For early settlers having a river was a key to the success of a city. It connected the town to the outside world and provided a means for trade. The rivers brought wealth and news to small towns from around the world. This ability made rivers one of the most important features of a landscape for centuries. This was true for the Cape Fear River as well. The Cape Fear River spreads throughout the Coastal and Piedmont regions of North Carolina. The river is 202 miles long and flows through 27 counties. The river helped to create Wilmington, a wealthy and busy port city. On Aug. 6, the Fayetteville Area Transportation Museum will offer a Cape Fear River Presentation and Boat Tour.
The river was first discovered by the French explorer Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524. Over the years explorers continued to travel along the river and map it. Eventually, they also began to establish settlements along its banks. Brunswick, founded in 1726 by Maurice Moore, was the first permanent settlement along the banks of the Cape Fear. In fact, it was only 12 miles from the mouth of the river. Many settlements rose along the riverbanks, but almost as many failed. Wilmington and Campbellton were the most successful and long-lasting of the settlements.
It is clear that the history of the Cape Fear River is varied. The river has influenced the path of cities as they have grown up around the banks. Millions of people and hundreds of years have imbued the region with countless stories. Entire lives have played out on the banks of this river. Even now, 27 percent of the state’s population are within the Cape Fear River system. This basin is one of the most industrialized portions of the state. Ironically the Cape Fear River basin, a 35-mile section, also boasts an incredible amount of wildlife. The estuary is brackish, so it provides saltwater animals both habitats and breeding grounds.
The history if the Cape Fear is long and varied and Fayetteville has certainly not escaped the river’s pull. The river has shaped Fayetteville’s history through wrecks, floods and economics. On the Cape Fear River Presentation and Boat Tour, a knowledgeable guide will present an engaging history of the Cape Fear River. This will include boats, ships and events on the river that have intersected with North Carolina’s and Fayetteville’s history. After the presentation, which will take place at the museum, guests will drive to Campbellton Landing. At the Landing, attendees will board a boat and take a tour of the Cape Fear River.
This is a family-friendly event. Children above the age of 10 are welcome to attend. Registration is required prior to the event in order to participate. In order to register, call 910.433.1944. More information can also be found at the website http://www.fcpr.us/home.aspx. The boat tour will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m.