Celebrating July 4th, Through the Years

From the Bill Reaves FilesJuly 4th

July 4, 1873

The 4th of July holiday was celebrated by a group of 15 gentlemen who went down the river on the steam tugboat JAMES T. EASTON to Federal Point. They celebrated the 4th by raising a large flag and listening to an oration by A. T. London, Esq. Some of the officers and soldiers from the garrison at Smithville were present and the occasion was hugely enjoyed. While there, the group visited the New Inlet Dam or as we call the Rocks, and inspected them with Henry Nutt, who was chairman in charge of the work. WILM.WEEKLY STAR, 7-11-1873

July 4, 1888

The Fourth of July holiday was celebrated by hundreds of pleasure seekers at Carolina Beach. Throngs of bathers covered the beach in front of the hotel and a few wrestled with the tireless roaring ocean. Some people not caring for surf bathing roamed along the beach gathering shells and bits of seaweed cast up by the waves. Others took a drive in the hack that plied hourly between Battery Gatlin on the north and the storm-beaten blockader wrecks on the south. The drive was refreshing, over a firm, smooth beach, and within the sweep of the surf at times. In the evening there was a grand display of fireworks sent off from the bow of the steamer SYLVAN GROVE under Captain Harper‘s direction. The fireworks continued on the river trip from the beach to Wilmington. WILM.STAR, 7-6-1888; WILM.MESSENGER, 7-6-1888.

July 4, 1891

Everything was perking early making preparations for the crowds of visitors coming to celebrate the Fourth of July. The first arrivals sought the surf at once. There was a good sea and the water was pleasant and beautifully blue.

By noon the beach was crowded. Dancing began early and the ball room at the hotel was soon thronged with merry dancers who kept time to Miller’s Band or listened with delight to their playing. Everywhere at the Beach one would meet members of the Fayetteville colony who had taken up residence at the beach for the season. Visitors at the beach were “free from care, light hearted, in the delightful salt air, one could eat the horns off the brass billy goat.” Joe Hinton, of the Oceanic Hotel, said he believed that all of Wilmington was visiting the Beach and all were hungry. From early dinner until late tea and the last train, there was a great deal of interest in the hotel’s dining room. Soft shell crabs, fish and other delightful food was offered. They gave a good dinner, a fine supper, and pleased all.

Fun was going on all day at Kure’s bowling alley. The place was dressed in flags and banners which made it bright and inviting. The afternoon train brought another 500 visitors. There was plenty of dancing, bathing, fishing and eating. About 1,600 visitors came to the beach and it seemed that one mile of the beach was alive with people and the surf seemed speckled with bathers. The first train home departed at 5:30 p.m., and the last train left at 9 p.m. Carolina Beach closed with increased success and pleasure, another Fourth of July for the Beach. WILM.STAR, 7-7-1891.

yankee doodleJuly 4, 1898

The greatest crowd in its history visited Carolina Beach and the day was delightfully spent by the great crowd of pleasure-seekers. The Concordia Castle Knights of Golden Eagle had charge of the holiday excursion and afforded every opportunity for enjoyment. A brass band discoursed music at the Oceanic Hotel and a string band furnished music for dancing at the pavilion. The dancing continued until the last boat left the beach. The target match between teams of the Wilmington Light Infantry and the Naval Reserves attracted great interest. The scores resulted in a tie. WILM.DISPATCH, 7-5-1898.

July 7, 1906.

Justice G. W. Bornemann meted out justice with an impartial hand. The judge is a firm believer in order at our two beaches and says that whenever disturbances are raised at the resorts he intended to deal with them in the severest possible manner. Two men, Will Hudson and ―Bill ― Terry were before the judge charged with an affray at Carolina Beach on July 4th. The fighting began over Hudson cursing at Terry. Terry knocked down Hudson. The judge said Terry was justified in his action as he was not looking for any trouble at the time that he was cursed. Terry still had to pay the costs of court, and Hudson received the severe sentence for his conduct, the judge imposed a fine of $10 and costs, which amounted to $16.45. WILMINGTON DISPATCH, 7-7-1906.

Local Shows Feature Federal Point History

‘The Hermit of Fort Fisher’
by David Wright, Directed by Steve Vernon

Big Dawg Productions brings the story of Robert Harrell back for another run. If you missed it the first time, here’s your chance. The play will run at 8 pm for 5 nights, July 29-August 2nd,,2015 at the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. Tickets ($20.00) can be ordered at the web site: http://www.bigdawghermit.com/ or purchased at the door.

Big Dawg will be keeping the same cast as the original Wilmington and Southport productions and the same director so the show is only bound to grow stronger as the cast and director are well versed in this history and truly immersed in the roles of their characters.


summers seabreeze #2‘Summers at Seabreeze’
Songs and Remembrances from Freeman Beach

TheatreNOW’s summer dinner theater show features a look at an often overlooked aspect of Federal Point’s history.

Shows run at 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays through July 25, 2015. Tickets are $34.00 ($26.00 for children and seniors) include dinner that includes a menu drawn from Seabreeze’s original cuisine – including the famous “clam fritters.” Or tickets for the show alone are $20.00.

To book tickets, and see the full dinner menu visit their website: http://www.theatrewilmington.com/

Wilmington Star-News Review:  “‘Summers at Seabreeze’ feels particularly timely, even as its focus is on the past. It’s a reminder that, no matter what those filled with hate may think, the history of the African-American community has a value, and a beauty, that can’t be taken away and won’t ever be forgotten.”~ John Staton.


Society Notes – July, 2015

Darlene Bright, History Center Director

The History Center recorded 56 visitors in June. We had 25 in attendance at the June potluck. The gift shop took in $133.73 in June. The History Center was used by Got-‘em-on Live Bait Fishing Club, UDC-Fort Fisher Chapter and Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Rescue Committee.

Please welcome new members Joe and Jan Bradish of Carolina Beach. Thanks also to Pam and Ray Bramhall for becoming Lifetime Family members and Sherry Howell for increasing her membership to Lifetime Family for Howell Building Group.

Thanks to Lois Taylor, Marci Taylor, and Darlene Bright for all their help with the June Newsletter.

Thanks also, to Sylvia Snook and Demetria Sapienza who worked for Rebecca when she was sick.

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. wilmingtonwatertours.net


get involved


We have a dire need for some enthusiastic people to revitalize some of our committees! Please consider volunteering. If everyone does their bit we’ll get lots more done.


Hospitality: Arrange for someone to bring refreshments to each meeting. Plan and set up for the June Potluck and Christmas Party.

Fundraising: Work with the History Center Director and Treasurer to plan fun and profitable events and projects to supplement our income and balance our budget.

Plaque: We have a desperate need for someone to survey the currently plaqued buildings, refurbish and/or replace existing plaques, and identify additional buildings that qualify.

Membership: As always, there is a need for a plan to systematically contact businesses and promote the value of our Business committee-300x234membership.

Oral History: There are SO MANY people who need to be interviewed!



Carolina Marine Terminal

Featured Business Member
July, 2015

By Tony (Lem) PhillipsCarolina Marine Terminal

When the Federal Point History Center welcomes a new Business Member or simply salutes a long standing member, we usually speak with pride of a small enterprise or local shop serving the public with fine fares or needed services. But what about when the Business Member operates on equipment loaded with 30,000 to 50,000 TONS of product moved in a DAY?

Carolina Marine Terminal located at 3330 River Road in Wilmington, NC handles cargo from ships that cost $20,000 per day so they have to do it fast and they have to do it right the first time. They have an ingenious conveyor design that takes product from the ship and moves it rapidly. This system works along side a crane that can move 1,000 tons of bulk in an hour. They can get a truck in and out in 15 minutes from the time it hits the scales.

craneMike McCarley and Kevin Walker first ventured into business in the 1970’s and they have seriously impacted the local material handling business. There is no more of a state of the art system in our area and our hats are off to these adventurous gentlemen who have made this business such a huge success for them as well as for Wilmington.

Please welcome the Carolina Marine Terminal as a very welcomed Business Members of the Federal Point History Center!! We are very proud and we are very impressed.

Carolina Marine Terminal
3330 River Road
Wilmington, NC 28412
Phone: (910) 395-4777. Fax: (910) 791-4054