Special Thanks to Mark Weir for submitting these photos.
Below are photos from the 1930’s
Below are Photos from the 1940’s
Many of the early Davis Island surf fishermen began their Drum fishing on North Core Banks because it had ferry service and cabins established prior to WWII. North Core Banks was known to fishermen as Drum Island or simply “Drum” referring to the productive inlet on the south end of the island.
A group of young men from Winston-Salem took these photos on Drum Island in October 1946. The group lead by Marshall Linville included his brother-in-law Woodson Baker and his nephews Dallas Weir (father of DIFF’s Mark Weir) and Owen Wood that took the photos. The group witnessed a display of dozens of big Drum harvested by some Drum Island regulars [photos 40s-1, 40s-2, 40s-3, 40s-4]. Model-A Fords were popular beach buggies because they were plentiful, easy to maintain and most important they were light weight so they did not sink into the soft sand [photo 40s-11]. They were often modified to reduce weight on the front tires by removing the front fenders and bumpers. Rod holders were added and rumble seat compartments were converted to truck beds for storage.
No part of the journey was easy. The wind driven bay made for a long wet walk to the boat dock when it came time to depart [photos 40s-5 and 40s-6].
The Winston-Salem crew caught three Drum that they photographed on the mainland as they were packing to return home [photo 40s-7; left to right: Woodson Baker, Dallas Weir and Marshall Linville]. Marshall always drove a Chevrolet as he was the parts manager at Modern Chevrolet. Home-made trailers were a common sight carrying fishing gear and whole fish back home.
After arriving at home word spread quickly about their three Drum [photo 40s-9]. Each member of the group was photographed with the three Drum to document their individual success. They enjoyed their bragging rights (fishermen don’t lie) for weeks using their photos as proof. An example is Dallas Weir with “his” three Drum [photo 40s-8] and Marshall Linville with “his” three Drum [photo 40s-12]. Dallas Weir is shown with his three Drum and his young son Mark [photo 40s-10].
Surf fishing expanded from the well established Drum Island to the less developed Davis Island which also had access to the proven waters of Drum Inlet. This Winston-Salem group was a part of that migration to Davis Island in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Marshall and Dallas eventually had a cabin built at Great Island Camp in 1956 that they shared with their friends and family for twenty years.
Below are photos from the 1950’s
Below is Sterling Dixon’s home in Davis NC. The sign at the road was his welcome sign to surf fishermen. Sterling was a commercial shrimper in Davis like many others there at that time. He had two children that he wanted to send to college and the shrimping business was a very unpredictable source of income in the early 1950s. So he converted his shrimp boat to be a passenger ferry service to take fishermen to the island.
Sterling constructed the original dock and rental cabins at what is now called the Great Island camp. We just called it the Dixon camp. His dock and a small concrete block ice house were about 50 yards south of the current dock. You can still see the remains of the ice house today. He provided everything you needed including ferry, cabin rental, bait, ice and fishing guide service with his friendly smile. He had a truck with benches on the bed that he would take groups to nearby fishing holes (typically around mile marker 32 or 33) in the morning and return to take them to their cabin in the late afternoon. He also rented A-Model Fords and other vehicles as beach buggies for the more ambitious types.
Sterling’s home also served as a late night motel. The door was never locked and the green vinyl sofa in the front room was as good as any bed for a few hours.
Below is Sterling Dixon’s rental cabins at what is now called the Great Island camp. The truck on the right had benches on the bed. Sterling would take groups to nearby fishing holes (typically around mile marker 32 or 33) in the morning and return to take them to their cabin in the late afternoon. He also rented A-Model Fords and other vehicles as beach buggies for the more ambitious types.
Note the two outhouses on the left, his and hers. Each rental cabin had a sink and a propane cook stove, but no plumbing. A nearby hand pump provided “water” from the shallow well that was carried to the cabins.
Two of the old Coast Guard telegraph poles are visible in the background. They ran the length of the island and served as mile markers to identify the fishing holes.
Below is a photo from 1980
This view looks south from on top of the flat-roof cabin in the approximate location of today’s cabin #17. The photo was taken by Mark Weir in October 1980 to show his father how the camp looked after the park service removed all the unfit cabins. The white cabin on the left was known as the Scarborough cabin. It was the largest cabin in the camp at that time. Notice the garage with board ramps to the road. It was badly damaged by a hurricane in 1985 and rebuilt. It was badly damaged again by Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and eventually demolished in 2004. The brown cabin on the right was known as the Ballard cabin and was located near today’s cabin #20. Carl Ballard continued to use the cabin he built even though he had to pay rent for it. It was destroyed by Hurricane Isabel in 2003. The green tar-paper cabin in the center was converted to a duplex cabin in the 1990s. It collapsed and was replaced by today’s cabins #21 and #22. The multicolored cabin beyond it was known as Jacob’s or the rainbow cabin. Each sheet of plywood was painted a different color. It was destroyed by Hurricane Isabel in 2003. The bath house and fish cleaning table are not in this photo as they were constructed years later.