north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     The Cape Fear Club was organized in Wilmington on March 3, 1866, “with a view to promote social intercourse among its members.” Guilford Lafayette Dudley was elected first president of the gentleman’s club. Sharing authority was a Governing Committee, which later became designated as the Board of Governors. The first constitution for the Cape Fear Club was published in 1868 together with a list of the members of the Governing Committee. The first meeting place for the club was at 19 Market Street, upstairs.

     The Cape Fear Club was incorporated in February 1872, this time promulgating “Literary and Social intercourse” and providing for respectable entertainment of visitors to Wilmington. In 1875 the group moved its quarters to Front Street, between Market and Princess Streets, where they remained for ten years. Following a brief tenure on the second floor of the Bank of New Hanover building, the club moved to a two-story facility at the corner of Front and Chestnut Streets known as the Dawson House. In 1912 the club began constructing home quarters specifically tailored to their needs. The club moved into their building, at the corner of Chestnut and Second Streets, in November 1913.

     The club, having entertained many North Carolinians over the years, is famed for its Cape Fear Club punch. The recipe is thought to have been developed by J. Alvis Walker, a member at the turn of the twentieth century. The beverage is still enjoyed by those who attend special functions at the club on Chestnut Street.

Susan Taylor Block, Cape Fear Lost (1999)
Al. G. Dickson, ed., The Cape Fear Club, 1866-1966 (1966)
Leslie N. Boney, Jr., The Cape Fear Club, 1967-1983 (1984)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources