A New Park for Carolina Beach

Walk, Stroll, Saunter, Picnic, Birdwatch, Commune with Nature, Discover Little Local History

Brought to you by the long, hard work of the staff of the Town of Carolina Beach, The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society, and a dedicated group of historians and local history enthusiasts, the Joseph Ryder Lewis, Jr. Civil War Park will be officially dedicated on Thursday February 11, 2021, at 2:00 pm.

This new “passive” park will provide a quiet “off the beaten path” area for locals and visitors to get away from the hustle and bustle of the beach and spend a little time in the native natural setting of our original local Eco-system.

The new park is sandwiched behind the Dollar General and Sherwin Williams buildings on N. Lake Park Blvd. and the houses on Lighthouse Drive, which runs off of St. Joseph Street. The ten acre wetlands include boardwalks over local marshes was well as a gravel trail around the best preserved remnants of the earthen fortifications built along the “Sugar Loaf Line of Defense.”

Built by Confederate troops in late 1864 these defensive trenches were meant to defend the road to Wilmington if Union Forces were to ever take Fort Fisher.

The park can best be accessed from the gravel driveway just to the north of the Publix Grocery Store. It’s parking lot can be seen behind the large pond near the ABC store.

The Land: A Little History

The land that the park is now situated on was originally called the old Burriss Homeplace. The Burriss family were among the earliest settlers of the Federal Point area and owned a farm that encompassed much of this land throughout the nineteenth century. As late as the 1990s the stone fireplace of the original Burriss home could still be seen on the land, though is it gone now.

In 1907 Ryder Lewis’s grandparents bought about 150 acres of the Burriss land lying between the highway to Wilmington and  the Myrtle Grove Sound. As Ryder says in an oral history done by the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society, And the deed says they paid $400 for it and it was in the woods, in the jungle.  Right where our house was, was in the woods. 

My daddy had the house built from his World War II bonus or something. I think it was a $1000 and that pretty well closed the house in.  So I was probably 2 or 3 years old when we actually moved into the house.  That was part of the Lewis estate.  My grandparents, on the Lewis side deeded out parcels of land to their various children.” 

 According to Ryder, the family farmed sweet potatoes, collards and watermelons, primary for family use. At that time they were “out in the country” as Ryder remembers:  “My parents would not allow my brother and I, who was a couple years younger than I am, to go down there and roam around that beach, or to go up on the Boardwalk.  That’s when we were young, unless we were escorted.  You  see, a lot of this stuff that went on, well like, Jimmy Davis and Milton Warwick, who came along later than I did, they were right there in town where they were involved in everything.  I was in the country.  And we had a big garden out back of our house, pole beans, sweet potatoes, pig pen.  We had hogs, milk goats and milk cows and we did have a nanny goat.

We had a pump out in the yard, one you went out and pumped up and down, that’s where we got our water. We had an outhouse out back, that was your bathroom and we had a Sears and Roebuck catalog in there. I don’t remember when we got power.  I was probably 6 or 7 years old, or a little older, when we got electricity along there.  We finally got a well with an electric pump on it, but we had the outhouse as long as I was growing up. 

 “Let’s put it this way…I told you my grandparents, in about 1907, bought about 150 acres.  And they deeded out quite a bit of it to their different children.  But when they died, there was still 30 or 40 acres of it that had not ever been distributed.  And furthermore, I’m one of the few people in a big family that was able to go to college and get a good job. 

 The old shopping center down here, coming from 421 all the way to St. Joseph’s Street, belonged to two Aunts.  One of the Aunts had the old, original Lewis home and she had no income.  She was an old maid and the county was giving her something like $30 a month and putting a lease on the property.  So I told Aunt Rose that I’ll buy that place, I’ll take your house, and I’ll pay off that lease and I’ll put lights, electricity in the house, which they didn’t have, and I’ll take care of you as long as you live if you’ll deed this property to me.  Well, she trusted me enough, she did it.  So that was about 8 acres.

 The other Aunt, she had 8 or 9 on out to the highway.  I got hers in a similar way.  I bought it.  And that’s where part of this house was sitting.  And, that’s the way I got started in getting some of the Lewis property.  Then they were getting close to building that bridge up here and they moved the highway over some and they got on Lewis property.  A good bit of it was on undivided property.  So they wanted the Lewis’s to come up with one person to deal with the state.  Well, all my old uncles and aunts and my old cousins agreed that I should be the one to represent them.  So I did.”

 In the 1960s, as Ryder’s Aunts and Uncles got older and property taxes on the jointly held property went up, the family attempted to divide the land. Unfortunately, “And the thing about it was there were ten children and one had had 7 children, 2 of the ones holding out on me were 1/7th and one, his mother, had turned hers over to him, so he had a tenth.  So I had 1/10th, 1/7th and then there was another 1/7th.  She had given it to her sister so she had 2/7ths of a tenth!  Well, they couldn’t figure out how to divide it, so then they finally said they’d sell.  The tenth cost me $500 and then one of ‘em got a seventh of $500 and another one got two-sevenths of $500.  And that’s the way I wound up with roughly 50 acres of land.”

Then in the late 1990s Ryder donated a portion of the remaining land to the Town of Carolina Beach: “I gave the town a little over 10 acres of land, that most of it was classified as wet land, and I thought they were going to make a park area.  (But they wound up, it’s only a 100 ft. on the highway and goes back 400 feet.) That area is where they put those ponds out there on the highway.”

 

 

Oral History – Joseph Ryder Lewis Jr.

January, 2021 Newsletter

Joseph Ryder Lewis, Jr. Civil War Park to be Dedicated

Thursday February 11, 2021

2:00 PM

(North of the Publix — old Federal Point Shopping Center)

 

A committee of historians and citizens dedicated to our local history, along with the staff of the Town of Carolina Beach have completed the preservation and development of the Joseph Ryder Lewis, Jr. Civil War Park located around the remnants of the fortifications of the “Sugar Loaf Line of Defense.”

This project was made possible by the Town of Carolina Beach, The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society and its volunteers, along with the following contributors: the Joseph Ryder Lewis, Jr. family; staff from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Fort Fisher State Historic Site, and Underwater Archaeology Branch; Brunswick Civil War Round Table; Cape Fear Civil War Round Table; Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Foundation, Milford, Ohio; the Island Gazette; Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr.; Daniel Ray Norris/Slapdash Publishing; and  SEPI Engineering and Construction.

 

From the President – January, 2021

By Elaine Henson

The Kupboard Grocery, Part I

Happy New Year!  We sincerely hope, with help from the vaccines for Covid 19, that we will be able to meet in person at our History Center sometime in 2021. As of now, we are open on Fridays and Saturdays, 10am to 4 pm.

Our topic, this first month of 2021, is the Kupboard Grocery at 901 Carolina Beach Avenue, North. This rare piece of commercial real estate is amid blocks of residential property on the North End of Carolina Beach. According to the New Hanover County Tax records, it was built in 1940 which makes 80 years that it has sat between the ocean and canal on the corner of Carolina Beach Avenue North and what is now Sandpiper Avenue.

The first owner was Cornelius M. Kelley, also known as Neal.  He and his wife, Mattie, opened the store as Kelley’s Kupboard carrying a full supply of meats and groceries.   Mr. Kelley was an industrial inspector for the Hartford Insurance Company so he depended on his wife and three children to help with the store during the week, especially during beach season. The  Kelley family lived over the store.

One of his children, Ann Kelley, later married James “Jim” Watters who grew up at Kure Beach and was first cousin to Punky Kure who always called him “Son”.  Ann was a tomboy and spent a lot of her summer days at Kure when she wasn’t working at the Kupboard.  She tagged along with Jim Watters, his two brothers, Robert and Hall Watters, and Punky Kure. Eventually, the Kelleys sold the Kupboard and moved to town. Ann and Jim enjoyed 60 years of marriage until her death in May of 2006 at age 81.  The photo on the right shows Ann and Jim in front of Punky’s parents’ house on K Avenue, Kure Beach, in the late 1940s.

The second or possibly third owners were Mary and Albert Newkirk from Warsaw, North Carolina.  The Newkirk’s owned it in the 1950s.  The post card that headlines this article shows the Kupboard during the Newkirk’s ownership.  That is his Cadillac Sedan DeVille parked beside the store. You can see the double screen doors on the front and another door on the side with the living quarters above.

Our late member, Eddie Capel, had fond memories of Mr. Newkirk as his family spent summers just two houses south of the Kupboard. Eddie collected glass soft drink bottles and took them to the Kupboard to collect the 2 or 3 cents deposit on each bottle. In those days, bottles were returned to a store and were picked up by the delivery man and taken back to the bottling plant to be sterilized and reused. Kids could make spending money for candy and such by collecting bottles and returning them. Eddie’s sister, Martha Breslin, remembers that one summer she helped Eddie fill his wagon several times with bottles enough to buy their mother a birthday present.  They bought her a new lamp with their earnings.  Martha also remembers getting phone calls from their home in Apex, NC, at the Kupboard.  The caller would hold on while someone ran down to their cottage and got them to the phone. She said that the Kupboard was a center of activity for the north end, not just a place to shop for groceries.

In 1954, the Kupboard survived Hurricane Hazel with some minor damages.  The day after Hazel hit on October 15, 1954, Luke Wilson Lancaster and his wife, Jessie, bought a house just 3 doors south of the Kupboard. They bought it from Glenn Tucker on a handshake and, most likely, a deposit since the sale was not recorded at the New Hanover County Register of Deeds until April 2, 1955.  The Lancasters would become the next owners of the Kupboard. 

Mrs. Jessie Lancaster stands on the front porch of what is now 815 Carolina Beach Avenue North on October 16, 1954, the day after Hazel. 

Next month: Kupboard Grocery, Part II

 

Society Notes – January, 2021

Harry Edell Oakes, III

January 7, 1943 – November 17, 2020

Our Society says a sad farewell to longtime member and staunch supporter, Harry Oakes. Harry, a longtime employee of the Town of Carolina Beach, is credited with the idea of turning the “new” Town Hall’s gazebo into our History Center in the late 1990’s.

As the story goes, Leslie Bright was talking to Harry about the difficulties the Society was having finding a regular place to hold meetings. Harry suggested we request the town allow us to finish the old Blockade Runners of the Confederacy Museum picnic shelter (gazebo) into a building we could use for a nominal rent on a long term lease. As they say “history was born.” Harry will also always be remembered as “one of the best Shaggers on the Island.”


Society Notes

By Darlene Bright, History Center Director

  • The History Center had ­­­­­­­­­­­­­42 visitors.
  • The UDC held their monthly meeting at the History Center.
  • Welcome to new members: Mark and Foy Yates, Carolina Beach and Gerald Hall, Kure Beach.

Plaqued Buildings – Federal Point, NC

Structures that are more than fifty years old are eligible for a plaque. To apply for your property see the Guidelines and Application link at the end.

[Tap/Click on any image.]

Blair-Brady House

 

Blair-Brady House
1001 Carolina Beach Ave. North, Carolina Beach

The house was probably built and occupied in 1935 by Walter H. Blair who was mayor of Wilmington for 5 terms 1926-1937. He was the first town clerk of Carolina Beach and also served Postmaster at Carolina Beach for a time.

The property was the home of a series of Blair family members until 1954 when it was sold to A.C. Green, Sr. and his wife Aileen.  In July 1974 it was sold to Gladys and Edward Craft of Wrightsville Beach. In February 1973 Jocelyn and Harry Lockamy purchased the property.

 


 

Burnett Cottage
404 Carolina Beach Avenue North, Carolina Beach

 

The Lot was purchased (along with nine other lots) 1926 by John Henry Burnett.  Ownership was from the right-of-way on Carolina Beach Avenue North to the high-water mark of the Atlantic Ocean.

The house was built in 1936. It was rebuilt in 1955 after Hurricane Hazel. Heating and air conditioning were added in 1966. The porch and roof were remodeled in 1987. There was an alteration of windows in 1997.

Burnett Cottage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Carolina Beach Community Church (Now: New Hope Memorial Baptist Church)
Was at: 200 S. Lake Park Blvd. (Now at corner of Cape Fear Blvd. and 4th St.)

Carolina Beach Community Church

Called by many the “Mother Church” of Carolina Beach, Carolina Beach Community Church began in the private vacation home of Mrs. S. C. Ogburn of Winston-Salem, NC around 1930.  One of the few residents of Carolina Beach, Mrs. S. C. Ogburn, described as a good woman, began opening her house on Sundays for Sunday school.  First, friends and relatives attended Sunday school, and eventually, others of various denominations came together creating a need to expand.  This cause interested people to immediately join her in a cooperative effort to build a building for a Community Sunday school in that no one denomination was sufficiently strong enough to do this alone.

Although the exact date was not recorded, a lot was acquired on 4th and Cape Fear Boulevard and a shelter was erected.  Early growth here in Sunday school work was gradual, but consistent.  The structure was enlarged several times within the next few years as the Town’s growing population forced it.  By 1937 there was a feeling that a larger, more comprehensive, and adequate church program for the community was needed.

Around 1940 a church was built with ministers from many denominations holding services.  With such a great influx of people at the onset of World War II, a number of various denominations splintered off to form their own church to accommodate them.

The Carolina Beach Community Church was formally organized as a Baptist Church in 1942.  The church has continued to operate through the years and changed the name to Hope Memorial Church on September 5, 1990.


 

Carolina Beach Drug Store
140 Harper Ave., Carolina Beach (SE corner of N. Lake Park and Harper)

“Carolina Beach Drug Store was the central focal point in the community for citizens as well as tourists, with a soda fountain and snack bar to accompany the pharmacy and a rooming house upstairs.  Informal meetings over a cup of coffee or sandwich allowed citizens to catch up on the news or air their opinions.

The bus stopped there, you could pay your light bill, and even receive advice from the resident pharmacist.” “…The two-story stucco building, with a distinctive, castle like parapet around its roof, was much more than a drug store…for years it doubled as Carolina Beach’s bus station.

During World War II, a bus stopped daily to ferry local workers to the shipyard in Wilmington…Besides soft drinks, the drug store boasted a “complete and modern restaurant” with seafood and other entrees according to a 1948 Star-News advertisement. Star News Article 2/24/04 


  

Carolina Beach Elementary School
400 S. 4th St., Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach Elementary School

The Carolina Beach School is a one story Spanish style, wood frame, brick veneer structure, originally constructed in 1938, containing four (4) classrooms and an auditorium, with additions in 1943, 1953, 1975, 1987, and 1989 to add more classrooms, a cafetorium, 1 office, media center, and covered canopy.

Carolina Beach Elementary School

The building has a hip roof with asphalt shingles, and has a large playground area to the rear of the building.  Double-loaded corridor on the interior and the cafetorium has a stage.

The school is located in a neighborhood setting.

 

 

 

 


 

Colonel Burnett House

Colonel Burnett House
7413 Carolina Beach Rd., Wilmington

The land was bought in April 1893 from the Southerland family by Thomas Burnett.  At his death in 1935, the land was divided among his heirs.

In 1939 Colonel Charles Henry Burnett built the current structure as a family home.  It remained in the family until 1978.

 

 

 


 

Immaculate Conception Chapel

Immaculate Conception Chapel
806 St. Joseph St., Caroline Beach

The Immaculate Conception Chapel is owned by Michael and Kathie Winseck.  The building, erected circa 1939, is significant for its social history as well as the structure.

Marion L. Winner of Carolina Beach donated the property to Bishop Eugene J. McGuinness in 1938 to build a chapel.  The Winner family was the first Catholics to make their permanent residence in Carolina Beach.

The building still standing was a rectory and four room dwelling. Today the building was the Checkered Church gift shop until 2020.


 

Joy Lee Apartments
317 Carolina Beach Ave. N., Carolina Beach

Grover Lewis, a masonry construction worker, together with his family, moved to Carolina Beach from High Point, North Carolina in March, 1941.  Mr. Lewis went to work for the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company and moved his family into the Marianette Cottage on Carolina Beach Avenue, North.  When the lot next door was filled in by a storm in the fall of 1944, the Lewis’s decided to purchase it.  Mr. Lewis immediately began designing the Joy Lee Apartment Building.  Long shipyard hours made it necessary for Mr. Lewis to hire William Bordeaux to build the basic concrete block structure.

Joy Lee Apartments

After purchasing a hand operated cement block press, the Lewis family turned out two blocks at a time, approximately fifty per evening.  Named the Joy Lee Apartments after Mr. Lewis’s daughter, the completed duplex was rented to vacationers.  Each apartment consisted of a living room, a dining room, a kitchen with an ice box, 2 bedrooms, and a central hall.  Considered luxury units at the time, they came equipped with private porches and private baths with hot and cold running water.

After the war, Mr. Lewis returned to masonry construction work.  Mrs. Lewis ran a large rooming house as well as the Joy Lee Apartment Complex.  Due to popularity of the Apartments, the Annex was constructed in 1948.

The Joy Lee Apartment building and Annex are a unique combination of several popular architectural styles, including Mission Style, Art Deco, Art Moderne, as well as Prairie Style.  Over the years the family has modified the Apartment Building several times, including a major renovation in 1976 when spiral cement stairs to the upper sundeck, and an in-ground pool were added.


 

Kure Cottage
301 Atlantic Ave., Kure Beach

Kure Cottage

The Kure Cottage, located at 301 Atlantic Street, Kure Beach, is owned by Mr. Terrell Webster.  The building circa 1916, is significant for the social history of its owners as well as the structure.

The cottage was built by Lawrence C. Kure and was one of the first cottages to be built in the Kure Beach area.  Mr. Kure also built the first fishing pier in Kure Beach.  Lawrence Kure was the founder of Kure Beach.

 


 

Loughlin House
1 North Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach (Now Havana’s – NW corner of N. Lake Park and Harper.)

Loughlin House

This bungalow style residence was built by A. W. Pate, president of the New Hanover Transit Company.

Loughlin House

In addition to being president of the New Hanover Transit Company, Mr. Alexander W. Pate was also in the hotel business. He owned a hotel in Florence, SC, two in Augusta, Georgia, and decided to build one in Carolina Beach – the Greystone Inn.

A. W. Pate and his wife, Eleanor, owned the property from June 1916 until November 6, 1925.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Lewis-Lyerly House

Lewis-Lyerly House
208 S. 4th St., Carolina Beach

Cinderblock with stucco, single family dwelling built in 1945.

Similar to other structures built in this period, though very few remain.

 

 

 

 

 


 

McCabe-Lancaster House

McCabe – Lancaster Cottage
815 Carolina Beach Ave. N.

On June 20, 1935, Vista and Harry Lee McCabe purchased lots 8 and 18 in block 14 of Federal Point Township.  According to tax records, they built a home on lot 8 in 1940.  The next year they sold the property to William and Estelle Upchurch.

Over the next 14 years, the property changed hands seven times.   Luke and Jessie Lancaster bought it on April 2, 1955, and kept the property until their deaths in 1991 and 1992.  In January of 2003, the Lancaster heirs sold the property to Charles and Elaine Henson.

 


 

The Ocean Plaza

The Ocean Plaza
Was at 200 Carolina Beach Avenue N., Carolina Beach. (Now Hampton Inn & Suites Oceanfront)

The Ocean Plaza building, erected circa 1946, is significant for its Art Moderne style and dominant location in the center of the Carolina Beach Business District.  Two stories covered approximately 5,000 square feet with a third story covering approximately 1,000 square feet.  One front corner was rounded.  It was constructed with stucco over a double course of cement block.

Located at the north end of the Carolina Beach boardwalk, it served as an entertainment center for people living in the area, as well as tourists who came to the beach in the 1940’s.  Big bands played in the building when that form of entertainment was popular.  Celebrities such as Bill Grassick, Bo Diddly, Chubby Checker and others played there.  Known to the community as the birth place of the Shag dance and Beach Music.


 

Pfaff-Cohen Cottage

Pfaff-Cohen Cottage
212 Atlanta Ave., Carolina Beach

In the 1920s, when Claude Pfaff was working for the Realty Bond Real Estate Company, the firm often sent its salesmen on vacation to Carolina Beach so that they would come back and tell their customers how wonderful the beach was – and, hopefully, sell more lots at Carolina Beach.

Pfaff-Cohen Cottage

In the early 1930s, Claude built a cottage near Carolina Beach Lake as a birthday present for Atha, who named it “The Lullaby” for the choruses of frogs that sang around it at night.

Often during WWII, the Pfaff family ended up sharing the small cottage with a family of strangers. Because of the shortage of housing in the Wilmington area, property owners were required to rent out their houses in order to provide the families of the enlisted men due to ship out soon a week at the beach before they were separated. Only office space was exempt, so Atha designated one room an office.


 

 Price Cottage
405 N. Carolina Beach Ave.

Price Cottage

The cottage was built in 1939 by a local contractor of Wilmington, Mr. Hines (he also built a dining room table that remains in the cottage today.) It was built for Grover Cleveland Price and his wife Tessie Sutton Price for recreational purposes for fishing and family gatherings. Materials were shipped in by rail; the structure is totally wooden.

When the cottage was built, all the area was marshland. During the Civil War, there was a confederate gun battery, the Half Moon Battery, across the canal. During the dredging of the canal, lots of cannon balls were unearthed.

Price Cottage

During World War II, the cottage was rented for a couple of years by Hazel King who fed and housed workers from the shipyard in Wilmington. There were 23,000 shipyard workers, so they had to stay where they could. The apartment slept three shifts of ship builders at eight hour intervals. Therefore there was always someone sleeping there sharing the cost. The children of the house spent their time looking for German spies on the beach. There was a blackout with black shades on the windows because of German U-boats offshore.

After the war and the death of her husband Tessie ran the Arlington Inn (named after the name of the street she lived on in Rocky Mount, NC as a rooming house for income to raise her family.

The cottage has weathered all hurricanes including Hazel, which after Hazel the asbestos shingles were overlaid on top of the wood. Hurricane Diana did some damage that required repairs as well as Fran, but structurally it survived with roof repairs, porch and awning repairs. Hurricane Fran came over the berm and up three feet inside the apartment.


 

Sly-Walton House
500 Cape Fear Blvd. Carolina Beach

Sly-Walton House

Monty A. Sly built this house for his family in 1938.  Monty, his wife and his two daughters lived in the downstairs area of the house and he rented out the upstairs rooms during World War II to young wives whose husbands were in the service overseas.  Said to be the first brick house on Carolina Beach, the Dutch colonial style has a gambrel roof with flaring eaves.

At the death of Mr. Sly’s wife, Edith, he sold the house to his daughter Lois Walton.  Mr. Sly lived in the upstairs until his death in 1957.  It remained the home of Lois Walton until her death in 2013.

 

Guidelines and Application to Plaque a Structure – Federal Point, NC

(Updated on 11/14/2020)