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On the morning of Nov. 11, 1898, Wilmington was a city in shock. The day prior, chaos reigned on the streets when a mob of armed white supremacists unleashed intimidation, threats and gunfire on the Black residents of Wilmington. In the third episode of "Unearthing 1898," host Hunter Ingram and guests look at Wilmington in the days and years after …
 
On the morning of Nov. 10, 1898, hell jolted loose in Wilmington, as it was later described. Chaos filled the streets as a mob of armed white men swept across the city, burning The Daily Record In the second episode of "Unearthing 1898," host Hunter Ingram and guests look at Wilmington on Nov. 10, 1898, from sunup to sundown. How did the day of vio…
 
On the morning of Nov. 10, 1898, Wilmington awoke to violence in the streets. A white supremacist mob had started the morning by marching through the city, burning a Black-run newspaper and eventually killing Black citizens in the streets before overthrowing the local government. But to understand the truly horrific motivations behind the 1898 Wilm…
 
Lula's Pub is a downtown Wilmington bar beloved for its underground aesthetic, its low-key atmosphere and its ghost story, which tells of a former slave killed on the property who now greets guests in mirrors or dark corners. Venture down a dark, cramped hallway and into this subterranean hideaway that's lit with string lights and neon signs. It's …
 
Lizzie Turlington was a promising leader in North Carolina's deaf mute community in 1886 when she was murdered in the woods outside of Raleigh. The Wilmington native was shot once in the head by the man who had taken her for a leisurely ride that Friday afternoon in December – her fiancé Walter Bingham. Turlington's story became famous as the manhu…
 
In 1791, George Washington, just two years into his presidency, set out on a tour of the Southern States. Nearly 120 years later, William Howard Taft celebrated his first year in office with a tour of 33 states and territories. On each trip, the presidents took time to stop into Wilmington, where they were welcomed with massive celebrations and ent…
 
Frying Pan Tower was once the first light of the Cape Fear, serving as a light station 32 miles off the coast of Southeastern North Carolina to warn mariners of the dangers of Frying Pan Shoals. Today, it has been retired by the U.S. Coast Guard and is well past its prime, but a group of owners and volunteers are working against rust and time to pr…
 
As Confederate monuments come down across the country, the historic Bellamy Mansion’s intertwined stories of Southern prosperity and slavery have only invited more questions about the history of the 160-year-old Wilmington residence and what it has to say about the city’s past and present. This week’s episode of the Cape Fear Unearthed local histor…
 
The Women's Suffrage Movement was fought city by city, league by league for nearly eight decades. Changing the country's mind on what role women should play in society was never going to be an easy fight, but for years, the suffragettes at the center of the movement persisted. On August 18, 1920, their work paid off when the 19th Amendment was rati…
 
Before it was one of North Carolina’s most desired destinations, the setting of Nicholas Sparks’ “Safe Haven” or a quaint fishing village, Southport was supposed to be the first line of defense for the Cape Fear. The land that would become the Brunswick County getaway was originally designated as Fort Johnston in the 1740s, intended to protect the …
 
In June 2020, the city of Wilmington removed two downtown statues to the Confederacy that had been publicly displayed for a century or more. One was a memorial to those soldiers from New Hanover County who fought for the South, the other was a statue to Confederate Attorney General George Davis. But what does the larger community know about the sto…
 
Seven years before the Boston Tea Party and a decade before the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, the residents of the Cape Fear launched one of the earliest armed revolts against the British crown. With the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765, the colonists in Southeastern North Carolina decided enough was enough with the o…
 
Althea Gibson was considered the greatest tennis player in the world in the 1950s after becoming the first Black person to win Wimbledon. Breaking barriers on the world's stage was a long way from the streets of Harlem where she grew up and the backyard tennis court in Wilmington she practiced on as a young woman. While in Wilmington, Althea would …
 
In 1744, Wilmington's first jail was commissioned at the prominent corner of Third and Market streets in the heart of the still-growing downtown. It was a highly visible site for the crude colonial justice system to enact an array of punishments for the entire town to watch. But in 1770, influential planter and merchant John Burgwin bought the prop…
 
When the United States was finally pulled into World War II, the city was already hard at work churning out warships on the banks of the Cape Fear River. During the war, the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company would churned out 243 warships, employing more than 20,000 workers and turning the city into a wartime manufacturing hub. Up the road at Cam…
 
In its milestone 50th episode, Cape Fear Unearthed ventures into some of the most beautiful and historic places in the region with a look at the cemeteries and graveyards of the Cape Fear. Learn about the origins of and notable residents within burial grounds like Oakdale Cemetery, Bellevue Cemetery, Pine Forest Cemetery, St. James Episcopal Church…
 
In the fall of 1918, Wilmington's attention was on the frontlines of World War I overseas. But without realizing it, a deadly enemy managed to sneak in undetected. By the time the first case of Spanish influenza was reported in Wilmington, transmission was already widespread. One hundred cases spiraled into 500 and later more than 5,000. The city a…
 
History is often viewed through the lens of the accomplishments of men. But it is women who have provided the backbone for communities all over the world. That is no different in the Cape Fear region. With Women’s History Month in full swing, the Cape Fear Unearthed local history podcast is turning its attention to the lives of women who helped def…
 
When America went to war to fight for its independence, it was a nation of immigrants. Among those disparate groups looking for opportunity in the new country were the Highland Scots, thousands of which made the journey after being forced out of their homeland. In the Cape Fear region, they found an abundance of land, the chance to build a new life…
 
How did a flag from Fort Anderson in the Cape Fear make it all the way to Washington, D.C. and become the inciting factor in a chance encounter between President Abraham Lincoln and his eventual assassin John Wilkes Booth? In this special companion episode to our look at the history of Fort Anderson in the Civil War, host Hunter Ingram and special …
 
By February 1865, the only thing that stood between Wilmington and the Union navy advancing up the Cape Fear River was Fort Anderson. Built upon the ruins of Brunswick Town, the region’s first permanent settlement, the fort was initially manned by a garrison of a few hundred men through the Civil War. But after Fort Fisher fell in January 1865, upw…
 
In 1934, Wrightsville Beach was on a high from nearly three decades of immense growth. Massive hotels like The Oceanic brought in tourists, and venues like the famed Lumina Pavilion entertained them, as well as local residents, when they weren’t on the beach. Even the Great Depression hadn’t completely dampened the spirit. It all seemed indestructi…
 
War is hell, and it arrived on Fort Fisher's doorstep in late 1864 after three years of waiting and protecting Wilmington from Union control. By this point, the fort's importance to the crumbling Confederate Cause was more vital than ever, and it would put up a fight when armies clashed on its shores. This week on the podcast, we go back to the beg…
 
Before Brunswick Town and before Wilmington, the first residents of the Cape Fear were the native people who had inhabited the land, to varying degrees, for thousands of years. Unfortunately, little is known about the people now known as the Cape Fear Indians. How did they live? How did they use the land? What happened to them and what can we still…
 
A CAPE FEAR UNEARTHED HALLOWEEN, EP. 5 With so much blood, sweat and tears going into the life and performances of a theater, it’s no wonder they are considered to be among the most haunted places. Wilmington’s legendary Thalian Hall is no exception. Dating to 1858, Thalian Hall has its fair share of ghosts stories buried in its history. Do actors …
 
A CAPE FEAR UNEARTHED HALLOWEEN, EP. 4 Major General William H. C. Whiting’s legacy is eternally tied to the rise and fall of Fort Fisher during the Civil War. But when he died in New York as a prisoner of the Union, Whiting was hundreds of miles from his adopted home in Wilmington. Still, legend says that even death didn’t stop him from making his…
 
A CAPE FEAR UNEARTHED HALLOWEEN, EP. 3 Witches have become icons of Halloween, but in colonial America, they were something to be feared. With the dawn of America and in the generations that followed, North Carolina protected itself against the perceived threat of witchcraft by establishing laws to try cases and accusations. But more telling was ho…
 
A CAPE FEAR UNEARTHED HALLOWEEN, EP. 2 The mighty Cape Fear River has ferried people up and down the region for centuries, so it should come as no surprise that one of the region's most legendary ghost stories happens on its back. From the deck of Capt. John W. Harper's Steamer Wilmington around the turn of the 20th century, a chilling tale was bor…
 
A CAPE FEAR UNEARTHED HALLOWEEN, EP. 1 For more than a century, the lives of the Foy family played out inside the walls of the manor home at Poplar Grove Plantation. The plantation dates back to the Revolutionary War and persisted even when the Civil War nearly came right through its front yard. But with the history of the Foy's etched in its walls…
 
Prohibition ushered in an age of rule breakin’ and hooch makin’ in America, and the Cape Fear region played host to it all. Illegal moonshining operations, public drunkenness and home speakeasies kept Wilmington-area Prohibition officers busy beginning in 1909 when North Carolina became a dry state – a full decade before the whole country followed …
 
In the American Revolution, Cornelius Harnett's reputation for rebellion preceded him. A ubiquitous name in local politics on the eve of the war and a well-known merchant, Harnett established himself as a defender of the state's identity. He would gain such prominence that it's his signature on the document the declared North Carolina's independenc…
 
Hurricanes are a reality of living on the coast. You can't stop, you can only prepare for them. But what about the hurricanes that plagued the earliest residents of the region? This week's episode explores the storms that ravaged the Cape Fear from 1713 to 1954, the year Hurricane Hazel blew through and changed this region – and its relationship wi…
 
For 202 years, Old Baldy lighthouse on Bald Head Island has stood as a product of a different time in the Cape Fear region but an everlasting reminder of its history. But Old Baldy is just one of three lighthouses that have stood on the island to help direct mariners around the dangerous shoals and into the Cape Fear River since 1795. Two have sinc…
 
This week, we are dipping back into the Cape Fear Classics for two stories from the 20th century that could not be anymore wildly different. The first tells of a time when Wilmington invited residents from a small Pennsylvania town overcome by deadly smog to come inhale some fresh air at Wrightsville Beach for a whirlwind trip that made national he…
 
The foundation of the Cape Fear region can be traced to Brunswick Town, the area's first enduring settlement founded in 1726. But Brunswick's story isn't just defined by being the first. It was the site of one of the first instances of the rebellion that sparked the American Revolution, the home of two royal governors and the battleground for strug…
 
You're likely familiar with Charleston, the crown jewel of historic South Carolina. But have you ever heard of North Carolina's Charles Town? The small settlement was actually the first Carolina community to bear the name of King Charles II and the first attempt to form a home in the Cape Fear region in 1664. But the will and ambition of the 800 or…
 
Spring 1928 brought clear skies, calm seas and a massive sperm whale to the shores of Wrightsville Beach. Measuring an astounding 54 feet long, the deceased whale shocked and fascinated the still-growing beach town like no other event in its history. But that was just the start of a laborious two-year journey to give the whale, named Trouble, a sec…
 
In the dead of night on Sept. 21, 1862, William Benjamin Gould and 21 other slaves escaped from Wilmington by commandeering three boats at the foot of Orange Street. Gould would go on to join the Union Navy, fight for the cause of abolition and freedom for three years, and then start a family with his long-time love, Cornelia. His is a story of dar…
 
The Battleship North Carolina was a legendary vessel in the nation's fleet when it was scheduled to be torn apart for scrap metal in 1958. Despite its storied history of active service and a lineage that dates back to 1820, the Showboat, as it was called, was going to be torn apart until the state for which it is named rallied to save it and preser…
 
In a time before Twitter and Facebook, men once defended their honor by fighting in duels rather than dragging each other's names in poorly composed posts on social media. Duels weren't necessarily about killing one's opponent. They were about standing your ground and showing your name and reputation were worth dying for because, for many men, they…
 
For two months in the heart of the Civil War, Wilmington was ravaged by a sudden and unstoppable outbreak of yellow fever. The virus infected more than 1,500 people and killed an estimated 654, turning the Port City into a ghost town of fear and panic. In the season three premiere of Cape Fear Unearthed, we revisit the treacherous two-month chapter…
 
Few moments in the Cape Fear's history can claim to be as influential as the arrival of "Firestarter," the feature film adaptation of Stephen King's novel that launched the local film industry in 1983. Released on May 11, 1984, the film starring Drew Barrymore turns 35 this year. To celebrate, Cape Fear Unearthed revisits the production's history, …
 
This region's residents and visitors are keenly aware that when the azaleas bloom each spring, the N.C. Azalea Festival isn't far behind. But do you know how the festival came to be and how it has evolved over time? In this special off-season episode of Cape Fear Unearthed, we dig for the roots of the festival, why it has persisted and the many fam…
 
Ever heard of the story of the club of young men in 18th century Wilmington that mocked the religious Last Supper and then started dying one by one, either by suicide or mysterious means? If you haven't, don't worry. It's not a story often told, but it is one that deserves to be dusted off and reexamined. For this week's second season finale, Chris…
 
Going to Wrightsville Beach in the early 20th century was like no other attraction in the state thanks to Lumina Pavilion, a grand and glowing venue for dancing, music and merriment. The staple of the coast and the South enjoyed decades of prominence until cars, war and rock 'n' roll brought about its demise. This week, we revisit the Palace of Lig…
 
Did you know that in the height of World War II, Nazi soldiers were held as prisoners of war in camps in Wilmington? It's true, and it's just one of the stories discussed on this week's episode as Cape Fear Unearthed heads back to the 1940s to explore Wilmington during wartime, including a look at the legend of the U-boat bombing in Kure Beach. Thi…
 
The Cape Fear region is never short on fascinating tales to tell, so this week we are launching a new recurring episode called the Cape Fear Classics. Each season, we will produce one episode that shares three short stories from the area's history books. This week, we're starting out with the legendary ancient Dram Tree that welcomed mariners into …
 
Wilmington has no shortage of ghost stories, but the one that persists at the Price-Gause House on Market Street is more than just another haunted tale. It's rooted in a time when public executions were held on the land the house now sits on. This week, we explore the history of Gallows Hill, the ghost story that sprung up in its wake and are joine…
 
James Love fought alongside Patriots in the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in the first year of the Revolutionary War, only to die five years later in a vicious massacre spurred by bruised egos. At least that's what the legend says. This week, we head back to the time when American fought for its freedom and future to explore the seismic implicatio…
 
For more than 15 years, the region's most popular resident didn't live in a historic home in the heart of Wilmington but in a tight concrete bunker in the marsh of Fort Fisher. Robert E. Harrill is now known widely as The Hermit of Fort Fisher, who lived off the land, entertained tourists and died mysteriously -- all of which have created one of th…
 
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