No votes cast

Elwell Cable Ferry


Elwell Ferry

This is one of only three cable ferries in North Carolina. The Elwell Ferry is located in the small town of Kelly, NC. This is a two car ferry that crosses the Cape Fear River using a cable system. When I arrived it was not working so I had to wait almost 30 minutes for the starter to be replaced. I did get to cross but was unable to take a photo due to the sun and the fact that two cars were on the ferry so I couldn't get out. Photos of the other two ferry's are in the folder NC Cable Ferries to the right.

Flickr user Wendy

License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)

View this photo on Flickr

BH Photo #315071


Street Views 


In the absence of nearby river crossings, brothers Walter Hayes Russ and John Roland Russ approached Bladen County officials and were granted authority to operate a crossing ferry. Service began in 1905 with Walter Russ and later his son, Lee Roy Russ, operating the ferry. The service was named for a local family.

Initially constructed of wood, the 33-foot ferryboat was poled upstream and rowed back by hand and could carry a wagon and two mules. The county subsidized the ferry's operation for toll-free service six days a week, with a quarter on Sundays and a fifty cent toll for night crossings.

In the 1930s, the North Carolina Department of Transportation incorporated its inland ferries into the state highway system, installing the first cable at Elwell and providing larger boats that could be guided with a pull stick. Walter Russ oversaw the modernization as well as the addition of a gasoline-powered engine on the boat in the late 1930s.

Until 1952, the Ferry was the only river crossing between Wilmington and Elizabethtown.

- Wikipedia


Ferry across Cape Fear River on Elwell Ferry Road
Bladen County, North Carolina
Open to traffic
Built 1905
Ferry crossing
Approximate latitude, longitude
+34.47406, -78.36900   (decimal degrees)
34°28'27" N, 78°22'08" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/741639/3817862 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 65860 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 6, 2016: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • February 4, 2015: Added by Dave King