At this site stood the first successful permanent European settlement between Charleston and New Bern. It was founded in 1726 by Roger and Maurice Moore (who recognized an unprecedented real estate opportunity in the wake of the Tuscarora War, 1711-13), and the site served as port and political center. Russelborough, home of two royal governors, once stood nearby. In 1748 the settlement was attacked by Spanish privateers, who were soundly defeated in a surprise counterattack by the Brunswick settlers. A painting of Christ (Ecce Homo), reputedly 400 years old, was among the Spanish ship's plunder and now hangs in St. James Episcopal Church in Wilmington. At Brunswick Town in 1765–1766, one of the first instances of armed resistance to the British crown occurred in response to the Stamp Act. In time, the upstart, upriver port of Wilmington superseded Brunswick. In 1776 the British burned Brunswick, and in 1862 Fort Anderson was built there to help defend Port Wilmington. The earthworks of Fort Anderson are 95 percent intact and one of the best examples of earthworks that exist today. Occasional church services are still held in the ruins of St. Philip's Church.
Admission to the historic site is free and open to the public all year, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 AM until 5 PM. The site is closed on most major holidays. From Wilmington, take N.C. 133 about 18 miles to Plantation Road. Signs will direct you to the site (exit left) that lies close to Orton Plantation. The site's visitors center offers a gift shop, a research library, an exhibit hall, a 14-minute video presentation on the history of Old Brunswick Town and Fort Anderson, staff offices and handicapped accessibility. A new paved ADA walkway has been installed to give visitors a full-circle, handicapped accessible trail to explore the site as well as Russellborough. There is also a handicapped accessible picnic area.
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