As the sun sets on another year of navigating a new normal, the Old Baldy Foundation looks to 2022 with plans to pave a new path for our future. We are humbled to announce that Robin and Mark Prak have purchased the parcel of land at the corner of Ballast Stone Alley and Lighthouse Wynd and have donated the property to the Foundation. This property will be the future site of a new museum and interpretive center dedicated to stewarding the history of the Cape Fear Region.
Robin and Mark Prak have been involved with the Old Baldy Foundation for ten years, with Mark currently serving as the Board President. As long-time lovers of lighthouses and the history they represent, Old Baldy's distinctive appearance drew the Praks in to be involved with protecting our cultural treasure. "Old Baldy really grabs you. After traveling to see many lighthouses, the unique appearance of Old Baldy draws you in. From the offset lanthorn room to the unique color and the absence of bold white paint and black stripes, everything about it is appealing," notes Mark.
Similar to the Praks, many islanders are drawn to the unique features of Old Baldy complemented by its picturesque backdrop amongst live oak trees and Spanish moss. Beyond the beauty of the structure we work to preserve, the Old Baldy Foundation is home to a vast archival collection that tells a rich story spanning over four centuries of history. As our archival collection and staff grows, the Foundation has outgrown our small facility adjacent to the lighthouse. With a new interpretive center, we can safely store, manage and display our collections in a meaningful space.
"We plan to build a center worthy of Bald Head that the community can be proud of," says Robin. "While we are still in the visioning phase and the process will take time, this project is an opportunity for more community members and visitors to participate in and learn about our island's rich history," Mark continued.
It is of utmost importance to both the Praks and Old Baldy Foundation that this facility is congruent with the story of Bald Head Island and its legacy of living in harmony with nature. Included in the deed of gift by Robin and Mark Prak is preservation language to ensure much of the natural land remains untouched.
As the Old Baldy Foundation prepares for what will be a pivotal moment in the history of our organization, we are eager to share the process with the Bald Head Island community.