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Cape Fear Pride: Southport's history

READ MORE: Cape Fear Pride: Southport's history
The Town of Southport is known for its quaint homes and historic background. The self-guided walking tour is popular among tourists and residents alike. Once known as the Town of Smithfield, there is a lot of history behind Southport. With nearly two dozen attractions listed on the walking tour, four stand out. The most popular is Fort Johnston located in front of the riverwalk. Established in 1745 as a British fort, Johnston was the first commissioned fort in North Carolina. The garrison house at Fort Johnston was built in 1805. Today, more than 200 years later, the structure looks almost identical. A few blocks away from the fort is the old Brunswick County jail. Built in 1904 for less than $7,000 the jail held inmates for the county until 1972. Now instead of being home to convicts, it's home to a museum and the Southport Historical Society. South of the jail is the Northrop house, built in 1910 and made famous in 1986 by the movie "Crimes of the Heart." Scenes from the movie were filmed both inside and outside of the house. Just across from the Southport visitor center is one of the oldest trees in the area -- the Indian trail tree. It is said that Cape Fear Indians bent the tree when it was a sapling as a sign, or trail-marker. Local legend says if you look closely you can see the shapes of bears and other animals in the bends of the branches. Those are just a few of the attractions that make Southport special. There are 19 more listed on the walking tour guide, which you can pick up at the town's visitor center on Moore Street.

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