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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Wilmington Light Infantry Plaque, Wilmington

  • Type

    Plaque

  • Subjects

    World War I

    World War II

    Spanish-American War, 1898

    Civil War, 1861-1865

  • City

    Wilmington

  • County

    New Hanover

  • Description

    This bronze plaque is mounted on the exterior side of the Wilmington Light Infantry Building. The building is in the style of Greek revival and made of marble and pressed brick.

  • Inscription

    This plaque is presented to the Wilmington Light Infantry / which served with distinction in: /
    The Civil War, The Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. /
    This plaque is to be prominently displayed on the Wilmington Light Infantry / Armory Building in perpetual memory of this historic military organization. /
    Deeded to the / City of Wilmington / the 17th day of September 1951 / by / Wilmington Light Infantry Reserve Corps

  • Custodian

    The First Baptist Church of Wilmington

  • Dedication Date

    September 17, 1951

  • Decade

    1950s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    34.235890 , -77.943530 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Light Infantry Holds Centennial Celebration." The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 21, 1953. 23

      "Salute To The Light Infantry." The Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, NC), May 21, 1953. 6

      "W.L.I. Armory and Baptist Church, Wilmington, N.C." in North Carolina Postcard Collection (P052), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill Link

      "Wilmington Light Infantry Building," New Hanover County Public Library digital collections, (accessed June 30, 2015) Link

      "Wilmington Light Infantry Marker." The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed June 30, 2015) Link

      Hale, Everett. "Matter of Honor." Star News, June 2, 1993, Our Readers Views section.

      “Wilmington Light Infantry, Wilmington, N.C.” in North Carolina Postcard Collection (P052), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, (accessed June 30, 2015) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze

  • Sponsors

    The Wilmington Light Infantry

  • Subject Notes

    The Wilmington Light Infantry, widely known as the WLI, was a local militia unit chartered in 1849. The unit served in eight battles in the Civil War, in the Spanish American War, World War One, and World War Two. The unit also served as a special escort to James Buchanan on his visit to North Carolina and attended the inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt. The WLI has a rich history as the second oldest military company in the United States.
    The Wilmington Light Infantry Armory Building was built as a home for John Taylor, a shipping industrialist, in 1847. The Wilmington Light Infantry purchased the house in 1892 to serve as an armory.
    The Wilmington Light Infantry decided to deed the building to the city of Wilmington due to the necessity of new financial arrangements. The number of members had greatly decreased by 1951 and the government withdrew rental funding for the building. The WLI felt that they could not simply sell the building; so giving it to the people of Wilmington was their best option.

  • Controversies

    In a 1993 newspaper article the remaining members of Wilmington Light Infantry expressed their unhappiness with the city’s decisions about the fate of the armory. The members argued the city was trying to circumvent the agreement made in 1951 about the property. This qualm stemmed from the next door First Baptist Church pressuring the city for more space.

  • Location

    The Wilmington Light Infantry Armory Building is located on 409 Market Street next to the First Baptist Church.

  • Landscape

    The Wilmington Light Infantry Armory Building has a grassy front lawn complete with Spanish Ordinance guns and cannonballs captured during the Spanish- American War. The outskirts of the lawn are surrounded with shrubbery and mature trees. Small trees line the cement walkway leading up to the building.

  • Post Dedication Use

    After its dedication in 1951, the building was used as The New Hanover Public Library until 1981. In 1996, the city of Wilmington deeded the building to The First Baptist Church, which currently uses the building for Sunday school classes and offices. Since the building’s transfer to the city, the Wilmington Light Infantry has retained a meeting hall in the basement of the building.

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