Ocracoke's history & its people

Berkley Manor receives OPS Historic District House Award

Berkley Manor Brian Carter (2)

Berkley Manor Photo by Brian Carter

November 12, 2014
By Connie Leinbach and Peter Vankevich

The Ocracoke Preservation Society last night awarded the Berkley Manor, owned by Benjamin “Jamin” and Pam Simmons, with its 2014 Historic District House Award.
This award, which includes a bronze plaque, is for a building which has been maintained, restored or rehabilitated to preserve the architectural features that allowed it to be included as a contributing structure when Ocracoke’s  historic district was established in 1990.
“They did a great job keeping it as close to the original building as possible,” Brown said about the restoration completed in 2012.  Brown said the committee that selects a winner uses a scoring system and that four different properties were in contention this year with the Berkley having received the most points.
According to a June 2012 story in the Ocracoke Observer about the renovation, the Berkley Manor was the first of four unique buildings scattered around the perimeter of Silver Lake designed by industrialist Sam Jones in the 1950s. Jones favored gabled dormers, large central turrets and wooden shingles which he said “gave a warm, hospitable and welcoming look.”
The building had gone through several owners after Jones died in 1977. Most recently it sat for almost 10 years with the windows and doors open, shingles falling off and major roof damage before the Simmons’ purchased it and did a total overhaul in 2012.
In addition to the Berkley, he built the Castle B&B, the Home Place, where he and his family stayed in while on Ocracoke, and the Whittler’s Club (now a private residence) on Silver Lake Road.
The Ocracoke Historic District is an irregular area surrounding Silver Lake Harbor. It consists of 232 contributing buildings, 15 contributing cemeteries, four contributing structures (the lighthouse, cisterns, picket fences, and docks), 139 non-contributing buildings, and one non-contributing structure. On Sept. 28, 1990 it was entered into the National Register of Historic Places.
Previous winners compiled by Philip Howard are:

  • Blanche Howard Jolliff, the Stacy Howard House, 1989
  • John Thomas and Mildred O’Neal, the Ivey and Eliza O’Neal House, 1990
  • James Barrie and Ellen Gaskill, Albert Styron’s Store, 1991
  • Keith and Isabella McDermott, the John Wilson McWilliams House, 1992
  • Fannie Pearl Fulcher, the Amasa Fulcher House, 1993
  • Jerry and Pam Sheets, the Horatio Jones Williams House, 1994
  • Ruby Garrish, the Simpson-Basnett Garrish House, 1995
  • Cape Hatteras National Park Service, the Ocracoke Lightkeeper’s Quarters, 1996
  • Andy and Mary Anderson, the Albert Styron House, 1997
  • Myra Edwards Wahab, the James Hatton Wahab House, 1998
  • Alton Ballance, the Isaac O’Neal House, 1999
  • Timothy Midgett, the Bragg-Tolson House, 2000
  • Isabella Morris, the Eliza and William I. O’Neal House, 2001
  • William Nathan and Janet Spencer, the Esther and Andrew Spencer House, 2002
  • Robert and Debbie Kornegay, the Preston and Bertha Garrish House, 2003
  • Lynn Russell, the John N. Midgette House, 2004
  • Philip Howard, the Bragg-Howard House, 2005
  • Robert Temple and Sundae Horn, the William & Lillian Jackson House, 2006
  • Michael and Paula Schramel, the James Henry Garrish House, 2007
  • John R. Mitchell, Jr., the Tilman W. O’Neal House, 2008
  • David Senseney (owner), James and Susan Paul (leasees), the Community Store, 2008 (Special award for restoration of public space inside & outside)
  • David Senseney, the Sound Front Inn/Chase-Bragg-Boos House, 2009
  • Tom and Carol Pahl, the Uriah Garrish House/Ocracoke Restoration Company, 2010
  • Mike and Nicola Spencer; the Hattie and Samuel Tilden Spencer House, Lighthouse Road, and George and Betty Chamberlain for the Merchant Mariner Gift Shop (Downpoint Decoy Shop)
  • No awards in 2012 or 2013

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