Shepard’s Point was established in the early nineteenth century as a small seaside community set to connect the harbor via railroad to the inland city of Goldsboro. In 1852, John Motley Morehead (Governor of North Carolina and President of the railroad company) purchased a few hundred acres of land from Shepard’s Point, and it was officially named Morehead City by 1857. With the rails’ link to the rest of America, the city grew and flourished over the decades, becoming a hub for all the outlying fishing communities. It remains a small and serene hideaway (a population of fewer than 8,000), nestled peacefully among Calico Creek, the Newport River, and Bogue Sound.
Morehead City is one of North Carolina’s only two seaports, so marine industry plays an invaluable role in local industry and economy. Nautical traffic has been prevalent as far back as the American Civil War, when Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach served as an important base for both Confederate and Union armies. Over the past 30 years, the downtown waterfront accompanying the harbor has been host to a refreshing renaissance, growing in prominence and style.