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A chance visit to Bear Island in 1914 by William Sharpe, who became the island's fourth owner since 1713, would eventually lead to the creation of Hammocks Beach State Park in 1961. The park, consisting of the island and two mainland acres, is one of the state's last unspoiled barrier islands.
The author gives the history of Dr. William Sharpe, a neurosurgeon from New York, who bought the Hammocks and Bear Island, near Swansboro, NC. To save it from development, he eventually turned it over to the NC Teachers Association in 1950 and it became Hammocks Beach State Park in 1961