Figure 8 History

“The Banks”

Figure Eight Island hasn’t always been the exclusive private island it is today. It was originally part of a tract of land that was known as the Province of North Carolina in 1762. In 1775, the barrier island became recognized as “The Banks” and was owned by James Moore, then the Governor.
The island became part of Poplar Grove Plantation and was renamed “Foy Island”, also popularly called “Woods Beach”. It remained as part of the Plantation for the next 160 years.
During Prohibition in the 1930s, an illegal whiskey still was operated by Rod Rogers, a local fisherman, on the North end of the island.

During World War II, the US Coast Guard maintained a structure and small water tower on the island, which was patrolled via horseback. Coast Guard Auxiliary craft monitored the surrounding inlets.
In 1954 Hurricane Hazel hit the East Coast and destroyed much of the beach development from Myrtle Beach up to Topsail Beach, with more than 15,000 homes and structures completely destroyed and another 39,000 homes damaged. Beach properties were no longer in high demand so many property owners sold their land. The Mayor of Wilmington, Dan Cameron, and his brother Bruce Cameron began the process of acquiring the island from George Hutaff and the Foy family. The Camerons paid the Foys $50,000 for their portion of the land, and then purchased two areas of adjoining marshland for $25,000 in 1955. For the next 10 years the property lay dormant.

The Cameron’s formed the Island Development Corp. to sell real estate on the island. At this time, the only way to access the island was by boat. The Island Development Company eventually purchased two small tracts and a small parcel of land from the members of Edgewater Club to build a roadway bridge that now leads to Figure Eight Island’s bridge. This first bridge was built on top of a government surplus landing ship tank.

The Camerons hired Richard Bell Associates to design Figure Eight’s development concept. Lots sold for as little as $5,000, and the first house was constructed in 1966. The local marina club opened on August 11, 1973.

While Figure Eight enjoyed the success in sales early into the 1970s, a recession caused The Litchfield Company its subsidiary, Figure Eight Development Company, to file for bankruptcy. The marina club had closed.

In 1975, Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company emerged as the island’s new mortgage holder. The marina club reopened and adopted the title of Figure Eight Yacht Club in 1976.

In 1980 a new bridge was purchased and replaced the old bridge to the island. Now, fronted by a guarded gate, Figure Eight Island is only accessible to island residents and their guests.

It’s this assurance of privacy and minimum traffic on the island, that provides its appeal and exclusivity for those that live and vacation on this island paradise.

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