Society Notes – November, 2017

By Darlene Bright, History Center Director

Located adjacent to Carolina Beach Municipal Complex

  • Thanks to Leslie Bright, Jay Winner and Rick Both for putting up railings at the front steps of the History Center
  • Thanks to Juanita Winner and Linda Ogden for providing refreshments at the October meeting.
  • The History Center recorded 46 visitors in October. We had 29 in attendance at the October meeting.
  • The History Center was used for meetings held by the Got-Em-On Live Bait Fishing Club and the United Daughters of the Confederacy
  • Welcome to new members Jannette Klass and Linda Kuharcik both of Carolina Beach.

 

Island Tackle and Hardware

Featured Business of the Month – November, 2017

By Tony (Lem) Phillips

Island Tackle and Hardware, a TrueValue store, is also a valued Business Member of the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society. While the name gives away the fact that they are very interested in fishing, don’t miss out on seeing everything they have to offer the community. A first class hardware store as well as a shop for gifts to fit anyone’s imagination. And don’t forget the gas for the BBQ. Pull up to the tank and fill up.

They are located at 801 N. Lake Park Blvd. Carolina Beach, NC 28428. Or visit them online at http://islandtacklehardware.com/index.htm .  They have an online store but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, call them at 910-458-3049.

Island Tackle and Hardware, is a True Value Hardware Store and a “Full Service Fishing Paradise.” Visit them soon and tell them that you too are members of FPHPS.

 

Howard Hewett’s Legacy

from James Hewett:
“My cousin Howard Hewett passed away Monday Oct 6th in Vermont. His funeral will be Saturday in Texas.”

Howard Hewett

Between 2014 and 2015 from his home in Jones Creek, TX, Howard actively wrote many articles for the Federal Point History Center recalling his childhood years living just outside the gates to Fort Fisher.

Howard was a great writer with the amazing ability to recall details from his younger years on Federal Point.

Howard last visited Carolina and Kure Beach in November, 2015 and was the guest speaker at the Federal Point History Center.

Share some of Howard’s memories of Federal Point here.

October Meeting – North Carolina’s War of 1812

Monday, October 16, 2017
7:30 PM

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

Our program this month will be presented by Andrew Duppstadt, Program Development and Training Officer, Historic Weapons Program Coordinator, North Carolina Division of State Historic Sites, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

North Carolina’s War of 1812 Personalities explores the lives of five native North Carolinians who contributed in some significant way to the country’s efforts during the War of 1812.

Otway Burns

Those individuals are Benjamin Forsyth, Dolley Payne Madison, Otway Burns, Johnston Blakeley, and Nathaniel Macon. Some are better known than others, but each made some contribution to the nation’s efforts during that time period, and in some cases beyond.

This presentation gives a brief overview of each.

Benjamin Forsyth

Dolley Madison

Johnston Blakeley

 

Nathaniel Macon

 

From the President – October, 2017

By Elaine Henson

This month we are continuing to look at some of the empty lots on the boardwalk where the summer rides are located.

The lot between the Gazebo and the Marriott Hotel was the site of three Bame Hotel buildings built by James Rowan Bame and his wife, Mandy, from Barber, North Carolina.

The first Bame opened on the site in June, 1930.  It was three stories with a white wooden exterior and contained “33 rooms with running water, tubs and showers” according to a 1930s brochure.  Bame’s Hotel faced Cape Fear Boulevard near the wooden boardwalk and included a café with “Miss Mandy” in charge of the cooking. The rates were $1.50 to $2.50 per day or $10.00 to $15.00 a week based on the European Plan which did not include meals.

By 1935, “Mr. Jim” decided to enlarge and remodel his hotel with a brick exterior and including a large paneled dining room and a grill which faced the boardwalk.  The 60 rooms had a single bed or double bed with or without a private bath.

But it was not to last.  On the night of September 19, 1940, a fire began in the old pavilion and swept away two blocks of the boardwalk including the Bame Hotel reducing it to rubble.  Mr. Jim and the other business owners vowed to rebuild in time for the summer of 1941 and they did.  The fact that they were able to restore two entire blocks from ashes in just a few months earned Carolina Beach the nickname “The South’s Miracle Beach”.

The new brick three story Hotel Bame had 80 rooms, 65 with a private bath.  The floors on the first level were tile with hardwoods on the second and third floors. Red leather chairs graced the spacious lobby.

The new Bame also had an elevator, sizable dining room facing Cape Fear Boulevard, another grill on the boardwalk and optional air conditioning window units in the rooms.  It later included a pool room and a barber shop.

J.R. Bame died in 1959 with his son, George, continuing to manage the hotel until his death in 1968.  The family leased it for a few years before selling it to investors from Myrtle Beach in the early 1970s, who tore it down and built a water slide in its place.

 

North Carolina and the War of 1812

    From the website: http://www.carolana.com

In the early nineteenth century, North Carolinians were quite aware of England’s continued, friendly relations with the Indians on the frontier. Outposts in Canada stocked guns and ammunition with which they supplied the various Indian nations.

England’s provocation of the young nation of the United States of America increased markedly between 1793 and 1812, when England and France were at war. Both nations disregarded the rights of neutrals and stopped American ships on the high seas in search of their own nationals who might be evading military service.

In 1807, a British ship fired on an American ship, boarded it, and removed four sailors, three of who were American. Attempts to negotiate these differences with England failed, but in time France stopped this practice. The Embargo Act of 1807, stopping all but coastal trade, harmed the United States more than it did England or France, and it was repealed two years later. Subsequently, a non-intercourse Act prohibited trade with the offending nations, but it was generally ineffective. President James Madison finally recommended that preparations be made for war.

The War of 1812 had little effect on North Carolina except that people were divided in their support. Many said that the United States had withstood the insults of both England and France for years, and that no new incidences had occurred. Others agreed that the freedom of the seas should be defended. Some of the state’s congressmen supported President Madison, while others rejected his call for assistance. Recruiting teams found men eager to serve and the state contributed several important heroes to the war.

Within the State of North Carolina, there were only two minor skirmishes between the British and locals. For five days, July 12-16, 1813, the British landed troops and occupied the small towns of Okracoke in Hyde County and Portsmouth in Carteret County – both on the barrier island of the outer banks.

President Madison’s wife, Dolley Payne Madison, was a native of North Carolina. In Washington, DC, as the British were entering the city from the opposite direction, she delayed her departure from the Executive Mansion long enough to collect the presidential silver and executive papers, and to cut a portrait of George Washington from its frame. She tossed these into the foot of the carriage in which she and the president escaped before the British burned the residence. Later, the blackened walls were painted white and the mansion became known as the White House.

Benjamin Forsyth of Stokes County was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army in 1814, when he distinguished himself along the northern border. He was killed at Odelltown in Canada and, like Brigadier General Francis Nash of the Revolutionary War, he came to be regarded as a hero. The State presented a handsome sword to his eight-year-old son and awarded him $250 a year for seven years. A county was named after him in 1849.

Otway Burns of Onslow County was a ship captain and a shipbuilder. During the War of 1812, as a licensed privateer operating up and down the Atlantic Coast, he brought in large quantities of supplies useful to the war effort.

Captain Johnston Blakely lived in Wilmington and in Pittsboro; after attending the University of North Carolina, he began a naval career.

As the commander of several warships, he sailed boldly around England capturing and destroying  British  shipping efforts. On the last occasion, after seizing a valuable cargo and placing a prize crew aboard to take it to America, he sailed east. Soon, smoke was seen on the horizon but the fate of Captain Blakely and his ship was never determined. The North Carolina General Assembly gave his young daughter a handsome silver tea service and provided funds for her education.

Another native hero was General Andrew Jackson, a native of the Waxhaw region along the North Carolina-South Carolina border. He read law in Salisbury and was licensed to practice in the State, living in Greensboro for a time before moving west to Tennessee.

In the War of 1812, he became the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, where he won a great victory with few American losses. Because of the long time it took for messages to cross the Atlantic Ocean, this battle was fought after the terms of peace had been agreed upon.

The War of 1812, which lasted more than three years, settled almost nothing. The British no longer stopped American ships on the high seas, but neither Canada nor Florida was seized by the United States as many people had expected.

On the other hand, General Jackson’s campaign in the South shattered England’s standing among the Indians and opened large tracts of land in Georgia and Alabama to white settlement. This fact alone probably had the greatest subsequent impact on the State of North Carolina as a consequence of the War of 1812, because immediately, thereafter, the State saw mass emigrations to the newly-opened “free” lands in the south and west, and these were to continue for many decades thereafter.

At the conclusion of the War of 1812, the Federal government initiated a new round of tariffs, beginning with the Tariff of 1816, which increased the price of British goods so that American goods could compete with them.

After the Revolutionary War, the Federal government operated financially primarily as a result of tariffs since at that time there was no income taxation. The Tariff of 1816 was officially enacted to protect American manufacturers, but once again it advanced the nation’s position towards protectionism and hurt the South more than it helped the North.

This new tariff, along with other miscalculations of the early Federal government, led to the Panic of 1819, which harmed the South even more and was another step in increasing the rift between Southern and Northern factions that began as soon as the nation was formed.

Society Notes – October, 2017

By Darlene Bright, History Center Director

  • Thanks to Cheri McNeill and Rebecca Taylor for providing refreshments at the October meeting.
  • Thanks to the people who worked the Island Day booth. Leslie Bright, Darlene Bright, Cheri McNeill, Judy Moore and Byron Moore.
  • The History Center recorded 69 visitors in October. We had 46 in attendance at the October meeting.
  • The History Center was used for meetings held by the Got-Em-On Live Bait Fishing Club and the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
  • Welcome to new members Barbara Smith of Carolina Beach and Charles and Tammy Moye of Wilmington.

 

Tanya Binford: Crossing the Wake

By Nancy Gadzuk

Tanya Binford, author of Crossing the Wake: One woman’s Great Loop Adventure spoke at the August 21, 2017 meeting of the History Center. She talked about her experiences traveling the 5,000 mile Great Loop Cruise Route around the eastern United States in a 25-foot Ranger tug motor boat. Alone.

Usually I take copious notes during our History Center meetings, but Tanya’s presentation was so spellbinding all I could do was listen with my mouth open in awe. Fortunately, Tanya also wrote a fascinating memoir to provide backup for the notes I didn’t take, and I recommend reading Crossing the Wake for an in-depth look at her trip.

Tanya dreamed of learning to sail, even though she spent most of her life in Arizona. She didn’t want to wait until she was able to retire to pursue her dream.

“Sometimes we have to make the adventure,” she said. At the age of 45, she decided to take a year off when she turned 50 to pursue the dream. Fortunately, she had a job she could do from anywhere that had a good Internet connection. She drew a line on a map from her home in Arizona due east and it led to Southport, North Carolina.

Once in Southport, she made every mistake a beginning boater could make, bought several boats that weren’t right for her, realized sailing was too difficult to do solo, and finally ended up with a 25 foot ranger tug motor boat.

She decided to travel America’s Great Loop Cruise Route, through the Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Approximately 100 boats make the loop each year, but most of them are much, much larger than hers, and very few people make the trip solo.

One of the frightening parts of her presentation was her description of going through close to 100 locks on the canal system along the route, where she was surrounded by much larger commercial vessels in a tight-fitting trough of moving water. She frequently needed to be in two places at the same time, holding a line on one side of the boat while doing something on the other.

Any long boat trip requires time, money, and energy for boat repairs. At one point, Tanya limped into a marina for a needed engine repair. (An impeller, whatever that is.) Tanya was working with Bob, the marina owner, on the repair and she was trying to get a bolt attached somewhere on the engine.

Bob asked what was taking her so long, and she yelled from under the engine, “I’m screwing as hard as I can! Can’t you feel it?”

There was silence until Bob said, “I’ve never had a woman say that to me before,” and they both burst out laughing.

A sense of humor is also useful for any adventure.

 

September Meeting – Sex and the Civil War

Monday, September 18, 2017

7:30 PM

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, September 18, 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 Dr. Chris Fonvielle.  UNC-Wilmington professor and well-known expert on the Civil War period in the Lower Cape Fear, he will be talking about “Sex and the Civil War.”   “This one should be FUN!”

Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr. is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina, with a lifelong interest in American Civil War, North Carolina, Lower Cape Fear and Southern history. His in-depth research focuses on Civil War coastal operations and defenses, blockade running, and the Navies.

After receiving his B.A. in Anthropology at UNC-Wilmington, Fonvielle served as the last curator of the Blockade Runners of the Confederacy Museum. He subsequently received his M.A. in American history at East Carolina University and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Fonvielle returned to his undergraduate alma mater at UNC-Wilmington in 1996, where he now teaches courses on the Civil War, Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear, the Old South and Antebellum America. He also teaches extended education courses on the history of the Lower Cape Fear through the university.

From the President – September, 2017

By Elaine Henson

Click

The summer boardwalk rides have added so much in making Carolina Beach a family destination again.  The empty lots where families now ride was formerly occupied by several buildings and businesses. Some of those lots are footprints of large hotels built in the 1920s-30s.

This month we will look at the Hotel Royal Palm and Fountains Rooms and Apartments which were along Harper Avenue between Canal Drive and Lake Park Boulevard as seen in this post card.

The builder and owner was named Willie Gardner Fountain.  (Mr. Fountain did lease the building on the right to Mr. Southerland for a few years and thus the sign indicates that this picture dates from that period.)

W.G. Fountain and his wife Serena moved to Wilmington in the 1920s from Chinquapin in Duplin County. Within a few years he started Fountain Oil Company in Castle Hayne selling fuel oil and also operating gas stations in the area. He had a ready work force with their seven sons Clayton, Millard, Alton, Elmo, Woodrow, Gus and Archie. Summer months were slow in the fuel oil business and so he decided to start a summer business at Carolina Beach.

In 1935 he built three two-story buildings with 20 rooms each on Harper Avenue near the boardwalk and named them Fountain’s Rooms and Apartments. One could rent a room or an efficiency apartment for a stay at the beach. They were so popular that Mr. Fountain decided to build a hotel next door opening in time for the 1936 summer season.

The four-story Royal Palm Hotel had 58 rooms with wrap around porches, a spacious lobby, dining room and the first elevator at Carolina Beach. Perhaps its most distinctive feature was a neon sign spelling out the name in four foot letters that could be seen a mile away.

In 1946, Fountain enlarged the Royal Palm with a fifty room addition over a cafeteria that seated 100 people.

People flocked to Carolina Beach and business was good.  These businesses also survived the disastrous 1940 boardwalk fire in addition to rebuilding after Hurricane Hazel in 1954 and several other storms.

W.G. Fountain, a very astute businessman, was the founder of the Bank of Carolina Beach and served on the Carolina Beach Board of Alderman, also serving as Mayor ProTem and Mayor.  He died in 1956 leaving the businesses to his sons and daughter, Lila Fountain, who was Miss Carolina Beach 1939. They sold and moved the Rooms and Apartments in 1959 to make a parking lot for the Royal Palm and later sold the hotel in 1961.

For the next 20 years the hotel had various owners and experienced a slow decline until Vince and Dee Bolden bought it in 1982.  They renamed it the Hotel Astor remodeling the 107 rooms to 53 more spacious rooms with private baths.

In spite of their efforts, the hotel continued to decline prompting the Boldens to sell it in 1994.  That trend continued until it was condemned by the Town of Carolina Beach in 2005.

Awaiting demolition, the building was burned on June 27, 2005, by an arsonist who was later tried and convicted.  The empty lots along Harper Avenue have been there ever since coming to life every summer to the delight of families and children.