North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Nicholson, Lewis (fl. 1810s)

Birthplace: Unknown
  • Builder
NC Work Locations:
  • Raleigh, Wake County
  • Wake
Building Types:
  • Commercial
Styles & Forms:
  • Federal


Lewis Nicholson (fl. 1810s) was the builder of the State Bank (1814) in Raleigh, one of the oldest buildings in the capital and one of the few surviving early 19th century commercial buildings in the state. The Flemish bond brick building combined a bank on the first floor with the banker's residence above. In 1812, the bank building committee advertised for bidders to erect the 2-story brick structure. Nicholson's role as builder is known only because he ran into financial trouble and advertised in the Raleigh Star in 1815 that, having built the State Bank, he was "poor as a church mouse" and intended to declare bankruptcy. Among those he owed were artisans who were probably subcontractors—plasterer Henry Gorman s(see Gorman Family) and carpenters William Jones and Edmund Lane. Evidently the problems were resolved, Nicholson regained his business, and in 1818 and 1820 he advertised for his runaway carpenter's apprentice, Ellworth Vandygrift. His subsequent career is unknown.

Author: Catherine W. Bishir.

Published 2009

Building List

State Bank (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh


Dates: 1814
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: 123 New Bern Ave., Raleigh, NC
Status: Standing
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
  • Elizabeth C. Waugh, North Carolina's Capital, Raleigh (1967).

State Bank

Lewis Nicholson's Work Locations


  • Elizabeth Reid Murray, Wake: Capital County of North Carolina, Vol. I, Prehistory through Centennial (1983).
  • Raleigh Register, June 26, 1812.
  • Raleigh Star, Aug. 25, 1815; Sept. 1, 1815; Sept. 18, 1818; Mar. 17, 1820.

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