A weather tower near the N.C. Maritime Museum at Southport is no more, after standing for over a century. The StarNews Online reported the 75-foot tower was built in 1900 and toppled due to a storm in February. The tower was erected at the end of the nineteenth century to send flag signals to sailors about impending climatic conditions.
The tower’s remnants have been removed, and the city is making plans to construct a replica, incorporating pieces of the original structure, which will cost an estimated $70,000. Mayor Joseph Hatem said the project would take time as fundraising is needed along with finding the right partner to replace the historic structure. Hatem added that the city recruited a West Point graduate and combat engineer to draw up plans for the new functional tower. Bids are currently being submitted to build the structure.
“The history of the tower is part of the iconic history and heritage of Southport, and we are going to make sure that what happens next honors that,” Hatem said. “This is priceless to our community…something people 100 years from now will enjoy and remember, just like those who remember it from the last 100 years.”
The original tower was commissioned by President William McKinley in 1898, reported the StarNews. His directive called for Weather Bureau Storm Signal Towers to be installed up and down the East Coast to warn mariners of weather dangers with a hurricane warning flag system. Before its fall, Southport’s structure was one of five remaining weather towers from McKinley’s project.