After the Incorporation of a new town named EMERALD ISLE in 1957, two of the original developers, W.B. McLean and George Spell, realized that they needed a draw to the west end of their new town. The decision was made to construct a new fishing pier on the western end of EMERALD ISLE, approximately 4 miles east of Bogue Inlet. The new pier was named BOGUE INLET PIER, and it was quite successful in drawing development westward. CAMP OCEAN FOREST (which included overnight and tent camping, as well as permanent mobile home lots) was located directly west of the pier, and a small motel, the BOGUE INLET MOTEL, was built on Bogue Inlet Drive on the north side of BIP on Bogue Inlet Drive. Both businesses are there today, and are relatively unchanged. As the years passed, BILL WATSON purchased property across from the BOGUE INLET MOTEL and built a new 2 story motel named SANDRA DEE, now renamed OCEANVIEW INN. By 1968-70, new construction at the end of the road included Ronnie Watson’s BOGUE INLET STORE, and Bob Deal’s TRADING POST, among various real estate buildings, and the infamous SURFBURGER drive-in located approximately where the WINGS building is today.

The pier was sold to MELVIN and JOE STANLEY in 1971; McLean and Spell loved to horse trade, and Melvin and Joe owned a block of property just east of the Coast Guard Station. This combination paved the way for the Stanleys to purchase the pier. Melvin and Joe were from the Burlington-Graham area and Melvin was the manager. The original pierhouse was the 1/2 of the size of the current one. Over the next 2 years, business was expanding rapidly (due to the new high rise bridge opening), and the new pierhouse was relocated directly on top of the first 60 feet of the pier. Melvin did a tremendous job promoting the pier, especially when his German Shepard dog, SAM, acquired a small rod & reel, coupled to a green tackle box. “Sam the Pier Dog” lived to carry that rig out on the pier and was quite a phenomena for many years!

In 1977, Melvin sold his share to his brother Joe, and Joe began purchasing surrounding land. It grew to approximately 14 acres including BEACHFRONT RV PARK (east & west), and it has been in Joe’s family ever since. Melvin passed away in 1981, and Joe in 1990. The pier is currently owned by Joe’s son, MIKE STANLEY, and the adjacent Beachfront RV Park (EAST) is owned by Mike’s sister, PATRICIA STANLEY.

Hurricanes took their toll on the pier over the years, most notably in 1984, when a waterspout spurred by Hurricane DIANE ripped off 238 feet from the end. The pier was rebuilt that winter, bringing it back to 1000 feet. Then Hurricane FRAN in 1996 took 400 feet from the end. It was re-built in 11 1/2 weeks and re-opened April 1st 1997, with a new observation deck at the end (thanks to Taylor Bros. Marine Construction and a very dedicated in-house construction team). Hurricane Irene in 2011 destroyed 240 feet on the end again, and it was replaced in 11 weeks to re-open in March 2012. Various other storms caused pilings from the other Bogue Banks piers to wash down and break off BIP pilings, but they were always repaired quickly to keep up a safe place for the public. Now that most of the other piers are gone, the chance of damage is greatly reduced.

In 2006, at the peak of the recent Real Estate boom, the entire Stanley properties were contracted to sell to a development team from Raleigh, NC. Land values on Emerald Isle were putting tremendous pressure on the owners to sell. Interest income, derived from the sale price, made it impossible to justify operating it as usual (potential income was virtually doubled). The Town of Emerald Isle became involved with the purchase, hoping to keep the pier for municipal use. As the sale progressed, and the real estate boom began to fizzle, financial resources became impossible to acquire. The potential developer had to drop the contract, and the pier sale was terminated. The Stanley family still owns the pier and continues to update and expand the properties today. Our commitment to excellence and value continues to be the driving force that makes Bogue Inlet Pier the #1 destination in Emerald Isle!

The STANLEY FAMILY would like to thank all of those who have supported Bogue Inlet Pier throughout 55+ years of operation, and with your continued interest (and good Grace from Mother Nature), we will continue to write additional chapters to one of Bogue Banks’ great family attractions!

ADDITIONAL READING: “BOGUE BANKS-A LOOK BACK” by Jack Dudley is part of the Coastal Heritage Series of books dedicated to the history of BOGUE BANKS and the surrounding area. This book is an excellent photographic documentary of Bogue Banks from the early 1900’s through the 1960’s. This book comes highly recommended, and will be an excellent addition to your library!