For almost 200 years, sailing ships entering Beaufort Inlet and Bulkhead Channel into Taylor's Creek have viewed the Duncan House anchoring the west of the Beaufort waterfront. Built by James Davis in 1815, Davis sold the original east side in 1820 to Captain Benjamin Tucker Howland; the selling price was $1000. Twelve years later, Captain Howland, father of Elicia Howland Duncan, sold the house and his part of their business to his son-in-law Thomas Duncan IV—all for only $600. Sometime after 1832, Thomas Duncan IV added the western half of the house. The lower level was built using several ships’ masts as supporting pillars. This level was used as a ship chandlery and store, patronized by visiting ships as well as local residents; it became known as “Duncan’s Store.”

Report Reveals Duncan House in Good Condition

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
State Historic Preservation Office
May 18, 2012
(Below transcribed, for easier reading, from an original copy)

From:   John P. Wood – North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office
To:       Victor Flow
 Richard Hall – Joyce & Assoc. Construction, Inc.
 Kyle Garner – Town Planner

SUBJECT: Duncan House, 105 Front Street, Beaufort, Carteret County

At the request of Mr. Flow and his representative, on May 3, 2012, Claudia Brown, Scott Power, Reid Thomas and I met for approximately three hours onsite with Richard Hall at the Duncan House in Beaufort. Town Planner Kyle Garner was also present. The purpose of the meeting was to examine the condition and integrity of the building. The Duncan House is a contributing property in the National Register-listed Beaufort Historic District. On-site inspection consisted of visual examination of the exterior of the building, the interior rooms and the attic. Where accessible, spaces behind the attic knee walls and the crawl space were also examined. Digital photographs of these spaces were taken and copies of these photographs have been provided to Mr. Hall and Mr. Garner in CD format.

*1913 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
Visual inspection revealed that the building experienced numerous alterations throughout the historic period. The house originated with the eastern portion, a ca.1800 two-and-a-half story side-gable dwelling. During the second quarter of the nineteenth century a two-and-a-half story side-gable addition was added to the west elevation of the existing house. At the same time, a two-story porch was added to the south (front) elevation, while a two-story addition that may have either been an open porch or enclosed space was built across the north (rear) elevation of the enlarged structure. To accommodate the front and rear additions, the roof pitch of the original portion of the house was modified, creating the current roofline. The change in the roofline and the front and rear additions resulted in a cohesive building mass. Prior to 1900, a one-story gable-roof wing with inset porch was added to the north elevation of the rear addition. A masonry cistern with a barrel vault roof and stepped parapet ends is located immediately adjacent to the inset porch. By December of 1913* a second one-story gable roof wing with an integral porch had been added to the western end of the early nineteenth-century rear addition resulting in the existing building footprint. Complete Report...
NOTE: Images added by author of this site.