Bridges, Trains and Automobiles

Images scanned from Beaufort-An Album of Memories 
by Jack Dudley . Click images to enlarge.
1-B&M Railroad Trestle 2-B&M Warehouse 3-Carteret Quick Freeze 4-Noe Boat Yard 5-Beaufort Bridge 6-Gallants Channel 7-Broad Street 8-Ann Street 9-Grayden Paul Bridge late 1950s 10-Cedar Street-Hwy 70


Image scanned from Beaufort-An Album of Memories 
by Jack Dudley
On June 8, 1907 Beaufort celebrated the building of a railroad bridge and the first passenger train into town; Nathaniel Hancock Russell was the engineer. Prior to train service Beaufort, visitors who came by train were met at the railroad terminus in Morehead City and brought to town by boat. After the railroad bridge was built across the channel, tracks were laid down the middle of Broad Street - bringing the outside world to Beaufort.
In his book Beaufort-by-the-Sea - Memories of a Lifetime, Neal Willis wrote, "Before the highway was built between Beaufort and Morehead City, the only way from Beaufort to Morehead was by train, boat or to drive around on New Bern Road. Later a ferry ran between the two towns. It carried passengers and three or four cars. The number of passengers varied. It was very popular. Leaving a dock on Front Street twice a day, it ran to a dock on the Morehead waterfront."

Page from Dudley book
What became known as the "Old Mullet Road" or "Old Mullet Line," running from Goldboro to Morehead City, played an important role in the development of Eastern North Carolina. It got its nickname due to the huge quantities of fish shipped over it.

In his Beaufort book, Jack Dudley reprinted an article from The State, June 27, 1953, about "The Old Mullet Line." Hightlights of that article regarding Beaufort include, "Connecting with 'Old Mullet Line' at Morehead and running across Newport River to Beaufort, is the B&M, a tiny, toy-like railroad system, which is the darling of Carteret. With a total mileage of 3.7 miles, it has more miles on trestles and causeways than on land, and on of its greatest problems is the fact that is Newport trestle is the best danged fishing place on any railroad anywhere. This is another success story. Nobody wanted the B&M, and it seemed destined to fold up. A group of Carteret men bought it and leased it to A.[Alan] T. Leary, a veteran railway man. He is one of the most versatile railway presidents you ever saw. With a force of about 15, Leary can and sometimes does help ice cabbage cars, shuttle freight, and turn switches. There is no room for prima donnas on the B&M."

 Built 1927

Morehead City - Beaufort Bridge Looking West
Linda Sadler - Carteret County Postcards
Morehead City - Beaufort Bridge Looking East
North Carolina Postcard Collection
North Carolina Postcard Collection
Construction photos scanned from 
Dudley's Beaufort - An Album of Memories
The Morehead City-Beaufort Bridge was constructed in 1927. Spanning 2.218 miles in length from the Atlantic Hotel in Morehead City to the west end of Ann Street in Beaufort, 5100 feet of causeway connected two drawbridges.

The Beaufort News - 1927 

With few cars in town, many people hitchhiked to Morehead City. When anyone walked by "Miss Nannie" Geoffroy's porch at the corner of Ann and Moore, they would hear her green parrot squawk, “Morehead?—Going to Morehead?” Interestingly, Jean Kell worked for "Miss Nannie" during the depression; the parrot called her "Ms. Kell."

In the beginning, owners of the first automobiles and residents believed that gas in containers might ignite, therefore, the fuel was kept on one of the barrier islands; when needed, someone would row over to retrieve a container.

Again, Neal Willis wrote, "A Chevrolet car cost about four to five hundred dollars. Gas was 12 cents a gallon and was [eventually] pumped by hand from underground tanks. Motor oil was pumped from a container into pint and quart jars with spouts. There was no antifreeze. Radiators had to be drained at night and filled the next morning."


Photo courtesy
Dylan Ray photo
This bridge, owned by the NC Department of Transportation, is a bascule-type bridge and was constructed in 1957. 

A bascule drawbridge is a moveable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances the span, or leaf, throughout the entire upward swing in providing clearance for boat traffic. Bascule is a French term for seesaw and balance, and bascule bridges operate along the same principle.