Manufacturer: McNicol China
User: Virginia Dare Hotel – Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Date of examples: circa 1927 – 1959
Notes: From the Elizabeth City Historic Neighborhood Association at VisitElizabethCity.com: "The Virginia Dare Hotel [was] designed by W. L. Stoddard of New York City, one of the nation's leading hotel architects, the nine-story building was billed as the Albemarle's first 'skyscraper' when it opened in 1927. It remains the tallest building in the region. The hotel contained 100 rooms, and a heated garage (now the rear parking lot) with an interior filling station and lubricating stand.
"It remained the premier hotel and center of Elizabeth City's social activities for over 40 years. Architecturally, its restrained Colonial Revival finish follows the typical division of such tall buildings into the three parts of a classical pillar: a sturdy two-story base; a simply detailed six-story shaft; and a one-story capital, which displays an abundance of decoration."
When the hotel closed is not known, but in 2018, it was converted into an apartment building with 68 units, and a business arcade on the ground floor.
As for its namesake, according to Wikipedia: "Virginia Dare (born August 18, 1587; date of death unknown) was the first English child born in a New World English colony.
"What became of Virginia and the other colonists remains a mystery. The fact of her birth is known because John White, Virginia's grandfather and the governor of the colony, returned to England in 1587 to seek fresh supplies. When White eventually returned three years later, the colonists were gone.
"During the past four hundred years, Virginia Dare has become a prominent figure in American myth and folklore, symbolizing different things to different groups of people. She has been featured as a main character in books, poems, songs, comic books, television programs, and films. Her name has been used to sell different types of goods, from vanilla products to soft drinks, as well as wine and spirits. Many places in North Carolina and elsewhere in the Southern United States have been named in her honor."
White body plate with a fancy band around the outer rim consisting of a blue background accented with brown stylized flowers and ornaments. Underneath the band is a garland of blue and brown ornamentation, which is broken at the top of the plate with the stacked words "Virginia Dare" over "Hotel" in a brown script font.
Shown above, the VIRGINIAN pattern was featured in an aspirational 1934 McNicol Decoration Pattern Series promotional catalog: "VIRGINIAN. In a colder blue emphasized by brown, VIRGINIAN is another of the Eighteenth Century patterns produced by The D. E. McNicol Pottery Company of West Virginia. It could be the basis of a room very similar to the one above, done in American style."
Plate photos and ID: Attorney Anthony L. Draper
Postcard: North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill
Snapshot of current apartment building: Susan Phillips
Author: Ed Phillips