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Saturday, November 3, 2012

No. 114 Why is it called Shell Point?

Why is it called Shell Point? I’m pretty sure it is because of the massive mound of sea shells that once were piled high at the far eastern end of the Island. It was said that the shells had been piled there over many generations by native Americans, supposedly to build a bridge from the Island to Core Banks. Almost all of the shell mounds were gone by the time I can remember, although on low tide you could see remnants of the pile that headed out to the eastward.

Where did all those shells go?

Watching the sun go down at Shell Point with
my granddaughter, Eden.
One of my father's oft-told stories was that as a young man his earliest driving experience was with a truck. It was used to haul shells from Shell Point to dump along the path that became the main Harkers Island road. According to the story, his co-worker was Henry Davis, the son of Cleveland Davis.  Those shells were the initial bed for what is now Island Drive. I vaguely recall him saying that after their project was completed even more shells were transported elsewhere in the County for similar purposes.

My father explained that Cleveland, and Daddy's father, Charlie Hancock, had a contract or job to move the shells for one of the New Deal operations, so this would have been in the mid 1930s. He recalled it as the WPA, but it could have been one of the several others.

His anecdotes were mostly about how the shells would puncture the tires on the truck and that he and Henry would sometimes have to remove the tire and patch the tubes several times in one journey to and from the Point. Even with all the delays, their job was eventually done, and when it was, the shells at Shell Point became just a memory.

1 comment:

  1. I love this story. I've always heard it just this way in every detail. The mystic mountain of shells at the end of the island is a beautiful image. Furtherly fascinating that the ancient inhabitants had such a bold plan. That's what you call planning for the future! -- Thank you for sharing your experiences, Joel!