Located near downtown Wilmington, Greenfield Lake was originally developed in the 1730s by Dr. Samuel Green to aid rice production. In 1912, when Tidewater Power Company extended its trolley lines to Greenfield Lake, it quickly became a popular recreation destination and a hotspot for lake activities. Diving boards, docks, bathhouses, and a pavilion were built. In 1918, the partners in downtown’s Bijou Theatre opened an amusement park on the grounds, which ran for a season or two, complete with a roller coaster and a petting zoo.
In 1925, the lake property was purchased by the City of Wilmington for $25,000. During the Great Depression, WPA workers cleared underbrush, landscaped the grounds, built terraces, and constructed the road that we know today as Lake Shore Drive.
Greenfield Lake was the inspiration for the Azalea Festival. Local legend holds that physician Houston Moore was driving around the lake, admiring the beautiful flowers when he was struck with the idea that would become Azalea Festival, first implemented in the 1940s.
Today, the lake boasts a five-mile paved pathway surrounded by beautiful scenic views of cypress trees draped with Spanish moss, vibrant pink azaleas, and local wildlife. The newly renovated amphitheater regularly hosts musical and theater arts events. Contact Wilmington Parks and Rec for information about events, 910-341-3237.
Wildlife of Greenfield Lake
We have developed an iPod tour of Greenfield Lake that you can download to your iPod and listed as you paddle the lake. Please download each of the following 10 audio tracks and install them on your audio player (right click and choose “save link/target as” option). Enjoy!