The Museum of the Cape Fear is a historic house with an even older address. David Reid, museum administrator, says although the house was built in the early 1900s, a lot of its architectural history is gone.
The museum would like to demolish the house at 827 Arsenal Avenue and continue an archaeological dig it started over the summer.
"It was modernized when it was made into offices," Reid says. "We don't know what's out there. What we found last summer were features not found on previous maps, so it's interesting to us."
A small exhibit of what archaeologists found now hangs in the museum. It includes large brick pavement that could date back as early as the 1830s, as well as part of an old arsenal where weapons and ammunition were made and stored years before the Civil War.
The city's Historic Resources Commission feels the house should be saved, not destroyed. They want to have the area around Arsenal Park which has been designated as a new historic district.
"It's one of the last examples that incorporates architectural features from the old Hay Street United Methodist Church downtown," says Lonnie Player of the Historic Resources Commission. "Because of what we know of its historic lineage, in addition with its architectural context in the neighborhood, we believe its a proper case for preservation."
A similar house next door was preserved and turned into offices, but the museum has serious foundation and plumbing problems that could make restoration expensive.
In 2000, the house was bought and donated to the museum's support group. Reid says one of the conditions of the donation was that the house be demolished and that an archaeological excavation be conducted on the site.