South side memories and the cost of seeing the light

Published 4:30 pm Monday, November 14, 2022

Since my youth, Beaufort County has grown and when I was young boy, I could look at the south side of the river and maybe see the lights at Whichard’s Beach and Camp Hardee.  I knew only two families who lived on the south side and that was Laverne Parker and the Woods families.  I did not get to know the Woods until I married Tracey.  Both families lived close to town and across from Washington Park.

Now, as I watch the sunset on day light savings time over the south side of the river, there seems to be more homes on the south side than they are on the north side. Whichard’s Beach is gone to condos and the peninsula is full of houses. Inside Chocowinity Bay is Cypress Landing and further down is Moore’s Beach.  All along between the two are permanent homes where there used to be only duck blinds.

There used to be no lots on the north side but people have moved over to the south side in record numbers.  My friend Dewayne Kellum, who grew up on the south side, has bought three lots recently on the river and now there are homes from the trestle to Blount’s Creek and more are planned to be built.

We, as kids, use to not water ski on the south side of the river because it had a muddy bottom and logs would float over there from the barges.  The channel is over close to the south side and that is the deepest part of the river.  The only sandy bottom was at Whichard’s Beach because it was open to the public. Today, the sand has drifted towards Blount’s Creek and beyond.

Fort Hill on the south side is the highest point on the river and was a Confederate fort at one time.  Camp Hardee, close to Fort Hill, is the only Girl Scout Camp on the river to my knowledge and further down is Camp Bonner, a Boy Scout Camp past Blount’s Creek, which is growing every day.

The only thing we knew about the south side was the light.  Stories said the railroad man was trying to stop the train and was killed trying to do so.  His light is said to be burning even as we speak, so kids from Washington would go over to the tracks on the south side to see the light.  I have one horrible story to tell about the light and two of my friends.  My dad was called in the middle of the night to repair our car that night.  Never saw the light!!!

Young kids of today, do not try to see the light or anything that is proven to be false if you can afford to.  It cost me plenty of money, and pulling tobacco did not pay much nor did pressing clothes for my dad.  I had to pay for that trip to see the light!!

 They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C.!  The Original Washington!

Harold, Jr.