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City: Calabash, NC
Counties Located In: Brunswick County
Zip Codes: 28467
Area Codes: 910
Square Miles: 3.668
Elevation: 49 ft.
Population: 2,092 (2014)
Density: 436/sq. Mile
The coastal community of Calabash is located 25 miles north of Myrtle Beach and 50 miles south of Wilmington. Famous as The Seafood Capital of the World, it is primarily a fishing village with shrimp boats docking daily during the season, selling fresh-caught fish and shrimp. Charter boats provide deep-sea fishing which also bring in a healthy catch.
The town is famous for its Calabash Seafood, a unique style and flavor that originated there. Others have tried to copy it with little success, so for a taste of the real Calabash Seafood, you must go to Calabash. (An ad in the New Yorker several years ago featured a fancy candelabra with a wine glass; the artist obviously had never visited Calabash.)
Calabash's identity started in 1691 when the Lord Proprietors granted 48,000 acres to a nobleman named Landgraves Thomas Smith. 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 that are still raised today. In 1814, the northeast branch of the Little River was called Pea Landing. During the mid-1800’s Samuel and Dr. Lorenzo Frink, large plantation owners, made Pea Landing an important shipping center. There was 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 opened at the site in 1883, the Village of Calabash was born.
A railroad was constructed in 1905 to handle the thriving timber industry in 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 was abandoned.
The World War II years saw Calabash opening restaurants that served fried 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, Calabash is a tourist area, with some 30 restaurants, shops, golf courses, and a beautiful view of the Calabash River. It is home to about 1800 residents who benefit from a well-run town government as well as one of he best equipped fire departments in the area. Other amenities include a medical center, dentists, banks, veterinarian, beauty salon, and gift shops as well as a fleet of shrimp boats and charter fishing vessels.