Preservation North Carolina’s Bellamy Mansion Museum receives National Park Service’s Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Grant (ESHPF) for Hurricane Florence Repairs

WILMINGTON— Preservation North Carolina (PNC) was awarded an Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Funds Grant (ESHPF) of $219,735 to repair damage sustained at the Bellamy Mansion Museum during Hurricane Florence. Bellamy Mansion Museum is one of 22 historic properties receiving federal grant funding as part of the National Park Service Program. The fund, administered locally by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, awarded over $9 million in grants to historic preservation projects in 18 counties across the state.

The grant provides recovery assistance for historic properties damaged by hurricanes Florence and/or Michael that are listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Funding from the congressionally appropriated ESHPF allows the State Historic Preservation Office (HPO) to provide grants to historic properties in counties that FEMA declared eligible for federal disaster funding. The program is designed to address historic property needs unmet through other funding sources (FEMA, insurance, etc.). “This program provides much needed funding to not only help repair irreplaceable historic properties after storm damage, but to help local governments and non-profit organizations better prepare for future disasters,” said Reid Wilson, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “These funds will help to ensure our state’s treasured cultural resources are included in future resiliency planning efforts.”

In 2018 Hurricane Florence battered the Wilmington area including its historic downtown. The Bellamy Mansion Museum was one of the many historical homes in downtown that sustained significant damage. Bellamy’s roof, which had just been through repairs two weeks before the hurricane, suffered the most damage. A large portion of the roof peeled away during the height of the storm, allowing rain to pour into all five levels of the mansion.

Water soaked into the plaster walls and caused extensive damage, softening the plaster and producing conditions ripe for mold growth. The water also soaked into the plaster’s wood lathe structure, causing the wood to swell and the subsequent movement to shift and crack the plaster. Water damage extended through all five floors of the historic home with most of the water ending up pooling on the mansion’s carpets and wooden floors. Other parts of the mansion grounds also sustained some damage, though not as extensive as the main house. The museum was closed for sixteen days after the hurricane, resulting in a large revenue loss in admission fees and event cancellations.

Restoration and repair work began quickly following the hurricane thanks to continued volunteer efforts and the skills of local restoration experts. Due to the museum’s high insurance deductible, most repairs were paid for directly by the museum. The ESHPF grant provides much needed support to cover the overwhelming costs of roofing work, plaster repair, and painting.

“The Bellamy Mansion has made it through a civil war, arson and over fifty named storms. Funding like this will enable us complete the necessary repairs to help it survive whatever challenges lay ahead” said Gareth Evans, Bellamy Mansion Museum Executive Director. “We are beyond thrilled to receive the ESHPF grant to maintain Bellamy’s legacy for generations to come.” For more on PNC’s Bellamy Mansion Museum, please visit: