(North of the Publix — old Federal Point Shopping Center)
Joseph Ryder Lewis, Jr.
Joseph Ryder Lewis, Jr.
Mr. Lewis (1926-2010) was a Carolina Beach resident, U.S. Army veteran, long-time employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a member of the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society.
Keenly interested in his family’s history and that of the Lower Cape Fear, he donated 10 acres that included these Confederate earthworks of the so-called “Sugar Loaf lines,” to the Town of Carolina Beach for the public park in the late 1990s.
(Park is located North of the Publix — old Federal Point Shopping Center)
In late 1954, when Luke and Jessie Lancaster bought a two story cottage just south of the Kupboard, they were still living in Raleigh where Luke owned Southern Welding. By the late 50s, they had replaced the wallboard walls in their cottage with pine paneling and added a third bedroom and dining room on each floor and remodeled the kitchens with pine cabinets and Formica countertops. They put their cottage up on a foundation and were living full time at the beach on the upstairs floor, renting out the bottom floor.
Mary Ann and Albert Newkirk were still running the Kupboard Grocery and living above. In those days it was open from April until late November. It opened each year on Azalea Festival weekend and closed at Thanksgiving. The Newkirks would go back to Warsaw for the winter and come back in the spring.
Luke and Jessie Lancaster on their porch
In 1959, Luke Lancaster began working part time at the Kupboard. As the year went on Albert talked about possibly retiring and selling the store. So, in 1960, Luke bought the Kupboard for $10,000 and he and Jessie became the owner/operators.
The Kupboard was a full grocery store with a meat market, fresh produce, canned goods, condiments, bread and baked goods, frozen food, beer and soft drink cases and a penny candy counter.
They also sold paper goods, toiletries, sunglasses, sand toys, surf mats, swim rings and other beach supplies. Rusher Meat Company supplied the fresh meats and McEachern’s brought the produce. Outside there were benches to sit on, a phone booth and room for parking.
Luke Lancaster in the Kupboard Grocery with country hams hanging from the ceiling, c.1960s
The Lancasters’ son, Lank, and his friend, Harold Petty, started East Coast Surf Boards in a small cinderblock building down the street from the Kupboard, also owned by his father. It had been a meat market and convenience store in the past, but was empty in 1964, when the surf shop began.
Luke Lancaster and son, Lank Lancaster, on the porch of their cottage. You can see the side of the Kupboard in the background.
They ended up building a large wooden building behind where they actually made the surfboards using the former market for selling surfing clothing and other items.
East Coast Surf Boards was the first surf shop to open on one of the lower Cape Fear area beaches. Lank and Harold shaped their boards from foam blanks they ordered from California. They were in business at 913 Carolina Beach Avenue North until 1967, when they decided that they could not meet the demand for their hand crafted boards and moved on with their respective careers.
Camp Davis, located between Wilmington and Jacksonville, NC, was built in 1941, as one of seven anti-aircraft training bases for the U.S. Army’s First Army, Fourth Corps.
Though there were originally five training sites as the reservation expanded, the Fort Fisher site — located 50 miles south of the main base — became the primary firing range for Camp Davis. And as Fort Fisher’s importance grew, so did its facilities.
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 crowning addition to these improvements was the construction of a large airstrip at Fort Fisher— an endeavor that destroyed a sizable portion of the once-formidable “land front” of the 80-year-old bastion. In these unstable times, national defense took precedence over historic preservation.
By the time anti-aircraft training operations ceased at Fort Fisher in 1944, the facility had grown to include an 80-seat cafeteria, a 350-bed hospital and dental clinic, and covered an area of several hundred acres.
After the War
Camp Davis and its satellite ranges closed in October 1944, — with nearly one full year of war yet to be waged in both theaters of conflict. The government quickly sold off the buildings to locals – at fire-sale prices and many locals purchased them and moved them to locations, primarily in Kure Beach. Today there are quite a number of these buildings still standing, being used today as businesses and beach cottages.
Next Month: Fort Fisher – Part II
The Barracks Today
How many of the old Fort Fisher barracks can you spot before next month when we run a list drawn up by A. Kure, J. Batson and J. Dugan of the barracks that remain? Would you believe there are at least 49?
Buried Alive? The Tragic Fate of Samuel Russell Jocelyn, Jr.
The Confederate Blockade Runner: Fanny & Jenny and her Legendary Sword
The Ill-Fated Lady: The Drowning of Rose O’Neale Greenhow
A Man and His Dog: Faithful Unto Death
In Search of the Maco Light: The Lower Cape Fear’s Most Famous Ghost Story
JOHN C. GOLDEN
Sadly, the Society has lost another longtime supporter. John C. Golden, Jr., age 79, passed away on Friday, January 29th at Hospice LifeCare Center in Wilmington.
A graduate of Duke and Harvard, he came to Wilmington in 1977, as an employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
After he retired, he dedicated his time to telling stories and making music throughout the community. He served as President of the Historical Society of the Lower Cape Fear and was always generous with his time and talent to the entire history lovers’ community.
The History Center had 46 visitors. The UDC held their monthly meeting at the History Center.
Welcome to new member: Ned Irvine of Wilmington
Amanda and Jennings Nestor * United Daughters of the Confederacy * Got-‘Em-On Live Bait Fishing Club