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Folklore and Figures
Kure Beach, NC
By Gilbert Alphin
TEXT COPYRIGHTED 2003,2004,2006,2007,2008, 2009,2010,2011,2012.2013,2014,2015.

  • On April 5, 1947 Fort Fisher Sea Beach was incorporated as Town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. Named after Hans Kure. Kure Beach is located approximately 18 miles south of Wilmington, North Carolina. In 2000, its yearly full time population was 851 residents and has an estimated in flux of 2,500 visitors/day during the months of May, June, July, August and October.
    Beach waters are bath able from late May thru mid September. Fishing is year round. Its peak season is from late September thru Thanksgiving. Spots, Flounder, Virginia Mullet, Red Drum, Trout plus many other fish are caught from the shores of Kure Beach.

    The Name “Cape Fear” is associated with the many ship wrecks of the 16 and 17th century along the dangerous shoals which extend from the mouth of the Cape Fear River 25 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean. The earliest Spanish explores faced pirates, hurricanes and isolation. Local maritime history reports the first ship built in the new world was the result of a Spanish Galion striking the shoals and sinking. Its surviving crew is reported to have built the first ocean-going ship in the new world.

    Along with pre-colony history, the area is comprised of much Civil War History. Fort Fisher known as the Gibraltar of the South, offered protection for Blockade Runners. These small, fast, light color gray ships would travel from Nassau and other British colonies to deliver war supplies through the Cape Fear River & Buzzard Bay via New Inlet in exchange for cotton, tobacco and other agricultural products. Two battles, December 25, 1864 and January 5, 1865 each hosted the Largest Navel /Sea and Land Battle to that time. 10,000 sailors and Marines and 57 ironclad warships were ordered by President Abraham Lincoln to storm the beach here and take Fort Fisher. Fort Fisher was the last outside link for European supplies for the confederacy. General Robert E. Lee surrendered three months after the fall of Fort Fisher. Not until Gualala Canal and the Normandy Invasion of World War II had mankind seen such a battle. Fort Fisher State Historic Site host many artifacts, grounds to walk on and picnic areas. During December and January of each year, Christmas social parties and reenactment battle maneuvers are open to the public. Other activities are held throughout the year.

    In the 1920s,
    Lawrence Kure, son of Hans Kure, built the FIRST pier on the east coast of the United States. Built with pine trees the pier lasted one whole year. Today his great-grandson Mike Robertson maintains the location with a brand new pier. 
    (The unwelcomed hurricanes, Ms. Bertha and Ms. Fran of 1996, knocked down the 1982 pier.)

    December 11, 1942:  Germany declares war on the United States.
    German U-boats, Wolf Pac class Submarine, being torpedoing merchant shipping all along the eastern shores of the United States including the Carolina's and Fort Fisher Sea Beach. By war's end, more than 200 ships and thousands of lives are destroyed. Several of our residences tell of the many fires of innocent  merchant ships seen just off shore along with tons of debris washed ashore. Since submarines had to operate in waters 60 feet or more to escape detection by air, shipping lanes were less than five miles off our beach. Blackouts were mandated at night for all the homes and business. In 1942, known as Torpedo Alley, the US lost most of its ships to these submarines. Many unofficial accounts from retired Army guest who were stationed here at that time, tell of a German U Boat firing its deck cannon on the now, old abandoned Dow Nickel Chemical Plant. Confirm this, then the US mainland was attacked during World War II. Dow Nickel, 1920-1950's, removed the nickel and lead from seawater. The nickel and lead were used as a lubricant-additive for gasoline, thus making it a possible military target. During World War II, many of the earthen mounds of Fort Fisher were pushed down for the use of a Army airstrip. Locals tell us this landing strip was not primary used for defense but served as a rest stop for "Camp Davis" personal. Camp Davis is located about 45 miles north of Fort Fisher Sea Beach. Larger aircraft working out of Wilmington and other major coastal ports were used to attack U boats. Slowly all U boats were defeated. After WWII, Fort Fisher Sea Beach became a small residential / tourist village.

    During the Cold War, the US Air Force placed an active Radar Base just north of the historic site of Fort Fisher. Two large (apx. 125 feet in diameter, 35 feet off the ground) golf ball shape buildings housed radar equipment that scanned 1,000s of miles of skies above the Atlantic Ocean. Folklore has it that the strength of the radar beams kept the building heights to a maximum of 35 feet in Kure Beach. These Radar domes were removed in 1999. I am assuming, but the FAA had one replaced in 2001. In 1997, the US Army Corp of Engineers dredged and widened the shoreline approximately 80 yards.   

    In 1997 Kure Beach celebrated it's 50th anniversary. There was one  US Post Office, one stop light, one fire department, police station, a Baptist Church, a Lutheran Church, a new fishing pier, four restaurants, two convenient stores/gas stations, two bait n tackle beach shops, two gift/tee shirts shops, a bar room, pier /arcade house, and an arcade building. Also there are a dozen or so family owned motels and beach rentals.

    Many of our guests are third, fourth and fifth generations.  Many happy family vacations have happened here in Kure Beach. Please come and visit.

    April 30, 2005

    Over the past 18 month, Kure Beach, along with other coastal communities, has seen a tremendous land valuation increase. Over the past two years, land values have increase 4-10 times. The shock value of land prices along with a slow local tourist economy has led to the demolition of three long time standing motels, the closing of a third and the forecasted destruction of two more this winter. The “Docksider Motel”, “Sea Shore Motor Lodge” and the “Sand Castle Inn” have fallen to the bull dozer and are now vacant lots. Many of Kure Beach’s longtime residents to have sold their homes and moved into Wilmington. Land marks like the “Kure Beach Fishing Pier”, “Big Daddy’s Restaurants”, "Blue Marlin Beach Shop", "Blue Marlin Apartments" and four other smaller motels are standing tall.

    May 24, 2006 

    Its been a year since we updated this page on our web site. "Trade Winds Motel" has been knocked down and a half a dozen townhouses are now going up in its place. The "Nelsons Motel", constructed in the 1990's, is being disassembled and is scheduled to be carted off by truck. "Fish Tails" and "Sea Gulls Bait 'n Tackle" are closed at this time. 

    Spring  2007:
    Kure Beach, 60 years of age.

    Resource links, click for an articles in the following web pages:

    1. "Island Gazette News Paper"

    2. "Town of Kure Beach's"

    3. "StarNews, Kure Beach's at 60"

    Best wishes!!!

    .... To be continued. Gilbert Alphin

    800-458-5752             7:30 am- 10:30 pm

    Blue Marlin Apartments
    PO Box 101
    Kure Beach, NC 28449