Thursday, December 4, 2014

Vanished New Bern, No. 9

a series of views of lost area buildings

By John B. Green III

Shepard-Nelson House

Shepard-Nelson House, northwest corner East Front and Broad streets, photo c. 1900.
In a recent post (By the Book, 11/3/2014) we referred to the Green-Guion House which appeared to have been based on a design by the prominent Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan.  While that design was taken from a book of building plans published by Sloan, three other New Bern buildings are known to have been designed by Sloan after he moved his practice to North Carolina in the 1870s.  Two still exist, the 1882-1884 Craven County Courthouse and the 1884 New Bern Graded School (Bell Building).  The third was the ca. 1883 Shepard-Nelson House which Sloan designed for wealthy widow Mary Spaight Donnell Shepard.  The elaborate Second Empire-style structure stood on the northwest corner of East Front and Broad streets and faced the Neuse River amid landscaped grounds.  It was later the property of Mrs. Shepard's daughter Mrs. Margaret Shepard Nelson who in 1919 sold the property to the Sudan Shriners for use as their headquarters.  It became known as The Shrine Home and served the organization until 1957.  It was later demolished to make way for a parking lot adjacent to the Shriners' new headquarters.

Shepard-Nelson House as the Shrine Home, photo c. 1950.