According to Madeline Flagler of the Wrightsville Beach Museum, the name comes from “The Banks,” the local name for what is now Wrightsville Beach back in the 1700s and early 1800s.
Harbor Island was known as “The Hammocks” as late as the 1890s. In fact, Banks Channel originally separated The Hammocks from The Banks.
The name “Banks Channel” appears on the J.C. Chase survey map of Wrightsville Beach as early as 1892. (You can find a copy in the 1986 pamphlet “Historic Architecture of New Hanover County, North Carolina,” available in the local history room of the New Hanover County Public Library.)
Although associated with Wrightsville Beach, much of Banks Channel now runs behind Topsail Island — a reflection, Flagler noted, of the migration of barrier islands over time.
Date posted: February 26, 2014
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