Joy Lee Apartments
317 Carolina Beach Ave. N.
Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Grover Lewis, a masonry construction worker, together with his family moved to Carolina Beach from High Point, North Carolina in March, 1941. Mr. Lewis went to work for the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company and moved his family into the Marianette Cottage on North Carolina Ave. When the lot next door was filled in by a storm in the fall of 1944, the Lewis’s decided to purchase it. Mr. Lewis immediately began designing the Joy Lee Apartment Building. Long shipyard hours made it necessary for Mr. Lewis to hire William Bordeaux to build the basic concrete block structure.
After purchasing a hand operated cement block press, the Lewis family turned out two blocks at a time, approximately fifty per evening. Named the Joy Lee Apartments after Mr. Lewis’s daughter, the completed duplex was rented to vacationers. Each apartment consisted of a living room, a dining room, a kitchen with an ice box, 2 bedrooms, and a central hall. Considered luxury units at the time, they came equipped with private porches and private baths with hot and cold running water.
After the war, Mr. Lewis returned to masonry construction work. Mrs. Lewis ran a large rooming house, as well as the Joy Lee Apartment Complex. Due to popularity of the Apartments the Annex was constructed in 1948.
The Joy Lee Apartment building and Annex are a unique combination of several popular architectural styles, including Mission Style, Art Deco, Art Moderne, as well as Prairie Style. Over the years the family has modified the Apartment Building several times, including a major renovation in 1976 when a spiral cement stairs to the upper sundeck, and an in-ground swimming pool were added.