Godette Hotel and House
- 6,400 square feet
- Lot Size: 0.11 acres / Zoning: Residential/Commercial
, Regional Director
Preservation NC, Eastern Office
UNIQUE REDEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY OF HISTORIC AFRICAN AMERICAN HOTEL AND ADJACENT HOUSE LOCATED JUST TWO BLOCKS FROM THE HISTORIC BEAUFORT WATERFRONT AND MINUTES FROM THE CRYSTAL COAST BEACHES, ZONED MIXED-USE!
Architectural and Historical Information
The Godette Hotel was built in 1946 by Henderson Godette, Sr., a well-respected African American builder, and his sons. The Godettes had deep family roots in the region. Though Godette could not read or write and had no formal training, he was a fine builder and craftsman and his work is visible in many local buildings today, including the Arts and Crafts-style addition and renovation at the William Nash Bell House.
Henderson and his sons built the hotel for his son, Henderson “Mannix” Godette, Jr. and his wife Lucy Gray Godette. The Godettes owned and operated the hotel and café, and lived upstairs with their children. While Mannix continued his farming operations, Lucy Gray ran the hotel and was the cook. Though not an “official” Green Book Hotel (since the business didn’t need the advertisement), during segregation it was one of few establishments in the area for African Americans to eat and stay. The Negro Motorist Green-Book, a guide that was published between 1933 and 1966, listed hotels, restaurants and other Black-owned businesses that Black travelers could safely patronize in a Jim Crow South. The Godette Hotel was the central place for many social events and celebrations of the day serving as the community gathering place for the African American’s in Carteret county and beyond, and Lucy Godette made sure all who entered were welcomed and well-attended. Read more about the Godette Hotel in this article by David Cecelski.
The property was condemned early in 2020, but Godette family members and local preservationists urged the Town of Beaufort to give Preservation North Carolina time to save the property. The first floor of the hotel is cinderblock while the second story was absestos shingle siding. The shingles were removed in preparation for demolition when the property was condemned; it is now wrapped in Tyvek for weather protection. A small porch is located on the second story over the front door. The hotel retains it’s original six-over-six windows letting in lots of natural light. Beautiful double doors lead into the large room in the back from the two sides.
The downstairs features a large common room historically used for social gatherings, dancing and playing cards. The original Wurlitzer jukebox (known as the piccolo), original paneled wooden bar with five built-in swivel bar stools, and booths remain. A central room served as a kitchen with bathrooms behind it, accessible from both the front and back rooms. The front room spans the length of the building and served as the hotel café, all with cement floors and plaster walls. Ghost marks of a coffered ceiling can be seen in the common room. The second floor features 14 rooms along a wide central hall that leads out to the balconette with original hardwood floors, could be configured to accomodate apartments, suites and so much more!
The Godette Hotel requires a complete rehabilitation. Mixed-use zoning allows for adaptive reuses including residential and commercial opportunities such as a boutique hotel, apartments, restaurant or Tapa’s bar, or even a gallery space! The large corner lot is walkable to the waterfront, and includes space for parking.
The adjacent Godette House will be included in the sale of the hotel, subject to acquisition of the property by Preservation North Carolina. The house is approximately 858 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom on a 0.076 acre lot. It will also require a complete rehabilitation including all new systems and updated kitchen and bath.
Beaufort, named America’s Favorite Town by Travel and Leisure and America’s Coolest Town by Budget Travel, is steeped in history and offers incredible dining and shopping experiences along the waterfront. The Godette Hotel is located two blocks from the Historic Downtown Beaufort Waterfront at the corner of Pollock and Cedar streets and just minutes from the beaches of the Crystal Coast. Beaufort is the third oldest town in North Carolina located on the Beaufort inlet which leads out to the Atlantic Ocean. From the Godette Hotel, it’s an easy walk down to Front Street where you can watch as fisherman and boat enthusiasts dock and unload their catch of the day, stop to eat at one of the numerous restaurants overlooking the waterfront, and serving fresh seafood. Enjoy a cocktail at sunset, or stop into the brewery for a cold drink. Beaufort is steeped in history and no trip would be complete without a visit to the NC Maritime museum home to Queen Ann’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s famous pirate ship which ran aground near Beaufort in 1718. A visit to the Beaufort Historic site includes the Old Burying Ground, established in the early 1700’s and featuring unusual markers such as shells, brick and wooden slabs. The Mattie King Art Gallery located in the Beaufort Historic Site features works by local and regional artists.