• January Meeting – World War I Commemoration

    The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, January 16, 7:30 p.m. at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

    This month’s speaker will be Jan Davidson, historian at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science.  She will discuss World War I and New Hanover County’s role in the fight.

    We will hear about men and women who served their country, the folks they left at home, and the ways that the community memorialized the men who died in World War I.

    Jan has worked at the Cape Fear Museum for 11 years, doing a wide range of research projects.  She curates exhibits (including Reflections in Black and White on display through February 20, 2017), writes the Museum’s “This Month in History” each month, and gives public programs on a wide range of historical subjects.

    Lately she has been working on the history of World War I due to the upcoming anniversary, as well as a more long-term project exploring the census and slavery in the 19th century.

    She has a PhD and has previously worked at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History before coming to Wilmington.

     

    From the President – January, 2017

    By Elaine Henson

    The grand, new, three story Carolina Beach Hotel opened for the 1926 beach season near the Carolina Beach Lake where Carolina Beach School is today.  But by September of 1927 it was gone. It had lasted for only two summer seasons.

    It all began when the Carolina Beach Corporation announced plans for a hotel in mid-1925, you can see the planned site in this April, 1925 map of the beach.

    The CB Corporation’s president was S.C. Ogbourne of Winston Salem, NC.  He and Mrs. Ogbourne purchased the Loughlin home on the corner of Lake Park Blvd. and Cape Fear Blvd. as their summer residence.  The house later became The Cottage Restaurant and is presently Havana’s.

    Mr. Ogbourne awarded a contract to W.A. Simon on October 27, 1925 to build the hotel which was designed by Wilmington architect Leslie Boney.  By December 7th the hotel’s foundation was laid making it certain to be open by beach season 1926. Also planned was a golf course and a pier for mooring yachts on the Cape Fear River.

    The hotel’s location was a big draw as it overlooked a fresh water lake a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean thus affording guests “still water” bathing in the lake as well as the ocean bathing.

    Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Ogbourne are seen here enjoying the gardenias at their home on the corner of Lake Park and Cape Fear Boulevard

    Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Ogbourne are seen here enjoying the gardenias at their home on the corner of Lake Park and Cape Fear Boulevard.

    The hotel’s formal opening was held on June 4, 1926. Its manager was J.L. Fagan formerly of the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida and the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia.

    There were 75 rooms with adjoining baths, a 150 capacity formal dining room overlooking the verandas, a smaller private dining room and a room for children’s dining. The lobby and mezzanine were furnished with cream colored wicker with print upholstery.  Enclosed porches had orange hued wicker.

    Guests could dance the night away to the Meyers Davis Orchestra. The rates were $6 per day or $36 for a week, both rates included meals.

    Carolina Beach had its formal opening on June 12 with many Wilmington, New Hanover County and beach dignitaries.

    Carolina Beach Hotel from the May 30, 1926 edition of the Wilmington Morning Star

    Carolina Beach Hotel from the May 30, 1926 edition of the Wilmington Morning Star

    Among the guests at the Carolina Beach Hotel that weekend was the Honorable J.F.A. Cecil and Mrs. Cecil, the former Cornelia Vanderbilt of Biltmore.  The Cecils were married in April of 1924 with a lavish reception at the mansion.  Nearly a hundred years later their grandson, William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil, continues to oversee the day to day operations of the largest private residence in the United States.

    Coming next month, Part II