dewey house

An excavator demolishes the Dewey House at 105 W. Main St., Elizabeth City, earlier this week. The property is owned by the Thompson and Pureza law firm.

The historic two-story wood house at 105 W. Main Street has been demolished but many of its fixtures and doors have been salvaged by volunteer preservationists.

The items will be available for sale through the Elizabeth City Historic Neighborhood Association salvage store.

Rick Boyd of ECHNA said that the law firm Thompson and Pureza, which owns the property, came before the Historic Preservation Commission about three months ago to request permission to demolish the building.

Boyd said the HPC granted the request because of the extensive damage that had occurred to the house. The roof had a hole in it, allowing water to get into the house.

“It just destroyed everything down below it,” Boyd said.

Boyd said the house had been vacant for four or five years, and maybe longer.

“It takes a long time for that much damage to occur,” Boyd said.

Boyd said he was not certain what will be done with the property but indicated it likely would become parking for the law office.

In a recent Museum of the Albemarle column published in The Daily Advance, Paul Vincent said “steps are being taken to ensure this house lives on long after its lot is razed, and its walls pass into architectural memory.”

Vincent described the house as “designed in the popular L-plan structure from the late 19th century. Likely built around 1900, the house displays some reserved yet notable attributes of the Eastlake style, of which the city boasts many charming examples.”

Vincent offered some specifics about the architecture of the house.

“The front sports a small, though nicely ornamented, porch with turned posts and balusters with ‘webs,’” according to Vincent. “The house’s interior echoes its outwardly reserved decor with a segmented staircase complete with turned balusters and newel posts.”

Vincent appreciation for the work of the volunteers who worked to salvage its elements.

“Through the tireless efforts of a dedicated group of historic homeowners and preservationists, architectural treasures like 105 West Main are rescued before the onset of the sledgehammer or bulldozer,” he wrote. “Members and friends of the Elizabeth City Historic Neighborhood Association volunteered their time these past weeks to help salvage as much of the West Main Street house as possible, recovering components and fixtures such as doors, banisters, and balusters.”

According to Vincent the house was the home of Harry and Hazel Dewey, and Hazel Dewey remained in the home until her death in 1998.

Harry Dewey was general manager of Norfolk and Carolina Telephone and Telegraph Company, which had an office nearby on South Road Street, and Hazel Dewey was a nurse.

“Although we may lose 105 West Main Street, we hope we’ll still have saved the ‘Dewey House’ from becoming just another architectural memory,” Vincent said in the column.