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Why do they call it Kure Beach?

Ben Steelman

It was named for the Kure family, who began visiting the area soon after the Civil War. Hans Andersen Kure, a Danish-born sea captain and ship’s chandler, began buying land at Federal Point in 1895, eventually amassing some 900 acres from the ocean to the Cape Fear River.

His son, L.C. Kure, built the first public fishing pier on Kure Beach in 1923. (As of 2009, L.C. Kure’s grandson, Mike Robertson still operates Kure Beach Fishing Pier, like his father before him.)

The town was incorporated in 1947.

Pronunciation note: The locals say the name with two syllables, as in “Cure-y.” (Think of science pioneer Marie Curie.)

In 1933 the Dow Chemical Co. and the Ethyl Corp. partnered to build a large plant near Kure Beach for extracting the chemical bromine from seawater. (It was used for an “anti-knock” ingredient in gasoline and other fuels.) Operated from 1934 until shortly after the end of World War II, the plant employed 250 workers at its height, with a $500,000 annual payroll. Some locals still claim that a German U-boat tried to shell the Ethyl-Dow plant on the night of July 24-25, 1943, but no shells or other evidence was found, and many historians think it was a hallucination. Most of the Ethyl-Dow complex — some of whose buildings stood four stories high — was demolished or destroyed in the late 1940s.

In 1935, the International Nickel Co. opened an oceanside testing site near Kure Beach to study the effects of outdoor weathering and marine corrosion on various commercial substances. That research is continued today by the LaQue Center for Corrosive Technology Inc.

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One Response to “ Why do they call it Kure Beach?”

  1. On July 26, 2009 at 7:29 pm Vaughn Hagerty wrote:

    Props to James White and Jean Welker Edwards for pointing out a couple of errors in this post!

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