Street Address
503 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28402
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 1176
Wilmington, NC 28402
Admissions
$8.00 for Adults
$4.00 for Children 5-12 years
Museum Type(s)
Staff
Beverly Ayscue, Executive Director
phone: 910-251-3700x102
Gene Ayscue, Site Manager
phone: 910-251-3700x105
Madeline Flagler, Director of Public Eduation
phone: 910-251-3700x104
Patricia Wilson, Bookkeeper
phone: 910-251-3700x103

Description

The Bellamy Mansion is  a fascinating example of a mid-19th centuy urban compound.  The main house is an exuberant combination of Classical and Italianate architecture built by free and enslaved African- Americans as the private home for John and Eliza Bellamy and their nine children. The house is set forward on the lot to leave space for the work area in the rear where an extremely rare example of an intact urban slave quarters still exists. This was home to, among others, Sarah, Joan, Maryann and several children.  We believe that Guy,the enslaved butler, lived in the loft of the Carriage House which has been reconstructed as our visitors center.  The compound deomonsrates the interplay between the Bellamy family and the nine people who served them.  Our tours are about how the house functions as a work of architecture and as an examaple of preservation in action.  Our current  project is the careful and respectful restoration of the slave quarters, that when once finished, will be one of only a handful of this once ubiquitous Southern urban building type that is open the public.

History

Built in 1860 as a private residence for John and Eliza Bellamy by free and enslaved African Americans, the Bellamy Mansion is one of North Carolina's most spectacular examples of antebellum architecture. Just two months before the end of the Civil War, Federal troops commandeered the house as their headquarters during the occupation of Wilmington. Several months later Dr. Bellamy reclaimed the property after personally petitioning for a presidential pardon. The house remained the family residence until 1946. Left to many family members upon the death of the last Bellamy child to survive, the mansion almost died too. In 1972 the family rallied and formed a non-profit called Bellamy Mansion Inc to save the house for future use as a museum. Two months later an arsonist set fire to the building transforming what had been a resonable preservation effort into a major restoration that took almost 25 years to raise the money for and complete. In 1989 the family turned the house over to a statewide preservation group called Preservation North Carolina that completed the majority of the restoration and opened the house as a stewardship property in 1994.

Research Collections

  • n/a

Educational Programs

Our programming centers around architecture, the Civil War as it pertains to Wilmigton's history and the history of wilmington in general. Our current focus (for the last two years and for at least another three) has been and will continue to be about the African American component of our history. This emphasis has been developed to augment the restoration of the slave quarters on our site. Once the restoration is complete we will weave our African-American history programming back into our general effort.

Governance

The Bellamy Mansion is a stewardship property of Preservation North Carolina.

Publications

We publish a newsletter three times a year for our members and an additional publication six times a year for our volunteers.

  • The Bellamy Mansion Newsletter
  • Bel Amie