They are two of a handful of Brunswick barrier islands, and both boast sprawling white sand beaches. Ask anyone who either lives or visits the beaches and they'll say it's the natural beauty that's brought them there or keeps them coming back. Ocean Isle was incorporated in 1959. Sunset Beach was incorporated in 1963. Both towns were the brain-child of Mannon Gore. Developer Ed Gore said, "What you see today was really my dad's vision and I've sort of built on that." Gore said his father was a farmer, and had little education, but what he did have, was an idea to create family centric towns that preserved the natural beauty of the area. Gore took over the development of Sunset Beach in 1958. "Its just been a work of love just to of being able to build on dad's vision and bring it to fruition," said Gore. Much of the infrastructure that you see today was laid by Mannon Gore with a dredge he built himself. Sunset Beach's famous pontoon bridge was his design. Gore said, "As dad would say, to quote him, 'this was the poor mans way to gain access to the island.' He was not a wealthy man it was just that he was an entrepreneur that took great risk." The historic pontoon bridge is the only one left on the east coast. It's also a sign of the town's future. A new high rise bridge, like the Odell Williamson Bridge in Ocean Isle, will replace it by 2010. Change over the years is also marked by the growing tourist and year round population. Eddy Jones of Ocean Isle Beach said, "It's been amazing to watch it over 20 years. The number of houses certainly, but the infrastructure and all the people moving down from the north east corridor, it's a much different area than I saw when I moved here." Carolyn Schott of Sunset Beach said, "It just has its own loveliness - the beaches, the surrounds, the quiet -- We're not in the hub of like a Myrtle Beach. It has the privacy and serenity that you can really enjoy." Town administrators say careful planning for the future growth of the town will ensure that the beauty of the beaches will stay intact. "One of his last visits he said to me, 'I'm proud of you son. Keep up the good work.' And so I know he'd be pleased," said Gore. Ocean Isle Beach is also home to the Museum of Coastal Carolina. That organization runs the Ingram Planetarium.
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