Thursday, November 6, 2014

Vanished New Bern, No. 6

a series of views of lost area buildings

By John B. Green III

The Claypoole House

Claypoole House, photo c. 1925.

Looking at the only good photograph of the Claypoole House, it is hard to determine its age.  Constructed on the southwest corner of Craven and Broad streets, it faced Craven.  Local newspaper writers in the 1920's claimed great age for the structure and emphasized it rough-hewn and pegged timbers, its large exterior chimney, and the fact that some of its door sills were worn down level with the flooring.  The Dewey and Claypoole family were proud of the fact that they had occupied their old home for more than one hundred years.  Oliver Dewey had leased the structure in 1820.  His son Henry had then purchased the house in 1825.  Owners since that time had been Miss Adeline Dewey, Mrs. Henrietta Dewey Kilburn, and Mrs. Emily H. Dewey Claypoole, the owner in 1925.

Great age and family pride, however, could not save the Claypoole house from the automobile and its incessant needs.  The Gulf Refining Company took a option on the property in 1926 with the intent of building a gasoline filling station on the prominent corner lot.  The resultant uproar emphasized the destruction of a quiet, residential neighborhood, the lowering of property values, and the history of the house.  The Gulf Refining Company retired from the field.  The battle was taken up again by Texaco and won in 1930 when the Dewey and Claypoole heirs sold them the property.  The old Claypoole home was demolished in 1931 and soon thereafter replaced by a service station.