From the 2016 Our Coast Magazine "What's in a Name."
How places along the North Carolina Coast got their names.
Named after a tall sand dune barren of vegetation, a "baldhead" used by early sailors as a navigation landmark along the mouth of the Cape Fear River.
The white sand of the dune stood out against the surrounding vegetation and guided ships entering the river.
In 1585, sailing north to Roanoke Island, explorer Sir Richard Greenville and his crew sailed their ship behind a sandy spit of land at the mouth of a river.
Fearful they would wreck on this headland cape, they called this feature Cape Fear. The name eventually also referred to the river as well.
Fear the Bald. --RoadDog
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