Tuesday, May 2, 2017
A New Deal for Fort Raleigh
Above: Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is located on Roanoke Island, near Manteo, North Carolina. It's the birthplace of Virginia Dare, the first English person born in the New World. Photo by Brent McKee, 2013.
Above: Every year at Fort Raleigh's outdoor theater, the Lost Colony play is performed. It began in the 1930s, with the assistance of the WPA's Federal Theatre Project. Photo by Brent McKee, 2016.
Above: President Roosevelt attended a 1937 performance of the Lost Colony. Photo by Brent McKee, 2016.
Above: In the mid-1930s, WPA and CCC workers (and perhaps also workers of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration) did extensive work at the park, in an attempt to re-create the colony. Photo taken ca. 1936, courtesy of the National Archives.
Above: The description for this photo, ca. 1936, reads, "Entrance to Fort Raleigh, Roanoke Island, North Carolina." Note the WPA work sign in front of the right pillar. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
Above: "Residence of Sir John White, Roanoke Island, N.C." Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
Above: "Fort Raleigh restoration - Block House - with monument to Virginia Dare in foreground. Taken 9/15/36." Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
Above: "The Chapel, Fort Raleigh, Roanoke Island, N.C." Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
Above: Inside the chapel. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
Above: "Fort Raleigh State Park, Roanoke Island." Note that Fort Raleigh was a "State Park" at the time of the WPA and CCC work. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
Above: A WPA project information card for some of the Fort Raleigh work. Found at the National Archives.
Above: Another WPA information card for a project that, unfortunately, was never carried through. It reads, "At Fort Raleigh, Dare County. Build three Elizabethan period ships to be in appearance and rigging, as exact a full-scale duplication of the originals employed by Sir Walter Raleigh in the colonization of Roanoke Island as available historical data make it possible. Also as faithful in details of construction as historical data and available (?) make it possible. These ships to supplement the Fort Raliegh work of historical restoration. State Historical Commission owned property. The County Board of Commissioners of Dare County have full authority from the State Historical Commission to proceed with this project." As you can see from the left-hand side of the card, the project appears to have received full WPA approval. My guess is that local funds did not materialize as expected. The WPA usually required about 20% of total funding to be provided by the local government. In this case, Dare County may have been unable to produce the funds or perhaps decided they wanted to put the money towards other projects instead.