Calabash History & Heritage



Overview of Calabash History

1691 - Present

Calabash's identity started as early as 1691 when the Lord Proprietors granted Landgraves (nobleman) Thomas Smith by patent 48,000 acres. In 1734 William Waties and Jonathan Calkins were large landowners in the area and by 1791 the prominent Allston family were raising indigo and other crops familiar to Calabash today. Around 1814 the Northeast branch of Little River was called Pea landing. During the mid 1800's Samuel and Dr. Lorenzo Frink became large plantation owners and they in turn made Pea Landing an important shipping center.

Pea Landing saw very little action during the Civil War, except for a raid by Lincoln's Commandos near the mouth of the Calabash River.

When a Post office was to open at Pea Landing in 1883, a name was needed and the 'Village of Calabash' was established.

A railroad was constructed in 1905 to handle the giant timber industry of the area. It ran from the logging fields through Calabash to the Calabash River where the logs were unloaded and floated down river to Hammer's Mill on Shelly's Point. In 1929, Hammer's Mill ceased operations and the railroad became obsolete.

The World War II years saw Calabash opening restaurants and serving seafood cooked with a special flavor . This was the birth of "Calabash Seafood". A few years later, Calabash would become known as "The Seafood Capital of the World".

Today it is a tourist area, with an abundance of fine restaurants, shops and golf courses. It is home to about 2,000 residents, who benefit from a well run Town Government, one of the best equipped Fire Departments in the area as well as a fine EMS. Additional amenities within the town include approximately 30 restaurants, a medical center, dentists, banks, veterinarian, beauty salons, unique gift stores/retail shops, golf courses, mini golf, ice cream parlors, hardware store, auto services, gas stations, as well as a fleet of shrimp boats, charter fishing boats, and a beautiful view of the Calabash River.