Exhibit: North Carolina & World War I

A recent visit to the North Carolina Museum of History’s exhibit “North Carolina & World War I” served as a reminder that honoring the sacrifices of the men and women of North Carolina is what energizes us to continue to work to stabilize the Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

The exhibit is modeled after trenches and includes barbed wire, sandbags, and even (fake) rats. The low lights, noise of gunfire, exploding shells, screams, and sudden challenges shouted in various languages add to the realism.

Displays of artifacts are seen while winding through the trenches. Many of these are uniforms, medals, letters written to loved ones, and various items once used by the men and women from North Carolina who joined the battle overseas. These items pictured were used by Thomas R. Darden of New Hanover County.

The story behind the creation of the exhibit is also interesting. This diorama was a war game that Jackson Marshall, deputy director, project manager, and exhibit curator at the museum, built with his two sons who were fascinated by WWI and traveled with him overseas to battlefields. Both also helped him build the exhibit.

A group of home-schooled students and parents helped museum artist Robert Stone and his team fill the burlap sandbags that are stacked throughout the exhibit, some of which are real Army surplus.

Many years ago, curator Jackson Marshall began gathering these stories that he eventually published in a book in 1998. The veterans’ biggest fear: that they would simply be forgotten.

If you want to read more about the exhibit or visit yourself:
North Carolina & World War I exhibit
Re-creating WWI with staple guns, duct tape and 5 shades of gray
Centennial of US entry into WWI puts ‘Great War’ in focus
NC remembers World War I

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In the News – August 2017


The Fort Caswell Rifle Range was featured in several publications this month.

South Brunswick Magazine published a wonderful overview of the accomplishments and goals of the Friends, including many photographs.

Read: Caswell Rifle Range Target Pit and Storage Area is Almost 100 Years Old.

The State Port Pilot included information about Historic Wilmington Foundation’s traveling exhibit of the 2017 most threatened historic places, which features Brunswick County’s John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport and the Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

Read: Traveling historic exhibit goes on display.

And finally, the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range Club Profile was published in the Brunswick Beacon.

As always, The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range appreciates the support of the local media!

Note that these and all published articles about the Fort Caswell Rifle Range can be found by clicking the NEWS selection at the top of the website.

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In the News – July 2017

Star News recently interviewed Norma and Ron Eckard about the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the stabilization efforts. Read the July 16 article and view the photo gallery: Couple leads effort to save Fort Caswell Rifle Range

To read a detailed history of the stabilization effort, click the STABILIZATION selection at the top of the website. The stabilization journal begins in 2011, then flows into the more recent developments that are continuously updated on this blog.

The State Port Pilot featured the two Brunswick County historical sites included in the Most Threatened Historic Places List for 2017. Read the article from July 12: Cemetery, rifle pit among endangered sites

Note that these and all published articles about the Fort Caswell Rifle Range can be found by clicking the NEWS selection at the top of the website.


The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range appreciates the support of the local media!

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Spotlight: Gregory Kleva

Gregory Kleva

Attorney Gregory Kleva offered pro bono assistance to begin the process of forming a non-profit organization dedicated to stabilizing the rifle range. The work he completed with the NC Department of the Secretary of State and the filing fee he paid enabled us to complete the subsequent paperwork with the IRS in 2015 to achieve 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

Greg practices law at Geddings & Kleva, PLLC Attorneys at Law on Oak Island. Read more about Greg at https://www.gkclawfirm.com/attorneys.html

We thank Gregory Kleva for his valuable legal assistance and generosity!

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Historic Wilmington Foundation lists most threatened historic places for 2017

For the second year, Fort Caswell Rifle Range was chosen as one of the most threatened historic places in the Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region.

For more information about the 2017 list as well as a description and picture of each, see http://www.historicwilmington.org/national-preservation-month/

Media announcing the list:

Star News Online:
Kenan House among ‘Most Threatened’ landmarks

WECT News:
New sites added to list of Most Threatened Historic Places

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Spotlight: Bo and Sydney Grove

Bo and Sydney Grove

Bo and Sydney Grove have been tireless supporters of the stabilization of the rifle range since 2011. They volunteered at the Kentucky Derby fundraisers, contributed all of their winnings, contributed more, donated the sign in the photo above, and continue to contribute while no longer living in the Caswell Dunes community. Their “Can Do” attitude formed a strong foundation of support instrumental in the forward progress made.

Read Bo and Sydney’s own words expressing why they feel such a connection to the Fort Caswell Rifle Range:

“Our interest in the rifle butts is twofold. We spent a career — 32 years — in the Air Force. So we both have a general interest in military things. But the real driving force behind our interest was Sidney’s father, Lt Col Joseph J Tavern, a career marine who was killed during World War II in an airplane accident. He was a marksman of some renown. His last assignment before his death was as the commander of the Rifle Range at Parris Island. With that background, we couldn’t help being interested in doing something with the rifle butts at Caswell Dunes.”

We are fortunate to have your involvement, Bo and Sidney, and thank you most heartily!

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In the News – May 2017

The Fort Caswell Rifle Range Derby Day fundraiser and Commemoration of US Involvement in World War I were recently featured in several publications. More links will be added soon.

 

The National Centennial flag is admired by some of the valuable volunteers that recently worked at the Derby fundraiser. Pictured are: (Left to right) Helen Radcliffe, Betsy Hamer, Jayne Rankin, Norma Eckard, Connie Hendrix and Dianna Suttle. The centennial flag will continue to be used at future events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War 1.

 

The North Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution newsletter for the month of May, (courtesy of The Tar Heel Patriot, Patricia Poe, Editor), included four pages dedicated to the recent commemoration and a feature on the rifle range. Read the pages here.

A reprint of the story in the DAR newsletter about the commemoration was also printed in the Brunswick Beacon last week. (http://www.brunswickbeacon.com/ A subscriber login is required to read archived issues.)

Norman Sprinthall’s letter to the editor to Star News was published on Thursday, May 11. It’s the second letter on this page.

Thank you, Norman and the DAR for supporting the stabilization of our rare and valuable piece of World War I history!

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Derby Day fundraiser adds over $2000 to stabilization fund

Thanks to numerous volunteers, 65 attendees, and many donations, the Derby Day fundraiser net $2778.50 to the stabilization fund.

The interior and exterior of the Caswell Dunes clubhouse was decked out with patriotic red, white and blue. The flags of France, Britain, and the US waved in the wind on the deck where guests gathered. Also featured was the National World War I Centennial Flag that will be used in future commemoration events during the next year and a half.

The table top horse races brought cheers for horses with names such as Pershing, Red Baron, Marne, and “Over There.” A Military Moment was given before each race by Carl Mauney, a World War I re-enactor from Pennsylvania who graciously educated everyone at the commemoration last month. Attendees’ ancestors who served in the war were highlighted during this time. Norman Sprinthall gave a brief history of the US preparation and involvement in World War I, and Taps was played. Funds were raised in other activities and games, and particularly in the Silent Auction, using donated items from merchants and members of the community.

Anyone wishing to become a part of the planning for next year’s Derby fundraiser should email ftcaswellriflerange@gmail.com. To make a donation click on the donate button on the website.

More news of the event will be posted soon. Thank you for your support!

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Derby Day fundraiser countdown

In the news: Derby Day event for rifle pit May 6
courtesy of The State Port Pilot

Since 2013, the Kentucky Derby has been a backdrop to the annual fundraiser for the stabilization of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range. The event consists of tabletop horse races, contests, door prizes, dinner, and culminates in the viewing of the Kentucky Derby.

 Photo courtesy of http://stateportpilot.com/

Last year, a World War I Wall of Honor was assembled to honor relatives of locals [and beyond] who served in World War I with photographs, clippings and other memorabilia.

Click to view the virtual Wall of Honor.

This year’s Derby Day Fundraiser is May 6, 2:30pm until 7:00pm. To purchase tickets to attend, donate prizes, or sponsor tabletop horses, email ftcaswellriflerange@gmail.com.

Go to Derby Day Fundraiser: May 2017 for daily updates. There is also a permanent link to the Derby Day 2017 page after you click on the Fundraising tab at the top of the website.

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World War I Commemoration Ceremony


Many people from the surrounding area attended the Commemoration on Saturday, April 8, 2017. To read more, see World War I Commemoration Ceremony. There is also a permanent link to the commemoration page after you click on the WWI tab at the top of the website.

Another story can be found at http://darbrunswicktownchapter.blogspot.com/

For those interested in more information about World War I, a new exhibit has opened at the North Carolina Museum of History that includes artifacts and life-sized trenches. The exhibit will last two years. Read more about the fascinating exhibit and the World War I ceremony that was recently held at the state capitol in Raleigh at Centennial of US entry into WWI puts ‘Great War’ in focus.

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