Two Historic Districts - National Register and "Locally Designated"

This post is intended to help clarify the Beaufort Historic District recorded in 1) the National Register of Historic Places, as compared with 2) the current district described on the town site as the “locally designated historic district.” CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

In his introduction to Porchscapes, The Colors of Beaufort, architectural historian Tony P. Wrenn wrote, "In November 1969 Dr. H.G. Jones, of the then North Carolina Department of Archives and History, asked me to undertake a study to locate and copy documentary material relating to Fort Macon, constructed between 1826 and 1834, and then undertake an architectural survey of Beaufort." On the "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form," Wrenn included the following map and described the boundary of the historic district:

Beaufort Historic District - National Register of Historic Places
 Roughly bounded by Beaufort Channel, Pine and Fulford Streets, and Taylor's Creek
"At the southwest tip of the land boundary of Beaufort, extend an imaginary line to a point 200 feet west of the end of the waterfront. Begin at this point, and follow a line 200 feet west or northwest of the low-water line, following the outlines of the shore. Follow this line northeast until it intersects the back (north) property line of Pine Street. Follow this back property line to the middle of Craven Street. Go south along the midline of Craven Street to the mid-line of Pine Street, then east to the back (east) property line of Craven Street (including the properties on the northwest and southeast corners of this intersection, but not that on the northeast). Go south along the back (east) property line of Craven Street to the back (north) property line of Broad Street. Then go east along this north property line to the back (east) property line of Gordon Street. Go south along this back property line to the back (north) property line of Ann Street. Go east along this line to the intersection of Ann Street and Fulford Street. Go south along the mid-line of Fulford Street to a point in line with the back (north) property line of the Hammock House. Go east along this property line to the east property line of the Hammock House, then go south along this line to a point one-half mile south of the southern low-water line of Carrot Island. At that point, turn west and follow this line westward (maintaining the half-mile distance south of the southern low-water line of Carrot Island and Town Marsh) to the point where the said line intersects a line extended south from the beginning point, thence north along that line to the beginning point. (The inclusion of this large area of water is needed to protect the waterfront and harbor view of the town, but stops short of the Morehead City Channel marked on the USGS map.)"

1974 Letter to the Mayor of Beaufort
Wrenn continued, "The Beaufort Historic District boundaries are drawn so as to include a large expanse of water across Town Marsh and Carrot Island, an expanse which is a vital part of the distinctive marine character of the quiet seaside town and which provides the dramatic view from Beaufort's waterfront. In addition, as a harbor since the eighteenth century, this expanse of water no doubt contains a wealth of archaeological resources significant to the history of Beaufort."

In May 1974, then Mayor of Beaufort, Rogers Hunt, received a letter and certificate stating that the Beaufort Historic District had been entered in the National Register of Historic Places.

However, at some point over the years, the town of Beaufort decided to limit the size of the historic district and not include the full National Register area. Thus - Pine, Marsh and Live Oak Streets, lined with historic homes, are not included in the "locally designated" district - including homes beyond the 600 block of Ann and Broad Streets.

 “Locally Designated Historic District.”
In recognizing the importance of including all of the town's resources, Kathryn Cloud, Nancy Russell, other preservation pioneers, chairmen of the Beaufort Historic Preservation Commission and other members of the commission have, for years, advocated expanding the current district to include the broader area as recorded in the original designation by the National Register.

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is composed of seven Beaufort residents, who have a knowledge of and interest in historic preservation. The HPC is appointed by the Town Board of Commissioners, and their purpose is to promote the education, culture, and general welfare of the public through preservation and protection of historical buildings, places and areas; and to maintain such properties as examples of past architectural styles. The HPC reviews and regulates changes in the locally designated historic district, including buildings and their setting, new construction and demolition, major landscaping and tree removal and all signage in the historic district.

Currently, only a few individual houses have a designation on the National Register. These include: Carteret County Home (NC 101), Gibbs House (903 Front St.) and Jacob Henry House (229 Front St.).

Being listed on the National Register doesn't protect a building from demolition. In order for a historic property to be protected from demolition, a property owner must do one of the following:
  • Have the property designated as having statewide significance. 
  • Have the property designated as a local, state, or national landmark. 
  • Put the property into a permanent preservation easement.