Beach Town in a Forest

Beach Town in a Forest
Beach Town in a Forest, Pine Knoll Shores located in Carteret County on North Carolina's Crysal Coast. Photo compliments of Bill Flexman and Dave Prutzman

Friday, February 15, 2019

Shore Line 1974

There are 235 houses, 122 condominium units, 42 apartments, and, at least, one alligator “surfacing occasionally, sunning himself on the sand” in Brock Basin. 

Photo from by Debbie Morris taken in North Carolina 
but not in Pine Knoll Shores

It’s 1974 in Pine Knoll Shores. The Shore-line newsletter has lost its hyphen and become Pine Knoll Shore Line. High spirits of being a new town and publishing a new paper are still evident, but so are the challenges of both endeavors. At no time does the paper become political or negative, but a statement at the end of the first paragraph of the January issue suggests a theme: “…many voices were heard, many viewpoints aired.”

Mary Doll and Betty Hammon are stillShore Line writers and editors, but Doll is sometimes writing from faraway locations, and other residents begin to submit articles from town and abroad. The 1974 Shore Line also contains a few editorials; they hint at local conflict. 

The year begins with commissioners’ passing a controversial zoning ordinance addressing both the height and density of structures in Pine Knoll Shores. “No building or other structure of any kind shall exceed either five stories or fifty feet in height….” The “density clause” limited “…all structures to no more than ten dwelling units per acre…” and specified additional limits for commercial buildings and off-street parking. 

Pine Knoll Shores is clearly functioning as a governing entity, but it is not until May 1974 that the state recognizes it as an incorporated town. The Shore Line proclaims, “We are a town!” The North Carolina General Assembly “…ratified, confirmed and validated the incorporation election of last August.” We aren’t told exactly what obstacles prevented earlier ratification, but Hammon and Doll do indicate the 1973 local election in favor of incorporation “had recently been contested, and “The battle was over.”

In the same month, the first official club of the new town begins to form with Martha Odell Flynn as its first chairperson. After meeting with a leader of the Garden and Civic Department of the Women’s Club of Morehead City, Flynn and a small group of Pine Knoll Shores women decide to affiliate with the Garden Club of North Carolina, a member of the National Council of State Garden Clubs. In the following month, the group officially becomes the Garden Club of Pine Knoll Shores.

In May,aShore Line has the first “Letter to the Editors,” anonymously attributed to “A Citizen.” It compliments individuals by name for “joining in efforts to work on the many jobs that need doing…” while making a plea for residents to be “less critical and little more willing to lend a hand….” One person named for her “outstanding contribution” is Ruth Bray, a member of the town’s first Board of Commissioners and manager of the Atlantis, which played a notable role in the town’s early history as the location of the first Pine Knoll Shores’ town hall.

Readers also learn in the May issue that Don Brock, a representative of the Roosevelts in Pine Knoll Shores, has left “the building” he was using for an office in Pine Knoll Shores and has moved to a location in Morehead City. This will prove to be a temporary move for Brock. 

Photo from Pine Knoll Shores' town album by Phyllis Makuck.

I was hoping for more information since other historical records document a controversy over the structure’s not being in accord with local covenants. We know a portion of Alice Hoffman’s house served as Brock’s office and was later moved from Yaupon and Salter Path Road to become a temporary town hall. Although there is no confirmation of either detail in the May 1974 Shore Line, the structure in question is probably the same building referenced in this vague passage in the June 1974 issue: “The deed to the Town Hall site has been received from the Roosevelt interests and has been duly recorded, so that, in the near future, the building will be moved to its new spot on Bridge Rd.” (today’s Municipal Circle).

The July newsletter reports on the annual meetings of two homeowner associations: Pine Knoll Association (PKA), the town’s first HOA, and Pine Knoll Shores Corporation (PIKSCO), holding its second annual meeting in 1974. July also marks the beginnings of the Welcome Wagon in town, started by Sycamore Road resident Jeanne Miller. 

In 1974, almost every Shore Line devotes considerable space to introducing newcomers, to the good work of volunteers and to the beauty of the natural environment—to tides, shells, birds, and wildflowers. So, we can feel Mary Doll’s pain when she writes an editorial in September:

Just over a year ago, we became a Town, full of hope and an almost child-like idealism because we saw that we had a beautiful island paradise and a group of clear thinking residents. In this past year our Town has grown; its people have come to know each other better. Differences of opinion have arisen, facades have dropped, irritations have erupted, territories have been threatened. We are still essentially the same group but with our self-awareness sharpened. We ought to be able to stop ourselves, then, from becoming petty and picky as we hang together trying to make our Town hum happily….

Doll continues: 

We all have our one little life to live; it’s not very long either. Do we have time really to study the dark gloomy aspect of everything, dwelling on what seems to us to be the inadequacies of others? Anyway, sometimes those who are the target of complaints are not even aware of it; so then, isn’t it the growler himself who suffers the most, bogged down in his own mumblings? Cheer up, you guys! Go catch a fish or watch a sunset. Let’s keep ourselves channeled and be the rare community where dreams can be accomplished.

Parenthetically, Betty Hammon adds: “This editorial is addressed to each of us who has ever found himself on the other side of a question from his friend and that includes absolutely everyone.” 

Post Author: Phyllis Makuck

Shore-line 1973

 Interest in the early history of Pine Knoll Shores’ monthly newspaper,  originally a newsletter—called Shore-line and, later, Shore-Line, or The Shore-Line—began in 2010 when resident Jack Goldstein donated to the town back issues he and his wife had kept from 1973 to 1985, a valuable collection with very few missing issues. It was then discovered that past editors—including Betty Carr, long-time town employee—had kept back newsletters in notebooks. Putting together what was in the notebooks with what the Goldsteins had donated provided a complete set of newsletters from 1973 to 2002, when publication temporarily ceased. 

In 2004, with the support of newly-elected Mayor Joan Lamson, Bill White revived the town’s monthly publication, converting The Shore-Line newsletter into The Shoreline newspaper. About a decade later, members of the town’s History Committee and past Shoreline editors organized a collection of back papers so the town would have a complete archive from 1973 to the present, except for brief periods when the newsletter was not published. 

Thanks to efforts of the History Committee, that archive is now easily accessible at “Shore-line 1973” is the first in a series of articles attempting to provide highlights from the archive.

The Shoreline story begins in May 1973, when Betty Hammon and Mary Doll write a one-page letter to fellow Pine Knoll Shores’ residents about the importance of having a regularly published “newsletter” for neighbors to get to know one another and stay in touch with what is happening locally. Those receiving the letter respond positively to it.

Photo by Susan Phillips of the beginning of Hammon and Doll's letter

Three months later, Hammon and Doll produce the first official edition of Pine Knoll Shore-line—a two-page 9”x14” single-spaced, mimeographed newsletter. By the second edition, with a fully volunteer staff, they figure an annual subscription fee of $2.00 will cover their minimal costs.

The publication of Doll and Hammon’s newsletter coincides with a vote for Pine Knoll Shores to become an incorporated town. The August 1973 letter reports 90% of eligible voters took part in making the decision: 120 were for incorporation and 26 were against it. The newsletter then goes on to introduce the town’s first mayor, Jim Redfield, and first commissioners—Jim Ramsey, Ruth Bray, Bill Doll, Waightsel Hicks and H.W. McBride, winners of a 16-candidate race. Shore-line writers proudly conclude: “The newly elected commissioners come from varied backgrounds and from all corners and shores of PKS.” (Of course, in 1973, nothing much was developed west of Pine Knoll Blvd.)  

Back Row: James Ramsey, William Doll,  Waightsel Hicks, H.W. McBride  
Front Row: James Redfield (Mayor), Ruth Bray, Simon Bezuyen. Photo by Susan Phillips  from town hall collection. 

Presenting information on the Board of Commissioners and town governance establishes a pattern that future issues will follow. In fact, in 1973, Doll and Hammon, without intending to do so, almost create a template of Shoreline topics. The newsletters do not look at all like the current Shoreline, having minimal formatting with no bold titles for articles and no photographs; however, the typewritten pages cover many subjects current issues regularly feature. 

For example, they dedicate a section to Pine Knoll Shores’ Golf and Country Club. Stan Brunt, Club Manager at the time, announces: “…there are still a few memberships open. Current initiation fees are $300 until the membership reaches 400 members or September 1, 1973, whichever is first. At that time, the fee will increase to $600 until 450 members are reached. Then the fee goes up to $1000—and so on, up, up, up until the membership is closed at 600.” As this passage suggests, 1973 Shore-lines are striking for how familiar the topics are and, sometimes, frightening for how familiar the problems are. 

Celebrating volunteerism as one of the town’s great strengths is another consistent topic. The very first newsletter sets the tone:

Dedication is a big word in Pine Knoll Shores these days. One of those dedicated, probably with the biggest capital “D” . . . is Si Bezuyen, a recently retired accountant…. Si was persuaded to dive into the task of getting all the tax records from the county into tax books of our own. For several days relays of volunteers gathered at Si and Minnie’s house to copy numbers out of one book into another. This ambitious group saved the new town a large hunk of money, and apparently had some happy ‘getting to know you’ hours besides. 

That last statement suggests another common Shoreline theme—namely, getting to know neighbors. The remainder of the first issue introduces seven new town residents, celebrating their achievements and regional diversity—something most subsequent issues from 1973 to the present continue to do even though getting to know neighbors becomes much more difficult as the population increases.

Other familiar topics in 1973 papers include two important resources that do not exist in Pine Knoll Shores at the time—a marine resource center and a library. Having a local library is not yet even a dream, but the September 1973 newsletter says: 

Lots of us in Pine Knoll Shores are avid readers…. Once a month on Wednesday morning from 10:15-11:15 the bookmobile comes to Pine Knoll Shores with Mrs. Clarice Willis in charge… It stops in front of the Murrills’ home on Yaupon near Oakleaf, and you will see us streaming in from all directions by car, bicycle, or on foot. …. The collection is small but active, and you may borrow as many books as you wish. We make them stretch even further by lending them all round the neighborhood.

The December 1973 newsletter quotes from a presentation to the Board of Commissioners on building a marine resource center, which is expected to “attract many tourists. A Marine Center of this kind is used for educational purposes for both adults and children, serving as a sort of laboratory for the marine ecology of the area.” Though what the town now has is an aquarium and not a marine center, the quoted passage is a fairly accurate description of the value of this resource, and there is also a sense that whatever is built at the site will have room to grow. Douglas Young, who makes the slide presentation, thinks the marine center in Pine Knoll Shores will be “…the largest on the Eastern seaboard. It has the most potential because it has 350 acres of unspoiled terrain surrounding it.” At least, the latter part of that claim will prove true.

Plans for Marine Center scanned from PKS Archive by Susan Phillips

The idea of introducing town subdivisions begins in December 1973 with news about Reefstone: 
. . . a tucked away set of condominiums in PKS between the Salter Path Road and the golf course boasts the only fresh water fishing lake around (and there’s a resident wild goose, too!). By the spring of 1975 Reefstone will have about 80 completed units of one, two and three bedroom ‘garden houses’…. Builders have avoided destroying the landscape, and yaupon, cedar, holly, and water oak are flourishing in the very natural surroundings. 

A sense of pride in preserving the maritime forest is apparent in the above passage, and in keeping with this consistent theme, newsletter writers announce that Pine Knoll Shores has been declared a bird sanctuary. 

Other familiar topics in 1973 Shore-lines include: the problem of speeding in canals; concerns about parking, waterway debris and beach erosion; explanations of town ordinances; and news about the police department, with information about how best to contact Public Safety in case of an emergency. 

The first fishing report appears in October 1973, as do notices of upcoming cultural events, including drama in New Bern. The first restaurant review appears in December 1973 along with news of Beaufort historical restoration efforts and activities at the Carteret Historical Research Association. An interest in town history is also apparent with mention of a News-Times series on Alice Hoffman. 1973 topics could come from any one of this year’s Shoreline despite all the changes that have taken place.

How grateful we are to Betty Hammon and Mary Doll for starting this newsletter. Unfortunately, they don’t tell us about themselves, but do mention Carl Hammon as President of Pine Knoll Association (PKA) Board of Directors and Bill Doll as one of the town’s first commissioners. No further information is provided about the Hammons, but there are some further details about the Dolls. Bill Doll is described as being 47 years old and as having moved to Pine Knoll Shores, with Mary, in January 1973, from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. They have a son, Jon, and daughter, Julie, both living in Seattle at the time. 

Betty Hammon and Mary Doll, like everyone else living in Pine Knoll Shores at the time and for years to come, are originally from somewhere else, but they are determined to make this their home. Establishing the Shore-line newsletter helps do just that and more. It makes the town a community and gives it a recorded history.

Post Author: Phyllis Makuck