My story today explained plans for a "Raleigh Beach" that would offer sand, pools and summer fun on a West Hargett Street site near downtown Raleigh.
If the plans go forward, it wouldn't be the first "Raleigh Beach." That name was given years ago to a once popular swimming hole on the Neuse River, just below the Milburnie Dam east of the city limits.
Land around the site is now owned by the city for a future Milburnie Park. The park won't be developed soon, but it's an access point for the Neuse River Greenway trail that officially opened Thursday. One of the streets nearby is still called Raleigh Beach Road.
A 1990 News & Observer detailed Raleigh Beach's colorful history:
"All I know about Raleigh Beach is terrible things, " rails Elsie L. Seymore, a silver-haired woman in a pink sun dress out collecting butterbeans at a friend's home near the river. "Murders and illegitimate children. Terrible things."
The beach made headlines occasionally for murders, drownings and drunkenness, but it remained popular.
"There used to be a sand bar down there, " says Ms. Seymore, who has lived near the swimming hole for most of her life. "People in Raleigh who couldn't get to the beach but could afford gas up here used to come with their children. Then it got into all kinds of things."
Skinny-dipping and casting for catfish used to be the main attractions of the wide pool below the dam. N.W. Poole, 67, who runs a well-drilling business on Old Milburnie Road, remembers people getting religion in the same waters that served as a kind of "lover's lane."
"I seen blacks and whites down there baptizing their people, " he says. "I'd be sittin' on the big rock peepin' at 'em. The place was covered in violets."
But Mr. Poole says the river contains "suck-holes" that pulled some swimmers to their deaths. And Mrs. Seymore says visitors took to hard drinking. Twenty years ago Mr. Twiggs, then owner of the land, began blocking off the roads to the beach. The sand bar washed away. But people still sneaked in.