The Federal Point History Center is proud to recognize Bob and Marilyn McKoy of Network Real Estate as our Business Member of the Month!
When your real estate needs include buying, selling, renting or property management, they can meet your needs! Their team of professionals works as a family to solve issues no matter what the challenge.
Since 1982, they have been locally owned and staffed by over 50 individuals who have spent many years living and working in the Wilmington area. They know neighborhoods – from the beaches to historic downtown – and what they have to offer.
Learn more about them at Network Real Estate. If you are considering a move or just have questions concerning real estate, don’t hesitate to call or stop by one of their offices.
Thank you Bob and Marilyn McKoy for your support of the Federal Point History Center!!
Monday, July 17, 2017: 7:30-9:00 pm. (past meetings)
Program: Jennifer Daughterty, Local History librarian for the New Hanover Public Library, will talk to us about genealogy, genetic testing, and how it is affected by race and ethnicity.
Monday, August 21, 2017: 7:30-9:00 pm. (past meetings)
Program: Author Tanya Binford, will talk about her book Crossing the Wake. At age 51 she took a year off work and accomplished her goal of circumnavigating the Eastern United States in a 25 foot boat.
Monday, September 18, 2017: 7:30-9:00 pm. (past meetings)
Program: Chris Fonvielle, author, historian and noted expert on Fort Fisher, returns to present his newest program, “Sex and the Civil War.” This one is rated PG-13.
Monday, October 16, 2017: 7:30-9:00 pm. (past meetings)
Program: Andrew Duppstadt, Program Development & Training Officer, NC Division of State Historic Sites, returns to present a program titled, “North Carolina Personalities of the War of 1812.
Monday, November 20, 2017: 7:30-9:00. (past meetings)
Program: Vann Pearsall, of the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, will present a program on the mission and goals of this nonprofit formed in 1992 to help protect locally and regionally valuable natural areas and waters.
The perfect time to bring friends and prospective members to celebrate the holiday season with all our history friends.
History Center — Located adjacent to Carolina Beach Municipal Complex
ALL PROGRAMS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC.
They are held at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd. (Just south of the Carolina Beach Town Hall.)
Or visit the History Center, open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10-4. For more information call: 910-458-0502. federal-point-history.org.
Monday, April 17, 2017: 7:30-9:00 pm. (past meetings)
Program:Have you ever seen an old picture or post card of a Carolina Beach building and wondered where it was located or what is there today?
Elaine Henson will show businesses and buildings from long ago and what is there now, and in some cases, what was there in between.
Saturday, April 22, 2017 – Rescheduled Original date: March 18, 2017 – Canceled because of rain.
Historian Chris Fonvielle will lead his annual walk along the remnants of the Sugar Loaf Line of Defense. Pre-registration is required. Call 910-458-0502. A donation of $10.00 is requested. (past meetings)
Chris Fonvielle: Local history buffs hope to rediscover Rock Spring (StarNews Online, March 18, 2017) Members of the Public Archaeology Corps hope to excavate the site of the Rock Spring, underneath the soon-to-be-demolished Water Street parking deck.
Monday, March 20, 2017: 7:30-9:00 pm. (past meetings)
Monday, February 20, 2017: 7:30-9:00 pm.(past meetings)
Program:Kemp Burdett, Cape Fear River Keeper will talk to us about his work to protect the water quality and ecosystem of the Cape Fear River.
Monday, January 16, 2017: 7:30-9:00 pm. (past meetings) Program: Jan Davidson of theCape Fear Museum will talk about WWI in Wilmington as well as how it has been memorialized in our area. We will be doing a WWI exhibit in the Spring of 2017 and this will be our kickoff.
Give them beaches, and they will come, with a parade of swim attire that reveals a decade-by-decade slice of life.
Covered up, cut-out, lowered down or raised up – even emblazoned with seaside bathhouse rental insignia – the vintage swimwear in this captivating local collection illustrates both the story of Wilmington’s connection to its nearby beaches, and snippets of cultural and social history.
The swimsuits and other memorabilia, which belong to Elaine Henson, are on display through the end of August at Federal Point Historical Society. Elaine undertook the challenge of collecting vintage bathing suits when she retired her effort adding to her thousands of postcards and advertising artwork featuring the seashore, seaside tourist attractions, and swim fashions.
On the August cover: Photographer Waverly Leonard captured our cover models in vintage swimwear from the collection of Elaine Henson, currently on display at the Carolina Beach History Center. Wyatt Bear graces a private yacht in a 1940s yellow woven rayon and Lastex two-piece suit with a bra top with straps that tie and trunks with a modesty panel. Karli Owens is ready for the beach in a 1960-70s dark aqua polyester gabardine one piece suit with straps that button, cotton lined bust, a back zipper, modesty panel and white cording detail.
The models were photographed on location at Port City Marina, in downtown Wilmington.
It seems a natural progression: the vintage swimwear brings Elaine’s 2-dimensional art collection to life.
This historical retrospective is particularly well-suited to the beaches – from Carolina to Wrightsville – lined up like a swimsuit competition for “Best in Nostalgia.” The exhibit includes 23 suits, and includes women, men and children’s suits and a pictorial display highlighting Carolina Beach beach life and swim fashions over the years.
Each suit evokes a mini history lesson. For example, the circa 1920 men’s one piece suit was a rental, stamped with the letters S A M, the initials of the bath house, in gold. When railroads began to crisscross the country in the late 1800s, beachside towns were suddenly accessible to people who had never been to the shore. Making a train trip to the seashore was a “spa” experience: saltwater and fresh ocean air were purported to be therapeutic to the skin. Going to the beach for the day was not just a recreational experience, it was a health pilgrimage.
People from around the country came to Wilmington and the beaches for the weekend, hitting the sand in rented suits. This “midwinter surf-bathing” was not an athletic outing; bathers waded into the waves and held onto straps that hung from heavy lifelines secured to poles sunk deep into the sand along Wrightsville and Carolina Beach.
(l to r) Lank Lancaster, Jimmy “Boggie” Myers, Jerry Wilkins and Coley Brown, sitting on the Carolina Beach life boat, which was a Simmons, in the summer of 1961
Other highlights of the collection, after the early “swimming costumes” that bear more resemblance to overcoats than swimwear, are the 1930s cotton “Velva-Lure” lady’s pale jade one piece suit with crisscross self-ties in the back and Jantzen swim girl logo, a 1940s yellow woven rayon and Lycra lady’s two piece suit with bra top, and a 1970s red and white polyester check lady’s one piece suit with boy short legs and bust boning.
“I’ve had a collection all of my adult life,” Elaine says, explaining how the swimsuits evolved from her vintage postcard collection. “I have almost 2000 postcards of Wilmington, Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach, and a whole collection of bathing beauties in vintage advertising art. I was just captivated by the gorgeous images, and then a suit would come up in my search, and I thought I might use them as beach house décor.”
Elaine curated the current vintage swimwear exhibit, adding postcards, historical narratives, vintage photographs and memorabilia to the display of swimsuits. The history is fascinating, she says, from the bathing suit companies’ cutting-edge use of fabrics to the evolution of sexy, body-baring swimsuits that foiled earlier generation’s attempts at modesty. Jantzen and Catalina, fashion and advertising powerhouses, are important components of the swimwear story, she notes.
“There needs to be a stopping point with every collection,” Elaine suggests. “Now that I have the swim dresses, I’m done … I have a whole century represented in the swimsuits – after I’ve added mine from the 80s and 90s, I’m done.”
She hesitates. “Yes, I’m done,” she reiterates, with the wistfulness of a dedicated collector.
Visit the exhibit! Vintage Bathing Suits 1900-1990
View the Swimsuit Collection:
Now through September
Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 10-4 Carolina Beach History Center next to Town Hall on Lake Park Blvd
The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, July 18, 7:30 p.m. at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.
Our Speaker this month will be Zach Hanner, author of the musical Summers at Seabreeze. He will discuss the process of creating the show and its evolution.
Zach Hanner is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Performance Studies. For the last 24 years, he has worked as an actor, writer and director on stage, in film, television and commercials in both the southeast region and the New York area.
Hanner is also a musician and former freelance contributor to the Wilmington Star-News and the Myrtle Beach Sun Times.
Currently, he serves as Artistic Director of TheatreNOW, a unique performance space in downtown Wilmington specializing in dinner theater.
He also serves as Executive Director of Superstar Academy, a nonprofit theater outreach program that provides acting opportunities for a variety of young people in the Wilmington area.
In 2006, Hanner was assigned a story for the Star-News about the Seabreeze community. Fascinated by the idea of an isolated African-American community thriving in the era of Jim Crow, he continued to ponder various ways to try and tell the story of this magical place and in 2014 began the research that would eventually become “Summers at Seabreeze,” a live-action documentary told through voices from history as well as from interview subjects who grew up in the heyday of the Seabreeze phenomenon.
The play, nominated for a Star-News award for “Best Original Production,” was a hit for TheatreNOW in the summer of 2015 and featured choreography from Kevin Lee-Y Greene and musical contributions from Grenoldo Frazier.
As our summer Vintage Bathing Suit Exhibit continues this month, we are continuing to showcase Carolina Beach bathers. We hope you can come by our History Center and see our exhibit on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 – 4 pm.
It was a beautiful day at Carolina Beach in the 1950s when local girls, Mary Frances All (left) and Sylvia Fountain (right), posed for this post card. The girls are wearing suits with the “modesty panel” in the front like many of the suits in our exhibit.
They have chosen to take off the removable straps for a day of tanning without strap marks. Mary Frances shared with me that they were actually wearing each other’s suits that day. Most girls only had one suit each summer and tired of wearing the same one over and over so they often switched with a sister or friend.
Mary Frances All was a Winter Park girl but she and Sylvia were best friends graduating from New Hanover High School together in 1957. Mary Frances was crowned Teenage Azalea Princess at Wrightsville Beach’s Lumina Pavilion during the Azalea Festival in 1956. She now provides a scholarship for the festival princesses. Mary Frances lives in Stanly, North Carolina, and is the widow of the late Dr. James S. Forrester who also served in the North Carolina Senate. Her son, Dr. James Forrester, Jr. is a cardiologist practicing in Wilmington.
Sylvia Fountain was the daughter of Elmo and Plina Ritter Fountain. She was the granddaughter of W. G. Fountain who built the Fountain’s Rooms and Apartments in 1935 and the Royal Palm Hotel the following year in 1936. Both were in the first block of Harper Avenue. He also served three terms as a Carolina Beach Alderman from 1937 to 1945 and was mayor of Carolina Beach from 1945-47. In 1949 he founded the Bank of Carolina Beach and served as its first president. W. G. Fountain was one of the honorees inducted into the Carolina Beach Walk of Fame this past January, 2016.
Sylvia’s mother, Plina Ritter Fountain (1916-2013), is posing in the Carolina Beach moon on the boardwalk in this photo from the 1940s. It is a little hard to see, but her black and white halter neck suit has a triangle shape cut out in the front just above the waist. These were the forerunners of two piece suits which were popular in the mid-1940s.
Plina ran the Fountain’s Rooms and Apartments on Harper Avenue while her husband Elmo managed the Hotel Royal Palm next door. They were the parents of four children, Ray, Sylvia, Griff and Janet.
Sylvia Fountain Logan passed away in 2008 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; her funeral was held at Bethany Presbyterian Church on Castle Hayne Road. Her parents and grandparents are buried in Wilmington’s Oakdale Cemetery.