What is the Boardwalk?

by Ben SteelmanStarNews  April, 2009

Carolina Moon Pavilion c. 1912 NHC Library - LT Moore Collection

Carolina Moon Pavilion c. 1912
NHC Library – Louis T. Moore Collection

An early Carolina Beach landmark was the Carolina Moon, a dance pavilion (designed by Henry A. Bonitz, the same architect who designed Lumina at Wrightsville Beach) that opened on May 1, 1911.

With 13,000 feet of floor space, it was billed as the largest ballroom south of Washington, D.C.

The facility also boasted a bowling alley, a 14-foot veranda that stretched around the entire building and a modern acetylene lighting system.

The Carolina Moon was destroyed, along with the Bame Hotel and two solid blocks of Boardwalk businesses, in a massive fire on Sept. 19, 1940.

Over the years, the Pavilion was called many names – by Elaine Blackmon Henson
‘Carolina Moon, Carolina Club Casino, Carolina Club’

Carolina Beach Pavilion, Largest on South Atlantic Coast – 1911
Wilmington Morning Star,  January 22, 1911

What is the Boardwalk? – Ben Steelman – StarNews, April, 2009


Ryder Lewis, Jr. Civil War Park – Sugar Loaf Trail – Sept 15, 2017

Images by Rick Both


November 14, 2016 Plans Prepared by SEPI for Town of Carolina Beach

Images of Earlier FPHPS Work on the Earthworks in Ryder Lewis Park.

More pics taken on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017by Andre


Fort Fisher in World War II – John Moseley

john moseleyThe Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, September 21, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Our speaker this month will be John Moseley, Assistant Site Manager of the Fort Fisher State Historic Site. John’s talk will be on the role Fort Fisher played during World War II.

Though most locals have a general idea of just how important Fort Fisher was to the Confederacy, few know how vital the site was in training men for anti-aircraft artillery.

Original specifications called for a host of features that would make the remote firing range a self-contained post.

These included 48 frame buildings, 316 tent frames, showers and latrines, mess halls, warehouses, radio and meteorological stations, a post exchange, photo lab, recreation hall, outdoor theater, guardhouse, infirmary, and an administration building.

In addition to these facilities, the site featured a 10,000-gallon water storage tank, a motor pool, a large parade ground, and three steel observation towers along the beach.

The main highway in the area, U.S. 421, bisected the sandy ruins of the land in front of historic Fort Fisher. New firing ww2-machineguninstallations were erected along the beach between the highway and the Atlantic Ocean — not unlike Fort Fisher’s ocean-side batteries during the Civil War. These included, among others, batteries of 40-millimeter automatic cannons and 50-caliber machine guns.

In addition, the site’s utilities, living quarters, and other features sprang up west of the shore installations between the highway and the Cape Fear River.

The area surrounding the old Civil War fort was soon dotted with the trappings of a modern military facility and expansion would continue throughout its tenure as a firing range.

Fort Fisher lacked the elaborate recreational facilities found at Camp Davis, but by the Spring of 1943 it boasted a full schedule of activities.

Fort Fisher- WWIIIn August, 1943 the new post theater opened with a screening of Stormy Weather starring Lena Horne. There were also plays and musical variety shows, most of which were performed by the soldiers themselves.

Professional performances sponsored by the United Services Organization (USO) were an added treat, and were often joined by “home grown” talent — including the Fort Fisher Swing Band and other groups.

Many of the post’s trainees were from interior regions of the United States and had never before seen a beach — let alone tried to live near one.

The adjustment was difficult and more than a few soldiers balked at the notion of dining on fried clams and oysters.

To acclimate the men to their new environment, the post offered swimming lessons, advice on how to avoid sunburn, and beach safety instructions.



From the President: September, 2015

From: Elaine Henson

Elaine Henson

        Elaine Henson

 This month I am asking your help in identifying a post card and a photograph.

gray's cottage

[Click – for detail view]

This post card shows Gray’s Grill, Cottages and Service Station.

Ed Turberg identified the cars in this manner, “The car in the foreground is a Ford, c. 1937-38. The cars with the sloped backs are GM (Pontiac, Olds, Buick) which were popular from 1940 to 1948.”

He estimates the date of this card to be c. 1946. Does anyone remember where Gray’s was?




President's message Sept 2015

[Click – for detail view]

The building in this photograph is an inn or rooming house and appears to be on the corner of Lake Park Boulevard and what was then Myrtle Avenue, now Carl Winner Drive. You can see the yacht basin in the background.

I asked my friend and FPHPS member Charlie Green and he agrees on the location as that corner. Does anyone know what it says on the sign out front?


postcard date


On the back of the photo is written:
Carolina Beach.  May 1944






Seafood on Federal Point – 1948-1956 (part 2)

Oral History
by:  Howard Hewett,  Jones Creek, TX – July, 2015 – Part 7.5

[Mark your calendar now! Howard will be visiting from Texas and will present a program on his memories of Federal Point On Monday November 2, here at the History Center at 7:30 pm.]

Howard Hewett

Howard Hewett

Acquiring seafood on Federal Point was a family affair. On a falling tide or low tide we would head for the bays located just south of where we lived at 833 S. Fort Fisher Blvd.

Our family believed that what we called the upper bay was a clamming paradise. The upper bay was east of the Fort Fisher munition bunkers.

When the tide was out, the large sand flats would yield clams about the size of a small to medium fist. Our tools of the trade were four-prong rakes. You did not have to rake very deep – usually less than an inch. A bubble hole would sometimes indicate the presence of a clam.

The resulting designs in the sand from the raking process were quite similar to

Clamming Rake

                          Clamming Rake

“Karesansui” as in Japanese Zen garden art.  I assure you that at the time, I did not have any idea what a Zen garden was.

The only way our family prepared clams was by making clam chowder. You could go to the bays and get a “mess” of clams and have clam chowder for dinner. Chicken soup was a well-known combatant for the common cold, but  in our family clam chowder was used exclusively.

Oysters for Dinner

There were two methods of oystering that we used. The favorite and most productive was chipping oysters off the rocks with a homemade chipping hammer. With approximately three miles of rocks, there were ample surfaces for oysters to grow. Most of the oysters grew on the bay side of The Rocks. The accessibility to The Rocks was made available by a concrete cap that was installed in the 1930’s by the Corps of Engineers (Jackson, 1995). The farther you walked out on the rocks, the availability and quality of oysters increased.

Prior to moving to Texas in 1956, we went oystering on The Rocks for the last time. On this trip, we came off the rock with four bushels of oysters. Dad and I each carried the inside handles of two bushels while Grandmother and my brother, Tom Hewett carried the outside handles. We had to stop from time to time to rest, but we were able to make it to the trailer.

The reason I share this particular event is that Grandmother had been claiming her hip had been hurting for a couple of weeks. A couple weeks after the oystering trip we found out she was suffering from a broken hip. My Grandmother, Addie Lewis Hewett Todd, was around 70 years old at that time; it could be said that she was cut from some very good cloth – one tough pioneer Grandmother. Grandmother lived to be 96 years old.

The other oystering method required a boat and a clam basket device that had long handles. Mechanically the mechanism was similar to a post-hole digger. However, instead of two shovel devices there were two baskets that opened and closed with the movement of the handles. I would refer to them as long-handle tongs. This method required positioning the boat over an oyster bed that was maybe two to three feet under the water. You could locate these beds at low tide so at high tide we could position the boat over the top of the bed. This method was more of a hit and miss operation because you could not see exactly what you were doing and you brought up a lot of mud and shells.

North Carolina Oyster Roast

We had a fire pit made of brick that had a metal plate over the pit. Oysters were placed on the plate with the oyster’s mouth pointing down; joints were in an upward position. Wet burlap bags were placed over the oysters. A fire was started in the pit and when the metal plate became hot a little water was poured over the burlap to get the process started. As steam was created, the oysters would open up their mouths resulting in the liquid inside draining down on the plate which converted to more steam. Dad would monitor the oysters and would enhance the steam process by adding more water as needed. He always liked to see a lot of steam. Within a short time all of the oysters would be opened and very tender.                                                                                                              

Oystering Knives

Oystering Knives

The oysters were then brought to the table. If you wanted to eat, each individual had to shuck his or her own oysters. When we had guests that were not familiar with the methods of shucking oysters, someone in the family would get them started; most folks were able to quickly get a feel for the process and could be left alone.

The shucked oysters went into a cup containing each individual’s favorite sauce mixture. Our family was partial to a melted butter, heated ketchup and vinegar mixture with a little hot sauce. Crackling cornbread was the family’s favorite accompaniment to be eaten along with the oysters.


Brush Dental Care

Tim Swing, DMD

Tim Swing, DMD

Featured Business Member
September, 2015

By Tony (Lem) Phillips

The History Center is very happy to announce that Brush Dental Care located on Barrier Road, Carolina Beach have become Business Members.

I have been to this office since they opened with Dr. Timothy Swing six years ago. Everyone in the office greets you like neighbors. The office is very conveniently located near shopping and has convenient parking.

What I am seeing more and more of on Pleasure Island is proof that we really are neighbors. And we are working together. Dr. Swing is currently renovating his home. Last visit he was excited telling that he hopes to himself that they turn up something historic and exciting when a wall is worked on. People like this remind us that we are a community living and working together. timthumbNow that excites me!

‘Our mission is to provide comprehensive, compassionate dental care to patients of all backgrounds. We pledge to be honest with our patients and never recommend unnecessary procedures. We value our employees and vow to provide them opportunities for rewarding careers. Brush Dental Care is also committed to improving the communities in which we live and work.’

Thank you again Dr. Swing for becoming a sponsoring member, we appreciate you and your staff

Business Hours:                                             Location        1300 Bridge Barrier Rd.

Monday 8 am – 5 pm                                                              Carolina Beach , NC 28424

Tuesday 8 am – 5 pm                                                              P: 910.458.9401

Wednesday 8 am – 5 pm                                                        F: 910.458.3495

Thursday 8 am – 5 pm                                                e-mail: coastal@brushdentalcare.com


Society Notes – September, 2015

Darlene Bright, History Center Director

The History Center recorded 42 visitors in August. We had 45 in attendance at the August meeting. The gift shop took in $111.40 in August. The History Center was used by Got-‘em-on Live Bait Fishing Club.

Please welcome new members Hugo and Phyllis Thomas of Wilmington, D. and Marilyn Scaringi of Carolina Beach and Emily and Cole Fisher of Kernersville.  Also, thanks to Dr. Swing at Brush Dental Care for supporting our work with a new business membership.

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

Rebecca would like to give a huge THANKS to the steadfast History Center volunteers who pitched in so Rebecca could be away for two weeks in August.  Cheri McNeill, Ron Griffin, Elaine Henson, Demetria Sapienza, Pat Bolander Jeannie Gordon, and Sylvia Snook all worked to keep the History Center open for our summer visitors.  


Committees – WOWZA!committee-300x234

New Committee Leaders Step Up

The following committees now have leadership. If you would like to join any of these committees PLEASE call the leader listed or call Rebecca and she’ll get the word to them.

Hospitality: Cheri McNeill

Plaque: Elaine Henson and Darlene Bright

Membership: Tony Phillips

Oral History: Jean Stewart and Tony Phillips

Still Nobody for Fundraising

FP History Center

Federal Point History Center

Upcoming Programs

Monday, October 19, 2015; Membership Meeting. 7:30-9:00 pm.  Author John Hirchak will join us for a “seasonal program” based on his book, Ghosts of Old Wilmington.

SPECIAL EVENT! Monday, November 2, 2015; 7:30-9:00 pm. “Growing up at Fort Fisher” featuring Howard Hewett who will share his memories of his family’s Federal Point heritage.

Monday, November 16, 2015; Membership Meeting. 7:30-9:00 pm. Author, historian and descendant of the Newton family, Brooks Newton Preik will talk about the “Fearless Pilots of the Cape Fear River.”

Monday, December 14, 2015; (one week early due to Holidays) Christmas Potluck. 6:30-9:00. Join us for our annual celebration. Why not bring a friend?