"Norcom House" and the Old Inlet Inn

"Norcom House" on Front Street (before 1911)
The original Inlet Inn, built in the 1850’s by the owners of a dry goods store in Beaufort, was first a private residence owned by Charles Lowenberg. The 1880 census recorded Charles W. Lowenberg as a hotel proprietor of "Sea Side House."

In the early 1900’s the home was sold to the Morris family who used it as a summer home. After a couple years the Morris family turned the home into a boarding house and named it "The Morris House."

In the Heritage of Carteret County, Joyce Norcom Tolson wrote, "'Miss Cad' [Carrie] Dill married Henry D. Norcom in 1878 and lived on Craven Street in the Norcom family home.] took over and operated the Inlet Inn which had been known as the Morris House....at that time [the inn was] known as the Norcom House and stood where the Branch Bank is today."
In 1911, the house was sold to Congressman Charles Abernathy who greatly expanded its size with rambling additions and named it the "New Inlet Inn." (1900 census notes Charles Abernathy, lawyer, living with his wife on Ann Street. The 1910 census recorded Charles S. Abernathy, 38, solicitor-third judicial district, was living within the first two blocks of west Front Street.)

There was a ball room on the second floor. Music was provided by a small orchestra comprised of the four children of the inn operator, Mrs. Worth, and two other local Beaufort boys. There was even a dance instructor. Fresh water was pumped to the Inn by windmills.

At this time a beautiful swimming beach was right at the front steps of the inn. A half-mile- long boardwalk, extending from the 500 block of Front Street to Gordon Street, passed in front of the inn. Dredging of Taylor’s Creek and the resulting unsightly piles of sand on the south side of the channel, combined with the Depression following World War I, lead to the closing of the inn in the early 20s. Several comebacks were attempted but were not successful. Eventually the beach in front of the inn was filled and Front Street was extended and paved.

Joni's Porch
Finally, in 1967, at the age of 110, most of the building was torn down to make way for construction of the BB&T Bank building just east of the current Inlet Inn. ◄One wing of the original Inlet Inn was salvaged and is now at the edge of the parking lot of the current Inlet Inn and again is used as a private residence.

Drummond's Pictorial Atlas of North Carolina, published 1924, shows the Inlet Inn as one of the resort hotels in North Carolina. Part of Drummond's description:

"Beaufort has just installed a sewer and water system which covers the whole town. It has paved sidewalks and is now paving the principal streets. A fine seawall lies in front of the town. The city owns her own water and electric plants. Beaufort has good public schools and a large private school. Baptist, Congregational, Methodist and Episcopal churches are here. Investigation of Beaufort's numerous advantages is welcomed by the Chamber of Commerce.
 
"Beaufort's fishing industry is one of the largest in the State. Approximately one million dollars is invested in boats, nets and factories. Lumber is also one of the big industries here."
Old Inlet Inn circa 1933
The inn was then under the supervision of Mr. & Mrs. W.J. Willmott