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What is the history of the old Blue Top Lodge on U.S. 17 north of Wilmington?

Gail Calloway

Q. I recently saw a 1950-something postcard featuring a place called the Blue Top Lodge on U.S. 17 north of Wilmington. It appears to be an old Pure Oil station around which several cabins were built as a motel. The old station appears to be the office. What is the history of the former Blue Top Lodge?

A. Long before there were motel and hotel chains, the roadsides were dotted with small simple travel lodges.

Because of its location on the U.S. 17 – Market Street – the Blue Top managed by H.J. Clark was extremely popular. In the mid-1940s the Blue Top Lodge was located four miles north of the city limits on the Market Street, near the present site of the Walmart on Sigmon Road. The Atlantic Coast Line’s New Bern railroad line was located right behind the Lodge.

The office sported the familiar pointed roof of a Pure Oil filling station, so travelers had a place to gas up while having a place to stay. There was also a small dining room. Tiny two-unit cottages surrounded the station. Each one had heat, private baths, and just the very basics.

In the later years it was managed by the Carter family. The Blue Top lasted into the 1950s. Later, Skinner & Daniels Barbecue and the Dodge Store were built on the property.


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