Monthly Archives: February 2017

In the News – February 2017

The Fort Caswell Rifle Range was recently featured in local newspapers. The photo above shows the tilted center wall that is the focus of fundraising efforts.

The collection of World War I photographs of family members continues in preparation for this year’s Derby Day fundraiser in May.

Read The State Port Pilot’s Effort aimed at saving rifle pit for additional details along with a photograph of the presentation of the $500 check from Dave Kesterson, senior vice-president at First Bank.

The Brunswick Beacon’s feature includes a photograph of Norman Sprinthall against the backdrop of the World War I Wall of Honor.

Thank you to our valuable local media for continuing to publicize and support our efforts.

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Nearly six years

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
  • An email address was also established:
  • Business cards were ordered.


The centennial of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

For more details about the past six years, visit the Stabilization page.

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Spotlight: Jim McKee

Jim McKee

Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Site Manager Jim McKee (formerly the Historical Interpreter at that site) began working with the Caswell Dunes volunteer Landscape/Grounds Committee in 2011 when we needed advice on what this structure actually was and what to do with it.

After the first visit, Jim brought the NC State Historic Preservation Office staff and others to the site to identify the WW I structure. Jim continued to donate hours of work on his day off from his position at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson to assist us clearing years of soil from the bottom of the pit.

Recently he supported engineers Paul Shivers and Brian Ross by being on site when they were identifying trees that compromised the passageway wall. Jim continues to stay in touch with the Friends by suggesting ways the World War I Centennial may be approached.

Thank you, Jim, for six years of guidance!

Check out Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson’s Facebook page.

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Notable expenses

$1640 – Registering on ‘National List of Historic Places’
$400 – Obtaining 501(c)(3) status
$3200 – Tree Removal
$1425 – Hydrological Study
$4850 – Engineering Study
$1400 – Insurance

Future needs

Straighten passageway wall
Repair lintels
Repair cracks
Seal inside walls

Read the story

Setting the goal

Paul Shivers, our project engineer, is searching for contractor(s) to offer quotes for straightening the passageway wall.

 The following funds are intended and reserved for signage at the target pit and firing line and are not included in the funds as shown on the thermometer:

Thank you for your support! Visit our Fundraising page.

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