Also available at:
- The WBF Farmer's Market tent Mondays from 8am-1pm
- Crabby Chic
The beginning of the end for the trolley system came in 1935 when North Carolina began constructing highways in the area. The drawbridge to Wrightsville Beach, built in 1935, slowed down trolley usage. The last trolley run was completed April 26, 1940. The remains of the trolley car bridge can still be seen along the waterway near Bradley Creek Bridge.
The Wilmington Beach Car Line started in 1888 as a steam engine rail service operated by Sea Coast Railroad. It carried passengers from downtown Wilmington to what is now the intracoastal waterway. Sea Coast Railroad extended its line in 1889 to reach the shores of the Atlantic Ocean at Wrightsville Beach. Vacationers, summer homeowners and those interested in the fish market industry were just some of the patrons using this steam engine route. Eventually, the Tidewater Electric Company took over the beach car line and turned it into an electric trolley system.
At one time there were only 75 cottages and 2 hotels on the small island of Wrightsville Beach. The Beach Car Line, owned and operated by Tidewater Power Co., brought many tourists to the shore, thereby stimulating growth in the small beach town.
The trolley departed from downtown Wilmington at Front and Princess streets to head to the beach. During busy times of the year, the trolley could make the 10-mile trip every 30 minutes, bringing hundreds of passengers to the beach. A round-trip ticket could be purchased for 25 cents and included a bathing suit rental at Lumina Pavilion. The pavilion was a popular destination enjoyed by Wilmingtonians and visitors up and down the east coast. Lumina was the last stop on the Beach Car Line’s journey eastward toward the Atlantic Ocean.
The popularity of Wrightsville Beach and Lumina, as well as Wilmington, prompted growth in the service job sector, providing employment opportunities for locals. The Wilmington Beach Car Line presented an efficient means to commute to places of employment.
This ornament is one of several important fundraisers needed to help us achieve the ongoing mission of the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, which is twofold:
• Promote a partnership among residents, visitors, and the Town of Wrightsville Beach in an effort to enhance recreational opportunities while helping preserve and improve our beautiful coastal environment
• Provide financial assistance within the county to educational and care giving organizations in need, especially during times of natural disaster.
This commemorative ornament, and those that will follow annually, will help raise funds to support our mission. By joining the Foundation and by gifting or collecting our annual ornament, you put the“YOU” in our organization to help us achieve our goals.