In 1904, Theodore S. Meekins and his wife, Rosa, purchased a lot in Manteo on Roanoke Island the County Seat for Dare County. The property was located on County Street, now 319 Sir Walter Raleigh Street. Mr. Meekins came to Manteo from Rodanthe on Hatteras Island where in 1896 he had been magistrate of Kinnakeet township.
Mr. Meekins was a member of one of the Outer Banks’ oldest families whose ancestors had inhabitated the area since before the American Revolution. In 1896 he married Rosa P. Midgett and they subsequently had seven children.
After coming to Manteo, he worked as a contractor and used his experience in construction to build this beautiful house located on 319 Sir Walter Raleigh Street formerly known as County Street. At the time the property was purchased a small structure was standing on the property which he and Rosa lived in until 1910. At that time, he built the large house and used the original small dwelling as a kitchen and maid’s room. When the new house was completed it had seventeen rooms and still remains the largest house on Roanoke Island. To build the new house Meekins hired his brother-in-law John Wilson and another local carpenter Joe Dailey. They had measurable experience in building and had constructed several lighthouse keeper’s houses and life-saving stations on the Outer Banks. They built the three-story house in Manteo using as a model a photograph found by Rosa Meekins. Local tradition claims that Cramer Brothers Company of Elizabeth City milled the windows for the house, cut the building materials and sent them to Roanoke Island by boat.
Throughout his years in Manteo, Meekins earned a prominent local reputation and rendered considerable service in local and state government. In addition to being a Magistrate, he served as Clerk of the Dare County Superior Court in the early Twentieth Century. He served in the NC State Legislature during the years 1945 through 1947.
As a Contractor, Meekins left his imprint upon the maritime history of the Outer Banks. In 1911 the US Government awarded him a contract to build a new life saving Station at Chicamacomico, near Rodanthe. Since its construction, the station has become one of the most famous lifesaving outposts in the history of the US Coast Guard. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century the crews of the station made a number of daring rescues of shipwreck victims. These heroic feats included the spectacular rescue of the crew of the torpedoed British tanker Mirlo during World War I. For their heroism each member of the crew was awarded the US Gold Life Saving Medal for Valor.
In addition to being a successful contractor, Meekins was a prosperous merchant and businessman. He owned significant amounts of real estate and operated a merchandise store on the waterfront in Manteo. Along with his partner, Richard C. “Dick” Evans, he ran his store on the ground floor of the Roanoke Hotel until the structure burned in the 1920s. He then built and opened another business across the street from where the first had stood. The new two story frame building was eventually sold to the Carson Davis family. It was in use as Davis Department Store until the 1960s when the third major fire in Manteo’s history destroyed the remaining buildings in the town.
Following Meekins’ death in 1952 the house on Sir Walter Raleigh passed to his son Theodore S. Meekins Jr. who died in 1959, leaving the property to his wife Goldie Harrell Meekins. In 1993, Miss Goldie, as she was known, was no longer able to manage the large house and property and so it was sold to Bebe and Bob Woody whose intentions were to preserve it for the community as well as making it into their home and a bed and breakfast
Today, visitors come from near and far to stay at the Inn. It is known as one of the few places where one can still experience a way of life not easily found in today’s fast-paced world. The Inn harkens back to a time when pampering, comraderor, service and comfort of your guests were the expected norm.
The Meekins House is a grand three-story with attic late-Queen Anne style house and is the largest residence on Roanoke Island. It was constructed in 1910 by local builders John Wilson and Joe Dailey for Theodore S. Meekins and his family. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 noted for its architectural and historic significance.
house is said to be modeled on a photograph which caught the fancy of
Meekin’s wife, Rosa. The highly picturesque composition is essentially
rectangular in plan and form with a richness achieved by the lavish
combination and composition of its elevations. The rectangularity of
the mass is enlivened by a variety of rooflines, the use of weatherboard
and shingles, and an unusual variety in the placement, grouping, and
size of window openings as well as sash type and stained glass. The
grand three-story tower, two-story bays, and a variety of architectural
moldings and devices plus the encircling one-story porch further enrich
the appearance of the three story house which remains the largest house
in Manteo, the Dare County Seat on Roanoke Island.
|History of the Inn|
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White Doe Inn
319 Sir Walter Raleigh St., Manteo, NC 27954
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