The 2019-2020 Board of Directors of the Federal Point Historic Society has voted to make Andre Blouin and Nancy Gadzuk our newest lifetime members.
We honor Nancy for her diligent and expressive work as Secretary of the Society for a number of years and Andre’ for the vast hours he has put in designing our web site and making sure it stays up to date with the Newsletter and other new postings every month.
First brought online in 2014, our website continues to bring in comments and inquiries on all kinds of aspects of local history and serves as our greatest avenue of engagement with the general public.
Just enter about any search related to a local historical event or person and the Federal Point website will be at the top of the results. None of this could have been accomplished without Andre’s dedication and expertise.
This month’s newsletter and my president’s letter are devoted to our amazing website, federal-point-history.org. As you Google search online for our history at Federal Point, Fort Fisher, Seabreeze, Carolina, Hanby, Wilmington, and Kure Beaches, notice that our FPHPS website is always there in the list and often at the top or near the top of the links.
That is due primarily to the dutiful labor of our web site manager, Andre Blouin. He has spent countless hours uploading our archives on the site for everyone to read, use to answer questions, and to do research. Our archives collection is not of much value if it can’t be accessed. Not everyone can come to the History Center and go through our files, but most can search online or get someone to do it for them. We hope this focus on our site will inspire you to use it in the coming months.
This is the 73rd letter I have written for our newsletter since I became president in July, 2014. Looking back, there are some that stand out because they tell very interesting stories of our history and were such fun to research and write. Hopefully you will go to our website, find them, and click and read.
2017: January, February, March and April President’s Letters:The Carolina Beach Hotel. This is a fascinating story of a 1920s beautiful new hotel situated on the property where Carolina Beach School is now. Its opening was attended by Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil and her husband from the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Its bright future was cut short involving multiple sales, arson, arrests, a trial, and eventually a school on its site. A must read.
2018: January, February, March and April President’s Letters: The Breakers Hotel. This is another promising 1920s hotel story; it doesn’t have visitors from a world-famous family, but it does include a relationship with Ethel-Dow, a fire, and even worse, a hurricane named Hazel. The Breakers was located in Wilmington Beach which was annexed by Carolina Beach in 2000. It was on the site occupied by the Sea Colony Condominiums on South Lake Park Boulevard between North Carolina Avenue and Ocean Boulevard.
These seven letters tell a condensed story of the boardwalk from its beginning in 1887 to the present. The boardwalk has lasted in some form for over a century and has gone through glory days, being the center of activity, world wars, numerous hurricanes, fires, and some dark days. But it has survived them all and is enjoying revitalization and renewed popularity. We hope it will survive this pandemic in the same way, and that next summer it will be better than ever.
Next month: Mrs. High’s Dining Room on Cape Fear Boulevard
There are several ways to search for things on our website. From every page you can use the gray bar at the top to move from section to section. Each tab has a drop-down list of related topics, quick and easy.
Or use the Site Contents Navigation bar along the right of most pages. Just click on a topic and a full list of articles will appear.
Don’t forget, the fastest way to find something is to use the SEARCH box at the far right of the gray header bar. Almost any term; ‘Hermit,’ ‘Fonvielle,’ ‘Sugar Loaf,’ ‘Quarantine,’ ‘Piers,’ ‘Schools,’ or ‘Cemeteries,’ The word ‘Boardwalk’ turns up SIXTEEN PAGES of entries!
And don’t forget at the end of every article, there are links to a list of additional entries of interest.
In 2015 Howard Hewett, who grew up on a farm south of Kure Beach, wrote a series of articles about life as a boy. His father was a supervisor at the Ethyl-Dow Plant, and Howard also donated his collections of wonderful black and white pictures of the plant in the 30s. You can find many of them in a slide show in the oral history Howard did with Monroe Shigley, Plant Manager at Ethyl Dow.
Among our most visited pages cover the six part series on the history of the Freeman family and Seabreeze. Published in the Spring and Summer of 2016, we’ve received numerous calls and emails from as far away as Atlanta and Washington, DC. We even had requests from the Smithsonian and the North Carolina State Archives to use pictures from the articles.
Our most popular speaker, Chris Fonvielle, has talked about and written on many subjects of Civil War History over the years. The many pages that come up when you search ‘Fonvielle’ include not only articles on Fort Fisher and the Sugar Loaf Line of Defense as well as reviews of his many books. Other pages lead to reports on his Sugar Loaf walks, Fort Fisher Reenactments, and other society fund raisers to which he’s generously contributed.
According to a clause in our bylaws, the Board of Directors voted at the July 13, 2020 meeting to approve the Nominating Committee’s proposed slate for the 2020-2021 Board.
President – Elaine Henson
Vice-President – Lauren Gibbs
Secretary – Katherine Schultz
Treasurer – Eddie Capel
We Now Have Copies of Chris’s New Book For Sale
We now have Chris Fonvielle’s newest book on the Glory at Wilmington: the Battle of Forks available for purchase at $19.95 (+ $1.40 tax) for each copy. Chris says it’s a limited edition, and has signed each copy. He printed only a few hundred copies, so when it’s gone, it’s gone. Since the History Center is closed, you may mail us a check (for $21.35) or leave a message on the answering machine at 910-458-0502, and we’ll contact you for your credit card information or send an email to: Rebecca@Federal-Point-History.org.
By Darlene Bright, History Center Director
The History Center was closed all month due to Covid-19.
Welcome to new members: Robert C. Cole of Carolina Beach and Carroll and Adrienne Kratzer of Carolina Beach.