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Thursday, February 2, 2012

History of Wilmington NC

According to the Julian calendar, Wilmington, North Carolina, was incorporated in 1739.  Located on the east bank of the Cape Fear River, the original town is 28 nautical miles from the Atlantic Ocean.  Built on several rises, more like sand dunes than hills, the town ascends 50 feet from the river shoreline.  Despite navigational difficulties along the river, the town grew to become the largest city in the state before the Civil War.  It remained so until the second decade of the 20th century, when the state’s Piedmont tobacco and textile towns rose to prominence. 

Wilmington’s historical significance is reflected in the variety of architectural styles, streetscapes and in other aspects of its material culture.  The Colonial town is most visible in the original grid pattern of the streets, the numbered streets running from north to south and the named streets running from east to west.  Several periods of rapid growth have altered the city’s passage through time.  Very few buildings remain from the early town because of the large fires and antebellum growth stimulated by the 1840 opening of the railroad. 

Three other periods of sustained growth are also noteworthy.  Recovery from the Civil War with increased port and rail expansion precipitated substantial commercial activity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Increased business and industry, particularly of cotton and fertilizer, provide a building boom both commercially and residentially, including moves to the first suburbs.  This economic activity spread across the region, evident most notably in the development of the nearby beaches.  After a period of decline during the Great Depression, Wilmington experienced another burst of growth during World War II Military facilities and the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company brought an unprecedented number of new residents who needed housing as well as a myriad of businesses to support their daily lives.  The most recent growth can in the 1990s, after Wilmington was connected to the rest of the country by Interstate Highway 40. 

Source: Wilmington Lost But Not Forgotten by Beverly Tetterron

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Bellamy Mansion is one of North Carolina's most spectacular examples of antebellum architecture

1859 - 1861
James F. Post, Architect
Rufus Bunnell, Draftsman

The Bellamy Mansion is one of North Carolina's most spectacular examples of antebellum architecture built on the eve of the Civil War by free and enslaved black artisans, for John Dillard Bellamy (1817-1896) physician, planter and business leader; and his wife, Eliza McIlhenny Harriss (1821-1907) and their nine children. After the fall of Fort Fisher in 1865, Federal troops commandeered the house as their headquarters during the occupation of Wilmington. Now the house is a museum that focuses on history and the design arts and offers tours, changing exhibitions and an informative look at historic preservation in action.

The Story of the Bellamy Mansion Wilmington NC

The Bellamy Mansion, located in historic downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, was built between 1858 and 1861. Located on Market Street in the heart of downtown Wilmington, this spectacular mansion is one of North Carolina’s finest examples of historic architecture. Designed with Greek Revival and Italianate styling, this twenty-two room house was constructed with the labor of both enslaved skilled carpenters, and local, freed black artisans. The architect James F. Post, a native of New Jersey, and draftsman Rufus Bunnell, of Connecticut, oversaw the construction of the mansion.[1] Originally built as a private residence for the family of Dr. John D. Bellamy, a prominent planter, physician and businessman, the Mansion has endured a remarkable series of events throughout its existence. The home was taken over by Federal Troops during the American Civil War, survived a disastrous fire in 1972, was the home to two generations of Bellamy family members, and now due to extensive restoration and preservation acts over several decades, the Bellamy Mansion is a fully functioning museum of history and design arts, and a stewardship property of Preservation North Carolina, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of historic sites in North Carolina.[1]

Bellamy Mansion