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Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Either way, you’ll find a vibrant mixture of old and new.
Either way, you’ll hear stories of fires and hurricanes and beach trolleys and Big Bands.
Either way, amid a landscape of change, you’ll find the constancy of waves against sand.
Wrightsville Beach is Ray McAllister’s homage to a special place, a book that captures not only Wrightsville’s history but also its heart.
Unlike most of the North Carolina coast, Wrightsville had a sizable population base, thanks to nearby Wilmington. Development didn’t begin early here, but once it started, it came hard and fast. By the early 20th century, Wrightsville was beckoning family vacationers to its simple beach cottages and day-trippers to its dance floors, cinemas, and sundry amusements.
Through all the changes, Wrightsville has never forgotten the hospitality that made it such a destination in the first place. Just ask the airplane full of Pennsylvanians who fled here to escape one of America’s first manmade disasters. Or the thousands who continue to come for happier reasons today.
Longtime Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Ray McAllister has visited the North Carolina coast for many years. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.
Posted November 4, 2013
Praise for Wrightsville Beach:
* Winner of the Willie Parker Peace History Book Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians *
* Nominee for the Library of Virginia Literary Award *
“Covering Big Bands, fires, hurricanes, and trolleys, McAllister captures Wrightsville’s Beach history and heart as he explains the appeal of the area that attracts so many annual visitors.”
--Andrea Griffith, OUR STATE NORTH CAROLINA magazine
“Congratulations on Wrightsville Beach: The Luminous Island. … I admire the research and effort you put into your well-written book. I’m also glad to have the map and the information I had never heard of about the ‘National Negro Playground.’ I’m recommending ‘Wrightsville Beach’ …Your book made me hungry for seafood and the beach …”
--TOM WICKER, author of “Shooting Star: The Brief Arc of Joe McCarthy,” ” A Time to Die” and “Unto This Hour: A Novel.”
“Another home run with this book. As expected, I love the chapter on fishing piers. You are making my task of researching and documenting all of NC piers past and present easy. Can’t wait for your next one.”
--AL BAIRD, founder, North Carolina Fishing Pier Society
“After reading this book, if you haven’t already been to this beach and experienced some of what Mr. McAllister wrote about, you will want to [go]. … Why is it called the ‘luminous’ island? You’ll have to read the book. Do you want to know about the Pirates and Money Island or the Mystery of the Blockade Runner? Read the book. Is this beach considered another ‘Atlantic City’? And how did the Storm of 1899 affect the area? What ‘Trouble’ washed ashore there on April 5, 1928? Here are only a few reasons to ‘READ THE BOOK!’ –which is filled with fabulous historical stories … [and] dotted with wonderful pictures.”
--NORTH CAROLINA SOCIETY OF HISTORIANS
“McAllister perfectly captures the essence of Wrightsville Beach.”
--Deal Safrit, owner of Literary Bookpost (Salisbury, NC), in OUR STATE NORTH CAROLINA
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