It’s not exactly clear. According to the local history staff at the New Hanover County Public Library, the creek is named for William Smith, a local planter who bought 1,000 acres of land in its vicinity in 1754.
However, Claude V. Jackson III in his Cape Fear River survey, suggests it might have been named for Thomas Smith, another area landowner in the early 1700s.
Sometimes called Smiths Creek, the creek has appeared on local maps since the early 18th century. Meandering through north-central New Hanover County, Smith Creek drains into the Northeast Cape Fear River, just north of where the Northeast Cape Fear and the main Cape Fear channel come together.
Until very recently, the creekside was largely rural, and the creek is known for its large pupulation of alligators. A swing bridge, built in 1931, crosses Smith Creek on Castle Hayne Road.
In 2011, New Hanover County opened Smith Creek Park, a 92-acre facility with kayak and canoe launches and a 1.25-mile hiking trail, located off Gordon and Harris roads. (Because of the alligators, swimming in the creek is not advised.)
The county has announced plans to develop a “greenway” along the creek from North Kerr Avenue to Murrayville Road, using grant money.
Date posted: November 20, 2013
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