BELVEDERE'S EARLY HISTORY

This document is commissioned as a "History of the Belvedere Property Owners Association, Inc.," a rather young organization just over 21 years of age, whose history has been made possible and whose history is greatly influenced by the history of thecommunity in which these present day property owners dwell. It is significant that about 400 property owners have their homes on an old "plantation" which was once owned by one family, actually for many years, by one unmarried woman of that family

Early Hampstead.

The Holly Shelter stagecoach ran from New Bern to New Liverpool with a stop at Annandale. This may be a bit confusing (well, maybe) to today's residents of the area until it is revealed that New Liverpool is now known as Wilmington and Annandale is now known as Hampstead. The route was a dirt road located a short  distance to the northwest of the present Hwy 17. Further confusion might arise from the fact that before 1875 Annandale was in New Hanover County, and during reconstruction after the Civil War, Topsail Township was temporarily renamed "Grant Township" in honor of President U. S. Grant (perhaps with a view to getting a reconstruction grant) but was renamed Topsail Township around l883.

When the Wilmington to Newbern branch of the Atlantic Coastline Railroad was completed in 1893, railroad officials renamed Annandale, choosing the name Hampstead after a town in England that dates to the year 986. Beginning with early land patents of about 1725, Hampstead (Annandale) was home to colonial and antebellum fishermen, farmers and large landowners because of its proximity to the Sound, the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean. Exhibit 1 lists a number of events in the past and present of Hampstead.

In 1871, the original Topsail Presbyterian Chapel was built at the same location of today's Topsail Presbyterian Church. This was the church of the Nixon family who lived on the Belvidere Plantation. A church of the same vintage and still standing and in use today (although minus its steeple) is the Hampstead United Methodist known now as the Amazing Grace Tabernacle.

In 1914, Joseph Hampton (J. H.) Lea was responsible for getting a portion of the dirt road to New Bern paved. In 1918, he entered the turtle business with Joe Howard.

The men actually raised loggerhead turtles for eventual shipment to local restaurants. This would now be illegal since the loggerhead turtle is on the endangered species list. Later J. H. Lea purchased a surplus vessel from the Navy and converted it to a gasoline-powered fishing boat. Next he bought a small fleet of gasoline-powered trucks and began the business of delivering fresh seafood to restaurants throughout the area. The Lea family has carried on and continuously expanded the business of packing and delivering fresh fish to restaurants and seafood retailers and stores all up and down the east coast to this very day.

Hampstead had a succession of small schools before getting the Hampstead Elementary and High School in 1925. At about the same time the Weir building was built and occupied as a general store. An earlier general store (near the "Venus Flytrap" store) which had gasoline pumps in front and benches for the weary to rest and talk is well remembered and remained the favorite meeting place for many years. However, Hampstead remained a small village for a long time and did not see rapid growth until the robust trust for Annie S. Nixon. The document described the property only in words as extending from the [old dirt] Newbern road to the Sound and by reference to the adjoining neighbors' properties. When I. C. and Annie S. Nixon conveyed the Belvidere Plantation to their daughter, Irene Nixon, a single woman, the word description in the deed matched that of the deed of trust, however, a legal description was also included, and it contained gross errors in courses and distances.

Nonetheless, the ownership of Belvidere Plantation can be traced from Irene Nixon to the Canal Wood Corporation. Junius C. Smith next bought the Belvidere Plantation March 9, 1945, had the first modem survey made and placed stones bearing his initials, J.C.S., at the four comers of the property. This survey revealed the gross errors in courses and distances that had persisted in three previous deeds. The newly surveyed property was no longer referenced as the Belvidere Plantation, however, it can be accurately traced through several transactions to wood and logging companies and then to Albert S. Killingsworth who is known to be the original developer of the Belvedere Plantation as we know it today. Mr. Killingsworth believed Belvidere to be a misspelling and therefore named his new property Belvedere.

Albert Killingsworth has to be recognized at the founder of the Belvedere Plantation. He platted the property and contracted for the building of the roads, the golf course, the club house including pro shop, tennis courts and swimming pool. He built some of the condominiums and sold a relatively small number of building lots. Ten homes had been built and occupied by individual owners by the time he left.

The US Development Corp (Terry Domnick and Dave Dion) get the credit for selling most of the remainder of the lots, building the townhouses in The Greens and Plantation Point, overseeing the building of the Marina and the boat ramp, building a new office building across the street from the club house and still another new office building at the entrance to Belvedere and known as the Taj Mahal.