In 1973 Surf City Pier was for the most part a steel pier, old and in somewhat poor condition (pictured above). It was up for sale and the price was right for Edwin P. Lore, Jr. of Smithfield, North Carolina. He was looking for something to do since his career as a surveyor was cut short due to the development of a severe allergy to yellow jacket stings. He spent that first year learning the ins and outs of operating a fishing pier along with his wife, Miriam and two sons, Steve, 16 and Edwin, 11.
The very next year a fierce nor'easter destroyed much of the pier just after Thanksgiving. Undaunted, Mr. Lore rebuilt the pier the following year, and despite the many storms in the years that followed, some that caused minor damage and one, Hurricane
Fran that completely destroyed the pier in 1996, Surf City Pier celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
During the year I will be reminiscing about some of my experiences during my time at the pier. Oh, and by the way, I'm the youngest son Edwin, who now owns the pier and hopes to continue the Lore family tradition.
As I touched on last time, the Lore family bought Surf City Pier in 1973. My dad was an avid speckled trout fisherman, having loved it since he was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in the early '50's. I inherited his general love of fishing, but saltwater fishing was new to me, having previously experienced only freshwater fishing with a cane pole in my grandfather's farm pond. My first summer at the pier was spend doing a few odd jobs, but mostly learning how to catch fish in the ocean; flounder,drum, sheepshead, mackerel, and blues to name a few. It was wonderful, and I caught on pretty quickly.
We lived in Smithfield in the off season and made trips to Surf City in the summer and on weekends in the spring and fall. Down here, we stayed in a 48 foot long by 12 feet wide trailer which was normally quite cozy. It was very unnerving, though, to be in it when there was a bad storm, expecially like the one that hit the Saturday night after Thanksgiving, 1974. That "nor'easter," with winds over 60 mph, rattled and shook the little trailer, but it survived. Much of the pier, however, did not.
That next Sunday morning the old steel pier was collapsing. The pierhouse was located over the water at that time, complete with a small grill and tackle shop, gameroom with pool table; foosball table, and even a jukebox, and a 2-table dining area. And as a result, my dad ordered all of us out in case it fell too. My brother and I were the first out followed by mom who was carrying an armful of important documents and insurance paperwork. My dad came out last, carrying the most important things to him other than his family....his trout fishing rods.
The pierhouse did survive somehow, and the winter and early spring were spent rebuilding what was lost. Alot of fish were caught in the ensuing years, and the weather remained quiet until the early '80's. In part II, I'll briefly discuss a couple of close-call hurricanes and also a rather large fire that occurred in Pender County in 1986.
Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019 at 3:30pm
NOrthside Community center
Friday, Dec 13, 2019 at 7:00pm
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