Thomas M. Emerson House
1909-1911; 1923; 1931
1705 Market St., Wilmington, NC
Tony P. Wrenn, Wilmington, North Carolina: An Architectural and Historical Portrait (1984).
The August 6, 1910 Wilmington Dispatch reported, “Mr. J.F. Leitner, the well known architect of Wilmington, has prepared plans for a very handsome residence which President T.M. Emerson, of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, contemplates erecting at Carolina Heights. Drawings of the proposed residence have been finished. These give illustrations of what will be one of the finest residences in Wilmington. The drawings reveal a pleasing brick residence several stories in height, with quite a large number of rooms. The structure will be of commanding appearance and will be a great addition to the section of the city in which it is to be erected. It is stated that work will be started on the house in the fall and that several months will be required for its completion.” The house was renovated in 1923 for heiress and philanthropist Sarah Graham Kenan from designs by architect Thomas Carrere of Carrere and Hastings of New York. After a fire in 1931, architect Leonard Schulze designed the interior rebuilding. Some accounts (see Tony P. Wrenn, Wilmington, North Carolina: An Architectural and Historical Portrait ), indicate that the house was begun during the ownership of Mary Bridgers from designs by Burrett Stephens and was essentially complete in 1908 before Emerson purchased it. But when Mary Bridgers sold the property to May B. Emerson, Thomas Emerson, the deed, dated Jan. 27, 1909, stated: “No dwelling house shall be erected on the premises to cost less than $4,500.”