Carteret County Home 1914

Carteret County Home Bed & Breakfast . Hwy 101 Beaufort NC
1850 Beaufort Census
Designed with the sturdiness and practicality of a serviceable institution, the Carteret County Home has served the test of time, surviving numerous hurricanes and years of neglect. With its yellow pine weather boarding, the main house is an I-type structure with a two-story center section patterned after the hall and parlor plan. What were once call the "dormitory rooms" extend from the center section, eight to a side with 300 hundred feet of connecting porch running along the entire length.

The Carteret County Home is one of the few county homes, still standing east of the Mississippi. Known in the late 1800s as “poorhouses,” these facilities provided the less fortunate with room and board. To qualify for residency, tenants had to give up all worldly goods; they were expected to help tend crops and maintain the building and grounds. Applicants had to examined by the county doctor and be found "physically unable to support himself."
Although there had been others,* this facility was officially opened on June 1, 1914. The original structure contained four rooms for the caretaker in what is now the main 2 story structure and six dormitory style rooms for the residents. These rooms measured 12’x13’and contained no more than a bed and small parlor stove. The small rooms had plastered walls, heart of pine floors, brick chimney and wooden V-groove ceilings and one window and door.  There was no indoor plumbing at this time. In 1917, four additional rooms were added. An extension off the main house center section was also built which served as an infirmary where the county physician took care of the residents’ medical needs.

When the Social Security Act was ratified in North Carolina in 1937, there were 14 inmates still living in the county home. The home became economically unfeasible to operate when the number of tenants dwindled to seven. It was closed in 1942 and was the 34th home in the state to shut down. In the summer of 1943, the County Home re-opened to house 150 farm laborers working the fields for the war effort. Later, it was purchased and the twenty small dormitory style rooms were combined to make three-room apartments that were used until the mid-60s when it was once again closed. Left abandoned until the early 1980s, the building suffered and soon became an eyesore.
New owners saw its potential as an inn and began the long renovation process. Although they were not able to complete their vision, it was because of their efforts to save the building physically and to preserve its historical value that the building is now registered on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of only three with such a designation in all of Carteret County. Others include the Gibbs House (903 Front Street) and the Jacob Henry House (plaqued Easton House) at 229 Front Street.
Abandoned once again, the property changed hands in 1996 and the new owners, Terry and Nan O'Pray, were able to look beyond its deteriorated condition to also see a building perfect for an inn.

After three years of complete renovation, Terry and Nan converted the original 20 tenant rooms into 10 two-room suites, each with private entrances—one leading to the front porch complete with rocking chairs and the other opening to the back deck and landscaped and award winning grounds. The original floors and ceilings were saved.

*1850 and 1860 Census (location unknown)

In the 1850 Beaufort Census, Brian Hellen recorded William Tucker as “Keeper of Poor House.” Besides Mr. Tucker’s wife Elizabeth and four children, tenants included Christopher Ellmore 73, a hatter; Zilphia Thomas 50; Benjamin Guthrie 35; Jane Welch 32; ___Garrison 20; John Dismal 40, mulatto and shoemaker; and 50-year-old female Sidney Smith.

In the 1860 Beaufort Census, D.H.L. Bell recorded Joseph Duncan 33 was “Keeper of the Poor House.” Tenants, inmates or paupers, included Joseph Gaskins 87; Sally Willis 45; Jane Welsh 35, insane; Benj. Guthry 54, blind; ___Garrison 30, insane; Hancy Owens 27; and Cloe Roggers 25.