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, December 11, 2014

Homeowner Associations: Whaler Inn Beach Club

Although not a traditional multifamily dwelling, the Whaler Inn Beach Club has a homeowner association with an interesting history. The complex began as a motel in the early 1970s and continued to reinvent itself throughout the 1980s.

Early Town Clerks

By the time Pine Knoll Shores incorporated in 1973, 20 years after Alice Hoffman died, a cohesive community existed, consisting of two homeowner associations—Pine Knoll Association (PKA) and the newly formed Pine Knoll Shores Corporation (PIKSCO). Incorporation as a town gave this small community official standing and structure. Full-time residents elected a Board of Commissioners, who, in turn, selected a mayor. They, then, added to that structure by hiring a town clerk. The story that follows features the first three town clerks, focusing on the most recent—Corrine Geer.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bogue, The Name

“Bogue Banks is her name,
A not so ordinary island or name.”
To rephrase the lyrics of the David Gates song “Aubrey.”

There are a multitude of stories about the derivation, source and meaning of the name Bogue. Whether referencing local historians who share the stories told to them by their elders or searching works of learned scholars, you will find the answers less than definitive. Oh, yes, some will insist they know the truth, but with all the various tales told, it seems wise to remain a bit skeptical. A review of available literature and discussions with those who have also looked into this subject produced the following information.

            Edward Moseley map 1737, first to use Bogue for inlet, sound and banks

Monday, November 3, 2014

Homeowner Associations: Reefstone

Most of the multifamily complexes built in the 1970s were on the ocean side. Reefstone is an exception. Its layout and design are also exceptional. The only other area to use a similar concept is a section of McGinnis Point that is also on the sound side. Phase I of Reefstone was started about a year after Phase I of Pine Knoll Townes.

Homeowner Associations: Pine Knoll Townes

Parts I-III of “Homeowner Associations” focus on four of the largest: PKA, PIKSCO, Beacon’s Reach and McGinnis Point. The first two consist of all single-family homes, the latter two, a combination of single- and multiple-family dwellings. However, multi-family units began to appear earlier in Pine Knoll Shores, in the 1970s.

After completing the canals and the general layout of the PKA section of Pine Knoll Shores, the Roosevelts began to sell off property to developers whose buyers’ market was primarily in North Carolina and Virginia. The property was divided into relatively small parcels. Wanting to make the most of their investments and to appeal to the desire for vacation property without the burdens of home ownership, developers decided to construct multifamily complexes. One of the first was Pine Knoll Townes.

Map showing in black other HOAs that existed in 1972 when Pine Knoll Townes I and II first appeared.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bogue Banks Library: Prehistory

Occupying a small room in the NC Marine Resource Center in Pine Knoll Shores, the Bogue Banks Public Library opened for business on September 27, 1981.  But, the following story is about what came before. This prehistory reveals several intriguing connections between Pine Knoll Shores and key players in the story of libraries in Carteret County.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Homeowner Associations: McGinnis Point

The development of McGinnis Point is somewhat intertwined with the story of Beacon’s Reach, but veers off in a different direction. Before getting to the development of the area and its homeowner association, let’s begin with the location and early history of McGinnis Point.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Greyhounds, Miss America, Drinking, and Gambling . . . now I’ve got your attention, but you’re probably wondering how am I going to weave those subjects into a story about the history of Pine Knoll Shores.  The story begins a few days back while I was doing research on the history of Bogue Banks Public Library. 

Roosevelts Who Developed PKS

The Roosevelts who developed Pine Knoll Shores, the grandchildren of President Theodore Roosevelt, were all individuals of accomplishment before taking on their roles here. This post attempts to outline what we know about them.[i]

Evolution of Hoffman Homestead

John Royall’s “Isle of Pines” estate underwent major changes after Alice Hoffman came on the scene. I use the phrase “came on the scene” because Alice requested and made changes before she purchased the property. When John Royall owned the land, the main house was his hunting lodge with a small cabin nearby for his friend Dr Allison to use. The first two years Alice was on Bogue Banks (1915 and 1916), she rented Dr Allison’s cabin and immediately started remodeling it to her liking. After she purchased the 2,000-acre estate from Mr. Royall, she continued to enlarge the cabin, and the hunting lodge eventually became just another worker’s cottage. This post shows how her homestead changed over time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A. C. Hall: Master Planner

After the early development of eastern Pine Knoll Shores, also known as “Old PKS,” the Roosevelt family, working with Stone & Webster Management Consultants, realized the potential Alice Hoffman’s island property. Consultant Ted Hearth became the point man for the next major phase of development. It was the early 1960s when Ted Hearth met A.C. Hall.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Alice’s Last Will and Sad Testament

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

Canal Building

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

Alice's Financial Misadventures I

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.

Alice's Financial Misadventures II

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.

Alice's Financial Misadventures III

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

Brock Basin:  A Man Behind a Plan

Several names always emerge in any discussion of Pine Knoll Shores’ history. Don Brock is one of those names. To understand the town’s early development, one must understand the role of men like Don Brock. I had the privilege of interviewing Don by phone in 2008 and, again, in 2009. A slightly different version of the following piece first appeared in The Shoreline in October 2008 and was reprinted in December 2013.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Early Pine Knoll Shores

The Town of Pine Knoll Shores was chartered by the state General Assembly in 1973. Before it was chartered, many actions and events occurred that set the stage for the community we have today. Prior to being a town, the land was under stewardship of members of the Roosevelt family, and before them, Alice Hoffman, and before her, John Royall. Before Royall, several others claimed it. In colonial times, the Lords Proprietors ruled, and, before them, it was the land of native peoples. They all had one trait in common: they left the land essentially untouched. That all changed starting in the 1940s, when two significant events occurred that shaped development of Bogue Banks.

Locating Alice's House

A certain amount of uncertainty and confusion exist around the location of Alice Hoffman’s house.  All evidence puts it on the north shore of Bogue Banks, west of Yaupon Point and east of McGinnis Point. Several people have claimed that remnants of her house are on their property. This post presents the stories, evidence and observable data as a basis for further discussion.

Alice's Tie to the Roosevelts

Some of the most commonly known facts about Pine Knoll Shores are that members of the Roosevelt family owned this land, preserved some of it in a natural state and developed most of it. Covenants they left behind continue to shape the character of the town. The Roosevelt connection came through Alice Hoffman’s niece, Eleanor Butler Alexander. Who was she? How was she connected to the Roosevelt family? Why were her children Alice Hoffman’s heirs? This post attempts to answer these questions while shedding some light on Eleanor’s life.[i]

Homeowner Associations: PKA & PIKSCO

Pine Knoll Shores has a complex governance system. In addition to a mayor, town manager, board of commissioners and various departments of city government, the town consists of numerous homeowner associations. The exact number depends on how one counts them. Some sections of town have one homeowner association, and others have a master association with several small associations representing specific constituencies in a larger development.

Understanding the history and makeup of homeowner associations is one way of understanding Pine Knoll Shores. (For background information, see post on Early Pine Knoll Shores Development: 1950s & 60s.)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Iver-Johnson Revolver

In an earlier post entitled “Alice in Her Own Words,” it is noted that the unpublished autobiography tells us that Alice Hoffman kept “two pistols, one on each side of her bed, in fear of intruders who might do her harm.” Following is information about one of those pistols.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Kitchen, Food, and Drink

History is often told through grand events and momentous changes, but in trying to understand an individual person and why they did what they did, the mundane, day-to-day activities may provide a more nuanced and human picture. And when we get down to a daily activity, which we all can relate to, another side of Mrs. Hoffman, shows through. Lets go to Alice’s kitchen and see what’s cooking.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Homeowner Associations: Beacon's Reach

In the 1970s and 80s, the Roosevelts sold off property for development, primarily condo development, but they held on to the property that would become Beacon’s Reach. Proceeding on what would be their final project on the island, they created a new corporation in the form of a homeowner association for each section under development. A Master Association, working with its various constituent HOAs, would be responsible for internal roads—their paving, lighting and parking enforcement—for waste-water treatment as well as for parks, marinas, tennis courts, pools and other amenities. Consequently, the most complex homeowner structure in Pine Knoll Shores emerged with the development of Beacon’s Reach.

Beacon’s Reach 1985 Planning Map on conference room wall in Property Management Office.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Alice in Her Own Words

Alice Hoffman has left us about 200 pages of an autobiography, which she seems to have written and had typed for her in the 1940s. The manuscript is divided into titled, stapled sections—two of which are handwritten. It’s difficult to put them in chronological order, but her words increase our fascination with her.[i] Here are some observations about the structure, style and content of Alice’s autobiography.

91 years - Alice Green Hoffman Timeline

Alice had a long life, and one filled with numerous complex social patterns. She was born and raised at a prestigious address during the gilded age in Manhattan and spent the last years of her life in a home deep in a rural maritime forest at the end of a dirt road. In addition to homes, she had a vast array of real estate holdings and business interest in the New York City area, Paris, France and Carteret County.  Much of these activities were going on simultaneously. She was widely travelled, making dozens of Trans-Atlantic, Tran-Pacific, and Caribbean voyages, all on the finest ocean liners of the day. She had many business associates and adversaries, a regularly changing cast of lawyers and advisors as well as personal staff and servants, with her at all times. The following is an attempt to organize these complexities chronologically by year and by Alice’s age at the time. As new and more accurate information becomes available this listing will be updated.   

Landmarks — Part 2

Second of a three part story, Deeds, Landmarks, Boundaries.

Before GPS, charts, maps, and road signs were readily available, features of the landscape were the guideposts that helped people travel on land and navigate on the waters. They were a key piece of shared local knowledge. At the time, they were so well known and accepted as common knowledge that they were a fundamental part of legal documents and deeds.  This is the story of the search for and identification of those nineteenth and early twentieth century landmarks on the eastern portion of Bogue Banks.

Church Buildings of Salter Path

“7,250 feet from the church spire in Salter Path.” This phrase is used to describe a critical boundary in three separate land transactions. In a 1917 deed it establishes the western end of Alice Hoffman’s property. In a 1922 deed it establishes the eastern boundary of Henry Fort’s property. Again in 1940, it is used to place the eastern end of a land-use plan for the western part of Bogue Banks, the forerunner of what would become Emerald Isle. Verifying the exact location of the church from 1916 through 1940 will clarify these critical boundaries and eliminate a number of assumptions.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why Alice Came to Bogue Banks

In 1917, Alice Green Hoffman bought property on Bogue Banks. She traveled hundreds of miles from her native home in New York City and thousands of miles from her adopted home in France to come to our shores. This part of her story tries to explain why she came to live here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Official government documents often provide the researcher with reliable, primary source material. The United States Department of State’s pre 1940 passport and passenger list records are now available and reveal some interesting stories -- stories relevant to the history of Pine Knoll Shores since Alice Hoffman was a regular international traveler.

Deeds — Part 1

First of a three-part story: Deeds, Landmarks, Boundaries

The geographic area that is the primary focus of this blog is broadly referred to as the Hoffman/Roosevelt Property. The boundaries of the property have been described in news articles and books for the past 50 years as covering about 4,000 acres, running from a point some distance beyond the current Pine Knoll Shores-Atlantic Beach boundary on the east to a point some distance beyond the current Indian Beach-Emerald Isle boundary on the west. The vagueness of these descriptions left me with a desire for a bit more precision and led to a trip to the Carteret County Recorder of Deeds Office. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Boundaries — Part 3

Third of a three-part story: Deeds, Landmarks, Boundaries.

The post “Deeds” discusses the deeds and legal documents that relate to Alice Hoffman’s land purchases along with the limitations of surveying on Bogue Banks in the early nineteen hundreds. The post “Landmarks” identifies the landmarks that are key to understanding the deeds.  This post charts the land that Alice owned on Bogue Banks as of 1925. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Our First Conservationist

 Alice Green Hoffman made a monumental contribution to Pine Knoll Shores.  Without her, the Roosevelts would not have had the swath of near virgin real estate to convert into an environmentally sensitive, planned community. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Was Verrazano Here?

How far back can we trace the history of the section of Bogue Banks we know as Pine Knoll Shores? We have evidence that native Americans camped and fished here, but the earliest recorded history of a westerner visiting may be when the explorer Giovanni da Verrazano arrived in the 16th century.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Little Club That Could

The story of Pine Knoll Shores’ Country Club begins with its incorporation on October 2, 1975, but its genesis extends back to l969 when the Roosevelt estate conveyed several acres of land to a group of North Carolina developers headed by Gus Wertz. The covenants attached to the deed stipulated that a golf course was to be built on the property.

From Paris to Bogue Banks

Part II: Les Années Folles

Part II of Alice Green Hoffman in France begins after World War I and ends with the outbreak of World War II in Europe. The world had changed dramatically since our Alice was last in France, but she had already grown accustomed to change, living as she did in such very different places—New York City, Bogue Banks and Paris.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Atlantic Hotel

It is enlightening to put Alice and her life at Shore House in the context of the world of the socially prominent and well connected across the sound. The contrast is striking.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Life at Shore House

Alice Hoffman’s home on the north shore of Bogue Banks from 1917 to 1953 was remote and primitive at first. Conditions gradually improved, and by the time she died, “Shore House” was a little more accessible, less primitive and more connected to the outside world.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

French Connection

Part I - La Belle Époque

In order to understand the complexity of Alice Green Hoffman, the woman whose heirs developed Pine Knoll Shores, it is helpful to know about her life in Paris. The story will be told in two parts.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Georgina Pope Yeatman - A Curious Coincindence

Georgina Pope Yeatman (1902-1982) has no direct connection to the history of PKS, but there are interesting parallels between her and Alice Hoffman.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Aquarium Story

Why is the Aquarium located in Pine Knoll Shores and not at what would seemingly be a more reasonable and perhaps more obvious location such as Morehead City, Beaufort, Harkers Island or Fort Macon?  Answering that question takes us back many years and involves the Roosevelts, the emerging community of PKS and an ongoing concern for the environment.

Links and Bridges

The earliest visitors to Bogue Banks came by boat, canoe or by swimming across the sound. The boats were powered by sails or oars and, later by internal combustion engines. Before the dredging for the Intracoastal Waterway, originally called the Inland Waterway, it was possible to wade across in places. This all changed with the opening of the first bridge in 1928.                     

United States Post Office

From time to time we’ve all had issues with the US Postal Service.  Late deliveries, misdirected mail, slow service, lost items or delayed pick-up, so we inquire at the window, complain, try to understand the system, hoping to make it work better for us.  But I never thought that the solution was to have my own Post Office -- Alice did!