Plaqued Buildings in Federal Point

(as of December, 2012)

Currently Plaqued in Federal Point:

  1. Kure Cottage
  2. Burnett Cottage
  3. Ocean Plaza
  4. McCabe-Lancaster House
  5. Lylerly Residence
  6. Newton Cemetery
  7. Carolina Beach Drug Company
  8. Colonel Burnett House
  9. Loughlin House
  10. Sly-Walton House
  11. Joy Lee Apartments
  12. Carolina Beach School
  13. Immaculate Conception Chapel
  14. Carolina Beach Community Church

Oral History – Earl Page – Part 3: ‘Blue Top Cottages’

Compiled and edited by Ann Hertzler

Blue Top was the first home that was built. There was a string of cottages next to Blue Top before 1940. The Army hadn’t come in yet.

Walter Winner ran the Blue Top Cottages in ’37. Granddad ran it 38, 39 and 40. Granddad and grandmother moved in to an end cottage—the very first one on this end became an office and a home. Earl’s father came into the picture in ’46. His Mother didn’t care for this kind of life.

She’d stay maybe a month, two months. She was a city woman. Earl got discharged. His Dad asked him to help keep the pier going. Well, Earl and ten million other guys didn’t have a job. read more

From the President – December, 2012

Barry Nelder

Barry Nelder

Christmas Party:
Again this year Virginia Francis, our hospitality committee in-one-person, has arranged for us to have our Christmas potluck at Kure Memorial Lutheran Church. The date for the dinner is Monday, December 17, which is our regular meeting night. Please plan to be there by 6:30 and please bring a dish to share.

We will also be making donations to their Christmas food drive so bring a few cans or boxes of food to be donated through them to the Help Center. Remember, bring your favorite holiday dish, and a friend or two who might be prospective members.

We’ve just heard that Virginia fell and broke her collar-bone! Not sure how out-of-commission she’ll be for the party but Sonda Nelder, Peg Fisher, and Demetria Sapienza will be pitching in to do all that Virginia usually does.

Last month a work crew got our new archival storage shelving installed. On November 27 the new library shelving arrived. Thanks to Darlene and Leslie Bright, Demetria and Phil Sapienza, and Jim Dugan who unloaded the 600 pounds of wood and metal from the transfer truck. Stay tuned for pictures of our new ”professional” library and archives.

 

Monthly Meeting Report – November, 2012

Jack Fryar: ‘The Yellow Death’

Our November, 2012 speaker was Jack Fryar, writer and publisher of NC history books for young people. His illustrated lecture was about the yellow fever epidemic in Wilmington in 1862.

In 1862, yellow fever cut a swath through Civil War Wilmington that killed off a third of North Carolina’s largest city. Join Jack Fryar, author of “The Yellow Death: Wilmington & The Epidemic of 1862” to hear the story of a time when tragedy was the rule along the banks of the Cape Fear River, and wagons carried the dead to Oakdale Cemetery on a daily basis.

Folk lore is that the disease was brought by the blockade runner The Kate arriving from the Bahamas after passing the eleven forts and installations along the Cape Fear River, but Jack feels there were people infected in the city before the ship arrived.

Louis Swartzman was the first fatality, after which doctors warned people to flee and many did. The disease damages kidneys and liver and often causes rapid death. The Confederate army withdrew its soldiers to Fort Fisher. Sanitation workers refused to pick up trash, and food was in short supply because no one would bring it in.

Jack E. Fryar Jr.

Jack E. Fryar Jr.

The city seemed deserted since nearly everyone who could not leave had died. A head count was impossible because Caucasian bodies were dumped in a huge pit at Oakdale Cemetery and records of slave deaths were never kept. By late November the epidemic subsided due to frost killing off the mosquitoes that spread it. Estimates are 1/6 of the city had perished.

Jack E. Fryar, Jr. is the author or editor of twenty-two books about the history of the Cape Fear and North Carolina. Jack is the publisher of Dram Tree Books, the local press specializing in books about the four centuries of history of the Tar Heel State, particularly the coastal regions. He lives in Wilmington with his wife, Cherie, and is currently working towards a Masters in History at UNC-Wilmington.

 

Epidemic! Quarantine!

After two years of legal paperwork, a single, solar-powered flashing light will be installed this weekend (July 31, 2014) on the hulking remains of a quarantine station in the Cape Fear River.

Ed Pierce was piloting his motorboat on the night of Aug. 4, 2012, when he gave wide berth to an approaching tugboat. He inadvertently slipped out of the shipping channel and crashed into a 16-by-16-foot unlit concrete platform from the long-abandoned structure near Southport.

His wife and partner of four decades Barbara, 55, was killed. Pierce and two other passengers were injured.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Rebecca Taylor

At last November’s Monthly Meeting , Jack Fryar talked about the yellow fever epidemic in Wilmington in the Summer and Fall of 1862.

But did you know that you can still see a concrete platform from the old quarantine station that was built in the very middle of the Cape Fear River?

Can you imagine what it must have been like to face a host of deadly diseases like small pox, typhoid, yellow fever, cholera and even malaria without having any idea of what caused them or how to treat the people who caught them. The ONLY thing that could be done was try to prevent the scourge from somehow coming to your town.

In 1348 the first formal maritime quarantine was established in the Mediterranean, when Venice created a system whereby an appointed council of three had the authority to inspect ships, cargoes and individuals for up to forty days. In 1403 Venice established the first known maritime quarantine station or lazaretto on Santa Maria di Nazareth an island in the Venetian lagoon. By the 1700’s all major towns and cities along the eastern seaboard of the US had passed quarantine laws though they were generally not enforced unless an epidemic appeared imminent.

As early as 1751 the North Carolina colonial assembly passed a Pilotage Act that required inspection of all ships coming into harbor. However, again it appears to have been “selectively” enforced for Wilmington suffered yellow fever outbreaks in 1819 and 1821.

Then came the Civil War blockade runners and the worst epidemic Wilmington would ever see. Thousands fled the city and over 600 people died. Until the end of the war the blockade running ships were stopped at Smithville (Southport today) or Fort Anderson for inspection and fumigation.

Soon after the war North Carolina law provided for a port physician to draw up quarantine regulations and by 1879 the president of the State Health Board could appoint two additional physicians to a local quarantine committee.

Dr. W. G. Curtis served as port physician from the mid 1870’s to the 1890’s during which time the quarantine station stood on the waterfront of Smithville. But the locals blamed the station for several epidemics in the area and when the waterfront station burned in 1883 locals lobbied to have it moved further from town.

Then, in 1893, Congress established the U.S. Marine Hospital Service and construction of a station in the middle of the Cape Fear River opposite Price’s Creek was begun. It opened in 1897. By 1901 quarters had been added for sailors waiting for their ships to be inspected and by 1904 there was a hospital for sick seamen.

By the 1930’s developments in public health found the facility in the middle of the river obsolete and in 1937 it was no longer being used though a custodian was still looking after the buildings. In 1953 the buildings burned to the ground. However one small concrete pad remains and can be seen from the Bald Head Island Ferry soon after it leaves Southport.

For more detailed information on the Cape Fear River quarantine station, read Ben Steelman’s Wilmington StarNews article (June 8, 2012.) about the quarantine station.

Today's Remains of the Quarantine Station

Today: The Quarantine Station Concrete Platform Remains in Cape Fear River

[Updates]

Sept 4, 2013
StarNews Online – Wilmington

History buffs seek to save deadly platform near Southport
– The remnant was the scene of a fatal boating accident

Much of the station was destroyed by fire in 1952. Hurricane Hazel in 1954 finished off what was left, except for the water tower platform.

Basil Watts, a pilot in the Cape Fear River for 28 years, said the platform “acts as its own marker” for a debris field of concrete and steel from the collapsed station. Submerged pilings remain as well. “You’d have to remove all the debris to make the area safe,” he maintains.  … full story ..

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July 31, 2014
StarNews Online – Wilmington

After two years of legal paperwork, a single, solar-powered flashing light will be installed this weekend on the hulking remains of a quarantine station in the Cape Fear River.

Ed Pierce was piloting his motorboat on the night of Aug. 4, 2012, when he gave wide berth to an approaching tugboat. He inadvertently slipped out of the shipping channel and crashed into a 16-by-16-foot unlit concrete platform from the long-abandoned structure near Southport.

His wife and partner of four decades Barbara, 55, was killed. Pierce and two other passengers were injured.

Since that day, Pierce, with the assistance of Wilmington attorney Geoff Losee, has been working to have the structure illuminated in an effort to prevent a similar tragedy.  .. full story ..

Oral History – Earl Page – Part 2: ‘Army Truck’

Compiled and edited by Ann Hertzler

Earl bought an Army truck when he got out of the service. He used it to pull vehicles out of the sand and help in fishing. The dirt road goes down to the Rocks. The picture shows just two ruts in the dirt road. The highway ended this side of the Museum. Then it became a cow path.

Earl was on his way to help a guy raise a sail boat. He had to get there across a ditch. He pulled lots of vehicles out of the sand. They’d get stuck at the beach. It looked like a car was sitting right in the water. Earl’s truck had front wheel drive.

No one had 4- wheel drive back then. There were only two 4-wheel drive vehicles on this beach – Earl’s and a garage at Carolina Beach. Earl drove in water going out in the Bay to get a jeep. A guy walked in front looking for holes.

He pulled a taxi cab out of the ocean. He took pictures and it’s a good thing because the insurance company didn’t believe it.

image11

Earl pulled a tank out of the ocean. A ship barge lost it. When Earl contacted the owners, they said we could keep it because it would cost more for them to come get it. Three men rowed out in the ocean in a row boat and brought the tank in close enough that Earl could get a wench on it.

Earl sold it.

Many had to have vehicles pulled off the beach because they didn’t know how to drive on the beach. It was like Daytona Beach at low tide – someone went down to Corncake Inlet driving on the beach. To turn around, he drove down toward the ocean and then tried to back up in the soft sand; the wheels sunk and the tide came in. Thank goodness for that Army truck.

The beach was very wide. If you stand with your back to the Fort Fisher monument, look out into the ocean, and hold your hand at a 10 o’clock angle you can see how wide the beach was. But right there, at 60 degrees, it’s nothing but rocks. It looked like Coney Island. It was beautiful. But you couldn’t park and you had cliffs. You couldn’t get down right there unless you had an Army truck.

From the President – November, 2012

Barry Nelder

Barry Nelder

We had a rousing success with our Fall Fundraiser. We took in just over $250.00 and garnered some great visibility for our organization as the early voters lined up at Town Hall to vote on Saturday morning November 3.

A huge thanks to everyone who helped; Carol Ufferman, Donna Bernadio, Lois Taylor, Jean Stewart, Susan Foy, John Gordon, Jeannie Gordon, Don Snook, Cheri McNeill, Paul Slebodnik, Leslie Bright and Darlene Bright.

 

I also want to thank the great volunteer crew who worked at the History Center all day November 5. The first of our new archival shelving arrived in mid- October and Don Snook, Jim Dugan, Jeannie and John Gordon, Demetria and Phil Sapienza, and Darlene and Leslie Bright hauled almost everything out of the library, deep cleaned and then moved much of it back onto the new racks. Our new library shelving is due to ship the week before Thanksgiving so it will take one more day of effort sometime in late November or early December and we’ll have our re-designed library/archive up and running.

Christmas Party: Again this year Virginia Francis, our hospitality committee in-one-person, has arranged for us to have our Christmas potluck at Kure Memorial Lutheran Church. The date for the dinner is Monday December 17, which is our regular meeting night. Plan to be there by 6:30 and please bring a dish to share. We will also be making donations to their Christmas food drive so bring a few cans or boxes of food to be donated through them to the Help Center.

 

Monthly Meeting Report – October, 2012

The Swing Bridge at Snow’s Cut 1931-1962

The Swing Bridge at Snow’s Cut 1931-1962

Monthly Meeting – October, 2012

Elaine Henson, related the history of the Inland Waterway, especially the section from Beaufort, NC to the mouth of the Cape Fear River. This covered 93 miles and was 90 feet wide to a depth of 12 feet. A very popular Major Snow was sent to Wilmington in 1926 to oversee this cut which made us an island. A wooden highway bridge over the cut was built in 1930 to be replaced by a more permanent one in 1944. Local residents had to pay for this bridge. The total project cost $3 million and was completed in 3 1/2 years.

For the Record:
The summary as described above( in last month’s newsletter) of Elaine’s program in October was a bit confused. It should have read: “Major Snow was sent to Wilmington in 1926 to oversee the 93 miles of inland waterway from Beaufort to the Cape Fear River, part of which was the land cut that made Federal Point an island.

The temporary wooden bridge over Snow’s Cut was opened in March, 1930 and replaced with a steel swing bridge in September of 1931. The residents did not pay for it. (The Federal government required the Tidewater Power Company and the Wrightsville Causeway company to pay for the 1931 Wrightsville Beach draw bridge because they operated a railroad over the inland waterway).

In 1944 the Department of Interior Board of Geographic Names officially named the cut Snow’s Cut. Locals had called it that since it was made.”

Later, at the November, 2013 Monthly Meeting, more information on the Inland Waterway and Snow’s Cut Bridge was presented by Elaine Henson.

 

Cape Fear Lighthouse – presented by: Old Baldy Foundation

Cape Fear Lighthouse

Cape Fear Lighthouse

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society held its monthly meeting on Monday, September 17, 2012 @ 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Cape Fear Lighthouse

Cape Fear Lighthouse

From 1903-1958 the Cape Fear Lighthouse stood guard over Frying Pan Shoals from the SE corner of Bald Head Island. But with the opening of the Oak Island Lighthouse it was deemed obsolete and blown up.

Sometime after the light was destroyed it’s first order Fresnel Lens ended up in front of an antiques shop in Wilmington where the individual prisms were sold to tourists passing by.

A few years ago members of the Old Baldy Foundation “found” it and negotiated the purchase of the frame and the few prisms that were left from the children of the original owner.

Mary Beth Springmeier, Executive Director, Chris Webb, President, and Kim Gottshall, Chair of the Lens Restoration Committee of the Old Baldy Foundation visited us from Bald Head Island to tell us the story of how they are bringing the prisms back to the Island, and how we can help.

Gift Shop – New Vintage Postcards

New in the Gift Shop!

Last month (July, 2012) we featured the new Ocean Plaza t-shirts, which are selling well.

This month we’ve added a new line of vintage postcards, note cards and magnets. We’ve found a company in California that reprints postcards from the 1920’s to the 1940’s. Luckily they already had a number of images of Carolina Beach in their catalog and we are now carrying them in the gift shop. If these go well we may have others made from the postcards we have in our collection.

Magnets: $4.00

Magnets: $4.00

 

Notecards: $4.00

Note Cards: $4.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postcards $1.50

Postcards $1.50

 

We also have signed copies of Kevin Duffus’s two books The Last Days of Blackbeard the Pirate and War Zone: WWII off the Coast of North Carolina.