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What is the origin of the name Mason’s Inlet?

Ben Steelman

According to local history librarian Beverly Tetterton of the New Hanover County Public Library, the name seems to come from Caleb Mason, who owned land on the shoreline near the inlet by the 1830s.

Actually, Mason or Mason’s Inlet has gone by a number of names, according to the North Carolina Gazetteer. On the Moseley map of 1733, it was marked as “Barren Inlet,” a name that persisted on other maps into the 1900s. From 1900 to about 1936, it was apparently known as Queen Inlet.

Mason Inlet lies in the northeast corner of New Hanover County, south of Rich Inlet, near the mouth of Howe Creek. It separates Figure Eight Island from the north end of Wrightsville Beach. According to Audubon North Carolina, the inlet has been migrating south for much of the 1980s and 1990s, creating new, sandy waterbird habitats.

In 2002, the inlet was artificially relocated some 3,000 feet northward, to protect the north end of Wrightsville, particularly the threatened Shell Island Resort. The $6.5 million project was paid for through a special tax assessment on Figure Island and Wrightsville Beach property owners.

Mason Inlet is not to be confused with Masonboro Inlet, which lies farther south at the mouth of Hewlett’s Creek, south of Wrightsville Beach.

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2 Responses to “ What is the origin of the name Mason’s Inlet?”

  1. On August 17, 2009 at 2:43 pm Nancy wrote:

    Thank you so much for your answer to my question about Mason’s Inlet!!

  2. On August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm Burke Speaker wrote:

    Glad we could help out!

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