Fort Macon State Park marks 100 years with cannon fire celebration

FORT MACON, N.C. (WITN) – Cannon fire echoed throughout Fort Macon State Park to celebrate 100 years of the pre-Civil War era fort that was purchased by North Carolina from the federal government for one dollar, becoming the state’s second-ever state park.

People from across North Carolina and the country gathered to partake in activities, including a butterfly release, small arms demonstrations, cake cutting, and the firing of a 24-pounder cannon from one of the Civil War replica cannons. These activities were a way for the park to thank the public for their support.

Park Superintendent Randy Newman expressed amazement at the turnout and the community’s role in making Fort Macon a gem of the Crystal Coast.

“I’m very excited. Fort Macon’s history has brought about 73 million visitors to this park over the past hundred years. Their donations to enhancing the fort, added cannons and made it one of the premier national treasures. It’s unbelievable how this park has evolved,” said Newman.

Thanks to public donations over the years, the park has preserved Civil War cannon replicas, each costing $70,000, in hopes of restoring the fort to its 1862 appearance.

Mark Greiner, president of The Friends of Fort Macon, highlighted the park’s diverse offerings.

“I encourage you to come here because, beyond the deep history, there are nature trails, a mile and a half of beach, a bathhouse with concession stands, and lifeguards. Kids are especially excited to see the cannons, as there are so many here,” said Greiner.

Dating back to 1826, Fort Macon was attacked during the Civil War by Confederate and Union soldiers. It later became a federal prison in the late 1800s, a garrison during the Spanish-American War, and eventually closed its doors in 1903. North Carolina bought the fort from the federal government, transforming it into a tourist attraction and place to learn about the rich history of eastern North Carolina.

The celebration continued with the second Marine Aircraft Wing Band from Marine Corp Base Cherry Point performing the 1812 Overture, which included an active cannon and ended with fireworks.

For more information on events at Fort Macon, click here