Historian Eddie Ellis to be guest speaker at Feb. 23 event
It’s a big leap from the Civil War to the thunderous jets that fly over Cherry Point today, but it’s not as big of a leap as one might think.
Historian Eddie Ellis is expected to detail that link — along with some new historical notes of the area — as the guest speaker at the Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage Foundation annual fundraising gala at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.
“We can’t wait to see what new details he’s uncovered,” said Amanda Ohlensehlen, one of the foundation’s organizers for the event. “He’s a great researcher and a great historian, but his true talent is in the way he tells stories and then way he relates that to the audience.”
Tickets for the fundraiser are on sale now and available for $55 each or two for $100.
The business casual event will include dinner, Ellis’ presentation and other activities.
Ellis, the former publisher of the Havelock News, has published two books on Havelock history. His presentation is expected to include some new discoveries about Craven and Carteret counties, with a focus on the Civil War era before Cherry Point was even constructed.
“It’s going to be a highly visual presentation,” Ohlensehlen said. “Eddie’s really great at showing photographs and artwork and documents about Coastal North Carolina, primarily from the period from the late 1700s through the American Civil War.”
And activities during the Civil War in the area — which included a Union amphibious landing on the shores near Slocum Creek prior to the battle of New Bern in 1862 and a Union fort along the railroad tracks that crossed Slocum Creek in Havelock — are part of a military history that includes Cherry Point today.
“Where Cherry Point is now is where there was one of the first amphibious landings by Gen. (Ambrose) Burnside, so there’s the military importance of our geographic location here in Havelock and the surrounding area,” Ohlensehlen said. “If you come to this event, you will be sitting on grounds that have so much history. You’re going to basically travel back in time and look around to see what you would have seen during that time and why you would have wanted to build here.
“A place I come to work every day, a place people drive by every day, but they have no idea how rich the history is and why it’s built where we are today, and why Cherry Point and the outlying area are so important to our future as well.”
Attendees at the event will have a chance to buy tickets for a walking tour of the area Ellis plans to lead on Feb. 24.
“He is very special to us in the Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage Foundation and the city of Havelock,” Ohlensehlen said of Ellis. “In the Havelock Tourist and Event Center, it’s just be over 10 years since we opened the Havelock history exhibit, and Eddie was very instrumental in getting that put in our facility. The tidbits of history and information that we get to share with our visitors every day is just amazing.”
Proceeds from the event support the foundation’s efforts to preserve aviation heritage in the region, which includes the aircraft and other exhibits at the tourist center. Money also goes to support the foundation’s other mission, which is to support education in science, technology, engineering and math that will inspire the next generation of aviation enthusiasts, pilots and workers. Included in that mission is the foundation’s annual free Fly-In event as well as its annual summer camp.
For more information or to purchase tickets, go by the Havelock Tourist and Event Center, call 444-4348 or go online to www.ecaviationheritage.com.