An Unexpected Treasure

Yesterday I attended the District meeting of UDC. The meeting was hosted by the Cape Fear Chapter and held at the Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church in Wilmington, NC. After our meeting we were treated to a tour of the Church.

It was an amazing treat. I had almost left my camera at home and I am glad I popped it into my bag at the last minute.

The Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church has a history dating back to 1847. With this rich record it is surprising to find they are second oldest Methodist Church in Wilmington. There were so many interesting aspects of this unassuming exterior, including a connection to China’s Soong dynasty

Uon entering the sanctuary I was amazed to find a beautiful pipe organ. The organ is ‘original’ to the church. The original was a manual organ, which also featured wooden pipes and leather clappers which still adorn the wall behind the choir loft, although the organ is now electric. I did not get to hear the instrument being played, much to my chagrin, but don’t be surprised to find another adventure in my future just for that purpose.

According to the information I can find ‘B.D. Price of Philadelphia was the architect of the current sanctuary, built in 1889-90 and dedicated on September 26, 1890, in the Neo-Gothic style using the Akron Plan, which was common for Methodist Churches at the turn of the century. The builders were Porter and Godwin of Goldsboro, NC. Special features of the Akron Plan are its Cross shape (the sanctuary runs lengthwise with educational rooms on the side with roll-up doors), the semi-circular seating, and more educational rooms in the back’ (more about that later). Unfortunately my photos of neither the amazing heart of pine ceiling nor the original chandelier (which was originally gas but has been converted to electric) came out. It is worth the effort to see it in person, if you get a chance.


Collage of the 5th Avenue Methodist Church Stain Glass Windows

The second thing I noticed about the sanctuary was the beautiful stain glass windows! Yesterday was cloudy and rainy and the light streaming through was amazing. On a bright sunny day they must be breathtaking. The stain glass windows were ‘designed by a local craftsman, Mr. E.V. Richards. Made in Germany, they are both mystical and practical. Mystical in that they reflect the Jewish heritage of Christianity—you will notice the Star of David in the portals and the stair-step design that is symbolic of Jacob’s ladder. They are practical in that the hot reds and yellows are placed so that they warm the light as it enters the sanctuary in the winter, and the cool blues and purples catch the summer rays and cool them as they come in. Each window also has prisms to reflect more light and to serve as joists to hold the window together.’

Original Piano

I did have the opportunity to hear Mrs. Sue Sellers Hammons play the 1876 Knabe concert grand piano.  It is made of walnut and was once at Hemingway Hall. It was purchased by Mr. Harry Gardner, who donated it to the church. It was restored in 1991-92, and dedicated on May 1, 1992 to the memory of James Z. Godwin, whose family sponsored the restoration. The sound was amazing even though as Mrs. Hammons was quick to point out, she is not a pianist.

The back of the church features the original pews which will reverse to face the other direction if necessary and the original lectern and piano. 

This was a fabulous and amazing unexpected adventure which are often the best kind!

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Up Close and Personal with History

On Saturday February 25, 2012 we went to Cameron Art Museum for an event they call Civil War Living History.

As a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, I have been taught that the correct term is not ‘Civil War’ but the ‘War Between the States’. The distinction being that The Confederate States of America had seceded before the war began. Thus the war was between two Independent countries. Like many Southerners, I oft refer to it as the “War of Northern Aggression’.

No matter what you choose to call it, it was a troubled and defining time in our country. One that continues to fascinate and intrigue many people (including me); for that reason I attend many battle sites and events around this topic.

This was my first time attending the reenactment of the Battle of Forks Road; although this was the seventh annual celebration and reenactment. The history is always the best part; unfortunately it was difficult to hear much of the explanations. What we did learn is that the US Colored Troops were a part of the original battle. Here’s my video of them firing their cannon (I love the cannons):

As a long standing rebel it was painful to have the best view of the Yankees, but as in all of life, you take what you get! I did take some video of the Confederates. You can see it here. Now you know what I mean when I say the best view was of the yanks!

There is an exhibit of 127 drawings from the Becker Collection which are original first hand drawings from the war. We were fortunate enough to arrive inside the museum in time to take a tour of the drawings  with the museum director, Anne Brennan. The collection is amazing and the information from the tour was beyond my hope.

I snapped a couple of photos before I learned photography was not allowed. I hope you’ll enjoy my ignorance. However, I really recommend going to see these in person! The exhibit continues through May 6, 2012.








The Becker Archive contains approximately 650 hitherto unexhibited and undocumented drawings by Joseph Becker and his colleagues, nineteenth-century artists who worked as artist-reporters for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly observing.  A visit to the Becker Collection’s Website allows a searchable index of the drawings. A person can search by state, date, battle, or Military Officer.  Quite naturally I searched for the Battle of Fort Fisher. If you love history this is a must see. If you like history, this is a must see. If you hate history, what’s wrong with you?

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Step Back into History

There are very few years when I miss going to the annual remembrance of the Second Battle of Fort Fisher, the largest land-sea battle of the War Between the States. I absolutely LOVE to watch and hear the big cannons boom!

The Battery

As stated, I love the cannons and in years past my camera has found nothing else at this event. This year, I took the time to notice the setting for the event. I hope you enjoy this setting as much as I did yesterday.

The Scene

Although I walked all over the grounds yesterday (a feat I paid for last night and today – it seems walking on uneven ground requires abdominal / core muscles. and even though I think I am healed from surgery my muscles aren’t so sure) It seems that the fence made it’s way into most, if not all of my shots.

The Fence

I took several videos of a nice display of replica steam engines.  Each replica was built entirely by the man who was demonstrating them (sadly, I failed to get his name).  However, you can see the video I on my youtube channel by clicking here.

Lastly, I encountered a group of small boys. They were all dressed in either Blue or Gray and carrying their muskets. They played together without regard for their uniform color.  I thought they were a lesson in having us all get along ( and they were daggone cute!)

Why Can't We ALL Just Get Along

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