SaltWorks: A Backward Glance

A visitor to Wrightsville Beach in 1908 would have taken the Wilmington Seacoast Railway Company’s electric trolley — known as the Beach Car — from downtown Wilmington and enjoyed the fine hospitality of the Hotel Tarrymore or the Seashore Hotel, and perhaps an evening of dancing at Lumina. Now, they are all gone with the wind (or up in smoke): The Seashore Hotel (1897; 180 rooms, 150 with fireplaces) was destroyed by fire in 1919 and rebuilt in 1922, eventually becoming the Ocean Terrace Hotel until it was destroyed by the twin terrors of Hurricane Hazel in 1954 and a fire the following year. The Blockade Runner Beach Resort (1964) now occupies the site. The Tarrymore Hotel (1905), with 125 furnished rooms (with electric lights), later became the Oceanic Hotel before the Great Fire of 1934, which destroyed more than 103 buildings on the island in a matter of hours. The Lumina Pavilion (1905), known as the Showplace of the Atlantic, had a scientifically designed bandshell, an enormous ballroom, and hosted every Big Band of the era — everyone from Benny Goodman to Cab Calloway. After life as a music venue and roller rink in the 1960s, the Lumina was sold to a real estate developer and demolished in 1973. — W.I.

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