Pronounced “Bo-furt”, this quaint little town was
originally established in 1709 for its close proximity to the excellent
deep-water inlet now called Beaufort Inlet.
Throughout history, Beaufort has always been an
important seaport for whalers, fisherman, merchants and even pirates.
In fact, the notorious pirate Blackbeard and his crew spent quite a bit
of time in Beaufort, and their legacy still remains in the form of the many
legends and ghost stories that are still told.
The Beaufort Ghost Walk takes visitors to The Hammock House, a mysterious
300 year old house once frequented by Blackbeard and reportedly home to the
ghosts of some of his victims.
Another major attraction is the Beaufort Historic
District, which is home to over 100 beautifully restored Historic Homes from the
18th and 19th Century.
The Old Burying
Ground is a 300-year old cemetery located in the heart of the
Historic District. It's live oak shaded graves are hauntingly beautiful
windows into the past. Among the azaleas and resurrection fern are the
final resting places of the town's earliest residents, including soldiers from
the American Revolution and the Civil War. Many a relaxing afternoon has been spent walking the elegantly shaded
sidewalks of the Historic District, retracing the steps of history, architecture
And if all that’s not enough, Beaufort is the perfect
place to begin exploring the Cape Lookout National
Seashore, home to the
169-foot Cape Lookout Lighthouse and the famous Wild Horses of Shackleford
Banks. Descendants of Horses that
were brought here almost 500 years ago, a herd of over 120 Horses still remains
on the islands surrounding Beaufort, and they can often be seen right from the
Beaufort Waterfront while they graze on the islands of the nearby Rachel Carson
In Beaufort, you and your family will find exciting
and fun things to do, beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife, great shopping,
excellent restaurants, and a rare chance to step back into history.
an excellent review of Beaufort's History, please visit http://beaufortartist.blogspot
.com by Mary Warshaw. Our thanks to Ms. Warshaw for her hard
work on this endeavor.
Mary Warshaw's other Blog
is more information - We'll be pretty impressed if you read it all!
so unique about Beaufort, NC?
Isolation – At a
mainland point northwest of Cape Lookout, facing southwest, Beaufort’s
orientation has always been outward to the sea. Neither of the two short rivers on which she is located, the
Newport and North, gives substantial access to the interior of the state.
The town had no rail link to the rest of the world until 1907, and her
main highway access inland, Route 70, was not connected to Beaufort by bridge
until 1926. Communication
with New York, Boston, Philly and Baltimore was more direct and frequent than
with New Bern, only 45-50 miles distant.
Wooden Construction – Beaufort is built almost exclusively of
wood. There are only two brick
buildings in town which predate the Civil War, The
Odd Fellows Lodge and the Jail, and there are no stone buildings.
Beaufort has not undergone a renovation period where the old was
uprooted and the new inserted. Many of the buildings and homes in the
Historic District are the same as they have been for centuries. Thanks to
the Historic Preservation Committee, Beaufort looks today as much as possible as
it did in the past.
White paint – since it’s inception, through the 19th
and 20th centuries, almost everything in Beaufort was painted white.
Lack of Wealth – Few citizen’s wealth could be measured
against the wealth elite of New Bern, Edenton, or Raleigh.
Many of the homes in Beaufort were essentially vacation houses for families who
lived inland, but adjourned to Beaufort in the heat of summer to take advantage
of the cooling breezes. The rest of the town was populated with working
men, fisherman, shipbuilders, whalers, and shippers.
In both the Revolutionary and Civil war, Beaufort was eventually
taken over by the British and Union respectively, and used as a HQ.
As a result, there was virtually no damage to the town during those two
Architecture of Beaufort
Beaufort architecture was mainly influenced by that of the
Beaufort seems to be the line at which architectural influence
from the North and South meet. In
Northern NC and Va, architectural influence came from the northern, British
influenced colonies. In Beaufort,
Wilmington and SC, GA, etc…, the architecture seems to follow much more
Two storied houses often used “ventilation systems” that
funneled wind through vent doors at the attic level above the upper porch and to
the rest of the house. This concept
was also brought from Bahamian architecture.
The Beaufort gable “hip” roof is the architecture’s
distinguishing characteristic. This
style of roof seems to have arrived only with the Greek Revival Period.
The roof maintains a steep pitch at the ridge but then breaks to cover
porches in front and bays in the rear at lesser pitches.
Typical roofs of this style have at least three planes, but many houses
have four, while the Easton House (219 Front) has five.
Beaufort picket fence – an early Beaufort ordinance required
that the fences be “paled in”. This
accounts for the quirky “up and down” picket fences often seen along Front
St. and Anne St.
Houses were often built by shipwrights, who were skilled
carpenters and joiners. The result
was extremely high craftsmanship and carpentry and a house that would stand up
to time and weather with solid resistance.
Foundations of early houses were often made with
ballast stones from the holds of ships.
Exploration of the Core Sound area
Giovanni da Verrazano who was from Florence, but was sailing for
Francis I of France in 1524, is credited with being the first explorer to take
note of the Cape Lookout area. His report back to Francis I spoke of a
land of beauty and resources, and talked of the harbor at Cape Lookout as the
best he had seen.
Beaufort Inlet was originally Topsail Inlet
Best deep water navigable inlet along the NC coast.
The harbor at Cape Lookout was descried by Gov. Arthur Dobbs in
1756 as "the best and safest harbor from Boston to the Capes of Florida
The Coree Indians, which are part of the Iroquoian Nation were the
natives of the area around Cape Lookout. They
had many problems with the white man right away.
Indian Massacre in 1711 killed over 130 people.
Retaliation was a death sentence for the Coree. They
were eventually eliminated in fighting between local militias and the Coree.
The Indians namesake is still here:
Core Creek, Core Sound and Core Banks.
Early Days of Beaufort
Farnifold Green was the first to obtain the patent for the land
now known as Beaufort
Beaufort was named after Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort , an
Street names have been the same since 1713.
Turner St. - Robert Turner, an earlier proprietor of Beaufort
Moore St. - Col. James Moore who was responsible for bringing an
end to the Tuscarora War.
Pollock St. - Thomas Pollock, acting governor of the colony of NC
Queen and Ann St. - Named after Queen Ann the reigning monarch at
Orange St. - William III of Orange who had reigned in England
Craven St. - William Lord Craven, another English Lord
Early names for Beaufort were “Hungry Town”, “Fish Town”
and the Corree Indian name of “Cwariok”
Economy started slowly, with very little growth until the late 18th
First jail in town was built by Daniel Reese on lot 7 in “Old
Town”, which is where Queen St. is today. Jail can be seen at the Beaufort Historic Grounds.
In 1722, Beaufort became both the port of entry and the courthouse
town for Carteret precinct.
Richard Rustull, John Shackleford, John Nelson, Joseph Bell,
Christopher Gale were a group of town fathers who were the first Commissioners
and among the vestrymen of St. John’s Parish in 1723.
Shackleford Banks named after the Shackleford Family, John and
Francis who were actively obtaining land patents in the early 1700's
in the area.
Surveyor named Richard Graves laid out the town in 1713.
Robert Turner ordered the survey. He
had bought the land from Green.
Beaufort could be reached by boat only for hundreds of years,
until the very early 20th century.
Mail from Raleigh took 2-3 weeks to arrive, while mail to NYC or
Boston would take no more than 3 days, making communication with major trade
ports much better than with the capitol of the state.
Roads in early Beaufort were made of oyster shells
In 1770, a cedar post was erected at the corner of Front St. and
Pollock St. to discern between “Old Town” and “New Town”