President’s Letter — March, 2019

By Elaine Henson

FPHPS 25th Anniversary, Gazebo/Picnic Shelter

This month we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society.  The organization was incorporated on March 28, 1994.  In those early days the Society met at various places including Fort Fisher State Historic Site, but after a few years they were eyeing the gazebo/picnic shelter next to the Town Hall complex in the 1100 block of North Lake Park Boulevard.

The Town of Carolina Beach had purchased the former Blockade Runner Museum in 1989 to remodel and expand into the present day town complex.  The property included a replica of a 19th Century open air public market which was used as a picnic shelter for school groups and visitors to the museum.

In the late 1990s, FPHPS approached the town about converting the picnic shelter into a meeting space.  After a couple of years, the town gave the go ahead and the fund raising and gathering of materials began.

There were generous donations from many individuals from the Federal Point area, Wilmington and New Hanover County.  Many donated money, materials, services, talents and man hours.  Just to name a few, the HVAC was donated by Taylor Heating and Air; M & M Plumbing donated their labor and got a vendor to donate fixtures; EWE Electrical donated their labor; Hanover Iron Works donated the shingles and Lowes gave a discount on all the building materials and other purchases.

Many organizations donated their time such as the Junior Sorosis who donated and installed the ceiling tiles and the North Carolina Aquarium employees who helped with the display cases.  FPHPS members, their families and other volunteers worked tirelessly to complete enclosing the picnic shelter and adding a 16-foot addition to the back to make the almost 1600 square foot History Center.

Upon completion they held a grand opening celebration on March 30, 2001.  The guest speaker was Lisbeth Evans, Secretary of North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.