Thursday, December 11, 2014

Vanished New Bern, No. 10

a series of views of lost area buildings

By John B. Green III

John Wright Stanly House dependencies

John Wright Stanly House dependency at right of image, photo from Nellie M. Rowe, Discovering North Carolina, 1933.
After having been moved twice, the John Wright Stanly House now sits on a lot that is only a fraction of the size of its original grounds.  As a part of the Tryon Palace historic site on George Street, it is toured by thousands each year.  Few of those thousands are aware that the house once possessed two large flanking outbuildings or dependencies on its original site.  The grounds of the John Wright Stanly House (constructed c. 1779 - 1783) once covered half a city block between Middle and Hancock streetsThe house faced Middle Street flanked by the dependencies.  The larger of the two sat to the north of the house and faced New Street.  Colonel John D. Whitford, New Bern's 19th century historian, identified the building as Congressman John Stanly, Jr.'s law office, although at the time of his writing (1882) it had been occupied as a dwelling for a number of years.  The site of the Stanly house and its dependencies was sold to the federal government in 1932 for the construction of a new courthouse and post office.  The main house was moved onto the rear portion of its grounds and turned to face New Street. The smaller dependency which had stood to the south of the Stanly house was also moved at this time and placed behind the main house.  Following a long-standing New Bern tradition of moving and reusing discarded buildings, John Stanly's old law office was given to Judge R.A. Nunn who dismantled the structure and used the material in the construction of a new building outside of town.  This building was later destroyed by fire.

Surviving dependency being moved to George Street, 1966.
In 1966 the John Wright Stanly House, after having served as the town library for thirty years, was given to the Tryon Palace Commission.  The house and the smaller surviving dependency were moved to George Street to become part of the Tryon Palace historic site.  While the main house was restored at great expense, it was determined that there was no room and no use for the smaller dependency and it was unceremoniously demolished.