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Where are the castles in Castle Hayne?

Ben Steelman

There never were any, really. Capt. Roger Haynes built a “castle” nearby at his plantation, sometime before the American Revolution, and the name stuck for the vicinity. Originally “Castle Haynes,” the name was shortened by the railroad and later adopted, minus the “S” by the post office. The unincorporated community appears on maps as early as 1861.

For awhile, the community was known as “Spring Garden,” according to the North Carolina Gazetteer. In the early 1900s, Hugh MacRae set up a 6,000-acre agricultural colony here, recruiting Greek and Dutch farmers. (The Greek heritage is recalled today by Marathon Road.) Later, a number of Poles arrived; St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church in Castle Hayne still holds an annual Polish festival.

In 1768, Benjamin Heron built a drawbridge over the Northeast Cape Fear River near Castle Hayne, not far from where U.S. 117 crosses the river today. One of the few drawbridges in the American colonies, it was destroyed by British soldiers in 1781.

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