Many had been skeptical of the project as Dr. Costlow placed the first plaque on the Duncan House on the west end of Front Street, then dated 1790*. But, once it was in place, others began calling Dr. Costlow with comments such as, "My house is older than Sara's - why can't I have a plaque?" Soon, they began sprouting up all over town!
Producing the plaques eventually involved many people. Ben Jones was engaged to cut a tin template to facilitate drawing the pattern on wood. Dr. Costlow traced and cut them out at the Duke Marine Lab on Pivers Island.
Participating in the community effort, Bert Brooks assisted by applying seven base coats of white acrylic paint to the wooden shields. Dr. Costlow did the color work and lettering in his Ann Street kitchen.
|Duke of Beaufort's|
Coat of Arms
In March 1963, the association announced that plaques were in place on 20 buildings, including the Duncan House, the 1796 Courthouse, the Old Jail, Carteret Academy and Purvis Chapel. Others included the Nelson, Easton, Caleb Bell, Hatsell, J. Davis, Beveridge, Morse, Piver, Gibbs and Langdon Houses.
A record of the significance of the plaque is documented in Ruth Barbour’s History of the Beaufort Historical Association. The below information is paraphrased with more details and images added:
- The border of the shield-shaped plaque is made up of a blue and silver checked border signifying fair play. This compony (Heraldry adjective) border was taken from the Duke of Beaufort’s coat of arms which displays a single row of squares with alternating color.
- The Red Rose of Lancaster at the bottom of the plaque represents the Lancaster lineage of the Duke of Beaufort’s family.
- The gold menhaden at the top signifies “Fish Town," a name often used to describe this fishing village on the sea.
|306 Ann Street|
2) The Red Rose of Lancaster is the county flower of Lancashire. Rosa gallica officinalis is a small shrub producing richly fragrant, semi-double, rosy crimson flowers with prominent yellow anthers. The "officinalis" denotes that the plant is used as an herbal remedy. The rose was first adopted as a heraldic device by the first Earl of Lancaster and became the emblem of Lancashire following the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. This ancient rose is recorded as being in cultivation in the 800's. It was used as a medicine and perfume in the court of Charlemagne in the ninth century A.D. Its petals were noted to retain their fragrance even when dried.
3) Beaufort has only one double-plaqued house. One plaque denotes The Allen Davis House circa 1774, home to the Davis family for over 100 years. The other is for Major General Ambrose Burnsides - Union commander of North Carolina troops during the Civil War. He had several headquarters in North Carolina and, though undocumented, many say that he used this home during the Federal occupation of the area from 1861 to 1873.