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What is the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society?

Ben Steelman

Founded in 1956, this non-profit volunteer association works to preserve the history of Wilmington and Soiutheastern North Carolina.

The Lower Cape Fear Historical Society owns and operates the Latimer House, a 14-room 1852 merchant’s townhouse at 126 S. Third St., Wilmington [Map this], as a period house museum containing more than 600 historical objects. Guided tours of the house are available, at $5 each, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays and between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

The society also maintains a 3,000-volume research library and an archive containing thousands of papers, documents and photographs related to the region’s history.

A small bookshop is open in the Latimer House, offering a number of volumes on local history and biography, many of them published under the society’s auspices.

Society members sponsor a number of events, including regular book club meetings and the “Old Wilmington By Candlelight” Tour, held each December.

Since 1973, the society has presented an annual Clarendon Award, honoring the most outstanding book or publication on the history of the Lower Cape Fear for the previous year. Since 1986, it has also presented an annual Society Cup for service to the cause of history in the region. In 2002, the society launched the Cashman Award, named for local historian Diane Cobb Cashman, honoring the most deserving thesis written by a graduate student in the history department of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. These awards are normally presented at the society’s annual meeting each spring.

Membership rates begin at $35 for individuals, $15 for students and $50 for families. The society actively seeks volunteers to serve as tour docents, to work in the archives or the Latimer House gardens, to work with its annual “Discover Wilmington” day camp for children or to handle other chores. The society office may be contacted at 762-0492

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