2011 – 2017
It’s hard to believe that the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range has its roots in a project that began nearly six years ago.
In May 2011, the Landscape/Grounds Committee of Caswell Dunes held a workday that included volunteers in the neighborhood. This group of people stopped to consider the structure that they traveled past almost daily. And so the discussion began.
Is it an eyesore? A piece of history? Should it be saved? What is a bunker anyway?
The volunteers reached out to Jim McKee, Historical Interpreter at the Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Historical Site, asking him to visit and perhaps advise us as to what this structure is.
“When we think of World War I, we tend to think of Europe and trench warfare,” McKee said. “You don’t hear as much about how our boys got ready over here to go over there. The last World War I veteran died earlier this year. This is significant.”
[Note: Jim McKee was referring to Frank Buckles, the last remaining World War I veteran, dying at age 110 in February 2011.]
Jim McKee and people from the NC State Historical Preservation Office visited.
Word was received in early January that the rifle pit may be added to the Fort Caswell application for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. But $1640 was required. The Caswell Dunes Special Interest Group organized funding.
Fundraising, including the first annual Kentucky Derby Day, began the first Saturday in May.
December 31, 2013, the Fort Caswell Historic District and the dis-contiguous Rifle Range Target Pit was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The second annual Kentucky Derby-themed fundraiser was planned and held.
The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range, Inc was founded as a non-profit with 501(c)(3) status on March 17, 2015, with a mission to stabilize and preserve the Fort Caswell Rifle Range.
Trees pressing against the north wall were removed and core drilling performed. Structural engineer Brian Ross along with the assistance of Paul Shivers presented the final engineering report November 29, 2016.
The annual Kentucky Derby Day fundraiser included the World War I Wall of Honor, displaying pictures and stories of WWI ancestors sent in by people in the community and beyond.
Fort Caswell Rifle Range was chosen as one of the most threatened historic places for 2016 in the Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region.
- A contractor must be found to plumb the tilted wall.
- Additional funds must be raised.
- After the passageway wall is stabilized, the lintels (two doorways) need repaired and the cracks need filled with epoxy.
- A web site was established with the following name www.caswellriflerange.com
- An email address was also established: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Business cards were ordered.
The centennial of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range.
For more details about the past six years, visit the Stabilization page.