Topsail Island Swing Bridge

Topsail Island Swing Bridge


Swing Bridge, Draw Bridge and The Bridge, whatever you call it. The Surf City bridge has its days numbered.  It is falling to the march of time.

There are at least two camps you know

  1. Let’s keep it and wait for the boat parades go by.  
  2. Let’s raze it and replace it with a long concrete winding snake connecting us to the mainland.

Can you guess which camp I favor?

I keep a paperback underneath my car seat. I drive an eight – year- old - convertible, (red naturally) When I "catch” the bridge I succeed in "stealing” a few minutes from my hectic day.  If the weather is nice, and it always is on Topsail, I jump out and put the top down. But, then I have to throw everything in the back seat into the trunk or I‘ll be a one-woman-tickertape parade.  If the bridge hasn’t already turned, I get back in the car and turn the station of the XM radio to either channel 5 or 6 (oldies) and crank up the volume.  If the bridge still hasn’t turned I get the book out from underneath the seat, sit back and try to look cool. To do this I pretend I‘m in my twenties and not my sixty-some things. (Sometimes it actually works for a few minutes).

I reach back in my mind and remember when I was a little girl. My Mother and Grandmother would take my brothers, cousins and I to "The Beach”. Traveling from Sneads Ferry to Holly Ridge to "The Beach” was an adventure. As we all rolled around in the back of a 1950’s green station wagon with beach blankets, umbrellas, and a cooler of orange sodas we waited for the first sighting of a billboard on the right side of highway 50. It was a sign of a giraffe with a very long neck poking above the rest of the billboard.  It said, "Barnacle Bills Fishing Pier, best in this neck of the woods.” When we saw that sign we knew the bridge was just a breath away. We kept our eyes wide open to see "The Bridge”. A shout would go up and there she was. Standing like a soldier guarding a magical kingdom known as Topsail.  

If the bridge was turned we all piled out and watched for the boats coming and going too far away places like Florida or New York and New Jersey, depending upon the time of the year. We would erupt out of the back of the station wagon and jump around from foot to foot like the excited kids we were.  We were almost in heaven or at the circus, or both.  

As the bridge started to turn and we raced to the car we always heard loud old music on a transistor radio and the rustle of paperback books. I wonder why? 

Cathy Medlin

-Cathy is a lifelong resident of Topsail Island. She is the Owner/ Broker of Island Real Estate, specializing in property management, rentals and island nostalgia.

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