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Kenny Carter | all galleries >> White Lake, North Carolina > White Lake Panorama
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White Lake Panorama
June 21, 2007

White Lake Panorama

White Lake, North Carolina

Comments and memories in red are by Allan Martin Goldston, Winston-Salem, NC

White Lake, NC
Goldston's Beach at White Lake was started by Hugh Peoples Goldston after the death of his father, Andrew Jackson Goldston. Since Robert Lee wound up with the farm, I imagine Eddie Moreau got the store and Hugh inherited enough to buy his beach front at White Lake. In 1924 and 1925 Robert Lee leased the old McDowell Beach, near Hugh's Goldston Beach, but my father Roland said he and his brothers Flynn and David played around so much that Robert Lee gave up on the resort business.

•White Lake is one of five lakes in the Bladen Lakes region, the others being Bay Tree Lake, Singletary Lake, Jones Lake, and Salter’s Lake. Collectively they are known as the Bay Lakes and all are respectively shallow with the deepest reading at Singletary Lake of 11.8 feet.

•These lakes came into being thousands of years ago, geologically speaking, when a heavenly body, perhaps a meteor, plunged towards the earth from the northwest. In nearing the earth, because of intensive heat, it apparently started disintegrating and five large fragments splashed down in this area, forming five rather large depressions in the earth. All are slightly elongated from northwest to southeast. This theory on the origin of the lakes is substantiated by noted geologists from both North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina who have visited the area many times and have given extensive study to the unusual nature of White Lake.

•White Lake is very unique in that it has a white sandy bottom and is blessed with crystal clear waters. This is because it is fed by subterranean springs, the source of which most probably comes from as far away as the Piedmont area. Also the White Lake waters drain from the clear sandy bottom into a swamp, while the other Bay Lakes drain from the swamps, into the open bodies of water, leaving them a dark tea color, and while acting as a catch basin they retain
a high acidity. All five lakes drain indirectly into the Cape Fear River.

•It has been said many times that White Lake is the most beautiful body of water in the eastern United States. Our State's Travel and Promotion Division bills it as the "most used lake in North Carolina" It has also been labeled as the "Nation's Safest Beach." It is truly a child's paradise in that there are no currents, no tides, no hazardous depressions or real dangers of any kind to swimmers.

•At the turn of the century, in 1901, Ralph P. Melvin opened the first commercial operation on White Lake. By 1912, the first sightseeing boat "Lady of the Lakes" made its appearance. Around 1918 a few private cottages began appearing and other business ventures were started. One of the ventures was the White Lake Amusement Company (started by a group of Fayetteville businessmen) which was built and developed into what is known as Goldston's Beach. Hugh Goldston may have been one of the group; or perhaps he later bought the property and named it Goldston's Beach.

•In 1921, W. M. Corbett opened Crystal Beach adjacent to Goldston's and in 1939 he installed the first amusement rides at White Lake. These have since grown into a full size operation at both Goldston's and Crystal beaches, where more than 20 different types of rides are available to the public at present.

My Aunt Addie Mae taught me to swim at Goldston's Beach... I still remember her holding me up while I was kicking and swinging my arms. The following summer I swam across White Lake and back... and got reamed by my parents when they found out.

•Another early operation was Marshburn's Beach, begun in the 1920's, and located further north on the Lake. Every summer we spent a week or 2 weeks at White Lake when I was a kid 1930’s and 1940’s, but we always stayed at Marshburn’s Beach because my father liked the quiet days. My Dad was always very good friends with Mr. & Mrs. Marshburn and they would sit out on the front porch of the old hotel at night and talk about the “good old days”… but my favorite place was Goldston’s Beach and the adjacent Crystal Beach because that was where all the rides and games were… it was like going to a carnival.

•In 1951, White Lake became incorporated and soon moved to insure that the crystal clear waters would always remain just that way, by voting to install a vastly adequate water and sewer system.

•Six years later, the Lake's amusement centers - Goldston's and Crystal beaches - were devastated by fire with estimated damages of $250,000, but both owners immediately replaced their wooden structures razed by the blaze with modern brick facilities. Hugh and Jack Womble, nephews of Uncle Hugh, owned the beach at this time.

•The tempo of development at White Lake has gradually picked up from year to year. Today it is estimated that there are approximately three dozen or more commercial or semi-commercial operations and over three hundred private cottages.

•White Lake offers excellent swimming, boating, water skiing, and fishing for perfect family vacations. In addition, the lake has amusement parks and numerous other recreational facilities. Motel, cottage, and campground accommodations are available as well as permanent home sites. A beautiful 18-hole golf course is located
between Elizabethtown and White Lake.


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