Sunday, August 5, 2007

Hampstead North Carolina

Hampstead North Carolina

The Village of Hampstead NC is in the area of Pender County north of Wilmington on US Hwy. 17. Just a few years ago, it was just a “wide spot” in the road with a couple of fish houses and a small grocery store. Bordered on the south by New Hanover County and Wilmington , on the west by Holly Shelter Game Preserve, on the north by Onslow County and on the east by the sound and Topsail Island. Today it is a place that has become very attractive to those who come to visit and those searching for a new start.

Because of lower taxes and inexpensive property, Hampstead is an up-and-coming place to live where many retirees have moved from places such as Pennsylvania , New York and New Jersey . In fact, there are families from all over the nation that have found Hampstead to be a good place to raise a family or to spend the latter years of their lives.

Hampstead NC is now home to four of the top golf courses in southeastern North Carolina : Castle Bay Golf Club, Olde Point Golf Club, Belvedere Plantation Golf Club, and Topsail Greens Golf Club. Each of these is centered in residential developments where you can live in the same area you play golf. Just recently, there have been plans revealed by a Wilmington developer for the development of a large commercial/ residential area on US Hwy. 17. Included in this are two commercial areas and 500 lots for single-family homes.

Hampstead is home to schools that serve the eastern part of Pender County , including part of Topsail Island . There are two elementary schools: North Topsail Elementary and South Topsail Elementary. There are approved plans for a third school, Central Topsail Elementary, in the near future. There is one middle school, Topsail Middle School and one high school, Topsail High School . Presently, there are approved plans for a new high school to replace the present one because of the tremendous growth of the area. All of these schools have received the highest honors available in the State of North Carolina

Because it is not incorporated, Hampstead is served by a branch of the Pender County Library, the Pender County Health Department and Pender County Animal Control.

The Hampstead area is served by two of the top volunteer fire departments in southeastern North Carolina , Hampstead Volunteer Fire Department and Sloop Point Volunteer Fire Department. The area is also served by Pender EMS for emergencies and the Pender County Sheriff’s Department.

Pender County is presently developing a county water system for the Hampstead area and is planning to add a sewer system in the future. This will spur more growth in the area and bring in more commercial development as well as residential. To add to the growth in the area and to alleviate traffic problems, the NCDOT has approved the development of a bypass around Hampstead that will tie in to the new I-140 bypass around Wilmington to the south and west. This will greatly improve infrastructure for more growth in the area.

Every year, there are events where Hampstead comes together such as the Spot Festival, the Relay For Life and the Hampstead Expo. The Spot Festival is a long held tradition that celebrates one of the most abundant and favorite fish found in the area. The Relay For Life is a walkathon sponsored by local groups to raise support for the American Cancer Association. The Hampstead Expo is an event sponsored by the Greater Hampstead Chamber of Commerce that brings local businesses together with the people of the community, encouraging local people to support their local businesses.

Whether it’s gathering for a fish fry, a pig pickin’ or to help a neighbor in need, the people of Hampstead create the feel of a real community where your neighbors really care about you.

If you talk to those who have either moved here or have lived here all of their lives, they all will tell you that they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

George Washington passed through here in 1791, and spent the night at a tavern not too far from here. The monument at its base was placed there by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1925.

Hampstead NC was once a small fishing village and a whistle stop alongside the Atlantic Coast Line RR. Now it is probably the fastest growing area in the state, as more and more folks are choosing to live here. Many neighborhoods front the waterway, more are along the numerous creeks and even more line the area's four golf courses.

The land side of the sound is officially referred to as Topsail Township, and includes many small unincorporated communities, and the larger community of Hampstead.

There are still quaint fishing shacks on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway, though most are being replaced by much larger homes as new people * move into the area.

Highway 17 is being widened to a four lane coastal highway from Virginia to Florida, and offers convenient access to Wilmington, Jacksonville, and Interstate 40.

Now we have it all - a hamburger place, gas and taco place, take out pizza and take out Chinese, grocery store, drug store, hardware store, doctors and dentists and lawyers, a nice library, an oil change place, a few shopping strips and some excellent nurseries.

There are two wholesale-only fresh fish dealers, a very nice marina, and full service boat yard **, and lots of golf courses.

Every September, J. H. Lea & Sons contributes about 5,000 lbs. of fish to the yearly Spot Festival, the event of the year in the town.

History is everywhere, mostly related to marauders, both pirates and Yankees. Topsail Inlet was a frequently used entrance to Topsail Sound, a hideout for Blackbeard, Steede Bonnett and Captain Kidd, and Union raiders found it strategic to raid the salt works nearby, and generally disrupt waterborne commerce.

The bottom picture shows breastworks from the Civil War days. Breastworks were earthen walls piled up around gun emplacements, and these are near the entrance to Virginia Creek. There are more near Topsail Inlet.

Hampstead NC, and in fact all of Pender County, is seeing growth and change come quickly, and farmlands once used for blueberries and tobacco are growing houses and neighborhoods as development of the area increases.
Source: Hampstead NC

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