Atlantic Beach - The Early Days

Atlantic Beach, Beaufort.Morehead City, NC circa 1933
Just a stone's throw away from Beaufort, just past the Beaufort Inlet, are the cresting ocean waves of the Atlantic Ocean. In the early days, through the Civil War, until the late 1880's, it was totally undeveloped and reachable only by boat. Jennie Coues, wife of Dr. Coues, stationed at Fort Macon after the Civil War, played with her daughter on the beach, and often galloped freely on horseback.

“Bogue Banks had its start with a fort [Fort Macon] on the eastern end and small fishing villages along the beach. From this small beginning came the beach resort of Atlantic Beach, which became a major tourist attraction.

J.J. Royal and Winfield Chadwick built a small pavilion, one-story bathhouse and refreshment stand on Bogue Banks’ ocean beach in 1887. Boats for hire took people to the sound side of the beach, where they walked across the sand and dunes to reach the ocean for surf bathing. When the partners split their interests, Royal moved west to Money Island and built a two-story pavilion and bathhouse. Oxcarts carried supplies for the refreshment stand over the sand dunes. In 1916, Vaughn Bedsworth bought 100 acres including the Royal property and named it Atlantic View Beach.
Many improvements were made and a successful 100-room hotel was built.
Greetings From Atlantic Beach circa 1949
Tourists used the beach for years before Atlantic Beach was promoted as a separate entity. In the summer sharpies rigged with white sails bound from the Atlantic Hotel were an ordinary sight as most carried tourists to the ocean beach. The fare was 15 cents to be taken to Money Beach for swimming. Money Beach, which had a small bathhouse, was thought to hide pirate treasure in its dunes. Even after Atlantic Beach was developed for tourism in 1928, most swimmers continued going to Money Beach to avoid paying the $1 swimming fee.

The building of the toll bridge by the Atlantic Beach Company in 1928 helped to create the resort of Atlantic Beach. The wood-planked turnstile bridge was built at 28th Street. It had a tollbooth with a pagoda-style roof. Tolls were 25 cents per car plus 15 cents per passenger. The toll was dropped in 1936 when the state bought the bridge.

To promote the beach, they also built a dining hall, bathhouses and the Pagoda. These were constructed in an Oriental style and had green roofs with bright red exposed corners. The Pagoda was a large building where dances were held. Featured were such well-known orchestras as Paul Whiteman and Tommy Dorsey.
Pagoda Ball Room, Atlantic Beach, Beaufort. Morehead City, NC
Ocean King Hotel circa early 1950's
Alfred Braswell Cooper is credited with having a vision for developing what many viewed as an island desert into the resort Atlantic Beach became. A few months after buying Atlantic Beach, A.B. Cooper built the three-story 70 room Ocean King Hotel (above)-opened for the 1946 season. The hotel was badly damaged by Hurricane Hazel in 1955 and reopened in 1956, only to be destroyed by fire. Cooper also built the Idle Hour Amusement Center. The Idle Hour, on the right leg of the amusement circle, had a 4-lane bowling alley, which grew to 24 lanes, juke box music and refreshments. During World War II, servicemen stationed at Fort Macon frequented the center…”
Have a Swim With Us - Greetings From Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, N.C.
The above text and postcards were taken from a new book, Carteret County - Postcard History Series, by local residents Linda Sadler and her son Kevin Jenkins. It is a collection of old postcards with descriptive histories under each card - of Beaufort, Morehead City, Atlantic Beach and Fort Macon. The images in the book are in black and white.

On the Front Cover: The Morehead City Boating Club was founded in 1934, sponsoring such races as the Shanghai Trophy, the Gib Arthur Memorial Trophy and the D.G. Bell Memorial Trophy. The flag, called Old Mullet, designed by D.G. Bell, distinguished the boats. The club also sponsored the Junior Boat Club. These clubs were active until World War II put a stop to pleasure boating.
Books can be ordered from Arcadia Publishing, Barnes & Noble and

Below is a 1929 poster advertising Atlantic Beach
(not included in the book)

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