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Chatham County Historical Association

Preserving and sharing the history of Chatham County North Carolina

Fort Siler City

4 Jul 2022 8:07 PM | Chatham Historical Museum (Administrator)

Ever heard of Fort Siler City?

Mike Fendrick shared several photos with us after his dad passed away. His father was a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army Corp of Engineers, temporarily stationed in Siler City in the early 1960s (definitely in 1963). This photo has a sign that says "Fort Siler City" and his father's unit (537th Engineers), but we can't find any references to an official "Fort Siler City," so it was probably a name given by the unit to their camp.

We're not sure what what the Army Corp was doing in Siler City in the early 1960s. Jordan Lake was being planned/debated at the time, but Siler City seems like a long way from where the lake ended up. Commenters on a previous post have suggested that they were updating maps of the area. Several people suggested that the camp was located in the area of the old water plant off Piney Grove road.

Mike's dad shared an amusing story about his interactions with some locals while he was in Siler City. The unit's survey towers were being torn down at night -- delaying completion of their task. It was determined that the damage was the work of local moonshiners who believed the towers were being used to find and report the location of illegal stills in the area. A meeting was arranged with a representative of the moonshiners, and Mike's father took him on a helicopter flight -- easily pointing out the location of multiple stills from the air. An agreement was made that if the survey towers remained untouched, the unit would complete its work. If, however, the towers continued to be destroyed, Mike's dad would take the Sheriff on a similar helicopter tour of the County. Problem solved.

#ChathamNCHistory #ChathamHistory #ChathamNC #SilerCityNC #ArmyCorpsofEngineers #FortSilerCity #moonshine #Stills #1960s

Chatham County Historical Association  ~   ~  PO Box 93  ~  Pittsboro NC 27312  ~  919-542-6222  ~  

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