The Hewett Homes in Fort Fisher, NC

Submitted by:  Howard Hewett:  August 24, 2014

The last six pictures below show our home at 833 S. Fort Fisher Blvd over the years.   The house is still there today.

My Dad, Curtis Hewett, built our family house in 1932. I was born in 1939. This house was the family home until our move to Texas in 1956.

The first image is the nearby Fort Fisher gates. Photo by Louis T. Moore c. 1932.

The second image is of our beach-front home at 833 S. Fort Fisher Blvd – as viewed from my grandmother’s home which was located directly across the road.

The third picture is of my grandmother’s house, Addie Lewis Hewett Todd.  Her house was directly across the road from our family home. Years later her house was moved into Kure Beach.

[Click any image for larger view]
Davis Road to Fort Fisher Gates

Kure Beach: Davis Road down to Fort Fisher Gates
[Click – for detailed Google Map]

Looking from our house, toward the Fort Fisher Gates, Dad owned half way to the gates and Crawford Lewis owned up to the gates.

Looking north along Hwy 421, from the Fort Fisher gates up to Davis Road, there were 3 equal parcels that ran from the ocean, all the way across to the Cape Fear River.

Crawford Lewis at the gate, Hewett’s in the middle & the Davis’ down to Davis Road.


Oral History – Howard Hewett – Part 2

Fishing off Fort Fisher in a Small Boat – in the 1940s and 50s

Submitted: August 22, 2014
Text by:  Howard Hewett  –  Growing up on Federal Point, NC

NOAA Coast Chart - Snow's Cut to The Rocks

NOAA Nautical Coast Chart
Snow’s Cut to The Rocks

Fort Fisher Coquina

Fort Fisher Coquina

Fairly close to Fort Fisher, there are some rocks (coquina) that jut out into the Atlantic.  I never asked Dad if he knew how long they had been exposed, but they were one of my favorite places to surf fish for trout and bluefish in the fall.

There were times when I gigged flounder with Uncle Crawford Lewis in the same location.

About half a mile to a mile out to sea from these rocks, there were a number of the blockade-runner wrecks that sank, leading up to the final siege of Fort Fisher in early 1865.  The powder vessel is also in this area.

One of Dad’s favorite activities was taking summer guests (men only) out to fish over these wrecks.   Now, this was not for the faint of heart, although it was truly an adventure.  You see, Dad’s choice of boats for these trips was about 12 foot in length, really no more than a small rowboat.

I was allowed to sit in the bow and the one guest would sit in the stern.  Dad would sit in the middle and do the rowing.

Fishing Boat Breakers - CB

Click – for larger image

Now, the trick would be to row across the bar and wait for the breakers to come to a lull, and then Dad would head to sea before the next wave broke on the bar.

Then he would row out to the wreck and we would fish.  Dad’s GPS system for locating these spots was pretty basic.  He would line up the Fort Fisher Monument and the Kure Beach water tank.

On one of the wrecks farther out he would line up the Monument and the Breakers Hotel at Wilmington Beach (current location of the ‘Sea Colony’ at Ocean Blvd. and 421 in Carolina Beach).

Fishing in a small boat in the open Atlantic was sometimes more than our guest’s stomach could manage.  It was not unusual for our guest to lose his breakfast.  Uncle Bubba Roebuck, (LTJG “Buck” Roebuck), liked to join us on these adventures, but I think he always got sick.

Our fishing tackle was low-tech.  We used a drop lines with only a couple of hooks and a sinker.  No fancy tackle!  Our boat anchor was also not high-tech.

Dad would put some bricks in a burlap sack.  After we had caught enough fish for dinner, we would prepare to head toward shore.  He would remove the bricks from the sack, put the fish in the sack, tie a cork to the rope and then tie the rope to the boat.  All this just in case we turned over crossing the breakers.

The return from one of these fishing adventures was also quite a trick.  Dad would sit just outside the breakers until he decided which wave to follow into shore.

Over the WavesCatching the wave was something like the technique used in surfboarding.  The only difference being that you rode the crest on the backside of the wave and maintained your position by rowing forward to stay up or place your oars deep in the water to create drag so you do not go over the crest of the wave.

I can tell you that when the waves are big, doing this will get your heart rate up, a real adrenaline rush!  The men in the Hewett-Lewis family were skilled boatmen dating back to their whaling days.

Lapstreak Boat Closeup


Footnote on our boat:  I am sure there were boats that I do not remember, but the boat I remember well was built somewhere around 1948-1950.  I watched Dad build it in the garage.  It was made of cypress and was a lapstreak with a “V” bow.

The gunnels probably were not more than 2 feet high.  I remember Dad laying the keel and the stem.  The stem was shaped with a draw knife. (Dad’s draw knife is in my tool cabinet today and I have used it many times in my duck carving.)

After the stem, keel, ribs and stern board were in place, the sides were installed.  The bottom and bench were the last to be put into place.  The boat had a great shape and was easy to get into the water.  In the early 1950s, I was allowed to take it by myself and go out beyond the breakers to fish.  At that time I learned the technique of crossing the bar and riding a wave on the return trip.

Fishing off Fort Fisher- Hewett House & Boat - Kure Beach

Hewett Family House and Boat
1 block north of Fort Fisher Gate

This photo is the Hewett’s family home, one block north of the Fort Fisher Gate, and the boat in the foreground was the one used in most of our fishing trips.









Chicken Hicks was One of a Kind

Malcolm Ray “Chicken” Hicks was an early pioneer of “shagging” or the “Carolina Shag.” Coastal historians credit him, along with Billy Jeffers, with its evolution and popularity throughout the 1940s–’50s. Chicken’s love of the R&B sound, then called “race music,” helped introduce this new genre to white audiences throughout Eastern beach communities.

Birth of Shag - MallardsDuring their teens and twenties, Chicken and younger brother Bobby Hicks would visit the “colored” areas around Carolina Beach, NC to check out the “jump joints.” Picking up moves from black dancers, they would electrify audiences with their flashy style.

Chicken was tall and lean with bleach-blond locks. His rebel attitude and unique dance ability quickly gained him popularity among women, as some are rumored to have waited hours for Chicken to sweep them off of their feet.
read more

Mike Giles – North Carolina Coastal Federation

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, August 18, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Mike GilesOur speaker this month is Mike Giles, from the North Carolina Coastal Federation. He will speak on the Federation’s mission of sustaining a healthy and vibrant coastal ecology. Founded in 1982, with offices in Manteo, Newport and Wrightsville Beach, the organization has a staff of almost 20 who focus on helping to preserve and protect the natural, cultural, and economic resources of the North Carolina coast.

Mike joined the staff in May 2006. Mike is a North Carolina native, and before joining the federation, he served as the open-space land manager for Durham County for five years. Mike has extensive stewardship, enforcement and advocacy experience, gathered from positions with the National Park Service and the Army Corps of Engineers and as chief park ranger for Mecklenburg County. He studied wildlife management at N.C. State University, which included additional research and course work in coastal ecology. Mike monitors the Southeast Region from the Wrightsville Beach regional office.

From the President – August, 2014

Elaine Henson

Elaine Henson

I am delighted to begin my tenure as president of FPHPS and welcome your ideas and suggestions.

CB Boardwalk

Click for larger image

Many of you may know that post cards are my passion and I hope to share one from my collection each month.

This one of two lucky soldiers and a bevy of bathing beauties is one of my favorites. You can see many of the boardwalk businesses along each side including Benway’s, Wave Theater, Frank’s, Shooting Gallery, Henderson’s and the irrepressible Britt’s DoNuts.

An August 9, 1941 article in the Carolina Beach Sun stated that an average of 25,000 postcards were being mailed from the beach every week, many from soldiers visiting from nearby Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune and Camp Davis, hard to believe isn’t it? — Elaine Henson

Federal Point Historic Preservation Society


President:          Elaine Henson
Vice President:  Tony Phillips
Treasurer:          Demetria Sapienza
Secretary:          Juanita Winner

 Board of Directors:

John Gordon      (2014-2016)
Skippy Winner   (2013-2015)
Jim Dugan         (2013-2015)
Leslie Bright      (2013-2015)
John Moseley    (2013-2015)

Andre Blouin     (2014-2016)
Barry Nelder      (2014-2016)
Jean Stewart     (2014-2016)
Byron Moore     (2014-2016)


Oral History – Joseph Ryder Lewis Jr. – Part 5

Interviewed by Ann Hertzler and Jeannie Gordon

The Hermit and the Buffer Zone

Ft Fisher Hermit

Fort Fisher Hermit

We’ve been down there [Kure Beach] some times, but we certainly had nothing to do with the Hermit. The Hermit would get a ride to Carolina Beach and go to the grocery store, and he’d be standing out there on the highway, trying to get a ride back. There weren’t many people…I wouldn’t even let him in the back of my truck. That’s how close I was to the Hermit.

The highway used to go out further. There was a big mound on the front of Ft. Fisher that finally got washed away and they had to move the road back to where it is now.

The buffer zone was for Sunny Point. It was where ammunition went in. I think they drew a three-mile limit around it. That’s what they took as the buffer zone. And people that were living on the river, at that point in time, were forced to move out. The old church that we had down there had to go. I think it was around ’57 or the early 60’s.

Corps of EngineersWhen I went to work for the Corp in ’52, we’d never heard of an environmentalist. They didn’t even exist. When I first started out we were actually doing construction for the Army in ‘52 in various places. We got into river basin studies and that’s where we were working with river basins. To see where you could build a dam that would be a value as far as retaining flood waters, releasing minimum water during drought periods.

Joseph Ryder Lewis, Jr.

Joseph Ryder Lewis, Jr.

When I came back to Wilmington in ’57, we were doing river basin studies and the Wilmington District, at that time, the Wilmington District was pretty well confined to river basins. Here in NC, the Wilmington District, the lower limit was the Cape Fear River and the upper limit was the Roanoke River, which is right up against the Virginia line. We were evaluating the river basins in that area.

Evaluating the Cape Fear River basin and the Neuse River basin, we finally built two dams that I helped work on.

When I was growing up, it was perfectly proper to dredge and use the dirt to fill in a swamp area. That’s illegal today. So, one of my environmentalist friends referred to me as the Dam Engineer. He said the only thing I wanted to do is build dams. When I retired, I said, well, when we start having water shortages east of the Mississippi River, it’s not because we don’t have water, it’s because we refused to develop reservoir sites to hold flood water.

Dr. Fonvielle: “1864: The Beginning of the End of the Civil War in North Carolina.

United Daughters of the Confederacy Sesquicentennial Talk Saturday September 6, 2014 – 10:00 AM

Dr. Chris Fonvielle

Dr. Chris Fonvielle

On Saturday September 6, 2014 Cape Fear Chapter 2, United Daughters of the Confederacy will sponsor a lecture featuring Dr. Chris Fonvielle to mark the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War in Wilmington.

Dr. Fonvielle’s topic will be “1864: The Beginning of the End of the Civil War in North Carolina.

This program is free and open to the general pubic. The program begins at 10:00 am at the Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church located at 409 S. Fifth Ave, in downtown Wilmington, NC. Refreshments will be served.

Dr. Fonvielle will have his newest book, Faces of Fort Fisher, 1861-1864, available for purchase and signing. For more information call Pat Gasson at 910-392-0381



From the Friends of Fort Fisher Looking for Descendants!

Friends of Fort Fisher

The Friends of Fort Fisher are gathering contact information for any descendants of soldiers involved in the building of Fort Fisher or any of the other forts in the Cape Fear area.

They would also like to find descendants of men who fought in the battles for Fort Fisher, Fort Holmes, Fort Caswell, Fort Johnston, and Fort Anderson, as well as blockade runner captains, crew and pilots, basically anyone who was involved in the Wilmington Campaign.

Visit their website at: for links to projects and events including the 150th Battle reenactment and the descendants reunion in January 2015.

Contact John Golden at for more information.



Society Notes – August, 2014

Cape Fear Camera Club Exhibit Pictures by Keith Kendall
Camera Club - Mt Vernon

Darlene Bright, History Center Director

♦  The History Center recorded 58 visitors in July. We had 35 at the July meeting. The gift shop took in a healthy $303.70; NOT counting all the cookbooks sold. The History Center was also used by Got-‘em-on Live Bait Fishing Club.

♦  PLEASE NOTE: We have a couple of long sleeve T-shirts and some FPHPS sweatshirts on sale. T-Shirts – $5.00. Sweatshirts – $12.00. Great for yard work or other grungy projects.

Camera Club - Coles Motel♦  Please welcome new members Mary Lackey of Wilmington, Sandi Hinton and Jan Dunlap of Greensboro and Ethan Crouch of Carolina Beach. Several people have found us through our Facebook presence.

♦  Thanks to Demetria Sapienza, and Lois Taylor for helping get the Newsletter in the mail this month.

♦  Thanks AGAIN to Andre’ Blouin for all the time he’s put into the new website. The website is up and it’s chock full of all kinds of great information.  Tony Phillips is keeping things growing on our Facebook page. If you are on Facebook please take time to “like” us and share our posts.

Camera Club - Pink House♦  And don’t forget! If you take a trip with Wilmington Water Tours please tell them you are a member of FPHPS! If you do we get a portion of your ticket price. Call us 458-0502, or them 338-3134.




Please Support Our Business Members (w/ web links)

Atlantic Towers
Ned Barnes, Attorney
Britt’s Donut Shop
Carolina Marine Terminal Charles Henson Painting
Coastal K-9 Bakery, Inc.
First Bank
Frank’s Pizza
Got-Em-On-Live Bait Club
Hanover Iron Works
Historical Society of Topsail Island
Island Gazette

Kure Beach Fishing Pier
Bob McKoy- Network Real Estate
Olde Salty’s
Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce
Pleasure Island Foundation for a Sustainable Community
Primrose Cottage
SlapDash Publishing
Tom Sayre Construction
Tucker Bros. Realty Company
Wilmington Water Tours
Winner Marine Construction
Winner RV Park

Kure Beach Fishing Pier

Featured Business Member – August, 2014

By Tony Phillips

Kure Beach Pier - EntranceKure Beach Fishing Pier
Man… you should have been here last week!

Opens April 1st through November 30th

~ Open 24 hours a day ~



One Rod and Reel per Person $5.00 per Fisherman

King Fishing:      $12 * May 15th – Oct. 1st         * 3 Rods * 6 am to Sunset
Shark Fishing:    $12 * June 1st – Sept. 15th      * 3 Rods * 12 am to 6 am

What more can you say about Kure Beach Fishing Pier? Are you kidding?! You can talk all day about this, the oldest pier on the East Coast.

Originally built by L.C. Kure in 1923, it has been owned by Mike Robertson since 1984. It has been hit by several hurricanes, but since being raised to 26 feet and going back to three pilings, it has weathered the storms well including a Category Three Hurricane.

Many a family have discovered Kure Beach Fishing Pier and fell in love with it coming back year after year to visit the pier and the town of Kure Beach. With the Webcam on top of the Pier Store, you almost feel like you are right there from a thousand miles away. And, there have been many, many visitors who are proud to say that they did indeed drive a thousand miles to stay a week in Kure Beach and on the pier.

Cape Fear Disabled Sportsman’s Fishing Tournament

Cape Fear Disabled Sportsman’s Fishing Tournament

There is something that Mike Robertson does not draw attention to but, something we would be hard pressed to do without. This is the Charity Sponsored Fishing tournaments such as the annual Cape Fear Disabled Sportsman’s Fishing Tournament. Last May, almost 400 participants showed up and registered to fish on the pier before noon that day. Mike donates the pier, ice, support and much more to these tournaments each year with no fanfare.  These charity events take his whole business for almost a whole day. Mike just walks by and smiles.

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society is very proud to have the Kure Beach Fishing Pier as a Business Member and we encourage all of our newsletter readers to go by and say thanks for your support.

Kure Beach Pier - Gift Shop

Kure Beach Pier – Gift Shop

While you are there, enjoy shopping in the Pier Store gift shop, enjoy a huge cone of ice cream at a very modest price, or just walk out to the end of the pier and feel the wind like no other place on the island.

See the Kure Beach Pier Webcam 24/7/365 on the Surfchex webcam