Opening Reception for Swim Suit Exhibit

Sunday June 12,Bathing Suit Exhibit 10

Wow! We had at least 75 people attend the opening reception for the Swim Suit Exhibit.

Don’t forget that the exhibit will be open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm through Labor Day.

Bring your family, friends and summer company down to take a look.

Bathing Suit Exhibit 13

 

Swim Suit Recepton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the President — July, 2016

By Elaine Henson

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.

Presidents letter #1It 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 Presidents letter #2January, 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.

 

Bathing Suit Exhibit

Bathing BeautiesThis summer the Federal Point History Center, located next to Town Hall at 1121-A North Lake Park Boulevard, will host an exhibit called Vintage Bathing Suits: 1900-1990 which includes 23 suits from the time period.

The exhibit will be open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm during June, July and August.

In for FunThe oldest suits are from the 1900-1920s and look more like dresses than bathing suits.  All three are fine worsted wool and were worn with stockings and bathing shoes.

Five suits are one piece tank suits of wool knit worn during the 1920s-30s.  One of those has the initials of the bath house that rented it stamped across the front much like those from our pavilion and bath houses at Carolina Beach.  And, one is a child’s suit in bright red that someone added elastic to the straps for another season of wear.

Two ladies’ suits are Jantzens with their distinctive swim girl logo, one of those has a zipper down the back.  Two men’s suits are bathing briefs made of wool knit from the 1930s-40s both with belts.  One has the Jantzen swim girl on the buckle and the other has a “Surfing Waikiki” patch.

There is an emerald-green ladies’ suit in silk taffeta with a flared skirt over cotton bloomers.  Bare Essentials - yellow 2 pieceThere is a yellow woven rayon two piece with a bra like top and trunks from the waist and a green woven cotton two piece with a halter top.

Wool, cotton and rayon gave way to synthetic fabrics from the 1950s on.  Several more one piece ladies’ suits are made from polyester blends most with a modesty panel to cover the crotch and some with zippers and boning.  There is a man’s cotton boxer suit and a ladies’ suit with a matching detachable skirt made from synthetic stretchy fabric.

The most modern suit is a 1980s-90s one made from linen and features embroidery and is fully lined.

We invite locals and beach visitors alike to visit our exhibit this summer at the History Center.  Call us at 910-458-0502 or email at rebecca@federal-point-history.org and please visit our Facebook page at Federal Point History Center and like us.

 

Calling All Members

New Boardwalk #2We Need You To Volunteer!New Board Walk #1

We are currently planning an outreach program that will put our members on the Boardwalk one or two nights a week, in June, July and August. 

We hope to display some of our great pictures, pass out our brochure, and answer questions about Federal Point.

If you could take a night or two please let Rebecca know: 910-458-0502

 

Elaine Henson on Vintage Bathing Suits – May Program

postcard of suitsVintage Bathing Suit Exhibit

This summer the Federal Point History Center, located next to Town Hall at 1121 North Lake Park Boulevard, will host an exhibit called Vintage Bathing Suits: 1900-1970 which includes 22 suits from the time period.

The exhibit will be open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm during June, July and August.  There will be an opening reception for the exhibit on Sunday, June 12, 2016, 2-4 pm at the History Center.


Monday, May 16, 2016swimsuits  7:30 p.m. (past events)

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, May 16, 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 our president, Elaine Henson, who will present The Bathing Suit in Vintage Advertising which looks at the evolution of bathing attire from early 1900s to the 70s.

Early suits were made of cotton or wool and looked more like dresses than the suits we see today.  The “dresses” had undergarments including bloomers below the knees and were worn with wool stockings, slippers and matching head-gear.  Men’s suits were wool knit tunics with sleeves and knee-length shorts.

Over time, the sleeves disappeared, the shorts became shorter, new fabrics appeared and suits became more athletic looking.  Suits became more stylish in many colors but still had little or no foundation features.  WWII brought the two piece with a brassiere like top and bottoms going from the waist to mid-thigh.  The post war years saw zippers, boning and other types of foundations in bathing suits.

 

Calling all Members – Volunteers Needed

elains's men's suits

We are currently beginning to plan an outreach program that will put our members on the Boardwalk one or two nights a week, in June, July and August.

We hope to display some of our great pictures, pass out our brochure, and answer questions about Federal Point.

If you could take a night or two please let Rebecca know, 910-458-0502

 

From the President — April, 2016

By Elaine HensonPalais Royal Hotel

The Palais Royal Hotel opened at the start of 1937’s summer season. The three story hotel was located on the northern end of the boardwalk near Harper Avenue. It was across from the pavilion, rebuilt in 1911 to replace the original one built in 1887.

The hotel’s owner/operators were Peter Compos as manager, Henry Omirly, night manager and John Kalagis, kitchen manager.

There was a spacious dining room with a large hardwood dance floor, a grille room with booth and counter service and a smaller private dining room all on the lobby ground floor.  It had twenty-three rooms with modern plumbing and shower baths outside for the hotel guests.  The Palais Royal specialized in dinner parties, bridge luncheons and business conferences.

It was very popular and enjoyed four summer seasons until it burned to the ground in the devastating boardwalk fire of September 19, 1940. The fire began in the pavilion and was discovered by police officer, Melvin D. Mosely, who was the stepfather of longtime beach resident Fran Doetsch.

The fire destroyed over two blocks of businesses including not only the Palais Royal Hotel but the newly remodeled and bricked Bame Hotel on Cape Fear Boulevard as well.  Since the winds blew the fire in a southward direction, the Hotel Royal Palm on Harper Avenue survived with sons of owner W. G. Fountain on the roof spraying the building with water hoses just to be sure.

Palais Royal Hotel #2After the fire a miraculous rebuilding of brick and concrete structures took place over the winter months.  By June, 1941 the boardwalk reopened with the town being billed as the “South’s Miracle Beach.”

The new Palais Royal held its formal grand opening early on April 25th with Ray Wise and his Dance Orchestra providing the music.

The new hotel had two floors and was owned and operated again by John Kalagis and Henry Omirly with Chris Economides replacing Peter Compos.  The hotel had rooms on the second floor, but the emphasis was focused on the restaurant, dinner and dancing as you can see by their sign.

Does anyone know when this building was torn down?  The former location is now a vacant lot up from the Fudgeboat/ Wheelfun Rental building and the building next to that.