Want to ask a question? Click here

What is the Dram Tree?

Ben Steelman
StarNews

The Dram Tree is, or was, a bent, somewhat scraggly cypress tree, covered with Spanish moss, that stood several yards out in the Cape Fear River, at a marshy patch on the east bank, near the present location of the State Port and the Sunset Park neighborhood.

The tree was a landmark to mariners from colonial times. Passing it meant that an incoming vessel had successfully passed the dangerous Frying Pan Shoals at the mouth of the Cape Fear. According to tradition, ships paused near the Dram Tree, and sailors were allowed a dram of rum, grog (watered-down rum) or some other potent potable, either to celebrate a safe passage coming on or to toast to a safe return while sailing out. As state Rep. George L. Morton put it in 1909, the Dram Tree “umpired loving cup conviviality and good fellowship on the Lower Cape Fear.”

The Dram Tree was destroyed sometime in the 1940s by dredging of the Cape Fear in connection with activity at the N.C. Shipbuilding Co., located approximately where the State Port is today.

In 1988, the City of Wilmington opened Dram Tree Park in its memory, on the riverfront, just north of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge near the intersection of Castle and Front streets, Wilmington [Map this]. A young cypress was planted as a replica near the park’s boat ramp.

Got a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Click here to let us know!


Bookmark and Share

One Response to “ What is the Dram Tree?”

  1. On November 26, 2016 at 7:31 pm Ron wrote:

    The links are broken. I’d love to see what it looked like.



X
Ask a question
X

Ask a question

If you’re looking for answers about living in coastal North Carolina, you’ve come to the right place. If we don’t have the answer to your question, we’ll find out or try to find someone who does. Hey, that’s our job! So, ask your question below and we’ll do our best to find the answer. Once we do, we’ll post it in an appropriate category.





Can we use your name to credit you by name (no e-mail or other contact information) with this question when we post an answer?
Yes
Your question:

Post a comment
X

Talk to us!

Have a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Use this form to let us know. Note that all comments are moderated and must be approved before they are posted, although you may see your own comments the first time you post them.





Your comment: