Fort Caswell, on the western side of the mouth of the Cape Fear River, was built in the 1830′s. During the Civil War Confederate forces used the fort to defend the North Carolina coast and provide cover for blockade runners. Fort Caswell later became a training ground for World Wat I soldiers and a communications base in World War II.
In 1946 the Baptist State Convention bought the property from the Federal government, and now uses it for retreats, conferences, and meetings. A large auditorium serves the surrounding community.