Before the American Revolution, settlers seeking property near the Lockwood Folly River applied for grants to purchase land. The going rate at that time was 100 acres of land for 50 shillings. In today’s money that’s 100 acres for $396.63 USD. Benjamin Holden purchased the 100 acres that stretched between the Lockwood Folly River and the Bacon Inlet. 263 years later Holden Beach has become one of North Carolina’s most beautiful and family friendly islands.
At the time of purchase Benjamin Holden used this land for fishing, cattle grazing, and to build his home to raise his family. John Holden (Benjamin’s great-grandson) began using the land for commercial fishing and in 1924 he commenced working on plans for the “The Holden Beach Resort”. Once construction was complete John had created the first subdivision on beach property in Brunswick County. The following year in 1925 John built the first bridge leading to the island. This bridge would soon later be destroyed due to the governments plans to create the Intracoastal Waterway. Finally, in 1933 the state of North Carolina would approve the request for a public ferry.
After John Holden’s death, his oldest son Luther continued to operate the hotel his father had built. Luther, like his father saw the potential that the island possessed. Luther continued to develop the surrounding land and began renting them to vacationers. It wasn’t until 1941 that Brunswick Electric Membership Cooperation supplied power to the island which aided in tourism and property construction. By 1954 Holden Beach would have 300 homes and a turn style bridge. Unfortunately, Hurricane Hazel hit the Brunswick County shore line on October 15th, 1954 demolishing all but 12 properties. But the people of Holden Beach rebuilt and in 1969 the island became incorporated.
Today as you approach Holden Beach, you’ll see the 65 foot high rise bridge draped across the Intracoastal Waterway, provided breath taking views to all that cross. Instead of cattle, there are children playing in the surf, making memories. Families enjoying restaurants, live music and outdoor activities. 263 years in the making, Holden Beach only gets better with time!