By Adrian Gerth
Our corner of Southeast North Carolina is rich in history, with every city and town full of its own stories and culture. From Brunswick Towne and Fort Anderson along highway 13, the U.S.S. North Carolina and historic downtown Wilmington, to Moore’s Creek Battlefield in Currie, it is impossible not to notice the landmarks that have shaped our area. Naturally, these places are easily swept up in the day-to-day business of our busy lives. Fortunately, history has a way of teaching us something new every day.
The Cape Fear Museum of History and Science might be one’s first stop for culture in Southeastern North Carolina. For the young history buff, the Cape Fear Explorers camp gives an interesting look at artifacts, science, and history of the region. This all-day camp begins August 5th for children aged 7-10. The Museum also gives a more entertained look at privateering along the coast on Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with their Pirate Invasion Learning Center. Entry is just the price of admission and allows anyone to have a good buccaneering time. Adults can also throw in their historical knowledge at Bar Trivia on August 14th at the Copper Penny. Come test your knowledge of the region over a cold beer from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Information for all events can be found at their website, http://www.capefearmuseum.com/.
The cobblestoned streets of downtown Wilmington have had many a person walk, ride, and drive down their narrow avenues. The Wilmington Historic Foundation is giving tours of the two oldest suburbs, Carolina Place and Carolina Heights every Wednesday and Saturday in August from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The meeting point for the Streetcar Suburb tour is the Coastal Shopping Center at the corner of 17th and Market Street. A guided tour of neighboring Forest Hills will also be given at the same time every Saturday of August; the meeting place is Forest Hills Elementary School on Colonial Drive. Both tours are $10, but will be cancelled in the case of inclement weather.
Everyone has seen the U.S.S. North Carolina floating proudly across from downtown Wilmington—or have they? Battleship 101 gives visitors an up close look at life onboard an active warship, including demonstrations of each station by volunteers. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on August 10th. Visitors on the same day will receive of double treat with Blue and Grey North Carolinas running from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Focusing on Civil War era technology, volunteers will display the history of both the U.S.S. and C.S.S. North Carolinas. The exhibits will include steam engineering, small arms reproductions, and a working steam ship engine model. Both events are included in the regular price of admission to the ship.
To be a part of history in the making, the first Illegal Immigration Conference will be held in downtown Wilmington, August 10-11th. Hosted by Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), this event will feature President William Gheen as well as other prominent immigration speakers, focusing on the negative impacts of illegal immigration, as well as North Carolina’s legislative response. The event will begin Friday evening with Dennis Michael Lynch’s documentary “They Come to America” and will continue Saturday with interactive workshops and a town-hall style assembly focusing on educating the public about every aspect of the immigration process, from both the immigrant and legislative sides. More information about the conference, including how to register for the event, can be found at http://iiimpact.com/.
Moore’s Creek Battlefield will be running the second of its weeklong “Caswell’s Militia Summer Camp” from August 5th-9th outside Currie, NC. Children aged 11-14 can get their fill of Revolutionary War history and experience life as a colonial minuteman. All activities have been aligned with the North Carolina 8th grade Social Studies curriculum to connect outdoor learning with the classroom. More information on the camp can be found at their website, http://www.nps.gov/mocr/index.htm under the “Events” page.
Brunswick County’s Old Bridge Preservation Society will be holding its second annual Summer at the Old Bridge in Sunset Beach. Volunteers will offer history and information about the bridge from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, as well as evening programs running from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Both programs will feature educational and historical information about how the bridge helped develop Sunset Beach, as well as its restoration.
“Can You Dig It?” part of the 2nd Saturdays event, will be held on August 14th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Brunswick Towne Historic Site. Dr. Stanley South, a research professor and archaeologist from the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, will lead the expedition with his historical finds at the site. This event is open to all ages, combining history, culture, and art in a fun and interactive way to learn about the Cape Fear region.
The Cape Fear is full of historical places within a short drive, whichever county you live in. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily rush of life, but all of the culture surrounding us can be a good break from our modern world. Whether it’s something you’ve seen every day, or something you’ve never noticed until you read this article, history is all around us and waiting to be learned by a new mind. So why shouldn’t it be yours?