President’s Message – September, 2020

By Elaine Henson

Mrs. High’s Dining Room

Many old timers will remember Mrs. High’s Dining Room on Cape Fear Boulevard. It featured home cooking, great seafood of all kinds, steaks, chops, lots of fresh vegetables, and homemade pies.  It was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Mrs. Adrienne Cole, who taught at Carolina Beach School, would often play the piano during meals.

The dining room was owned by Mrs. Lillie Mae High and her partner, Jesse Croom and his wife, Rose Croom.  Judy Cumber Moore worked the summers of 1957 and 1958 at Mrs. High’s.  She remembers the kitchen help shelling peas and butterbeans also cutting corn off the cob for creamed corn. There was no air conditioning back then, just very large fans on stands placed all around the pine paneled dining room.  She also recalls that Mrs. Croom, who was in a wheelchair, sat at a table up front with Mrs. High or Mr. Croom at the cash register.

Ann and Tommy Greene remember that the Crooms and Mrs. High shared a house next door to his parents on Myrtle Avenue, two blocks from the dining room.  Ann Greene also worked there one summer. After Mrs. Croom’s death in 1965, Mr. Croom and Mrs. High married and lived on the beach until his death in 1978 and hers in 1983.  Mr. Croom and both Mrs. Crooms are buried in the same plot in Oakdale Cemetery.

I also worked at High’s during the summer of 1966 while in college.  By then, Mrs. High and the Crooms had retired and the restaurant was owned by Charles and Martha Haas and renamed High’s Dining Room.  The kitchen was very small and bustling with activity with fans blowing there and in the dining room.  On the way to work, I remember riding over the new high-rise Snow’s Cut bridge that had opened in August of 1962.  It seemed so big and modern compared to the old swing bridge.

Mrs. High’s had started out as a diner next to the Greystone Hotel.  Mr. A. W. Pate built the Greystone Hotel in 1916, on Cape Fear Boulevard.

In the linen, hand colored post card, you can see the Greystone with its roof top dancing porch, just down from the Bame Gas Station and Grocery and Hotel Bame.

In 1939, the Tidewater Power Company was discontinuing the trolley line to Wrightsville Beach and put some of the beach cars up for sale.  Mr. Pate bought one and put it next to the Greystone as a hot dog stand. You can see the white roof of the beach car diner; it is on the far-right edge of the card just above the half blue car.

We don’t know how long the hot dog stand lasted, but we do know that sometime in the 1940s it became Mrs. High’s Diner. Punky Kure recalls eating at the diner next to the Greystone.  Mrs. High and Jesse Croom were partners early on as you can see in the restaurants list from a Sunny Carolina Beach brochure distributed in 1945 to 1949.  It was put out by the Chamber of Commerce.

As business for the diner grew, the restaurant moved into the new cinder block building next door painted green in the card at the top.  Its entrance was under the striped awing and round sign with an arrow pointing to the door.

The Greystone Hotel is above the Mack’s Dime Store with Mrs. High’s to the left of that extending into the flat roof addition.

Soon the cinder block building that housed Mrs. High’s will be torn down to make way for new retail on the bottom and condos on the top.  What’s old is new again.

Next month:  Mr. A.W. Pate and the Greystone Hotel

 

President’s Message – August, 2020

Federal-Point-History.org

By Elaine Henson

This month’s newsletter and my president’s letter are devoted to our amazing website, federal-point-history.org. As you Google search online for our history at Federal Point, Fort Fisher, Seabreeze, Carolina, Hanby, Wilmington, and Kure Beaches, notice that our FPHPS website is always there in the list and often at the top or near the top of the links.

That is due primarily to the dutiful labor of our web site manager, Andre Blouin. He has spent countless hours uploading our archives on the site for everyone to read, use to answer questions, and to do research. Our archives collection is not of much value if it can’t be accessed. Not everyone can come to the History Center and go through our files, but most can search online or get someone to do it for them. We hope this focus on our site will inspire you to use it in the coming months.

This is the 73rd letter I have written for our newsletter since I became president in July, 2014.  Looking back, there are some that stand out because they tell very interesting stories of our history and were such fun to research and write. Hopefully you will go to our website, find them, and click and read.

2017:  January, February, March and April President’s Letters: The Carolina Beach Hotel.  This is a fascinating story of a 1920s beautiful new hotel situated on the property where Carolina Beach School is now.  Its opening was attended by Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil and her husband from the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Its bright future was cut short involving multiple sales, arson, arrests, a trial, and eventually a school on its site.  A must read.

2018: January, February, March and April President’s Letters: The Breakers Hotel.  This is another promising 1920s hotel story; it doesn’t have visitors from a world-famous family, but it does include a relationship with Ethel-Dow, a fire, and even worse, a hurricane named Hazel.  The Breakers was located in Wilmington Beach which was annexed by Carolina Beach in 2000. It was on the site occupied by the Sea Colony Condominiums on South Lake Park Boulevard between North Carolina Avenue and Ocean Boulevard.

2018: May, June, July, August, September, October, November President’s Letters: The Boardwalk

These seven letters tell a condensed story of the boardwalk from its beginning in 1887 to the present. The boardwalk has lasted in some form for over a century and has gone through glory days, being the center of activity, world wars, numerous hurricanes, fires, and some dark days.  But it has survived them all and is enjoying revitalization and renewed popularity.  We hope it will survive this pandemic in the same way, and that next summer it will be better than ever.

Next month:  Mrs. High’s Dining Room on Cape Fear Boulevard

 

 

 

President’s Message – July, 2020

By: Elaine Henson

Andrew Emile “Punky” Kure, Jr.  – Part VI

Punky Kure, Marine

Punky has a lifelong hobby of collecting firearms and reloading ammunition. Growing up, he got his first 22 rifle at age 7. The men in the Kure family all had firearms and taught the younger ones proper use and safety procedures when using them. The men would often have target shooting on the beach, which could never happen today. Punky and his Watters cousins practiced with their 22s.

In the late 1930s, there were only 6-8 houses on all of Kure Beach and Fort Fisher. There were no houses between the Kure Pier and Walter Winner’s place next to the Confederate Monument at the Fort.

Kure Beach was fairly deserted with lots of sand dunes, sea oats and woods, so target practice on the beach was not such a strange thing back then. The boys also went hunting for rabbits, squirrels and other wild life at the beach, bringing home their kill for dinner. At that time there were no deer at the beach, so they would have to go to Brunswick or Pender Counties for deer hunting.

Later, in the Marine Corps, he was one of only three in his company to earn the Expert Rifleman badge which paid an extra $5 a month. He has devoted one room of his home to hold his collection of about 50 guns, pistols, and reloading equipment.  He still enjoys working in the Gun Room and garage on this hobby.

Collecting Civil War artifacts has also been a lifelong hobby of Punky’s.  Again, his father piqued his interest in this pursuit. When he was a boy it was easy to unearth treasures with a trowel or small shovel since they were not far from the top layer of sand.  He would often ride his bike down to the Fort to search, making sure he got back home before dark and supper. As an adult, he began diving on the many blockade runner wrecks right off our Kure and Carolina Beaches, Fort Fisher, and Bald Head finding many treasures. When metal detectors became available, he used those in his searches.

After a lifetime of looking for artifacts, he has an enviable collection. It includes a Confederate rifle, Civil War uniform buttons, belt buckles, bullets (fired and unfired) and bomb shells just to name a few.

This picture above shows a haul of one day’s dig at the Battle of White Hall Ferry site in present day Seven Springs, North Carolina.  He is standing with the pier in the background on land where they would later build the Kure Motel.

At age 93, Punky is pretty much confined to home except for riding his hover round or adult tricycle in his neighborhood. He lives with his faithful cat “Motor Mouth” and some feral cats he feeds outside.

He has two granddaughters, Ashley Danner Frank and Amie Danner Harrison, and five great grandchildren, Danner, Sawyer and Porter Harrison, Hampton and Keegan Frank.  Ashley is his main caregiver making frequent phone calls, visits and driving him for appointments and outings.

Punky is the last living grandchild of Hans and Ellen Kure, founders of Kure Beach and the last to carry the Kure name.

 

President’s Message – June, 2020

By Elaine Henson

Andrew Emile “Punky” Kure, Jr.,   –  Part V

In the early 1970s, before they sold the Kure Motel, Punky and Jean began to build a house for their retirement years.  Their house on Sixth Street South between J and I Streets, was completed in 1973. They moved in that same year.

Punky continued to work in the Chesapeake area of Virginia until 1981 when he retired from commercial flying. After that he had more time to spend on some of his favorite things and hobbies.

He was and still is devoted to Kure Memorial Lutheran Church. His family donated the land for the church and was instrumental in establishing it in the 1950s. Punky and Jean were both charter members before they were married.  He helped build the chapel and later the brick church and was always lending a hand with projects along with ushering. Jean was very active, also.

Up until her death in March of 2018, she prepared the communion for each Sunday service for fifty years. Jean also sang in the choir and knitted chick covered Easter eggs for children and adults alike for many years.

Before the Covid-19 quarantine, Punky didn’t let being home bound keep him from attending services. Weather permitting, he rolled up the street in his hover round most Sundays and hopes to resume that again when it is safe.

Another organization close to his heart is the Fire Department. His father, Andrew, was the first volunteer Fire Chief at Kure Beach, so Punky was involved from an early age. When his father died in 1950, he took over as Fire Chief and remained in that position until he went to Louisiana for fish spotting.

In those days they had volunteer fire meetings in the Town Hall on K Avenue. (It was in a back room of the ABC Store which was in the building to the right of present-day Bud and Joe’s.)

Kure’s first fire truck was donated by Fort Fisher after WWII.  It was a pickup truck with a 200-gallon water tank, a pump, and 200 feet of hose. Since there was no firehouse, it was parked next to Andrew Kure’s home on K Avenue. After the town was incorporated in 1947, fire hydrants were installed over the community.

The volunteer firemen held fish fries, bingo nights, and other fund raisers so they could build a fire station.  By 1954, the four walls were up on Third Street across from Kure Lutheran, but Hazel came along and blew them down. They began again, and this time got the building completed. (It is now used as the Community Center.)

When a fire call came in, they would have to telephone the volunteers at home or at work. There were no cell phones back in those days. Only those who were not working or otherwise occupied at the time were available.  Usually there would be at least two and sometimes as many as ten volunteers show up. Later a fire siren was donated which was installed on the water tower to call in the  volunteers.

Kure Beach Fire Department operated as a strictly volunteer department until Harold Hagler was hired as Fire Chief in 2001. He had been the volunteer chief for over 30 years. The department has full time salaried firemen now, but still has several volunteer firemen. Punky still has an emergency scanner at his home to keep up with fire calls at the beach.

Next Month: Punky Kure, Part VI

 

President’s Message – May, 2020

By Elaine Henson

Andrew Emile “Punky” Kure, Jr.
– Part 4

After the May to September fishing season came the Fall fishing in October and November on the Atlantic Coast. Boats would come from Louisiana and the Gulf region as well as from the Atlantic seaboard. Punky would start at Hatteras on Monday morning moving south about 10 miles a day all week down to Cape Lookout.

He would fly about 20 miles off shore in 200-300 feet of water. They would look for menhaden in schools that could be a mile across.  Seventy-five boats would fish for a week on one school moving south and you  could hardly tell there were any gone. The boats would take the catch to the five or six factories in Morehead City and two in Beaufort that processed the fish.

The fish were larger in the fall and more plentiful since they were migrating south and spawning too. So, fall fishing was more lucrative for all involved.

In 1968, Punky left the Mississippi River and Gulf fishing for fish spotting in the Chesapeake Bay area.  He was based in a little town called Reedville, Virginia, at the mouth of the Potomac River. Reedville didn’t even have a stop light but did have five fish factories and a row of mansions along the shore built by boat captains.

The boats averaged 200 feet in length and were now made of steel and had a refrigerated hold to store the menhaden.  Each boat would have a crew of 30-38 and still used two purse boats and nets to catch the fish.

He spotted fish in the Chesapeake area from May to September and then October and November for fall fishing until 1981 when he retired from fish spotting and flying professionally.

During his fish spotting years, the Kures were managing several rental cottages facing the ocean just south of the Kure Pier. Those cottages had belonged to his Uncle William, also known as Cap, who died in 1948. After Cap died, Punky’s parents managed the cottages and lived in the largest one. Punky and Jean took them over after his parents died.

In the early 1960s, they were sold and moved to make room for the new Kure Motel. In 1963 the first building was finished as pictured in this post card showing the pier in the background.

There were 6 units with 2 bedrooms, kitchen, living room and bath. Punky, Jean and Linda lived in the #1 unit. Later they added a second building that faced the first 6 units.  Then they built a two-story living quarters/office on the front of their lot facing Fort Fisher Boulevard. Downstairs was the office where guests could drive up and check in.  Also, on that floor was their living room, kitchen and Punky’s hobby room where he kept his Civil War finds. Upstairs were three bedrooms and baths. During January through April, when he was home from his fish spotting, Punky was busy with maintenance of the motel.

In 1973 they sold the motel. Later owners added second stories on the first two buildings and have added a third 2 story building.  It is still in operation as South Winds Motel at 109 Fort Fisher Blvd, S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current South Wind Motel

 

Next month, Part V


(read more of “Punky” Kure )

President’s Message — April, 2020

Andrew Emile “Punky” Kure, Jr.  – Part 3

By Elaine Henson

Punky in 1957 with a plane he flew fish spotting near Empire, Louisiana

After Punky and Jean were married in Kure Memorial Lutheran Church in 1952, they settled into a garage apartment his parents owned on K Avenue. It was behind where Bud & Joes is now. During Hurricane Hazel in October of 1954, there were whitecaps in the apartment’s washtub with a storm surge of 17-18 feet.

In 1957, Punky was working at Babcock & Wilcox as a welder making $100-125 a week.  His cousin Hall Waters told him that a company in Louisiana was looking for a pilot to work as a fish spotter.  That job paid $1,000 a week, plus a fish bonus, so Punky left for Empire, Louisiana and got the job.

Empire was on the Mississippi River about 50 miles south of New Orleans. It was a rough and tough little town full of men working on the fishing boats, oil rigs, two fish factories and a Sulfur factory.  He flew over the Mississippi and Gulf of Mexico during the fishing season from May to September, weather permitting.

He would leave at daylight and often land after dark. The planes generally had 2 standard 18-gallon fuel tanks, which meant he had to refuel sometime during the day.

As a fish spotter he worked with a 150-foot big boat and two 40-foot purse boats that were attached much like lifeboats. He would fly 10 to 12 miles offshore to find the fish in water about 40-50 feet deep.

After locating a school of menhaden, he directed the captain of the big boat to the fish by radio.  Then the captain would get the crews and himself into the two smaller purse boats.  Punky would radio them directions to the fish. Once the boats were there, he directed them and the nets around the school of fish.

The purse nets could be the size of one and a half football fields.  Then they dropped the 800-pound Tom weight which closed the net at the bottom. Once the fish were in the nets, the big boat would come to the purse boats and pump the fish from the net into the hold.

The Singing River alongside its two purse boats, 1959

The menhaden, very oily and not good for eating, were processed at two fish factories in Empire.  First, they would press the fish to capture the oil which would be later used in the manufacturing of goods such as paint, varnish, lubricants, margarine and lipstick.  Next the fish were cooked and ground into meal used in chicken feed, dog food, cat food, fertilizer, et

Louisiana was scorching hot with green head horse flies that would eat you alive.  Even so, Jean and their daughter Linda went down and stayed about a month that first summer. The next year he bought a little trailer for them to use which they did for a couple more summers.

After that Jean stayed at the beach running the cottages and Kure Motel behind where Jack Mackerels is now.  He continued working there for eleven years before relocating to fishing the Chesapeake Bay area.

Next Month: Part IV

President’s Message – March, 2020

Andrew Emile “Punky” Kure, Jr.    Part 2

By Elaine Henson

During WWII Punky was a student at New Hanover High School.  The war was much on his mind and he wanted to drop out of school and join the Marine Corps.  It took ardent pleading with his parents but, they finally consented. It was 1944, and he was 17 years old.  He did his basic training at Paris Island, S.C., and Advanced Infantry and Demolition training at Camp Lejeune, N.C. (his favorite). Then he was on to San Diego, California for Anti-Aircraft training.

Punky in his lifeguarding days, 1944, with the Kure Pier in the background.

By 1945, he was stationed on the light cruiser ship, USS Birmingham, in Okinawa, Japan.  On May 7th, the Birmingham, with 38 marines among the 900 sailors on board, was hit by a suicide plane.  Two of the marines and forty-five sailors were killed with 5 missing. Punky suffered a knee injury that would affect him for the rest of his life. After that the Birmingham went to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

Three and a half months later, they were enroute back to Okinawa, when they received word of a cease fire.  After that they sailed to Australia where the lady folks met the ship with open arms to the delight of the war weary men on board.

Then it was back to the states, first to San Francisco and then San Diego.  From there he went home for 30 days leave before a three month stay at the hospital in Camp Lejeune and treatment for his leg injuries before being discharged. Coming home he went back to NHHS graduating in 1946.

He was glad to be back at the beach with his family and friends.  One of those friends was Andy “Hose Nose” Canoutas.  Andy’s parents, George and Lola Canoutas, had the Plaza Grill and Bingo on the K Avenue corner where Jack Mackerels is now.

Punky and Andy got certified at the Red Cross to be lifeguards with Andy being the first one at Kure Beach. In later years, they also went diving together with air tanks and scuba gear on Civil War blockade runners bringing up artifacts.

About this time, Punky decided to take advantage of the G.I. Bill and take flying lessons.  His cousin, Hall Watters, who got his flight training in the Army Air Force during the war, was teaching at Pennington’s Flying Service at the airport then called Bluethanthal Field. Hall and his brother, Robert, were living with the Andrew Kures who were living on the highway which is now Fort Fisher Boulevard. The three cousins rode the Queen City bus to Pennington’s every day and back to the beach.  Punky received a commercial flying license in 1947, but his intention was to just fly for fun.

L-R, Ed Lewis, Bob Orr, Judson George and Punky  at The Carolina Beach Boardwalk photo booth.

Over the next few years he worked as a welder, fisherman, and a security guard at the Loran Station on River Road.  He always had a good time and, as a bachelor he “played the field” with the ladies.  He would take dates down to Fort Fisher and drive out on the Rocks over to Zeke’s Island for his own private parking space.  But his dating days would end in 1952, when he married Jean Ammenhauser in the Kure Memorial Lutheran barracks church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President’s Message – February 2020

By Elaine Henson

Andrew Emile “Punky” Kure, Jr.   – Part 1

Andrew and Betty Kure

Punky Kure was born February 13, 1927, at James Walker Memorial Hospital in Wilmington.  His parents were Andrew Emile Kure, Sr. (b. 3-30-1893- d. 3-3-1950) and Elizabeth Hall Singletary Kure (b. 5-1907- d. 11-28-1958).

When Punky’s grandmother, Ellen Kure, first saw him as a baby she said, “He’s a punky little thing” and the name stuck.

His family lived in Wilmington at 1504 Nun Street and spent summers at Kure Beach. In those days the only road to Carolina and Kure Beaches was the one completed in 1916 which is now called Dow Road.

To get to the Carolina Beach Boardwalk area you had to turn off this road onto Harper Avenue or Cape Fear Boulevard. It continued on to Kure and ended at the Kure Pier. Then it went for a couple of blocks along the ocean to his Uncle Hans Kure’s house, known as Kure Cottage, which is still there and has a FPHPS plaque.

His father worked at the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad as auditor in the freight department.  As a boy his father would take him to see the dredging at Snows Cut during the Intracoastal Waterway project (1929-1932).  He remembers the temporary wooden bridge over the cut being one lane.

He also remembers his mother telling him about her Grandfather George Washington Hall, who served the Confederacy being captured at Fort Fisher during the Civil War and taken to the Federal prison at Point Lookout, Maryland.  The prison was known for its harsh living conditions. Point Lookout was on the Potomac River which flooded the camp at high tides daily.  The prisoners were often fed rats, miraculously he survived and returned home to Elizabethtown.

Summers at Kure Beach in the 1930s were mostly spent with family since the 4 or 5 houses there were occupied by Kures and other relatives. The Andrew Kure’s first home at the beach was a two-story cottage on Third Street about where the gazebo is between Kure Memorial Lutheran Church and the parsonage.  Their second home was at 217 L Avenue on the corner of Third and L Avenue and is still there.  Their third home was in the first block of K Avenue near the corner of the main street now named Fort Fisher Boulevard. Punky had a great time playing with his cousins Son, Hall and Robert Waters.  Their mother Mae Singletary Waters was Betty Kure’s sister.

The Kures cooked on a kerosene stove which was a big improvement over a wood cook stove.  Their ice box was made of oak with a metal lining and held a large block of ice.  “Big Charlie” came daily selling blocks of ice cut to order. Most of their groceries came from stores in Carolina Beach, but “Uncle Frank” and his wife rode the bus from Sea Breeze selling fresh fish, shrimp, crabs and seasonal vegetables.

The only phone was at the Kure Pier; it cost ten cents to call Wilmington which was considered long distance. Since there were only a few houses in those years, electricity was provided by generators.  There was one for the houses and another for the Kure Pier and parking lot. They usually turned them on at dusk and off at bedtime.  Crawford Lewis, who lived just before the Fort Fisher gates, would come up and get the one for the houses started.  Uncle Lawrence handled the one for the pier.

Since the family lived in town during the school year, Punky went to Isaac Bear School for grades 1-8.  It was on Market Street across from present day Brodgen Hall.  He usually walked to school or rode his bike and took lunch until he was old enough to bike home for lunch and ride back to school.  If the family happened to be at the beach on a school day, he rode with beach resident, Mrs. L. W. Fickling, to Wilmington.  She taught at Washington Catlett School which served the Delgado/Spofford Mills area. In 9th grade Punky went to New Hanover High School.

L-R, J.R. Hewett, Robert Waters, Punky Kure, Son Waters, Jr., and Hall Waters at Kure Beach in 1936

 

Next month: Andrew Emile “Punky” Kure, Jr.  Part 2

 

President’s Letter – January, 2020

Kure Beach – K Avenue Business District c. 1947-1953

By Elaine Henson

In 1937, Andrew Emile Kure, Sr. sold 40 acres of his land to the Dow Plant off what is now Dow Road. With part of the proceeds he bought a 1938 Chevrolet specially ordered with a heater and a radio, neither of which came with the car in those days.  His new Chevy was black, the only color available at that time. After the car purchase, he built two houses and a garage apartment facing K Avenue west of the pier.  Each cost $500 to build and $500 to furnish.

In the photograph above, the house with the black roof (3) was where his family lived. There was a living room and kitchen on the right with a bathroom behind the kitchen.  There were two bedrooms on the left and a back porch behind them which was converted into a bedroom for Mary Rose who lived in to look after his wife, Betty Kure, who had heart trouble. Mary was descended from slaves at Orton Plantation.  Her husband, Johnny Rose, built both houses and the garage apartment.  Mary’s little daughter, Shirley, was born while she was caring for Betty and shared the room with her mother.  Betty, dressed in her gown and robe, would walk across the street holding toddler Shirley’s hand to go to the Post Office.  It was located between where the Arcade and Jack Mackerels are now.

Johnny Rose lived in town and would come on the weekends and sometimes weekdays. He was later in a serious brawl and lost his life.  Their son, Emile Rose, is a retired longshoreman at Sunny Point. Andrew Emile Kure, Jr. better known as Punky, saw Emile about a year ago.  Both men noted that they shared the same name and surmised that the Roses named him for the senior and junior A. E. Kures.

The second house was built with the same floor plan as the Kure home, but with an open front porch (4). It was used as a rental home.  Behind that was the garage apartment (7). The downstairs had an efficiency apartment with bedroom, kitchen and living space.  The upstairs had a kitchen/living room, bath, bedroom and a glassed-in front porch.  Punky and Jean Kure  lived there after they were married in 1952.  They put in an oil heater and water heater.  During Hurricane Hazel in October of 1954, there were whitecaps in the apartment’s bathtub.  The storm surge was 17-18 feet.

Next to the rental house were two long buildings, most likely former barracks from Fort Fisher, that remain to this day. The first one (5) had John Flower’s Barber Shop in the back with Clarence Danner’s Fish Market in the front.  Since 1972, it has been Bud and Joe’s Sandbar.

The second one (6) had an ABC Store in the front from 1949 to the mid-1960s and Kure Beach Town Hall in the back. East of those two buildings was the two-story white frame Ocean Inn (8) which had been moved there from its original location across the street after the Great Storm of 1944.

In 1947, Andrew Emile Kure, Sr. built a service station/café on the corner of K Avenue and Fort Fisher Boulevard (1).  Punky Kure ran the station for two years which was on the left end of the building. The Café was on the right end. There was a garage (2) built at an angle to the service station.  It was used for lubes and washing cars.

East of the station, garage, houses, barracks buildings and Ocean Inn were two rows of little guest houses (13) built by Fred Futch. He and Mrs. Futch also had a home among guest houses.  Fred was an Air Raid Warden during WWII and was killed during a black out when a car ran over him.

At the end of K Avenue was the iconic Kure Pier (9) which was built in 1923 by Lawrence Kure, A.E. Kure, Sr.’s brother.  He also served as the first mayor of Kure Beach when it was incorporated in 1947. Across the street was the Smitty’s building (10).  Smitty’s was a restaurant that specialized in seafood, no surprise there. On the end of that building near the pier was Taft Russ’ Tackle Shop.

Number 11 shows three little one story buildings.  The one on the left was the 400 sq. ft. post office.  The next was Fry’s Fundy Café and the third was a small grocery store run by Linwood Flowers at the time.

Building #12 was the Plaza Grill, owned and operated by George & Lola Canoutas.  The Plaza Grill had a restaurant on the end near Fort Fisher Boulevard, which also served as a bus stop for school children and Trailways/City buses. The building also had a Bingo Hall and at Beauty Shop on the main floor with apartments and rooms to rent on the second floor. Their son, Andy Canoutas, is the attorney for the Town of Kure Beach and has held that post for many years.

 

President’s Letter – December, 2019

By Elaine Henson

The Ocean Inn and Café at Kure Beach

Kure Beach founders Hans and Ellen Kure emigrated to Wilmington via Charleston, S.C. from Denmark in the 1880s. They had four sons, William Ludwig, Hans Adolph, Lawrence Christian, Andrew Emile and a daughter, Elene H. Kure Shands.

Their son, Lawrence, who built the Kure Pier in 1923, later built a two-story, white frame building he named the Ocean Inn and Café, south of the pier.  The café took up most of the first floor with rooms to rent on the second floor.  This early linen post card, c. early 1940s, shows the Inn and pier.

In 1944, our region was brushed with an unnamed hurricane referred to as the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944. The worst damage was sustained at the Outer Banks. At Kure, the pier suffered a lot of damage and so did the Ocean Inn.  The pier’s pilings slammed into it and left the building sitting on the beach.

After the storm, Lawrence decided to move it just north of the pier facing the ocean.  He bought the lot from his brother Andrew Emile Kure offering him $5,000 when most lots were going for a few hundred dollars.

Later he built an addition to the Ocean Inn that faced K Avenue across from Smitty’s, the Post Office and Arcade.  It was named the Trading Center which housed three businesses.

On the end near the ocean was Mrs. Davis “Home Cooked Meals featuring her famous ‘Mrs. Davis’ Homemade Hush Puppies’.

Left of her restaurant was the Trading Center where you could buy beachwear, novelties and drug store items.  On the other end was the Fishing Hole Tackle Shop with everything you needed to fish in the surf or on the pier.

Above the businesses were rooms to rent on the second floor of the old Ocean Inn.  The little girl sitting on the bench on the far right is Linda Kure, daughter of A.E. “Punky” and Jean Kure.  Linda later married Clarence “Sonny” Danner whose father had Danner’s Fish Market which was located a couple of doors left of the tackle shop in the card above.