Fort Fisher Hermit
The renowned Fort Fisher Hermit (62 year old Robert E. Harrill) lived in this WWII bunker for 17 years, from 1955 until 1972. The “Hermit” lived off the land, eating seafood he could catch and whatever he was able to grow.
Fort Fisher Civil War Site
Construction on Fort Fisher began in 1861, to help protect the port of Wilmington 19 miles up the Cape Fear River. By 1864, Wilmington was the last Atlantic port open to trade with the outside world and the role of Fort Fisher in the war became crucial. Two battles were fought at Fort Fisher, in 1864 and 1865. During the second battle the fort was captured by Union naval and army forces – only three months later, the Civil War was over.
Carolina Beach Hotel Fire
Your next stop is at Carolina Beach Elementary School. A hotel opened on this spot in June of 1926. It included a dining room, ballroom, and 100 guest rooms. It was touted as a great new addition to the beach. It stayed open for two seasons and burned to the ground in September of 1928. The owners had to be rescued from the roof. By November, after extensive investigation, they were both arrested and indicted on charges of arson. These arsonists are often used as an example of how difficult it can be to make a living here at the beach.
Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU)
While at the Fort, you can look out across the Cape Fear River and see several large cranes. The cranes support the largest ammunition port in the nation. Encompassing 16,000 acres of land, this unique port is one of only a few “container” ammunition ports where munitions arrive via truck or train. The port was responsible for supplying 90% of munitions used during Operation Desert Storm/Shield – they had to unload over 27,000 rail cars. Due to the sensitive nature of the facility, much of the island is technically in a federally designated “blast zone.”