Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
Alice Hoffman has left us many documents, including a 200+ page unpublished autobiography, stacks of ledgers and budgets, shopping lists, remodeling blueprints, inventories of her possessions, letters, legal papers and, finally, a Last Will and Testament.[i] Unlike most modern-day wills, Alice’s is more typical of an earlier age when writing a will was a final opportunity to right perceived wrongs. Hers went through several revisions.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
In the spring of 1967 a young couple on vacation from their work in Washington D.C. were exploring Bogue Banks. She was showing him the area where her Grandfather once had a fishing cabin. Turning off Salter Path Road at Juniper, they drove north on what at the time was a packed dirt road sprayed with tar-oil to keep the dust down. Going left when the road ended at Oakleaf, they proceeded a short way until the road ended at what is today McNeill Park. They left the car parked at the end of the road and explored the construction activity underway. A canal was being built by the use of a crane-type dragline. This inquisitive couple recalls a cofferdam near the canal’s north end to keep Bogue Sound from filling the construction site. Pumps were also operating to remove seepage and naturally occurring water.
This eyewitness recollection sparked my interest to learn more about the building of the Pine Knoll Waterway . . . Oh yes, that couple lives today in Pine Knoll Shores.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Up until the late 1920s, Alice Hoffman was spending freely; travelling widely, including cross-Atlantic and cross Pacific voyages; buying up real estate in New York, Paris and North Carolina; pursuing other business ventures—e.g., logging, raising cattle and dairy farming—in North Carolina while living primarily in France, entertaining, racing horses and gambling. Born to a wealthy New York family in 1862, she was very much apart of a gilded age. She had servants—nurses, personal maids, cooks, chauffeurs, secretaries, gardeners and other caretakers. She lived most of her life off of two family trusts, a large one from her grandfather Theron R. Butler and a smaller one from her father Albert Green. Between the 1929 stock market crash and the onset of World War II, the gild cracked and peeled.
Following the trail of Alice’s financial misadventures requires an unscrambling of a long series of court cases. I say “series,” but, in fact, some were concurrent cases. The tangle of legal battles involving all the properties she had purchased in New York, North Carolina and France could fill volumes. This part of the story begins at the peak of Alice Hoffman’s financial collapse in 1935. In the subsequent three years, Alice’s life changed forever. The Depression was lingering on, and another major war was brewing. But, the focus here is on Alice Hoffman’s legal battles, with special emphasis on Carteret County court cases.
Before proceeding, a disclaimer is in order. From 1917 to 1953, there were over 60 court proceedings in Carteret County having to do with Alice Hoffman’s North Carolina property—not including any of the suits involving Salter Path. The stories of “Alice’s Financial Misadventures” by necessity oversimplify the complexities of her local cases and make only casual references to legal battles involving her property in New York City and France. The first two parts of this series focused primarily on property purchases and borrowing habits that led to Alice’s financial disaster. The final blow was to come from failure to pay taxes. Part III of the story concentrates on Alice’s property tax problems in North Carolina, leading to what Pine Knoll Shores may deem a final heroic effort by the Roosevelts.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Brock Basin: A Man Behind a Plan