9OYS Living Local: Jacksonville

Living Local

The City of Jacksonville may be home to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River, but the area has more to offer.

Here’s a list of places you can visit daily:

Lejeune Memorial Gardens

On Montford Landing Road, a garden tells the story of the heroes who once served our country. The Lejeune Memorial Gardens has five memorials. Almost every memorial is filled with names engraved on pillars and stones to remember those who lost their life.

On the left-hand side is the Beirut Memorial. A soldier standing in between two walls exemplify the peacekeeping force in place October 23, 1983, when their barracks was bombed.

Around the corner, is the Montford Point Marine Memorial. The memorial remembers the time when African Americans were segregated from Marines. Montford Point was the place where black Marines were trained, housed, and served.

At the center of the gardens is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. A fountain with five jets lies in the middle of the memorial that represents each branch of the armed forces. The memorial is circled with a glass wall filled with names of more than 58,000 fallen veterans.

The assistant city manager of the City of Jacksonville Glenn Hargett says these memorials are different because “the memorials recognize with those who we lived amongst.”

The Landowners Memorial remembers of the 700 families who were living where Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River now.

And located between the Beirut Memorial and the entry wall to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the first 9/11 beam from the World Trade Center. A plaque recognizes marines from Camp Lejeune.

“The Leather Helmets of the New York City Fire Department wanted to recognize the Leather Necks at Camp Lejeune for being the first to Afghanistan in the war on terror,” said Hargett.

City officials say there is talk about a Korean War and a WWII Memorial.

Walton’s Distillery

Deep in the City of Jacksonville may be the only distillery in the area.

Walton’s Distillery opened in 2013 by Don Walton on 261 Ben Williams Road.

He was studying law in Kentucky but visiting distilleries as a hobby. Walton began researching how to make whiskey thus opening his own distillery years later.

Using locally grown corn and incorporating new and old methods is what Walton says makes his distillery unique.

Named after his grandfather, the Jacksonville native sells moonshine called Junior Walton’s Authentic Carolina Moonshine. The owner says it comes from a family recipe.

Walton’s Distillery has guided tours and free tasting six days a week. They are open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Pelletier House

Overlooking the New River in the City of Jacksonville stands the oldest living structure, the Pelletier House.

The white home was built in the 1800s by Rufus Pelletier and has been standing for 160 years.

Pelletier was a county commissioner, a magistrate and a one-time owner of a turpentine distillery.

At one point, the home was expanded with a two-room kitchen and dining wing. He raised his daughter in the home and she was the last person to live in the residence in 1950.

The home, unfortunately, was damaged by fires but restored later on. It is now acquired by the Onslow County Historical Society.

“Our downtown has changed dramatically and this house has witnessed that. It has been sort of the centennial and it has remained unchanged. It sat right on this bluff for more than 160 years,” said Lisa Whitman-Grice, director of the Onslow County Museum.

Historical experts say the 450 square foot home tells the story of economics, architecture, and of the family who once lived there.

Guided tours are available through the Onslow County Museum.

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