September 2020 Newsletter

Monthly History Center Programs Are on Hold
— Until It’s Safe to Gather at the History Center

The History Center remains closed, however, Rebecca, Cheri and Darlene continue to come in and work on a variety of items from keeping membership and the bookkeeping up to date, to cataloging our archival materials and subject files.

If you are interested in visiting or doing research at the History Center, leave a message on the phone: 910-458-0502 or email: and we’ll get back to you about making an appointment to come in.

Also, if there is something you want to purchase from the Gift Shop, just let us know and we’ll make an appointment for you to come in or it can be mailed.


August 2020 – The Website Issue

Monthly Programs on Hold

Until It’s Safe to Gather at the History Center

The History Center remains closed.

In Honor of Andre’ Blouin and Nancy Gadzuk

The 2019-2020 Board of Directors of the Federal Point Historic Society has voted to make Andre Blouin and Nancy Gadzuk our newest lifetime members.

We honor Nancy for her diligent and expressive work as Secretary of the Society for a number of years and Andre’ for the vast hours he has put in designing our web site and making sure it stays up to date with the Newsletter and other new postings every month.

First brought online in 2014, our website continues to bring in comments and inquiries on all kinds of aspects of local history and serves as our greatest avenue of engagement with the general public.

Just enter about any search related to a local historical event or person and the Federal Point website will be at the top of the results. None of this could have been accomplished without Andre’s dedication and expertise.


President’s Message – August, 2020

By Elaine Henson

This month’s newsletter and my president’s letter are devoted to our amazing website, As you Google search online for our history at Federal Point, Fort Fisher, Seabreeze, Carolina, Hanby, Wilmington, and Kure Beaches, notice that our FPHPS website is always there in the list and often at the top or near the top of the links.

That is due primarily to the dutiful labor of our web site manager, Andre Blouin. He has spent countless hours uploading our archives on the site for everyone to read, use to answer questions, and to do research. Our archives collection is not of much value if it can’t be accessed. Not everyone can come to the History Center and go through our files, but most can search online or get someone to do it for them. We hope this focus on our site will inspire you to use it in the coming months.

This is the 73rd letter I have written for our newsletter since I became president in July, 2014.  Looking back, there are some that stand out because they tell very interesting stories of our history and were such fun to research and write. Hopefully you will go to our website, find them, and click and read.

2017:  January, February, March and April President’s Letters: The Carolina Beach Hotel.  This is a fascinating story of a 1920s beautiful new hotel situated on the property where Carolina Beach School is now.  Its opening was attended by Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil and her husband from the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Its bright future was cut short involving multiple sales, arson, arrests, a trial, and eventually a school on its site.  A must read.

2018: January, February, March and April President’s Letters: The Breakers Hotel.  This is another promising 1920s hotel story; it doesn’t have visitors from a world-famous family, but it does include a relationship with Ethel-Dow, a fire, and even worse, a hurricane named Hazel.  The Breakers was located in Wilmington Beach which was annexed by Carolina Beach in 2000. It was on the site occupied by the Sea Colony Condominiums on South Lake Park Boulevard between North Carolina Avenue and Ocean Boulevard.

2018: May, June, July, August, September, October, November President’s Letters: The Boardwalk

These seven letters tell a condensed story of the boardwalk from its beginning in 1887 to the present. The boardwalk has lasted in some form for over a century and has gone through glory days, being the center of activity, world wars, numerous hurricanes, fires, and some dark days.  But it has survived them all and is enjoying revitalization and renewed popularity.  We hope it will survive this pandemic in the same way, and that next summer it will be better than ever.

Next month:  Mrs. High’s Dining Room on Cape Fear Boulevard




How to Search Our Website


  • There are several ways to search for things on our website. From every page you can use the gray bar at the top to move from section to section. Each tab has a drop-down list of related topics, quick and easy.


  • Or use the Site Contents Navigation bar along the right of most pages. Just click on a topic and a full list of articles will appear.


  • Don’t forget, the fastest way to find something is to use the SEARCH box at the far right of the gray header bar. Almost any term; ‘Hermit,’ ‘Fonvielle,’ ‘Sugar Loaf,’ ‘Quarantine,’ ‘Piers,’ ‘Schools,’ or ‘Cemeteries,’ The word ‘Boardwalk’ turns up SIXTEEN PAGES of entries!


  • And don’t forget at the end of every article, there are links to a list of additional entries of interest.

Web Site Scavenger Hunt

Web Site Scavenger Hunt – Not just for kids!

As a service to the teachers who are now teaching online, we’ve devised this scavenger hunt for our web site that highlights our area’s local history. Why not try it out and see how well you know your hometown?

Tap/Click the text for any question below to learn more.

  1. When did Snow’s Cut Open? What part of our national transportation network does it belong?
  2. Name the family that founded Seabreeze.
  3. What was the name of the Fort Fisher Hermit?
  4. What did the army use Fort Fisher for during World War II?
  5. Who was the commander of Fort Fisher during the Civil War?
  6. Why were “The Rocks” built? When?
  7. Who is credited with establishing the resort named Carolina Beach?
  8. Who is Kure Beach named after?
  9. What is the name of the oldest continuously operating pier on the east coast?
  10. What is the name of the rare carnivorous plant that grows only within 90 miles of Wilmington?
  11. What lighthouse was built to guide ships through New Inlet?
  12. When did Hurricane Hazel hit North Carolina?
  13. What building was known as the “Crown Jewel” of the Boardwalk?
  14. What was made at the Ethyl-Dow Plant during World War II?


Society Notes – April, 2020

By Darlene Bright, History Center Director

  • The History Center recorded 23 visitors – but then, we were closed almost half of the month.
  • Welcome to new members: Joan and Peter Bartel of Carolina Beach and new business member Hurricane Alley on the Boardwalk.
  • Thanks to Steve Arthur for helping with the March Newsletter.


Society Notes – March, 2020



Medium – X-Large $18.00
XX-Large $20.00







New Exhibit at
Fort Fisher State Historic Site

African Americans have been a part of the Fort Fisher story from the beginning: from the free and enslaved men who helped build the fortress, work the camps, and assist white Confederates in battle, to the U.S. Colored Troops who helped bring about the fall of Fort Fisher and the port it protected, and further to the live-fire anti-aircraft trainees stationed here during WWII.

Fort Fisher’s newest exhibit “From Slave to Soldier, Free a Man” the African American Experience at Fort Fisher, highlights African Americans’ role in Fort Fisher’s story. The exhibit is now open to the public in the Visitors Center. We invite you to take a look!




Glory at Wilmington: The Battle of Forks Road
by Chris E. Fonvielle Jr.
82 pp., 6″ x 9″, paperback.
ISBN: 978-0-9984115-4-5

Elements of Union and Confederate armies fought the Battle of Forks Road, February 20-21, 1865, for possession of Wilmington, North Carolina, the South’s main seaport and most important city. Southern soldiers, commanded by Maj. Gen. Robert F. Hoke, made one last stand in an effort to halt the Union army’s determined advance.

United States Colored Troops, commanded by Brig. Gen. Charles J. Paine, were the principal combatants for the Union in the Battle of Forks Road. The victors would control Wilmington, the Cape Fear River, and three railroads, all crucial to final military operations in North Carolina during the Civil War.

Society Notes

By Darlene Bright, History Center Director 

  • The History Center recorded 101 visitors in February. There were 45 people at the February meeting.
  • The History Center was used by the Got-Em-On Live Bait Club, the UDC, the Joseph Ryder Lewis, Jr. Civil War Park Committee, and the Carolina Beach Walk of Fame Committee.
  • Welcome to new members: John and Betsy Morris of Kure Beach, Mark and Lisa Troyer of Durham, NC, Micky Gonzales of Carolina Beach, Peter and Laurie Tollens of Wake Forest, Elsa Hergeth of Wilmington, Jim and Kelley Hargrave of Holton, Michigan, and William Catoe of Greenville, SC.
  • Apologies to ­­Ann Tinder, we overlooked thanking her for her contribution of cookies for the Reenactment.
  • Thanks to Jim Kohler for helping mail the newsletter and for filling in while Rebecca was out sick.

Holiday Shopping – Federal Point History Center Gift Shop


Holiday Shopping

Does everyone in your extended family have one of our Local Flavor Cookbooks?  How about friends and neighbors? At $25.00 it’s the perfect homegrown gift for every cook you know.

It is full of “cookable” recipes mostly built from ingredients you already have in your pantry or can pick up at any local grocery store.  And, it has a section with historic highlights of well known restaurants of Federal Point.


Don’t forget our t-shirts are a real bargain at  $12.00 each.  We’ve got plenty of the Society shirts in every size and color.  We’re also well stocked with the Ocean Plaza BIRTHPLACE of the SHAG shirts.  Anyone with a history of the Boardwalk would love this reflection of  our history.

Carolina Beach in Postcards




Books, Books, Books! We have lots of books that relate to the history and culture of our area.  The two most important are

Elaine Henson’s Carolina Beach in Postcards and Brenda Coffey’s Images of America: Kure Beach.  Both are well researched and would be a great present to anyone who’s interested in the history of our local area.




March Meeting: Celebration of our 25th Anniversary

Monday, February 18, 2019  – 7:30 PM

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, March 18, 2019, at 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Federal Point Historic Preservation Society
Founded March 28, 1994

Join us for a trip down memory lane as our founding members talk about the early years of the Society.

There will be special refreshments and time to talk about all the projects the Society has been involved with over the years.

      Newton Homesite and Cemetery

Beauregard Shipwreck Overlook

Sedgeley Abbey

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.