Pine Valley Estates began as homes immediately around the Pine Valley Country Club, which was established in 1955. The newest streets to the southwest are now nearly one mile away from the original road, Robert E. Lee Drive, that circles the 18-hole golf course. Almost all of the area streets are named for Confederate officers.
Pine Valley was created by Alex Trask out of the lettuce farm that his father, George Trask, had found his earliest major success in. George Trask was the first ever to ship lettuce out of New Hanover County, in fact to New York City. Using careful husbandry and thoughtful innovation, he could offer the first lettuce in a given market, and command the best prices. Eventually the Trask family would turn most of their sizable holdings of farmland into Wilmington neighborhoods, schools, and parks.
In a StarNews 1977 advertisement (it was called the Star-News back then, with a hyphen), new homes in Pine Valley Estates were on “Donald E. Gore Drive, John D. Barry Drive, John S. Mosby Drive, and Semmes Drive.” Barry and Semmes were brigadier generals in the Confederate army, and Mosby was a colonel. But who was Donald E. Gore?
Donald Elwin Gore was not a Confederate commander, but a builder. He was mentioned as a Realtor active in Pine Valley Estates in a 1967 StarNews ad, but by 1968 he was half of the Trask-Gore Construction Co. Alex Trask was the other half.
Donald E. Gore Drive is a single block stretching between (Major General) Jeb Stuart and (Brigadier General) George Anderson Drives. There are 25 lots here, most with a “brick veneer ranch” style house. The first six houses were built in 1976, then nine in 1977, then five in 1978, and four in 1979. One last house, at #350, was built in 1993, after some controversy involving a planned Group Home there.
The longest-term resident, who moved into his then-new house in 1978, confirmed that there were just a few empty lots remaining then.
(The City Directory cannot be relied upon here. It first lists Donald E. Gore Drive in 1978, but only as a street intersecting George Anderson Drive. Addresses and occupants are not listed until the 1983 City Directory, the year that Pine Valley was annexed, after much opposition, by the City of Wilmington.)
However, Donald E. Gore built none of the 25 houses on the Drive named for him, for he died on the last day of 1973, just 50 years old. His own home, at 25 Bedford Forest Drive, was on a prime lot, the tip of a cul-de-sac which juts deep into the course. His wife Nan Whitfield Gore died at age 54 in 1978. Their only child, Nan, born in 1957, sold this property, stayed in Wilmington for quite a few years, and now resides in the Outer Banks area. She stated that she remembers well the street named for her father.
Donald Gore is not the only builder and partner of Alex Trask who is memorialized with a Drive in Pine Valley Estates. On April 2, 2010, a related MyReporter answer, “What does the R.L. in R. L. Honeycutt Drive stand for?” was posted. Renius L. Honeycutt built most of the homes on R. L. Honeycutt Drive, according to his grandson Hal Overby, Jr. Hal’s information is contained in his comment on the MyReporter answer.
Date posted: May 10, 2013
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