The Revolutionary War-era Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site in Winnabow was recently awarded a $500,000 federal preservation grant.
Administered by the Historic Preservation Fund, the grant is through the Semiquincentennial Grant Program, a program Congress created in 2020 to honor the nation’s 250th anniversary by restoring and preserving state-owned sites and structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sites that commemorate the nation’s founding.
The Brunswick Town-Fort Anderson site is one of 17 historic sites from across the nation chosen for the first $7 million round.
Brunswick Town was a major pre-Revolutionary port on the Cape Fear River before it was razed by British troops in 1776 and never rebuilt. Fort Anderson was built on top of the old village site during the Civil War, and served as part of the Cape Fear River defenses below Wilmington before the fall of the Confederacy. Colonial foundations can be seen along the present-day tour trail, which crosses the earthworks of the Confederate fort, according to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Grant funds will be used on preservation work, including the use of ground-penetrating radar to identify unmarked graves of Colonial residents, preserve known graves still standing, repoint the masonry of St. Philip’s Anglican Church, and preserve the foundational ruins of private residences, a tavern and a courthouse.
The grant is to also go to create three panels that interpret history and help visitors learn about the importance of preservation. Signage is to feature a QR code that links back to a project website with in-depth historical info and links to data, photographs and maps relevant to the people who shaped Brunswick Town, including the English, Spanish, Africans and Native Americans.
Established in 1977, the Historic Preservation Fund uses revenue from federal oil and gas leases on the outer continental shelf to assist with preservation projects.