Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Grand Tour of the Bellamy Mansion {Wilmington, North Carolina}

**Disclosure: Thank you to Wilmington, North Carolina for hosting our tour of the Bellamy Mansion. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

After seeing so many magnificent historic homes during our horse-drawn carriage ride, we definitely had to tour one while visiting. One house seemed to really exude Southern elegance to us. As soon as I saw the Bellamy Mansion, I knew that we had to go in! I am sure you can see why!


Amazing Corinthian Columns!
The mansion was owned by Dr. John Bellamy and his wife Eliza. In addition to being a doctor, Bellamy was a planter. He was quite successful and the impressive mansion is reflective of his success. Work on the mansion began in 1859 and was completed in 1861. The family moved into the home during 1861 and remained until a deadly yellow fever epidemic hit the city. At that time, the country was embroiled in the Civil War. The Bellamy family would not return until after the war.

Breathtaking details around the house.
The home today is sparsely furnished because much of the furniture was distributed among family members or destroyed in fires. The decision was made to show the home without the furnishings. I think that this decision actually helped to highlight some of the impressive features of the home including the amazing plaster work! Plus, the lack of furniture allows the home to host various events as well as show the art of local artists.

This cupboard in the kitchen is one of the original pieces in the house.

The table is set in the dining room!
The site also includes a brick slave quarter building. The structure is in fact one of the best preserved versions of a town slave quarter building in the country. The building also include the privies and laundry room.

The slave quarters is one of the best examples in the country.
The Greek Revival Italianate home holds quite a bit of history in its walls. The amazing wood and plaster work of the mansion are the creations of talented slaves and freed men. One of the men working on the home was William B. Gould. William was a gifted plasterer and eventually escaped slavery, He would join the Union Army and would return to plastering after the war. He also wrote a book about his escape from slavery. The mansion has an exhibit dedicated to the work of these men.

Amazing plasterwork and details are the masterpieces of William Gould and other slaves and freed men.
The Union Army also used the mansion as a headquarters. One of the fireplace mantles is believed to be marred by Union officers putting out their cigars.


The back of the mansion is as beautiful as the front.
Our tour of the mansion was very thorough. It was a bit on the long side for younger children. However, it was free-flowing so you could easily step away and come back. You can also take a self-guided tour which may be a bit easier with little ones or if you have a time constraint. On the tour, you will benefit from a very knowledgeable guide and being able to ask questions about the home. The history of the home and the people that lived there is pretty intriguing and some of the anecdotes are quite entertaining. The Bellamys were a particularly interesting family, so you truly enjoy the stories of their lives. You will also be blown away by the talent of William Gould and other artists. Stunning!

If you visit, be sure to consider the Passport Ticket which will allow you to see the Bellamy Mansion along with the Burgwin-Wright home and the Latimer home. Maybe a fun afternoon of history?

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