Holden Beach NC Bridge
An excerpt from the book, The Beginning and Development of Holden Beach 1756-2000, by John M. Holden.There are few people now living who crossed a little creek on low tide to come to the island identified today as Holden Beach. My earliest remembrance was when my parents brought me to the island with mules and wagon; the crossing was located about where ferry road is today. Mules and wagon splashing through the water was excitement for any little boy. There was a footlog across the creek so walking people could cross without getting their feet wet.Granddaddy, John Holden, Jr., built a bridge across the creek in 1925. That bridge provided access to the island until the Intracoastal Waterway was dug in 1930 and 1931. Then there was no access to the island until the North Carolina Highway Department built the first ferry and put it in operation in the spring of 1934.The first ferry was built of wood and operated by manpower. By 1940 the outboard motor had been invented and the State attached one of these to the east side of the ferry; but the outboard motor was not reliable in those days. Later a car motor was placed in a frame on the east side of the ferry, and this was dependable. A ferry was used until the spring of 1954.The beach was developing so fast the ferry could not take care of the traffic during the summer months, especially on weekends. Sometimes on holidays and weekends the line of cars would be backed up from the ferry, over the hill to Ocean Boulevard and down the Boulevard west one-quarter of a mile.The first bridge the North Carolina Highway Department provided for access to Holden Beach was a turn-table bridge. This bridge was placed at Jordan Boulevard, which is about one-half mile west of Ferry Road. The turn-table bridge was opened for traffic February 20, 1954 and operated until June 6, 1986. This bridge furnished access to the island for thirty-two years. However, the increased road traffic and boat traffic the last five years of operation caused frequent traffic delays on the roadway.All residents and home owners on the island were thankful the bridge was in operation before Hurricane Hazel in October, 1954. The bridge made it much easier and safer for people to evacuate the island.Construction on the new high-rise bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway was started June 25, 1984, and the bridge was dedicated with a short ceremony May 13, 1986. Federal and state funds were appropriated in the amount of $4.1 million to construct the bridge, and the 65.5 feet clearance allows waterway traffic passage without interrupting vehicular traffic above.Ruby Bellamy was the bridge tender on duty when the old turn-table bridge opened the last time on June 6, 1986.