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

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Shore Line: 1980-82

A.C. Hall design drawing of proposed town village from PKS archives. 
Photo by Susan Phillips.

1980 ushers in a new phase of growth in Pine Knoll Shores. It is the decade of McGinnis Point and Beacon’s Reach as well smaller multi-family properties. Side-by-side patio homes, town houses and condominiums encourage more North Carolinians to buy second homes here. There are plans to build a shopping center or “village,” which is to contain a supermarket, drugstore, variety store, bank and restaurants. But, the greatest source of real growth is in residential development by what the paper generally refers to as “the Roosevelt Interest.” 

Putting development trends in perspective, 1981 Commissioner of Planning Larry Jerome counts 1,103 single-family lots in town and states, “…with respect to condominiums, present zoning allows a maximum of 1,700 units.” He indicates the peak population in 1980 is approximately 3,400 with only 775 of these being full-time residents. He overestimates by almost 50% when predicting the full-time population could rise to 3,000 in 1990.

Despite all the talk of growth, Pine Knoll Shores remains a small town. 
Most of the space in monthly 1980-82 issues of The Shore Line highlights that fact. Editors George Eastland and Lenora Roberson feature news about the Garden Club, Ancient Mariners’ Bowling League, fire department volunteers, rescue volunteers, hospital volunteers, new neighbors and neighbors helping neighbors. 

Their biggest story is a record-breaking snowstorm in March 1980: “By the time it stopped snowing and blowing, …streets were virtually impassable and three- and four-foot drifts were common.” The power went out. Ken and Irene Doremus were among those caught in the storm: 
They had been visiting Al and Midge Wolfe Sunday evening and on the way home their car slid off Hawthorne Road. They started walking but found the going so rough they stopped in at the E. R. Smiths at Hawthorne and Sycamore to warm up. Starting out again they found they were losing ground to the storm and returned to the Smiths to accept their invitation to spend the night. The following day they made it home.

The following month, The Shore Line marks the passing of Pine Knoll Shores famous alligator, locally known as Charlie. His body is found floating in the canal off Oakleaf Drive on April 13, 1980. A victim, perhaps, of March’s extreme winter weather, the loss of natural habitat or maybe just old age, Charlie was over eight and half feet and weighed about 250 pounds. It was not uncommon to see him sunning on golf course greens.      

We do not have a picture of Charlie, but this NC alligator by Debbie Morris gives us some sense of how large he may have been.

Happily, in 1981, Carteret County Library opens a branch in Pine Knoll Shores at the Marine Resource Center. A weekly food Co-op becomes active in town, and Vision Cable brings cable television to town residents. 

Unfortunately, conflict also weighs heavily over the 1980-82 timeframe and is reflected in The Shore Line. Disagreements over a central sewer system, over liquor-by-the drink, over a village shopping center, over who is responsible for dredging the canals, over oceanfront setbacks, over flooding in the eastern section of town are among the issues dividing residents. The bitterest fight is over the shopping center.
This 1977 sketch by A.C. Hall shows where the shopping village and the bridge might have been.
Photo by Susan Phillips from PKS archives.

In April 1980, Mayor Ken Haller resigns under pressures of the job, and Wayne Cleveland becomes mayor. At the end of 1981, Lenora Robinson resigns as associate editor of the paper. At the end of 1982, Shore Line's George Eastland resigns, and former Mayor Ken Haller assumes the role of editor with Noel Yancey. I like to think this editorial changeover may be emblematic of the importance of a community newspaper in a small town.

Post Author: Phyllis Makuck