carolina Beach Home Demonstration Club held its monthly meeting at the home of Mrs. George Petty, with Mrs. J.J. Batson as associate hostess. Mrs. Porter Wagstaff conducted the business session. Miss Ann Mason, home agent, presented a discussion on ‘Care of Floors and Woodwork.’ Miss Mason also showed samples of materials for curtains. Committee leaders made their reports, which included Mrs. F.G. Fowler, home beautification; Mrs. J.C. Coleman, clothing, and Mrs. C.A. Witherspoon, food and nutrition. Following an enjoyable social hour, there was an Easter egg hunt with prizes going to Mrs. B.H. Johnson and Mrs. C.M. Martin. There were sixteen members and two visitors present. WILM.NEWS, 4-6-1937.


April 5, 2937
A dozen Carolina Beach lots were sold for taxes at the county courthouse door in Wilmington. Little money changed hands as the taxes, though for a number of years, amounted to small sums. WILM.NEWS, 4-5-1937.


April 7, 1937
The fresh water lake at Carolina Beach was overflowing and threatening to cross the road and block traffic between the beach and the Ethyl-Dow Chemical Company plant. Alderman O.H. Hinton crawled down in the culvert which drains the water from the lake into the surrounding marshlands, and there he found a derelict 16- foot skiff had lodged inside the large pipe. With the exceedingly heavy rainfall of the past few days, the blocked culvert could not carry off the excess water. It was thought that the skiff had drifted in from one of the nearby creeks. WILM.NEWS, 4-9-1937.


April 8, 1937
Voters of Carolina Beach re-elected Mayor R. C. Fergus and three aldermen. The aldermen re-elected were Richard S. Rogers, O.H. Hinton and Horace King. W.G. Fountain, Wilmington oil dealer and Carolina Beach hotel owner was nominated to replace A.L. Mansfield. Names of the nominees were to be submitted to Governor Clyde R. Hoey, who will make the appointments. Alderman Rogers reported the beach town‘s finances in sound condition. The town hall was paid for and all current bills were paid up to date. Alderman Hinton reported tremendous progress in the past two years in grading and surfacing of streets, building, drainage and mosquito control. Carolina Beach was now going through a building boom unprecedented in its history, with new hotels, restaurants, private cottages and a theater.


April 9, 1937
The Civic Club of Carolina Beach gave a benefit bridge party at the Palais Royal Hotel. The funds would be used for civic work on the beach and for the improvement of the recreation park. Mrs. C.M. Murrin was one of the officers. WILM.NEW,S, 4-6-1937.


April 13, 1937 …. Fort Fisher
E. Payson Willard, a bag manufacturer of Wilmington, sought a permit to construct a pier in the Atlantic Ocean about one mile north of Fort Fisher. It was to be 150 feet long and 4 feet wide, with a tee 6 feet wide and 8 f eet long on the outer end. WILM.NEWS, 4-13-1937;4-22-1937.


April 16, 1937
The resort of Carolina Beach was threatened by a disastrous fire when it was discovered that the Carolina Bathhouse, the Webb Café and the Efird Building was damaged by the blaze. The structures were located in the most thickly settled area of the beach.

The Bath house, owned by M.L. Winner, was 60 per cent destroyed, while the Efird Building, housing a soda shop, rooming house and restaurant, and the Webb Café was damaged to a lesser extent. Upstairs over the Webb Café were the living quarters of the owner, J.E. Webb. The fire originated in the upper part of the Carolina Bathhouse used as a rooming house in season. The beach fire fighters were led by Police Chief W.J. Smith, who is also head of the fire department. WILM.NEWS, 4-17-1937.


April 16, 1937
Carolina Beach firemen effected the rescue of five kittens during the near-disastrous blaze at the resort. They were nearly done for by the deluge of water poured into the upper part of the Carolina Bathhouse by the hoses of the firemen. They had been deserted by their mother, their eyes yet unopened, when they were found in the corner of a room that had escaped the hottest part of the flames. They were taken out and placed in the rejuvenating sun that beat down upon the boardwalk, they recovered and were very anxious for some dinner. A widespread search for their ‘chuck wagon’ was initiated. WILM.NEWS, 4-17-1937.


April 16, 1937
Mrs. Jesse J. Batson entertained the junior choir of the Carolina Beach Church, beginners and juniors, with an ‘Airplane and Balloon’ party at the Sea Food Café. Decorations included lots of balloons and hats in the shape of airplanes. Two of the teachers assisted, Mrs. J. Kenneth West and Mrs. J.D. Dickinson. Games were played, refreshments were served, and there were a group of mothers present for the party. There were 50 guests. WILM.NEWS, 4-17-1937.


April 26, 1937 …. Fort Fisher
A petition for a semi-improved road extending from Fort Fisher Beach to ‘The Rocks’, signed by 70 citizens, was presented to the Board of County commissioners to be forwarded to the State Highway and Public Works Commission. The petitioners were not asking for a standardized highway, but were seeking a semi-improved roadway, so that ‘The Rocks’ could be made more accessible for the many anglers from Wilmington and New Hanover County. WILM.NEWS, 4-27-1937.


April 20, 1937
The Civic Club of Carolina Beach met at the Town Hall recently. The president, H.T. Harriss, presided. Mrs. H.B. Strickland was elected secretary to succeed Mrs. D.M. Greer, who had resigned. The plans and drawings of the new tennis courts were discussed and approved. WILM.NEWS, 4-20-1937.


April 21, 1937
Carolina Club -Presents:  Bubbles Becker And His Orchestra
Friday Night, April 23rd at CAROLINA BEACH 55c Per Person – 9 p.m.


April 22, 1937
A bingo party was to be given by the Carolina Beach Civic Club to obtain funds for public improvements. The party was to be held at Sly‘s Bingo Parlor at the Beach. The proceeds would go toward the building of tennis courts and recreation center. WILM.NEWS, 4-22-1937.


April 24, 1937
The formal opening of the pre-season program at the Carolina Club, Carolina Beach, was held with Bubbles Becker and his orchestra furnishing the music for the occasion. The orchestra was well known having played at leading dance places along the Atlantic coast. WILM.NEWS, 4-22-1937.


April 26, 1937
Laurence M. Oakley, of Trenton, N.J., was visiting the Fort Fisher battlefield site, where his grandfather took part in the famous battle. His comments were “It does seem most regrettable that our federal government has not taken the necessary steps to restore and preserve Fort Fisher.” He added “I do not believe that there is any incident of the entire Civil War that stirs the imagination to the same degree as does the story of the blockade runner and the attack and defense of Fort Fisher, both so closely linked one with the other.” His final comment was that if funds are not appropriated soon “the fort will ultimately cease to exist, as constant erosion will finally obliterate all signs of identification.” WILM.NEWS, 4-26-1937.


April 29, 1937
The annual meeting and banquet of the Civic Club Bowling League was held at the Palais Royal Hotel at Carolina Beach. Dr. J.H. Dreher, of the Kiwanis Club, was president of the League. WILM.NEWS, 4-28-1937.


May 10, 1937 …. Fort Fisher
Preliminary work has been started on the 1,000-foot fishing pier which Walter Winner will build out over the Atlantic a short distance north of Fort Fisher. The pier will extend out over a rock bottom and 200 feet beyond the wreck of the MODERN GREECE, a vessel sunk in the battle of Fort Fisher. WILM.NEWS, 5-10-1937


May 10, 1937 …. Kure‘s Beach
W.L. Kure this morning began placing pilings for the 300-foot extension to his 800-foot fishing pier. The work will be completed in mid-July. Kure‘s pier, which will now accommodate 400 fishermen and which he says has often been filled to capacity, will accommodate between 600 to 700 people when the additions are completed. WILM.NEWS, 5-10-1937.


May 10, 1937 …. Fort Fisher
E. Payson Willard, Wilmington bag manufacturer, said he will construct a private fishing pier at his cottage, about a mile north of Fort Fisher some time this summer. Willard said he is now building a cottage on the beach and the pier will be built for the enjoyment of his family and friends. WILM.NEWS, 5-10-1937.


May 17, 1937
The Carolina Beach Chamber of Commerce was organized at the Carolina Club. The elected officers included: Cliff Lewis, chairman; D.C. North, Vice-president; Mrs. J.N. Southerland, secretary, and Don Sullivan, treasurer. D.M. Greer, A.L. Mansfield and James A. Walsh were appointed as an advertising committee, to supervise a complete program of advertisement of the resort city. Robert Plummer, Ed Murrin and W.L. Farmer were appointed to a membership committee. WILM.NEWS, 5-18-1937.


May 7, 1937
The Palais Royal Hotel and Restaurant, recently completed at Carolina Beach, was formally opened for dinner. A cabaret-style dine and dance program was arranged.

The hotel and restaurant was to be operated on a year-around basis. The hotel was of three stories, with a brick façade. On the ground floor was the dining room and a separate grill, with both counter and booth service. The dining room contained an excellent hardwood dance space in the center. The Palais Royal was operated by an owner-partnership, Peter Compos, Henry Omirly and John Kalagis, all of Wilmington, Mr. Compos was the manager, Mr. Omirly the night-manager, and Mr. Kalagis in charge of the kitchen. Special arrangements were perfected to entertain dinner parties, bridge luncheons and business conferences. WILM.NEWS, 5-6-1937.


May 18, 1937
The Carolina Beach Civic Club held their meeting in the town hall. Arrangements were made with the board of aldermen for assistance in clearing and developing the property around the water plant for a park and recreation center. A resolution was made commending Police Officer Woody Hall and another of regret at the death of Mrs. W.L. Farmer were adopted. A committee was named to look into the possibility of transplanting a tree to a place suitable for a Community Christmas Tree for celebrations.

The club voted to lend its full support to the newly organized chamber of commerce. The president of the Civic Club was Dr. A.T. Harris, and Mrs. J.C. Koleman, vice president. WILM.NEWS, 5-19-1937.


May 18, 1937
The Sea Food Café, owned and operated by Mrs. C.H. Batson, was destroyed by fire. The café was located in the heart of the business district of Carolina Beach. Old residents said the building was the oldest structure at Carolina Beach, built about 1886. The loss, included 10,000 feet of lumber placed in the building for repair and renovation purposes. An adjoining building owned by Perry L. Dawson suffered slight damages. The fire started about 3:45 a.m. and a light wind aided the Carolina Beach fire department in confining the blaze to the building. WILM.NEWS, 5-18-1937.


May 28, 1937
The Carolina Beach Theatre, a new motion picture establishment, opened to the public for the first time. It was built recently as a part of Carolina Beach‘s extensive building campaign. The new theatre contained 600 upholstered seats, was air conditioned and equipped with high fidelity sound equipment, and special acoustical equipment. The first feature attraction was ‘God‘s County and the Woman,’ a Technicolor production starring George Brent and Beverly Roberts. WILM.NEWS, 5-28-1937.


June 3, 1937
S.A. Lewis died. Born 10-1-1859. Interment in Federal Point Cemetery. His wife was E.C. Lewis, born 12-3- 1860. death date not given. Interment in Federal Point Cemetery.


July 11, 1937
Carolina Beach entertained another capacity crowd. All accommodations were filled and hotels, restaurants and bath houses did a roaring business. With concessions in full blast and tuneful music all about, the resort was maintaining a perpetual holiday air. The new movie house was playing daily to capacity houses. WILM.STAR, 7-12-1937.


July 17, 1937
Carolina Beach was designated as the ‘swing beach of the South,’ from every entertainment place on the beach issues swing music, and on every corner, in every café, beer parlor, and cottage, young couples may be seen dancing the swing.

Two large orchestras were playing at the night clubs, and in addition to this every entertainment establishment has the ever-popular nickelodeons.
Where the musicians gather for their ‘jam sessions’ with their musical instruments, the dancing couples gather for ‘Jame dancing sessions’ where any and all types of dancing of their own originating may be seen. WILM.STAR, 7-18.1937.


July 18, 1937
C.M. Murrin, of Carolina Beach, advertised ―For Quick Sale– Two 5-room Cottages with bath and twelve 50 foot lots on Carolina Beach fronting 200 feet on road and 200 feet on Yachting Basin when finished. WILM.STAR, 7-18-1937.


July 19, 1937
Mayor R. C. Fergus announced that the Southern Bell Telephone Company assured him that a dial telephone system would be installed at the resort within the next year. At the present time there were only pay stations at the resort. The mayor said that the promised service would be reasonable with an estimated cost of $1.75 per phone per month. The dial system when installed at Carolina Beach would be the first of its kind in New Hanover County. WILM.STAR, 7-20-1937.


July 19, 1937
Mayor Fergus announced plans for the purchase of a 700-gallon triple combination pumper fire engine to bring Carolina Beach‘s fire fighting equipment up to date. Bids were to be received until July 27th at 8 p.m. The town had recently constructed a new fire house and Mayor Fergus said the new equipment would bring the fire fighting apparatus up to date and make it adequate for handling fire hazards at the resort. WILM.STAR, 7-20-1937.


September 15, 1937
Carolina Beach‘s new fire station was dedicated with a barbecue supper attended by beach officials and guests. A.L. Mansfield, former beach alderman, presided as master of ceremonies.

The new building was a neat two-story frame structure, with a truck floor level with the ground and sleeping quarters above. A new fire engine ordered by the beach municipality was to be delivered soon. During the crowded summer months, Wilmington fireman were to spend their vacations in the new beach fire station, giving the resort the benefit of professional fire fighting knowledge. WILM.NEWS, 9-16-1937.


September 17, 1937
Fire gutted a two-story frame dwelling owned by W.J. Smith, Carolina Beach fire and police chief, at the resort. The cottage was occupied by Hugh Scarlett, a Durham, N.C. attorney, and his family. They escaped, though they were asleep when the flames were discovered shortly after 1 A.M. The cottage was built early this season and was valued at $2,000. The flames apparently started in the kitchen but the cause was not determined. A small house to the rear was also damaged. WILM.NEWS, 9-17-1937.


October 26, 1937
Dr. John T. Hoggard, chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Education, made a promise to the Carolina Beach PTA, that the contract for the proposed Carolina Beach School will be let “around the first of the year.”

Dr. Hoggard was at Carolina Beach attending a ‘Father‘s Night’ banquet in the Royal Palms Hotel. Approximately 100 residents of the resort, members of the newly-formed PTA and guests attended the banquet. WILM.DISPATCH, 10-27-1937.


November 9, 1937
Definite steps were made towards the building of a road along the Cape Fear River to points beyond Carolina Beach following a preliminary survey made by R.G. Browning, chief location engineer of the State Highway Department. (Now called River Road) WILM.STAR, 11-10-1937.


November 10, 1936
Believed to be the first in North Carolina, an application for the establishment of a highway emergency Red Cross first aid station at Carolina Beach, was forwarded to the national headquarters of the American Red Cross. The station was to be located, after approval, on the boardwalk at Carolina Beach in the town hall. The site had been inspected by Red Cross representatives and found satisfactory. The workers who were to administer first aid at the station had just completed a 15-hour course under J.N. Thomas, a Red Cross trained instructor. The establishment of this station was in line with a new phase of Red Cross work begun in October, 1935. Since that time 867 highway emergency first aid stationed had been established by chapters in 45 states. WILM.NEWS, 11-9-1936.


December 8, 1937 …. Fort Fisher
Erosion brought to light the remains of what was thought to be another long lost soldier of the battle of Fort Fisher.

Walter Winner, a resident of Fort Fisher who had been active for years seeking federal aid in preventing erosion at the historic site, discovered the remains.

Erosion at the fort site during the fall and winter had not been quite as bad as in the past, but most of the ocean face of the fort had been washed away.  A funeral was held for ‘Jimmy Rebel and Jimmy Damyank’ on December 20, 1937 during the reburial of the remains under the direction of members of the Cape Fear Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Rev. J.A. Crowley, a Presbyterian pastor, officiated. WILM.NEWS, 12-8-1937; 12-21-1937.


December 10, 1937
The proposed ‘River Road’ plans were shown for the first time in in Wilmington, which were reviewed by the district highway engineer. The plans were prepared by the State Highway and public Works Commission. The proposed ‘riverside’ drive was to be about 8.5 miles long, lying about 1,200 feet from the Cape Fear River‘s eastern bank. It was located “as near the river as possible.”

The numerous bays, swamps and small creeks along the river made location of the road nearer the bank impracticable. Views of the river could be had at various points. The proposed route began at the southern end of Tyler Street in Sunset Park and ran southward along the river and then curving eastwardly into the Carolina Beach Road at Oak Hill community. Other variations of the proposed route were to be offered. WILM.STAR, 12-10-1937.


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