Office of Archives and History

4617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-4617

Hurricane Floyd Damage To Historic Structures
Compiled by State Historic Preservation Office Staff
Updated as of November 15, 1999

This ongoing report is based upon information conveyed verbally by State Historic Preservation Office contacts or observations gleaned through site visits by staff. Please let us know of specific information about historic properties' conditions as you learn about them. An asterisk or italics indicates new or revised information since previous report. Omission of a disaster county indicates that the HPO has not obtained information about significant damage to historic properties in that county.

The most important single step is to air out wet buildings: open doors and windows, remove air-tight coverings such as aluminum and vinyl siding, and run fans.

e-mail us if you have more recent or more complete information, or information about additional historic properties damaged by Hurricanes Dennis, Floyd, or Irene.

Summary of Reported Major Damage to Historic Properties

Most of the historic properties (individual buildings as well as historic districts) in the declared disaster counties escaped significant damage from flooding due to their elevated locations. (Previous generations' choices of sites, coupled with long-ago floods that swept away buildings in flood plains, contributed to this pattern.) The majority of the historic properties suffering flood damage date from the very late 19th century and later. Some wind damage was sporadically reported, but with a few exceptions most of the damage appears to be to newer construction. Historic grist mills, municipal water treatment plants, and other such streamside properties are a major exception.

The principal damage is reported in streamside towns. Elizabeth City, Grifton, Princeville, Seven Springs, Tarboro, Trenton, and Windsor suffered the worst flood damage to large historic areas. Reports from dispersed rural properties are coming in more slowly, as assessment teams and preservation friends are able to investigate and report. Throughout the region, old buildings in disrepair are further weakened in every storm, so Floyd, like Fran and Bonnie, will take a longterm toll beyond the immediate wreckage.

*Important: Field inspection teams have learned that many buildings that appear from the street or road to have escaped serious damage are not as stable as they appear. In several cases already, conversations with owners and interior inspections reveal moderate to severe problems of waterlogging, structural damage, or sanitary dangers not otherwise evident. Thus the estimate of damage or non-damage reported may be overly optimistic until more in-depth assessment can be done.

In Washington and Washington Park, the damage has been described as "the usual hurricane flooding" causing no serious damage. Storm water flooded some basements and first floors in downtown Washington, but most damage is expected to be reversed with drying out and minor repairs. No real damage in Bath.

Much of the Windsor Historic District was flooded (about 75 buildings, primarily business district and early 20th century houses). District buildings identified thus far as having significant damage include St. Thomas Episcopal Church, the mid-19th century Freeman Hotel (which had been previously moved to a site near the Cashie River), and numerous commercial and residential buildings. The Carolina Theater had substantial water and wind damage. Hope Plantation, the ca. 1800 home of Gov. David Stone, had minor flooding in the basement.

Flooding damaged approximately 12 commercial buildings and several churches in downtown Bladenboro. Harmony Hall, the late 18th century plantation house near the Cape Fear River, and downtown Elizabethtown were relatively unharmed.

Downtown Southport fared well with only one house (105 Caswell Ave.) having been damaged (by a massive live oak falling on it). Bonnie and Fran in 1996 brought down most of the large, weakened trees.

The Beaufort Historic District had scattered wind damage but no flooding. No reports yet of rural historic property damage. Please see report on the Queen Anne's Revenge in the concluding item on archaeological resources.

Edenton is fine.

Whiteville, Lake Waccamaw, and Fair Bluff, all with concentrations of historic properties, sustained no serious damage. Approximately 40 buildings in Chadbourn, including the Chadbourn Depot, were damaged by flooding and wind-blown rain, and fallen trees litter the depot site. The Hallsboro Baptist Church suffered water damage due to a hole in the roof that was not repaired before the storm.

The only significant damage reported in New Bern happened to the Justice House, Attmore- Oliver House, and Francore House, all of which sustained wind damage. There was flooding along E. Front St., typical of big storms, but all buildings here have pumps. At least one garage was blown down. Tryon Palace is fine.

The only reported damage to a historic property occurred at the antebellum Market House, where wind-blown rain caused minor damage.

Liberty Hall, the antebellum Kenan house in Kenansville, suffered flood damage to the basement and first floor. At the Beulaville Elementary School Auditorium, wind blew off the roof and broke windows, leading to additional damage by blown in rain.

The county was hardest hit in the southeast region, leaving environmental issues that might take years to solve. The entire town of Princeville, the historically significant community established by freedpeople in 1865, was inundated with floodwaters when the Tar River rose 4 feet above the 1960s levee. The town is completely devastated, having been almost totally submerged for more than a week. Whether any of the town's 40+ primary structures built prior to 1950, can be rehabilitated remains uncertain. It has not been possible to determine the precise extent of damage to the Princeville School (now the Town Hall), for which a National Register nomination is currently in preparation, or whether the historic Mt. Zion Church and the Princeville Community Cemetery (which were potentially eligible for the National Register prior to the flood) can be restored. Based upon a site visit on 10/7/99, staff determined that there might be a small, potentially eligible district encompassing the school, 7 to 10 houses, a large commercial building, and the church. Again, the precise condition of these buildings, as well as all of the other buildings that are more than 50 years old, remains unknown. Damage estimates are approximately $2,000,000 to date.

The town of Tarboro also was hit hard. In the Tarboro Historic District, about twenty trees fell in the historic Town Common. Most of the central business district and the southeastern portion of the residential area, much of which is the African American neighborhood of East Tarboro, was extensively damaged by flood waters. Most of the flooded historic houses had water up to the sills and as high as 2-3 feet on the first floor. For example, the Matthewson House (414 Church St.), a wonderful Victorian cottage important for its association with a prominent African American builder, is uninhabitable after having had 2-3 feet of water throughout and additional damage by rain blown in through the ceiling and broken windows. In this case, the owner is slowly making repairs as he is able, while living in a trailer in the yard. Our primary concern about the flooded residential area is that efforts to dry out and repair the buildings thus far appears to be minimal. Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church, a fine Neoclassical brick church of 1908, suffered severe flood damage. St. Stephen's Church and St. Paul AME Zion Church also had a few feet of water. Calvary Episcopal Church, the 1859-68 church designed by architect William Percival, had significant damage in the form of a washed-out supporting wall in the basement of the sanctuary, which caused the sanctuary floor to begin to cave in, as well as a foot or two of water in the 1920s Parish Hall; fortunately, the Episcopal diocese has ample flood insurance on the buildings and repairs are under way. The 19th century churchyard suffered relatively little damage. At St. Luke's Episcopal Church, there was some water under the sanctuary, but none inside. The commercial area along Main St. had water in the first floors of the structures from the river into the 200 block, and the real extent of damage is being assessed.. The warehouse sector of the National Register district suffered tremendous damage with as much as 8 or 10 feet of water in the structures closest to the creek and several bridges washed out. The Redmond-Shackelford House kitchen suffered extensive structural damage when a tree fell on it. The historic early 20th-century Water Treatment Plant in Tarboro was damaged. Altogether approximately 78 commercial buildings and 115 residences incurred more than $9,000,000 in damages.

In the Edgecombe County part of Rocky Mount (see also Nash County below), approximately 12 houses in the Edgemont Historic District (for which a nomination has just been submitted to the National Register) suffered damages from rising water and fallen trees. In rural Edgecombe County, there are only a few damage reports so far, but more are anticipated. A dependency at Old Town Plantation House has flood damage; the 18th century plantation house and outbuildings had been moved to its present site several years ago. There are reports of several trees down at Coolmore, the antebellum plantation complex, but no damage to any of the buildings. The little town of Speed is reported to have suffered flood damage, but its effect on historic buildings is unknown.

At the Franklinton Center at Bricks (the Bricks School), north of Whitakers, four of the historic buildings (office/auditorium, dormitory, classroom building, and Inborden House) sustained roof damage due to high winds, causing deterioration of interior finishes (ceilings, walls, and floors). In Old Sparta, high winds caused the Old Sparta Primitive Baptist Church to lean. The building also was damaged by rising water, as was the Old Sparta Advent Christian Church.

At Laurel Mill, a very important and beloved 19th century grist mill (privately restored but often visited by the public), major structural damage occurred from flood waters that rose through the first story of the 2-story mill and, most devastating, a big stone lodged in the opening to the turbine gate caused water to destroy much of the underpinning of the frame building, which is now in fragile, endangered condition. HPO Staff is working with the owner and other preservationists in hopes of finding a way to stabilize a dire situation. 10/14/99

Local historian Edith Seiling reported to Preservation North Carolina staff that the (former) Gates County Courthouse sustained damage. The building is one of the state's few remaining early 19th-century courthouses and the subject of extensive and restoration efforts over the past twenty years.

Contrary to previous reports of extensive flooding in the Snow Hill Historic District (SL), only a few buildings were flooded, including a commercial building and two churches (Little Creek Church of Christ and Little Creek FWB Church). Elsewhere in the county, the Coward-Dixon House had fairly minor damage caused by blown-in rain and wind and water extensively damaged the brick kitchen at Dixon Plantation. The principal flooding was along Contentnea Creek. In that area, the Sugg-Nethercutt Plantation Complex (an early and mid-19th century house and outbuildings) was severely damaged by high flooding; staff has met with the owners, and its future is uncertain. Reports of damage to rural historic places are trickling in. Near Appie, the Rev. Seth Speight House (Speight-Bynum House) had 6-10 inches of flood water inside and several feet in the associated historic outbuildings. Near Lizzie, wind blew off part of the metal roof on Mt. Herman Methodist Church.

Thus far, only two historic properties are known to have been damaged: St. Luke's AME Zion Church (for which a National Register nomination was scheduled for the 10/99 NRAC meeting) was completely demolished due to wind; apparently the sills were totally rotten and the entire building collapsed. The Immaculate Conception Church Cemetery has damage from wind and fallen trees. Surprisingly, not even the Sallie Billy House (near the Roanoke River within the State Historic Site) had any flood damage. No flooding occurred in the Weldon Historic District; a few trees were down, but apparently there was no significant damage. In Roanoke Rapids, the historic power plant suffered unspecified damage and rushing flood waters buckled a portion of the brick and stone aqueduct on the canal.

Several major historic houses in Murfreesboro, an early port on the Meherrin River, had significant wind damage: Myrick House (also flooding), Roberts-Vaughn House, Riddick House, and Wheeler House. The most extensively damaged house in the Vinson House, with flood and wind damage.

New reports following assessment visits indicate that the Hyde County Courthouse in Swan Quarter had flood damage, as did several historic houses. Severely damaged by flood and wind was Providence Church in Swan Quarter, which includes a late 19th century frame building and an early 20th century brick one. (The traditional history of the church recalls that its first sanctuary was built in the 19th century on another, less desirable site, but that flood waters carried the building to this site, where it was allowed to remain because it was believed to have been moved by the hand of Providence; thus the name.) New reports cite damage to the Swan Quarter Baptist Church and Zion Temple (Primitive Baptist?) Church in Sladesville, but details are not yet known. Also in Sladesville, St. John's Episcopal Church had approximately 1 foot of water inside from a storm surge, but fortunately the damage was relatively minor (damage to finishes, the electrical system, and the historic organ). Across the street, the turn-of-the-century Sladesville General Store had about 3 feet of water from the surge, but damage was minimal. Six inches of storm surge water-damaged flooring and the electrical system of the Rose Bay Baptist Church.

Despite its location on the Neuse River, Smithfield reported little damage. A tree fell on a house in the 400 block of S. Third and the roof of a commercial building was blown off. There is no known damage in Selma. At the Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly, the main museum building was flooded but the historic farm buildings are reportedly okay.

There was extensive flooding throughout the entire county, including the towns of Pollocksville and Trenton. No reports from rural places yet. Recent staff visits to these two towns provide initial assessment but not the detailed evaluation that will be required. So far, the most severely damaged building is Trenton United Methodist Church. Apparently the Carpenter Gothic style Grace Episcopal Church was "high and dry." In Pollocksville, the Depot, which had been moved from its original site, was seriously flooded, as were several early 20th century houses near the river. . Several 19th-century buildings in Pollocksville experienced some flooding (e.g., the Bryan-Lavender House and the Haywood-Foy House), but they appear to have escaped serious damage.

In Grifton, on the border with Pitt County (see below), an African-American cemetery was badly damaged by flood, and several ca. 1900 houses were flooded. Several houses in Kinston suffered significant wind damage. There is no serious damage in La Grange. At the Kennedy Memorial Home, Cedar Dell, the 19th century main house, had relatively minor flood damage to the basement, but some of the notable early 20th century brick orphanage buildings were damaged by flooding. These include Biggs Cottage, the first of the orphanage buildings, which was already scheduled to be razed, but the new damage prompted the Board of Directors to move up the date of demolition. Several feet of ground water appeared in the yard and numerous trees were uprooted as well.

The Ballard-Salisbury House near Hassell lost a chimney and suffered other wind damage; the Williams House in Williamston, and the rural Mac Taylor Farm suffered serious wind damage. Another rural property damaged by wind is the Purvis Farm Cemetery. At Fort Branch (Confederate Breastworks), about 40 trees are down and the bank is seriously eroded. Hamilton is fine. NASH COUNTY
In Rocky Mount, the Sunset Park neighborhood, the Power House, and much of the Westhaven neighborhood (where an area with 1930s and 1940s houses appears to be eligible for the National Register) flooded. About 12 houses, most of them on one street, had serious flooding of their first floors. In Sunset Park, flooding caused severe damage to the horses and mechanism of the early 20th-c. carousel. The Water Treatment Plant on Sunshine Ave. also was damaged, but the extent is not yet known. Rocky Mount Mills and Mill Village, though located beside the Tar River, apparently are high enough that they did not suffer significant damage (10/14/99).No reports yet from rural properties, including the county's historic grist mills, notably Bellamy's Mill, Boddie's Mill, Murray's Mill, Taylor's Mill, and Webb's Mill.

Reported damage to stained glass windows of St. Andrew's Church, the roof of the Cotton Exchange (partial collapse), and a stone wall (collapsed) at Chandler's Wharf; also water on Water St. (as expected). Historic preservation planners for the city describe Wilmington as "okay" and don't expect any further damage reports.

The historic County Administration Building suffered water damage to the walls.

Damage in the Swansboro Historic District was mild compared to Fran. So far, 5 houses have reported relatively minor roof and window damage. Jacksonville had no problems.

Hobucken School, a late 19th-century frame school, was destroyed by a tornado. In Hobucken, several houses were flooded as well, assessment continuing. Pamlico County Courthouse had wind damage to the roof and cornice. In Oriental, a Victorioan house containing a restaurant was flooded repeatedly. Other houses were also damaged, as flood levels rose to 4 to 8 feet; assessment pending. In Vandemere, flooding ran throughout the town, and many houses within a potential National Register district were flooded; the Pamlico Packing complex, a seafood packing facility, which includes several historic buildings on the Pamlico River, was devastated and the operation moved out. It may be razed and needs to be recorded. Other riverside seafood packing industries were also devastated, and recording is needed.

Some flooding, trees down, and wind damage, but extent not yet known. Severe damage occurred in Elizabeth City, including damage to the Carolina Theater, the destruction of the roof of the E. S. Chesson Building, destruction of a house on S. Rhodes St., and damage to as many as 20 other buildings. (10/20/99). Assessment continuing.

Reports of extensive flooding throughout the county, but the Burgaw Historic District apparently was spared. No damage to historic properties elsewhere reported thus far.

The smokehouse at the early 19th-century Jacocks House collapsed due to high winds.

Grifton was badly flooded, especially the old main street near Contentnea Creek: a church, a store, and 19 notable e 19th-early 20th century houses were flooded, some as high as the eaves of the roof. A former school of the early 20th century, now a local museum, was also flooded. Assessment by FEMA underway. In Ayden, the Bank of Ayden suffered extensive wind damage and in Farmville wind destroyed the smokehouse of the Lesley Smith House. The College View Historic District (NR and local) in Greenville was not flooded, but had some damage due to wind and falling trees. At the Humber House (headquarters of Archives and History's Eastern Regional Office), the basement flooded and plaster walls received water damage. Reports from rural areas are starting to come in, but so far extensive damage has not been cited.

The only damage reported thus far is flooding at the cotton gin in Clear Run, where 4 feet of water covered much of the original gin. No other reports.

A fallen tree on the Lustron House on Yarmouth Dr. caused so much damage that the owners have had to vacate the property until repairs can be made. (Note: The roof structure and all walls of Lustron Houses are enameled metal panels.) In Zebulon, a section of the historic rock dam at Little River Park was washed away by flooding.

At Elgin, a major early 19th century plantation house, water damage through the roof into the interior has been reported (10/14/99). It is currently under renovation with covenants with Preservation North Carolina..

So far, the only buildings known to have sustained significant damage are the Plymouth Town Hall (wind damage) and the Latham House, the ca. 1850 town landmark, which had serious water damage through holes in the roof. Rains subsequent to Floyd and failure to get a tarp on the roof have considerably worsened problems at the Latham House.

Almost all of the Seven Springs Historic District (approximately 30 buildings; Study List) suffered severe flooding, with two feet or more of water in first floors. (The only district building unscathed is the Methodist Church, up on the hill overlooking the rest of the village.) Most of the historic buildings are in the process of being dried out, but preservation of the district will require extensive professional assistance and large sums of money. In Goldsboro, a tree fell on the porch of the Solomon Weil House, the noted 1875 Italianate residence,and approximately 12 other houses in the historic district had wind damage to roofs and other damage due to falling trees; no flooding. The Goldsboro Museum had minor damage. No significant damage reported in Mt. Olive. No reports yet from rural sites.

For the most part, all of the historic districts are in good shape. About 1100 properties in town were flooded, but none in the historic areas except for a few flooded basements. Canvassing of rural historic properties by the Historic Preservation Planner has found only minor damage.

Damage to Archaeological Resources

Archaeological site assessments in the wake of Hurricane Floyd are coming in slowly, largely because staff has placed an emphasis on assisting other agencies rather than visiting known sites.

One early report involves major bank erosion at the 16th c. Chowanoke Indian village site in CHOWAN COUNTY. As many as fifty Native American skeletons were exposed, but total damage of the site has not been determined. Chowanoke was a capitol town of the Algonkian Indians during the 1580s English Roanoke colonization efforts. We anticipate similar problems with archaeological sites throughout the declared disaster-area counties. Prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, plus significant shipwrecks in the rivers and sounds, have been damaged or destroyed, but the extent is not yet known. In CARTERET COUNTY, the shipwreck known as the Queen Anne's Revenge has sustained significant damage due to erosion. Staff is not yet able to place a value on the added cost of recovery of artifacts and other information due to the new erosion. As current diving continues, additional information on the extent of the damage will be gathered.

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