Cedar Island, NC History

Like the Daniels, Luptons, Smiths, Days and Styrons, the Goodwin name has long been associated with Cedar Island. And for Alva Goodwin, the second oldest resident of the isolated community, Cedar Island is the only place ever to be considered as home.

For Mr. Goodwin, known locally as Pop, and his daughter Judy Daniels, it’s a time to reflect on the 85 years he’s spent on the island... from the hurricane of 1933 to the coming of electricity and the new high-rise bridge that connects the region with the mainland.

“Life was different when I was young,” Mr. Goodwin said Friday. “We had a ball and a stick and we were happy for the day. There weren’t baseballs or baseball bats in those days. We had to make them ourselves. But that’s all we needed to occupy ourselves.”

The local boys often made balls from unraveled socks, he said. While their mothers probably weren’t too pleased with the process, the boys were generally mighty proud of their ingenuity. “And they worked just as good,” Mr. Goodwin said. “Unless they got wet. Then when you got hit with one it hurt.”

The schoolhouse in those days was located near the middle of the island, and housed all grade levels up to 11th The high school, he said, was moved to Atlantic in the 1930s. When the new elementary school was built in At-lantic, all students made their way by bus across the rickety second hand drawbridge. “The trouble with the bridge is that there was a drop off where it met in the middle,” Mr. Goodwin said. The children had to get off the bus and walk across the bridge separately because of safety concerns over its weight. “So rain, sleet or snow, those young ‘uns got off that bus, bundled up in their coats and hats, and walked all the way over to the other side.”

But that wasn’t the first bridge Mr. Goodwin remembers. Previously, he said, there was a barge that passengers could use to manually pull themselves across the cut through a series of cables. It was the storm of 1933 that took the barge away, he said. Not referred to as hurricanes in those days, the storm has gained the reputation for causing the most widespread flooding and damage to the down east area prior to Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Mr. Goodwin was 16 at the time and said the family had warning of the bad weather to come by a neighbor with a small radio. His father, he said, scoffed at the reports from the neighbor that 100 mph winds were expected that night. But by the morning, he said, his opinion had been altered substantially. Water rose during the night to about midway on the stairs to the second story and the family made an escape on a small flat-bottom skiff to a relative’s residence.

“In many ways we’re still as isolated as we were then,” Mrs. Daniels said. “We still have to drive to town for groceries and most people have to drive into Morehead to work.” But for her family, past and present, Cedar Island is home. And they wouldn’t want it any other way.

Written by Amanda Dagnino for the Careret County News-Times

Down East Community Tour