The Historical Society of Topsail Island featured a presentation from local residents who took us back in time to the mid 1940s as they reminisced about the early days in Topsail Island. In fact, another local author and publisher, BJ Cothran, published a book in 2009 Topsail Island (Then and Now), which includes a collection of photographs dating back to the 1930s.


 



The Historical Society of Topsail Island featured a presentation from local residents who took us back in time to the mid 1940s as they reminisced about the early days in Topsail Island. In fact, another local author and publisher, BJ Cothran, published a book in 2009 Topsail Island (Then and Now), which includes a collection of photographs dating back to the 1930s.



Pat Braxton said her parents bought two lots and had a house built all for $900 in 1949. Bobby Humphries remembers very few houses, no signs of civilization, no docks, piers, bridges or paved roads, only concrete towers and gravel roads. The only way you could get to the island was by pontoon boat, and the tide had to be just right. Cecile Broadhurst remembers summers on Topsail Island as a child on Gold Hole (believed to have been the site of Blackbeard’s buried treasure), and having to walk over three and four sand dunes just to get to the ocean. Meryl Morris remembers how all the people were so compatible, there were no age barriers, and they all hung out. Together they used to crab, fish, dig for clams, even water ski. They ate what they caught, as there were no “markets” on the island. A farmer would come by in his truck once a week to deliver vegetables and take orders for fresh chickens.



Island history describes salt production, a blockade runner, a four-year dig for Spanish gold, prominent pirates, an antiaircraft training camp (Camp Davis), a 30-year-old secret US Navy program (Operation Bumblebee) and, of course, a fishing village.



From the late 1940s to the present day, Topsail Island boasts a friendly, family-oriented style of beach living. There are about 500 fortunate year-round residents and about 7,000 homes for the seasonal tourists. One thing is abundantly clear: Topsail Island is loved by Islanders and visitors alike for its quiet, small town charm and seclusion. One local writer refers to it as “Mayberry by the Sea”, and when you visit, you will know why.



The Historical Island of Topsail Island welcomes guests and new members. Visit topsailislandhistoricalsociety.org for more information.



For information about the Missiles and More Museum or if you would like to volunteer as a Docent, contact Director Rose Peters at 910-328-2488.



The next luncheon meeting will be held on May 9 at 11:30 a.m. Scholarships will be awarded and new officers will be installed.