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How did the road Salient Point get its name?

Ken Little

What is the history of the small road off Carolina Beach Road leading into the Sea Breeze community named Salient Point? It’s been there as long as I can remember. Who built it, when was that and why was it built?

To Dr. Neill Musselwhite, the term salient point represents the most important point of a lecture or in this case, the heart of the 15-acre tract of land he purchased in the mid-1970s as a home for his family.

The Musselwhites have been there ever since they bought the undeveloped property near Myrtle Grove Sound, built a house in 1978 and raised a family there.

“It’s really neat. It’s our property, yes, sir,” he said.

Musselwhite put a lot of thought into what to name the small private road leading to the property from Carolina Beach Road.

“People ask us all the time. The salient point of a lecture is the most important point,” said Musselwhite, who is a member of the New Hanover Medical Group that affiliated with New Hanover Regional Medical Center about five years ago.

Salient Point could also be taken to mean a reference to the salt water merging with freshwater, because Salient Point juts into the nearby Intracoastal Waterway.

Much of the area surrounding Salient Point is now developed, but the property remains true to its appearance in the 1970s when Musselwhite purchased it from Harold Parker and another owner.

“It was just forest. I was the first guy down there,” Musselwhite said.

The land was part of several tracts that had been owned by local families dating to at least the early 1900s.

Shortly before Musselwhite acquired the land, a developer had plans to build a marina there. But the oil embargo and fuel shortage crisis of the mid-1970s that resulted convinced partners to sell the land instead.

The family has encountered other challenges since they took up residence on the land off Salient Point Road.

“Our home burned in 2007, but we rebuilt it and live on the same property right off Carolina Beach Inlet by the water,” Musselwhite said.

Five generations of the Musselwhite family have lived in the Wilmington area, he said.

The Salient Point Road property has no connection to the Seabreeze-Freeman Beach tract, which served as a beachfront resort near Myrtle Grove Sound for African-Americans between the 1920s and 1960s.

The salient point of this story may be the sheer enjoyment the Musselwhites have experienced while living along the uniquely named road for nearly 40 years.

“We were blessed to get this piece of property,” he said.



User-contributed question by:
kitty fitzgibbon

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