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A Historic Wrightsville Beach Resort

A History of Hospitality

For almost 60 years the Blockade Runner Beach Resort has been welcoming guests to Wrightsville Beach; however, the site's history as a beacon of beachfront hospitality began in the late 1800's. From the Seashore Hotel of the early 20th century to the Ocean Terrace Hotel of the roaring 20's, beach-goers have been staying at 275 Waynick Blvd. for almost 150 years.

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Blockade Runner Ships

Blockade Runners were English steamers and were painted lead gray to prevent them from being discovered at night when running close in along the land. The fire and steam arrangements were for burning soft English coal that always made black smoke, by which they could be discovered from a long distance in the day.

Just south of our Wrightsville Beach hotel, near Masonboro Inlet, is the Blockade Runner “Fanny & Jenny” 10-feet under. She was carrying a solid gold and bejeweled sword to be presented to General Robert E. Lee. The Blockade Runner “Emily” sits about one mile from shore directly in front of our resort.

Seashore Hotel

Prior to today's Blockade Runner Beach Resort, the Seashore Hotel, built in 1897, sat on our land. This Colonial style hotel was located at “Station Three” on the railway, which connected Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. The Seashore Hotel had 150 guest rooms with fireplaces “in case of cool or damp weather”. It was three stories in height with a large dining room, a ladies reception room, a sitting room, and an office.


On June 15th 1897, the Seashore opened it’s doors serving a splendid supper in the handsome dining room, while an excellent orchestra provided the music for a grand ball. The Seashore Hotel burned to the ground in 1918 and its famous Ocean Steel Pier was destroyed during a storm in 1921.

Ocean Terrace Hotel

On June 4, 1922, a charter was issued in Raleigh for a new hotel on the site of the burned Seashore Hotel. In 1935 Mrs. J. A. Snyder, the former proprietor of the Kitty Cottage, which burned the year before, leased the Seashore Hotel and changed its name to the Ocean Terrace Hotel.

On October 15, 1954, the most destructive hurricane to ever strike this coastline badly damaged the Ocean Terrace. One year later, the structure burned to the ground, leaving only the brick foundation to mark the site. The town of Wrightsville Beach immediately acquired the site.

Blockade Runner Beach Resort

The former mayor of Wrightsville Beach, Mr. Michael Brown, had known that the beach would never make a comeback without a large hotel. He negotiated a deal with Lawrence Lewis, president of East Coast Hotel Company of Richmond Virginia. Using the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, Brown purchased the former Ocean Terrace site from the town for $40,000 and in turn deeded the site to Mr. Lewis.

The Blockade Runner Motor Hotel opened on March 22, 1964. It had one hundred and twenty guest rooms, each overlooking the Atlantic Ocean or Banks Channel. Due to the tremendous business that the Blockade Runner enjoyed, the owner was compelled to expand the property after just one year. Mr. Lewis sold the hotel in 1971 to Four Seasons Management Services, Inc., a group of doctors headed by Dr. Joseph Baggett of Fayetteville.