Historic house moved to new location

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The combined crews of Oldham House Moving and Oldham House Movers approach the new destination of N.C. Wesleyan College's Bellemonte House on Tuesday as they slowly move the historic building along Bishop Road.


By Amelia Harper
Staff Writer

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A historic landmark in Nash County moved to a new location this week for the second time in its history. 

The Bellemonte House, which was located in front of N.C. Wesleyan College for 28 years, was moved this week to a wooded lot on Bishop Road just north of the Dunn Center on the back campus of Wesleyan College. At its new location, the Bellemonte House, which has been used over the past few years as office space for the college, will be renovated and restored with a tentative completion date of May 2017. The college also plans are to add a semi-formal garden with period fencing to help enhance the historic house, which was constructed between 1817 and 1825.

Moving the historic structure was a feat accomplished by two firms specializing in such delicate moves. Oldham House Moving of Ramseur and Oldham House Movers of Seagrove teamed up to move the more than 200-ton structure to its new location a quarter of a mile away.

Frank Quinlan was out watching the house get settled into its new location on Tuesday. Quinlan, who retired from Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant a few years ago, said he found the moving process interesting and was recording the event with drone photography.

Quinlan did not attend N.C. Wesleyan College but said he has been impressed with the leadership of the college and its growth over the past few years.

“I think they are doing a good job at the college,” Quilan said. “I don’t know why they are moving the building. It looks like it will cost a lot of money, so it must be important.”

According to the September issue of the Bishop Beat, a newsletter produced by N.C Wesleyan College, the Bellemonte House was moved this week to make room for a new building to be constructed on the expanding campus.

“Moving the Bellemonte House will not only provide a beautiful setting for the house, but will allow for a new building with the same architectural design as the Gateway Technology Center to be built at the college's main entrance to accommodate much-needed classrooms and office space,” the article in the Bishop Beat states.

Bellemonte was originally the home of Dr. John R. Bellamy (1794-1846), a physician who owned a large tract of land north of Rocky Mount. He began construction on Bellemonte, which represents a fusion of Georgian and Federal architectural styles, in 1817, developing the house in stages over several years.

In 1918, Bellemonte was acquired by Mack C. Braswell of Battleboro, a landowner and merchant. In 1956, the Braswell heirs donated 200 acres of farmland adjacent to the Bellemonte House to become the site of N.C. Wesleyan College. In 1988, the Pearsall family donated the Bellemonte House to the college and it was moved 400 yards south to the front of college. In 1989, the house was restored and listed as one of 28 Nash County sites on the National Register of Historic Places.