Monthly Meeting Report – September, 2011

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society held its monthly meeting on Monday, September 19, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Larry Maisel

Larry Maisel

This month’s speaker was Larry Maisel, author of the book Before We Were Quaint.

This book punctures the myth about the nature of the small North Carolina coastal village of Southport. Today it is known as “the town with all the antique stores,” but it’s past is very different. From the mid 1800s to the 1950s Southport was a hard working, sometimes kind of rough, even industrial, town, not merely a fishing village. Only later could it be called “quaint.”

The author unfolds that past for us.

Larry Maisel is a retired broadcast journalist and executive, now living in Southport, NC. Much of his journalism career was spent in the South, where he covered City Hall District Attorney Jim Garrison’s Kennedy Assassination Investigation in New Orleans; the civil rights movement in Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia; and state and local politics in Virginia and West Virginia. He worked in radio news in Maryland. Before_we_were_quaint

He has also written and produced a number of documentaries. His first, in 1965, An April Day in Appomattox, on the 100th Anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s Surrender at Appomattox Court House, and the last, in 2005, Vanishing Village: The Southport That Used to Be.

That followed Southport Remembered: Glimpses of Our Past, produced in 2001. A writer and columnist, his column, “As I See It,” has appeared in the Southport newspaper, The State Port Pilot, and the monthly Brunswick Alive.
 
In 2006 he co-authored Lelia Jane: A Very Gentle Lady with another Southport historian, Susie Carson.

Monthly Meeting Report – August, 2011

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society held its monthly meeting on Monday, August 15, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Sea Turtle

 

In 1986 Susi Clontz was working at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. She befriended many people including school teacher Charlie Baker. Charlie was also the sea turtle monitoring coordinator of Figure Eight and Hutaff Islands. After many conversations with Susi about animal conservation, Charlie mentioned that Kure Beach was in need of a coordinator and thought Susi would be perfect for the job. Being the country girl that she was, Susi was somewhat reluctant but Charlie persisted promising to teach her all she needed to know about sea turtles.

In 1987 with new found knowledge and permit in hand Susi began her first season as sea turtle monitoring coordinator of Kure Beach. At first she walked the three miles of beach every morning alone searching for signs of nesting turtles – something that she had only seen in pictures. It didn’t take long before she realized that she couldn’t do this by herself so she drafted her husband Rusty who was willing to help but just as inexperienced as Susi. Neither of them had ever seen a real crawl. They were told it looked like a single tractor tire track coming out of the water and going back in. They did finally find one that season and the excitement was overwhelming. They were hooked for life.

For many years it was just Rusty and Susi but along the way they gathered others that were just as interested in helping save the sea turtles as they were. In 2001 the volunteer program was officially put in place to help Susi and Rusty with nest monitoring and in 2003 “The Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project” was born and became incorporated as a non-profit organization. Susi and Rusty were surprised at the overwhelming support they received from the community. They had no idea there were so many people who loved sea turtles as much as they do.

 

Monthly Meeting Report – November, 2010

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society held its monthly meeting on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Book: A Day of Blood“A Day of Blood” proclaimed Raleigh’s News and Observer about the events of November 10, 1898. On that date, white rioters in Wilmington murdered blacks in broad daylight and overthrew a legitimately elected Republican government without opposition by the public or intervention by the authorities.

Our speaker this month was LeRae Umfleet author of Day of Blood: The 1898 Wilmington Race Riot. This thoroughly researched, definitive study examines the actions that precipitated the riot; the details of what happened in Wilmington on November 10, 1898; and the long-term impact of that day in both North Carolina and across the nation.
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Monthly Meeting Report – July, 2010

Wilm_on_FilmThe Federal Point Historic Preservation Society held its monthly meeting on Monday, July 19 at 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Our speakers this month were Ben Steelman and Amy Hotz of the Wilmington StarNews, talking about their new book, Wilm on Film. In directory format, the book covers just about every feature film, made-for-TV movie, and TV series filmed in Wilmington and surrounding counties.

The book is a celebrity watchers’ dream. Longer articles focus on some of the bigger projects such as Fire Starter, Blue Velvet and, of course, Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill. Each entry includes a plot synopsis, a list of the major actors and filmmakers involved, a guide to area locations used in filming/taping and a miscellany of fun facts.

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Oral History – Isabel Lewis Foushee – Part 2: ‘Lewis Grocery’

By Ann Hertzer – from her interview with Isabell Foushee on January 12, 2007

Lewis Grocery at K Street and 421: Mrs. Lewis, her son, bus station sign and kerosene pump.

Lewis Grocery at K Street and Hwy 421
Mrs. Lewis, her son, bus station sign and kerosene pump.

When Isabel Lewis was 13 or 14, before World War II ended, the family moved to Kure Beach.

Her parents, Ed and Gertie Lewis, opened the Lewis Grocery or Kure Beach Grocery at the stop light at the southwest corner of K Ave at 421 Hwy – an old frame building that has since been torn down and rebuilt in brick.

The Lewis Grocery had 2 gas pumps out front and also had a kerosene pump at the end of the building, sold for cook stoves in cottages. It had an apartment at the end of the grocery store and a little store room. The Citco Station is now there.

A service station was located catty corner from the Lewis store; Canoutas Café where the vacant lot is now.

Gus from Burlington tried to sell them the Big Daddy’s land for $10,000. He might as well have said 10 million because Isabel said they didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Mr. Flowers opened a grocery store on K Avenue. When they moved to Kure Beach, the town was not incorporated yet. The governor appointed Ed Lewis to the first town council.

Because meat was rationed during the war, dad would get a cow or a bull off the island, have it butchered in Lumberton, and bring it back to the store to sell the meat. Isabel stood on a stool by the scales and told how many ration stamps were needed. People were more interested in how many rationing stamps it took than how much money it cost. They wanted some beef. When doors opened at 7 o’clock, a line would be waiting. One day while selling meat, Isabel found out that it was the pet “Booie”.  She just had to walk out.

Her folks built and ran a fish market at the Lewis grocery. Bob Ford (Margaret’s husband) worked at the store some and later rented it. If local fish wasn’t available locally, they’d get it from Failes wholesale fish house in Wilmington.

During the depression we didn’t have enough money to go to a bank. Mother would say “We’re banking and getting change in the Wilmington bank.” Back then, Monkey Junction was a big intersection with a grocery-service store combination and monkeys out back in cages.  About 1950 the Bank of Carolina Beach opened.

Going to the Carolina Beach boardwalk once a week was a special treat. Everyone would sit on the plank boardwalk (now cement) on the ocean side and watch the parade of tourists. We couldn’t wander away. We played around on the board walk and went on the rides. Most of the games came in at the end or after the war – penny pitch tosses, target shooting with rifles, or ball games to knock the milk bottles over – lots of tourist traps.

Many soldiers were down at Fort Fisher. Target planes would fly over. The machine gun embankments were out at the edge of the water. They would have the big guns out there, too. During anti-air craft training the pilings were shot out from under the Ft. Fisher Pier and finally went in the water. Isabel remembers going out at night on the beach and watching fires out on the ocean where the ships had been torpedoed. One German sub shot the land one time just above Kure Beach. During that time, we could not have lights shining at night. Dark blinds were needed.

Fort Fisher brought soldiers in by the 1000s for anti-air craft training. Convoys of big trucks would rumble by for 3 or 4 hours at a time. My folks’ property joined the base property. The MPs went up and down the road that divided the two properties. We could hear the men and the bugle playing taps every afternoon and we knew they were taking the flag down. We got to know a lot of them.

Isabel and her husband built the Center Pier two blocks this side of Wilmington Beach near the big high rise. They opened the pier the first of July; Hurricane Hazel came along October 15, 1954 and took it out. During the eye of Hurricane, her husband came back with a box of fish hooks in one hand and a piece of a reel in the other. It took the pier and the tackle shop down and moved the septic tanks out on the sand.

Isabel was out of high school 12 years before her three boys got up in school. Then she went to Wilmington College for two years and to East Carolina to finish a bachelors and a master’s degree. She then taught English at UNCW.

Monthly Meeting Report – January, 2010

Location of the second Federal Point Lighthouse

Location of the second Federal Point Lighthouse

Rebecca Taylor and Gayle Keresey presented their program on the Federal Point Lighthouse.

Originally built in 1816, the first Federal Point Lighthouse stood guard over “New Inlet” for almost 80 years.

The foundation recently found on Battle Acre at Fort Fisher matches the description of the second light built in 1837. That light was dismantled by Colonel Lamb and his soldiers during the Civil War to deprive the Union blockaders from such a handy target.

The third light, which was a two story house with a light on top, was built in 1866 and served until “the Rocks” were competed ,and New Inlet was closed. It burned in the early 1880’s and remnants of it have not been discovered tough they are thought to be somewhere on the Aquarium’s property.

Monthly Meeting Report – January, 2010

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society held its monthly meeting on Monday, January 18 at 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Fort_Fisher_HermitThis month’s speaker was Fred Pickler, the author/illustrator of the new book The Life and Times of the Fort Fisher Hermit: through the lense of Fred Pickler.

Fascinated by the Hermit since his Boy Scout years, Fred has had a varied career in trucking, law enforcement, and sales of international arms. With Life and Times he returns to his roots and presents a photographic tribute of one of the area’s most “original” residents.

Pickler also gives full documentation to Harrell’s somewhat mysterious death. Fred will tell us just what made Robert Harrill such a unique and special local “attraction.”

Monthly Meeting Report – October, 2009 – Penderlea Homestead

October’s Meeting

Elaine Henson who gave an entertaining pictorial talk about Major William Snow and the creation of Snow’s Cut in 1929. Elaine has many pictures of Carolina Beach prior to the Cut. The Major graduated from West Point in 1916 as an engineer, came to Wilmington in 1926 and built a lovely home in 1927 which is still an active residence. He was assigned to manage the IntraCoastal Waterway from Beaufort to the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The first bridge to Carolina Beach was a one-lane swing bridge, and that one was replaced in 1962 with the current four-lane high rise.

Trip to Penderlea

v16NONovember 2009 PDF-003v16NONovember 2009 PDF-004Elaine Henson and Ann Cottle organized a wonderful trip to the Penderlea Homestead Museum near Wallace. Along with Elaine and Ann longtime FPHPS members Darlene & Leslie Bright, Lois and Rebecca Taylor and Connie Burns as well as new members Bettie West and Charlotte Davis gathered at the Mad Boar Restaurant just off I-40. Joining us were Candace McGreevy and five Latimer House docents from the Historical Society of the Lower Cape Fear,

We had a great time “cross pollinating” and sharing stories of many adventures in local history. Leslie Bright won the day with his stories of finding shipwrecks all along coastal NC.

After lunch we set off across country to visit the Potts Memorial Presbyterian Church. We saw their fellowship hall which was originally built here on Federal Point where it served as the chapel for the WWII Air Force Base. Then we toured the beautiful sanctuary building which was originally the church at Camp Davis.

Both buildings were taken apart and moved board by board and brick by brick to the Penderlea community when the government no longer needed them. You can even see some of the the markings that the master carpenter made on each piece to tell him how to re-assemble each building.

From the church we drove to the nearby Homestread Museum located in one the the original 10 houses. They have done a wonderful job of restoring the building and its out-buildings and have a great many items on display. From kitchen goods and period clothing to pictures of Eleanor Roosevlet’s visit in August of 1937 depression era family life comes alive. If you haven‟t been up there it’s a perfect day trip into a very different and unique era of time.

Monthly Meeting – Nov. 2009 – ‘The Kure Family Legacy ‘

November Meeting – Monday November 16, 2009

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

Ellen Kure

Ellen Kure

 

Hans A. Kure

Hans A. Kure

Our program this month will be a showing a section of the video The Kure Family Legacy made in 1991, produced by the Kure Family. Featured in the narration are A.E. “Punky” Kure, Pat Robertson Rice, Mike Robertson and the late Jennie Kure Robertson Bagley.

The story concentrates on the early years from Hans Anderson Kure and his wife Ellen‟s immigration to America and the establishment of their family in Wilmington.

Hans was a ship’s chandler and owner of numerous warehouses and steamers in the early 1890s, when Wilmington was a large and prosperous port. We learn about the first generation, William, Hans, Lawrence, Andrew, and Elene.

Invited to join us for the evening are “Punky” Kure, Mike Robertson, and Pat Rice who will answer questions and lead a discussion on the history of the Kure Family.

The program is in memory of Jennie Bagley, who passed away in September. She was a charter member of Kure Lutheran Memorial Church, and worked at UNC-Wilmington and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Her memories provide a fascinating peek at the early years of the development of Fort Fisher Seabeach, and the Kure Beach pier.

 


Monthly Meeting Report for November, 2009 – Published in the December, 2009 Newsletter

Over 50 people enjoyed a segment of the The Kure Family Legacy DVD. The segment covered the very early years of Hans and Ellen Kure’s lives and how they came to America and to the North Carolina Coast.

They must have been truly amazing people. Ellen Kure went from being a lady-in-waiting to the Royal Court in Denmark to raising a family and helping her husband build up his business in the primitive conditions of Kure Beach and the more civilized conditions of Wilmington (Most years they spent summers at the beach and winters in Wilmington) before the turn to the twentieth century.

I just love this note in the Bill Reaves files:

“July 4, 1895 FEDERAL POINT. A large number of people visited Carolina Beach and spent a quiet, pleasant day. There was music for dancing all day, which was taken advantage of by a large number. Several fishing parties went out in the afternoon. The surf bathers were on hand in large numbers. Mrs. Mayo and Mrs. Kure had all they could do serving guests with sea delicacies. The last boat to Wilmington returned at 9:30 p.m. and the ride on the river was delightful. WILM.STAR, 7-6-1895.”

A huge thanks to “Punky” Kure, Pat Rice, and “Curly” Shands for answering questions and adding comentary at the end of the film.

Bald Head: The History of Smith Island and Cape Fear

Did You Know?
Excerpts from David Stick’s Bald Head: The History of Smith Island and Cape Fear

  • William S. Powell, distinguished historian and author of the definitive North Carolina Gazetteer, says that the name Bald Head is properly applied only to a small area of no more than a few hundred acres occupying the extreme southwest portion of the southernmost of the islands in the complex.
  • The name CAPE FEAR first appeared on a map drawn by a member of Sir Walter Raleigh’s 1585 colony en route to Roanoke Island, stating: “wee were in great danger of a Wracke on a breache called the Cape of Feare.”
  • The vast areas of Smith Island marshland and the tidal creeks winding among them provide a productive spawning ground for a variety of marine creatures, not the least of which are oysters, shrimp, clams, and crabs, as well as a number of fin-fish, including spot and mullet.
  • Bald Head’s best-known and most-publicized marine visitor is the giant loggerhead turtle, which sometimes weighs as much as half a ton.  Awareness of the plight of the endangered loggerheads is especially acute on Bald Head, where a unique cooperative arrangement involving the developer, residents, the Nature Conservancy, and government agencies has resulted in an active “Turtle Watch” program.
  • Landgrave Thomas Smith, a prominent merchant from Charlestown, secured a grant for the island on which Cape Fear was located on May 8, 1713 for the purpose of trading with the Indians.
  • In September 1717 the notorious pirate Stede Bonnett was captured by Colonel Rhett in the waters of the Cape Fear River adjacent to Bald Head Island.
  • During the War of Jenkins’ Ear (cir. 1740’s) a Spanish man-of-war appeared off Bald Head, harassing vessels entering Port Brunswick and commandeering others departing North Carolina with naval stores. As a result Fort Johnston was begun for the defense of the Cape Fear River.
  • Benjamin Smith , the last of the heirs of Landgrave Thomas Smith to hold title to Smith Island and Bald Head, died in 1826 following a distinguished career in which he served as an aide de camp to General Washington as well as Governor of North Carolina, 1810-1811.
  • In 1784 the North Carolina Assembly authorized a special duty of six pence per ton to be paid by all vessels entering the Cape Fear, the proceeds to be used for “erecting beacons and buoys at the mouth of the Cape Fear River.”  By 1789 there was enough money in the hands of the commissioners to begin construction of a lighthouse on Bald Head.  Benjamin Smith, a member of the commission and owner of Bald Head, donated 10 acres, with the stipulation “that no person, shall be allowed to carry or keep on the said island, or any part thereof, any cattle, hogs, or stock of any kind.” The lighthouse keeper was permitted to keep poultry, a cow, and a calf but anyone found hunting on the Island would be fined five pounds the first time and ten pounds for each succeeding offense.
  • John J. Hedrick, an engineer from Wilmington and commander of the Confederate “Cape Fear Minute Men” was put in charge of the building of Fort Holmes on the west side of Bald Head.  The primary mission of the 1,400 men of the 40th Regiment, North Carolina Troops under Hedrick’s command was to prevent enemy landings anywhere on Smith Island; another was to go to the aid of any friendly vessel unfortunate enough to run aground on or near the island.
  • An early plan, in the 1920’s and 30’s, for development of what the promoter called “Palmetto Island” resulted in clearing for proposed roads, and construction of a pier, a pavilion, and a partially completed hotel.
  • Frank O. Sherrill of Charlotte purchased Bald Head Island in 1938 with plans for a major resort which would include a four lane  “ocean highway” down the East Beach from Fort Fisher – to be paid for by the State of NC. In 1963 he consolidated his holdings by purchasing the federal property surrounding the two Lightstations and Lifesaving Station.
  • In 1972 the Carolina Cape Fear Corporation purchased Bald Head from Frank Sherrill and announced development plans; however, politics, an economic recession, and a new public awareness of the value of undeveloped natural areas doomed their project to failure.
  • Today 10,000 acres of marsh and estuary belong to the State of North Carolina. The Bald Head Island Conservancy and the North Carolina Nature Conservancy are involved in managing the undeveloped land.