By Associated Press - Monday, July 18, 2016

KURE BEACH, N.C. (AP) - A new $9 million visitor center is planned for Fort Fisher in North Carolina to better tell the story of one the last strongholds of the Confederacy.

Local media outlets report the state historic site south of Wilmington attracts about 800,000 visitors a year. The existing visitor center built a half century ago was designed to accommodate only about 30,000 annually.

Fundraising for the new two-story building will begin soon. Officials hope it can be completed within six years.

The new visitor center will include a 3,500-square-foot museum and an expanded gift shop as well as a banquet hall and auditorium.

In the waning months of the Civil War, Fort Fisher kept Wilmington open to blockade runners supplying Confederate armies. It fell to the Union in January of 1865, three months before the war ended.

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