The Shelter Series Presented by Preservation North Carolina

Virtual Programming Series about Places That Matter

We fondly refer to PNC as “the animal shelter for old houses.” It’s a fun nickname, but a responsibility we take to heart. Right now, “shelter” has taken on so many important meanings. At its core, we believe “shelter” remains what it’s always been – a place that provides cover and protection.

Our work is focused on the houses, buildings, churches, schools, and mills that have provided cover and protection for generations of North Carolinians. During this time when “sheltering” has become central to our lives, we want to explore with you the culture, architecture, diversity and stories of the many shelters across our state.

We hope you’ll join us as we provide some fun, distraction, cover and comfort. Come virtually “Shelter” with us! Scroll below for upcoming Shelter Series events!

Support for the Shelter Series has been generously funded in part by:

If you are interested in sponsoring a Shelter Series event, contact Shannon Phillips.

Check back soon for upcoming programs...

Scroll down to watch recordings of past programs

Shaw University’s Estey Hall, Celebrating 150 Years (part 2)

Tuesday, September 12 at 4pm

Shaw University’s Estey Hall is 150 years old this year and marking the milestone with a host of events. Preservation NC is partnering with Shaw University to present a two-part “Shelter Series” event – “Celebrating Shaw University’s Estey Hall.”

September 12th’s presentation will be a roundtable discussion about how Estey Hall served as a coed residence hall when first built and today contributes to the contemporary landscape as administrative offices and community resource. Raleigh’s past, present and future are reflected in this grand structure – so join us for Preservation NC’s salute of Estey Hall at 150 years.

Shaw University’s Estey Hall, Celebrating 150 Years (part 1)

Tuesday, August 29 at 4pm

Shaw University’s Estey Hall is 150 years old this year and marking the milestone with a host of events. Preservation NC is partnering with Shaw University to present a two-part “Shelter Series” event – “Celebrating Shaw University’s Estey Hall.”

August 29th’s presentation with Fred Belledin, Principal at the architectural firm Clearscapes, and Kevin Sullivan, Vice-President for Real Estate and Strategic Development at Shaw University, will discuss the architecture of this stunning Italianate structure. We will also discuss the considerable investment made by the National Park Service in helping preserve Estey Hall for the next hundred years.

The Abolitionist’s Slaves: Blandwood, Quaker influence, and Enslavement in Piedmont NC

Tuesday, July 11 at 4pm

Join us for a presentation by Julian Price, UNC-Greensboro student and Blandwood Museum docent, to learn more about how this National Historic Landmark is incorporating the political and social narratives around enslavement, abolition and industry into their interpretive plans for visitors.

Julian will provide a brief history of Blandwood and share his research into uncovering the larger story of political, religious and geographical features which curiously situate Antebellum Greensboro amid the broader south and how this information is being added to the public facing interpretive plan of the museum. This presentation will appeal to every history and preservation enthusiast, but especially those with close ties to the management or interpretation of historic sites and museums.

Dendrochronology and Dating NC’s Historic Buildings

Tuesday, June 27 at 4pm

Join Michael Worthington and Jane Seiter of the Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory to learn all about dendrochronology, looking at examples in North Carolina. Dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, is a scientific technique used to provide precise calendar dates for wood structures and objects. It’s used to date historic buildings around the world and sometimes provides results you wood not believe!

Big Chair Lofts

Tuesday, May 2 at 4pm

Take a virtual tour of Big Chair Lofts, an adaptive re-use project providing affordable rental housing in a former furniture mill.

Join former Preservation North Carolina board member, Richard Angino of Third Wave Housing, for a virtual walk-through of Big Chair Lofts in Thomasville. Built in the 1900s, the property was originally used by the Lambeth Furniture Company Mill and used for Thomasville Furniture Industries until 2011. In 2015, it was nearly demolished. Come learn how this historic building was saved and adapted into 139 units of affordable rental housing.

Photo by John Teague

Tales and Tombstones of Sunset Cemetery

Tuesday, April 11 at 4pm

Join us for a conversation based on the book Tales and Tombstones of Sunset Cemetery: Tracing Lives and Memorial Customs in a Southern Graveyard. The conversation, between a journalist and an academic, will center around a cemetery in the North Carolina piedmont founded in 1841.

Joe DePriest relates the stories of the permanent residents of Shelby. His tales are of a co-founder of the local Ku Klux Klan; of Thomas Dixon, whose racist novels became The Birth of a Nation; of a paratrooper who died in the Battle of the Bulge; of country music legend Don Gibson and soul musician Bobby “Pepper Head” London.

June Hadden Hobbs writes about tombstones, cemetery design, and American deathways. She analyzes hymns and hands carved on tombstones, gender formation, how our ancestors coped with burying their young, and the Confederate monument on the nearby courthouse square. The presentation ends with a look at the “colored cemetery” of Sunset, where the bodies of around 300 souls lie in unmarked graves.

The Women and the Land

Tuesday, March 21 at 4pm

In honor of Women’s History Month: Michelle Lanier, Folklorist and Director of North Carolina Historic Sites and Properties, will guide us through an exploration of women’s memories and visions of space, place, and home in North Carolina, with a particular focus on African American women.

Michelle Lanier, Folklorist and Director of North Carolina Historic Sites and Properties, a Division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, is an AfroCarolina folklorist, oral historian, museum professional, author, and educator with over two decades of commitment to her callings. Raised in both Columbia and Hilton Head, South Carolina, and having ancestral roots in the sandhills, coastal plain, and upper piedmont of North Carolina, Michelle’s ancestral geography guides much of her interdisciplinary work. Michelle is a graduate of Spelman College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has taught as an adjunct faculty member at Duke University for over 20 years. As a seasoned public humanities professional, in 2018, Michelle was named the first African American director of all of North Carolina’s 25 state-owned historic sites.

Oakley Grove: Past, Present, and Future

Tuesday, February 28 at 4pm

Join Preservation NC and Patrick Brown to talk about the past, present, and future of Oakley Grove Plantation, a property protected by protective covenants held by Preservation NC. Oakley Grove Plantation was built during the 1800s for Dr. Lafayette Browne and Mary Ann Falcon Browne. At one point, Oakley Grove had 175 enslaved people, most of whom were forced to work on the plantation’s 7,000 acres. One of those enslaved was Byron C. Brown, who ran away from the plantation at the end of the Civil War at age fourteen.

Patrick, the great grandson of Byron C. Brown, purchased Oakley Grove in May of 2021. Learn more about the Brown legacy at Oakley Grove and the future Patrick and his family are building in honor of all the enslaved families that once lived there.

Carolina Built: The story of Josephine N. Leary

Tuesday, September 6th at 4pm

Join North Carolina novelist Kianna Alexander for a fun discussion about her recent book, Carolina Built. Carolina Built is a historical novel set in the factual story of Josephine N. Leary, an African-American entrepreneur and woman behind the 1894 J.N. Leary Building on South Broad Street in downtown Edenton.

Book Synopsis: Josephine N. Leary is determined to build a life of her own and a future for her family. When she moves to Edenton, North Carolina from the plantation where she was born, she is free, newly married, and ready to follow her dreams. As the demands of life pull Josephine’s attention away, it becomes increasingly difficult for her to pursue her real estate aspirations. She finds herself immersed in deepening her marriage, mothering her daughters, and being a dutiful daughter and granddaughter. Still, she manages to teach herself to be a businesswoman, to manage her finances, and to make smart investments in the local real estate market. But with each passing year, it grows more and more difficult to focus on building her legacy from the ground up.

Preserving our Shrines of Liberty: Black Women and Historic Preservation 1896-2000

Tuesday, August 16th at 4pm

Join Preservation North Carolina for a presentation by UNC-W professor, Dr. Tara White. Many are familiar with the early preservation work of Susan Pringle Frost, the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, and other legacy organizations. Few are familiar with parallel efforts by African American Clubwomen during this same time. Dr. White’s presentation will explore the contributions and lasting impact Black women's organizations had on pioneering historic preservation in the 20th century.

Dr. Tara White is an assistant professor at UNC-Wilmington. She specializes in Public History, as well as African American, Civil Rights and Women’s History.

Image: Colored Women’s League at the John Brown Fort at Murphy’s Farm, Harpers Ferry, WV, 1896. Historic Photo Collection, Harpers Ferry NHP

Urban Slavery in the Antebellum South

Tuesday, June 14th at 4pm

Though only ten percent of enslaved individuals lived in urban areas in the antebellum South, those who did often had markedly different experiences and opportunities from rural enslaved workers. Learn about the realities of slavery in Southern cities with a particular focus on Wilmington and the Bellamy Mansion Museum site with Museum Operations Manager and Site Historian, Leslie Randle-Morton. Leslie will give an overview of urban slavery along with a deeper dive into the lives of the enslaved builders of the site and the enslaved men, women, and children who lived at the Bellamy site beginning in early 1861.

Image: Bellamy Mansion Slave Quarters Interior Photo by Jeff Hall

Restoring the Bellamy Slave Quarters

Tuesday, May 31st at 4pm

In mid-2014, after a decade of planning, analysis and fundraising, Preservation NC completed the restoration of the 1859 urban slave quarters at its Bellamy Mansion Museum in Wilmington. Since the museum opened in 1994, this building has offered a rare, interpreted opportunity to explore the lives of enslaved domestic workers on the eve of the Civil War.

Preservation NC painstakingly took apart the woodwork, plaster and brick to take this artifact back to its original condition. In the process, we discovered the skill of the builders, the details that make this space unique, and a glimpse at the rarely seen lives of those who lived here. Join the Bellamy Mansion Museum Director, Gareth Evans, for an in-depth look at the building and restoration of a place of both education and memorial.

Image: Bellamy Mansion Slave Quarters Exterior Photo by Jeff Hall

The African American Legacy at Historic Rosedale

Tuesday, April 12th at 4pm

Historic Rosedale strives to inspire visitors to think deeply about the history of Charlotte, the state of North Carolina and the United States. Through their African American Legacy project, they are formulating steps to expand and promote the truthful, compassionate, and equitable presentation of the African Americans - both enslaved and free - who lived and worked on the site through over 200 years of history. Join representatives from Rosedale for an in-depth look at this ongoing, multi-year initiative as they talk about how they’re incorporating research, oral histories and family genealogy into exhibits, programing, and special events.

Digging into North Carolina’s African American Cemeteries

Tuesday, March 8th at 4pm

Historic African American cemeteries are numerous around the state of North Carolina. Some are formally identified and recognized, many are not. Join us for a shelter series discussion with Melissa Timo, Shawn Patch, and Debra Taylor Gonzalez to learn more about the role these vital historic and archeological resources play in telling the story of slavery, segregation, and self-determination in North Carolina’s African American Communities and why we need to recognize and designate these sites as historic places.

Melissa Timo (State of NC Archaeologist and Historic Cemetery Specialist) will give an overview of the state’s historic African American Cemeteries and her office’s role in their identification, preservation and protection.

Shawn Patch (New South Associates) will share similar characteristics and patterns found through archaeological investigations of two cemeteries of enslaved communities in Granville County and a project to identify groups of similar cemeteries for a multi property National Register Nomination.

Debra Taylor Gonzalez (Friends of Geer Cemetery) will share the history and significance of Durham’s Geer Cemetery, its preservation challenges, and recent successes.

Photo by Debra Taylor Gonzalez

Preserving Pauli Murray's Legacy at the Fitzgerald Family Home

Tuesday, February 22nd 4:00-5:30pm

Engage with the vision of the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, descendant of brickmaking brothers Robert and Richard Fitzgerald. Learn more about the family's commitment to social justice and racial advancement and the evolution of Pauli Murray's childhood home in Durham, NC from neighborhood icon to National Historic Landmark.

Join Barbara Lau, Executive Director, and Frachele Scott, Managing Director, from the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice for this special Shelter Series that ties into stories from the We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina traveling exhibit.

Pitt County Then and Now

Tuesday, February 8th at 4pm

Join Preservation North Carolina’s 2020 Lowe Business award recipients Don and Claire Edwards of Uptown Properties for an inspiring look at the role historic preservation played in the revitalization of downtown Greenville.

The father and daughter team will talk about why they initiated a zoning change downtown to address a need for mixed use development; how they use historic tax credits to keep rents affordable; and how other communities in North Carolina can share in Greenville’s success. Of course, they’ll show off really cool before and after pictures too!

Historic Preservation Easements: How to REALLY Protect a Property

Tuesday, December 7th at 4pm

Local designation is often discussed as the strongest protection available for protecting a historic property. But the strongest tool in a preservationist’s arsenal is the easement. Join PNC President Myrick Howard to learn how we use easements and covenants to protect our properties and yours! We’ll discuss case studies, tax benefits, enforcement, and strategic planning. If you’ve ever been interested in easements or how you can preserve your own property, join us!

Jean Laffite Revealed: Unraveling One of America’s Longest Running Mysteries

Tuesday, October 26th at 4pm

Join us for a presentation by Beth Yarbrough and Dr. Ashley Oliphant as they share the primary documents and artifacts that allowed them to prove that New Orleans pirate Jean Laffite faked his 1820's death in their recently released book, "Jean Laffite Revealed: Unraveling One of America's Longest Running Mysteries."

Lifelong North Carolinians Beth Yarbrough and her daughter, Dr. Ashley Oliphant, never intended to be pirate hunters, but once they realized the old stories about the strange Frenchman named Lorenzo Ferrer who arrived in Lincolnton in 1839 might be true, they had to investigate. It turns out that Ferrer was actually the New Orleans pirate Jean Laffite living under an assumed name. Yarbrough and Oliphant's two-year-long research journey led them through dark graveyards, mysterious Freemason lodges, dusty courthouse basements, amazing Ivy League libraries and alligator-infested swamps in seven states. Audiences who have participated in their national book tour this year have been delighted by their lively storytelling and their incredible discoveries. The book can be purchased at jeanlaffiterevealed.com.

Image: Front cover of the book "Jean Laffite Revealed: Unraveling One of America's Longest Running Mysteries."

Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge and Wilmington’s Other Battleship

Tuesday, October 5th at 4pm

Join us for a presentation by Dr. Mark Wilde-Ramsing, an archaeologist with the NC Division of Archives and History/Underwater Archaeology Branch from 1978 to 2012, about two of North Carolina’s most important shipwreck sites.

Dr. Wilde-Ramsing's first investigation took place in the mid-1970’s on the banks of the Cape Fear River at Wilmington. The discovery was the Nuestra Senora se Regla, a ship that later became the USS Commodore Hull. The second: Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of modern times. Dr. Wilde-Ramsing will present a fascinating look at the people and histories of their times and the efforts archaeologists have undertaken to reveal how and what their physical remains add to each vessel’s narrative.

Image: The Queen Anne’s Revenge

“A superiour manner to what has been customary”: Architecture and Ambition at Ayr Mount

Tuesday, September 28th at 4pm

Join us for a presentation on the historic Ayr Mount by Jeffrey E. Klee, Vice-President and Senior Director of Architecture for the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust.

Ayr Mount cuts a grand figure in Hillsborough, just as William Kirkland intended when he built it in 1815. With its three-part massing, handsome Flemish-bond brick walls, and spacious interior, it still impresses visitors two centuries later. A closer look, however, reveals that the story of its creation is complex, marked by disagreements over pricing and changes made in the middle of construction, as its builders worked out how to build a stylish new house on an unusual plan. William Kirkland joined many other wealthy Americans who wanted novel, impressive dwellings in the opening decades of the nineteenth century but found the path to architectural distinction to be difficult and expensive.

Image: Classical American Homes Preservation Trust

Montfort Hall - Heights House

Tuesday, August 31st at 4pm

Grab your lunch and join Sarah and Jeff Shepherd, owners of Montfort Hall, to learn what drew them to restore the Raleigh landmark and how it evolved into the stunning Heights House Hotel.

Image: The Shepherds in front of Heights House Hotel

Josephus Daniels and Historic Wakestone

Tuesday, April 27th at 4pm

Recently, the city of Raleigh removed the historic landmark designation of Wakestone, home of Josephus Daniels, a white supremacist and former publisher of The News & Observer. Join us for a discussion with Daniels biographer, Professor Lee Craig, about Daniels’ complex legacy and the role of historic properties in exploring challenging and sometimes problematic history.

Image: Wakestone, Raleigh

A Day of Blood: Preserving the History of the 1898 Wilmington Insurrection

Tuesday, March 23rd at 4pm

Join us for a discussion with historian and author, LeRae Umfleet, to examine the details of the Wilmington Insurrection and the long-term impact of that day in both North Carolina and the nation—including connections to historic buildings and locations in Wilmington.

We’ll also be joined by filmmaker Chris Everett—Everett is the director of the award-winning documentary film about the insurrection, Wilmington On Fire.

Image courtesy New Hanover Public Library

The Green Book in Wilmington

Tuesday, February 23rd at 4pm

The Negro Motorist Green Book was a guidebook for Black travelers from 1936 to 1966. During a time of Jim Crow laws and segregation, the Green Book provided Black travelers with a list of restaurants, motels, and more, that were safe.

Join us for a discussion with historian Lettie Shumate as we explore some of Wilmington’s over 50 Green Book locations-- including oral history from Wilmingtonians to bridge the Green Book's past to the present.

Image: Cover of 1956 Green Book

Cascade Saloon

Tuesday, January 19th at 4pm

Cherished, but long neglected, the historic Cascade Saloon in Greensboro’s Elm Street Historic District was vacant until The Christman Company formed a public/private partnership with Preservation Greensboro and the City of Greensboro to save the structure and transform it into Christman’s new regional offices.

Join us for special viewing of the short film Cascade: Caring for a Place and panel discussion about the restoration of this incredible historic landmark! Panelists: Benjamin Briggs (Preservation Greensboro), Sarah DosSantos (The Christman Company), Michael Frierson (Director, Cascade: Caring for a Place), April Larkins (The Christman Company), Marsh Prause (Allman Spry Law Firm)

Image: Cascade Saloon, Greensboro

The Cohen-Fumero House

Tuesday, December 15 at 4pm

Join Ted Alexander, Preservation NC Regional Director, Herb Cohen, famed artist and original home owner, and Charlie Miller, current owner and renovator, to discuss the preservation and restoration of this amazing Mid-Century Modern Masterpiece! Ted, Herb and Charlie will share incredible before and after images and discuss the history and restoration journey of this important artistic and historic landmark.

Image: Before and After of the Cohen-Fumero Kitchen.

Bald Head Island: Preserving Four Centuries of Shelter

Tuesday, September 29 at 4pm

Bald Head Island is a drama about man harnessing the power of the Cape Fear River while simultaneously contending with Cape Fear’s dangerous Frying Pan Shoals. From pirates, to soldiers, to life-savers and light keepers, a diverse lot of characters once called Bald Head Island home. On Bald Head, North Carolina’s first lighthouse stood sentinel, enslaved people first experienced freedom, and the state’s environmental movement coalesced. The Old Baldy Foundation celebrates Bald Head Island’s heritage by preserving Old Baldy Lighthouse as a museum interpreting the Lower Cape Fear’s rich maritime history.

Join the Old Baldy Foundation’s Travis Gilbert in exploring over four centuries of Bald Head Island’s history!

Image: Old Baldy Lighthouse, Bald Head Island

Stories and Discoveries at the Hall and Graves-Fields Houses

Tuesday, September 8 at 4pm

Join us as we explore the incredible stories and unexpected discoveries during Preservation NC's years long headquarters project at the Hall and Graves-Fields Houses in Historic Oberlin Village. Presented by Preservation NC President, Myrick Howard.

The public hardly knows the story of the Oberlin community in Raleigh since its buildings, the tangible links to that past, have largely disappeared. Established as a freedmen’s village around 1870, Oberlin ran from Hillsborough Street all the way to Glenwood Avenue. By 1880, it had about 750 residents, among them carpenters, brick masons and seamstresses. For decades Oberlin was a thriving community with churches, schools, businesses and homes.

Image: Hall House (left) and Graves-Fields House (right), Raleigh

Wilmington, Lost but not Forgotten at the Beach

Join us as we take a look at lost coastal buildings on the beaches of southeast North Carolina. Presented by Bellamy Mansion Museum Director, Gareth Evans.

Tuesday, August 25 at 4pm

Black Landscapes Matter

Sponsored by:

Blue Heron

Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder, Alicia Garza described the underlying motivations for the BLM movement as fighting “to be seen, to live with dignity, and to be connected.” Building on this quote, Professor Kofi Boone uses these three themes as lenses to examine landscapes in North Carolina, and to show how Black Landscapes (could) Matter. Presented by Kofi Boone, ASLA - Professor of Landscape Architecture at NC State University.

Tuesday, August 11 at 4pm

The Godette Hotel

Sponsored by: Laura Benson and Walt Sliva, Beaufort

"The Godette Hotel was once Beaufort's version of a Green Book hotel and restaurant. Back in those days, the town’s waterfront restaurants all refused to serve black customers. The Godette Hotel welcomed them." - David Cecelski

Learn more about this incredible historic landmark and Preservation NC's efforts to help save it from demolition. Interview and Q&A with author David Cecelski and Stephanie Dauway (granddaughter of hotel owners Henderson and Lucy Gray Godette).

Tuesday, July 28 at 4pm

Image: Godette Hotel, Beaufort

Edenton Cotton Mill and Mill Village: A 25 Year Retrospective

Myrick Howard, President of PNC, who helped bring the project to fruition, talks about the project and shows images of the mill and mill village’s revitalization.

Thursday, July 23 at 4pm

Image: Edenton Mill Village House, Edenton

Preservation NC Before and After

Sponsored by:

Mike and Mary Cockrill

Through Preservation NC's nationally recognized and award-winning Endangered Properties Program we’ve rescued nearly 900 old, interesting, historic, sometimes abandoned, but always important properties. And there’s a story behind each one. Join us as we take a look back at some of our favorite "Before and After" stories! Presented by Preservation NC President, Myrick Howard.

Tuesday, July 14 at 4pm

Image: Staircase at Coolmore, Tarboro, NC

Lost Wilmington

Sponsored by:

Mike and Mary Cockrill

Explore Wilmington's changing historic landscape, including a live Q&A with historian Beverly Tetterton and Bellamy Mansion Museum Director, Gareth Evans.

Tuesday, June 16 at 4pm

Image: Bailey Theatre, Wilmington, NC

We are adding Shelter Series events throughout the year. Please continue to check this site for upcoming events.

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