Jane Phillips: Kinston's showplace — The Pollock Hotel

Jane Phillips: Kinston's showplace — The Pollock Hotel

The Pollock Hotel was a splendid showplace in Kinston and a place for gatherings for fun and merriment as well as housing out-of-town visitors.

During court week, attorneys from surrounding towns would stay at the Pollock. It was believed to be built around 1858 by Dr. William Andrew Jackson Pollock. The hotel was a large and sturdy building with many amenities of that time. The Pollock boasted of its menu, its fine liquors at its bar, stables with experienced ostlers, a good supply of ice, every floor was well-ventilated and it had a first-rate well of water. And then there was Pollocks Drug Store nearby.  It was a fine place to stay.

The character and atmosphere of the building alone drew people to it.  It was a three-storied building with an observatory atop for viewing of the countryside. Often young couples would find themselves there at the surrounding countryside and, no doubt, thinking of romance.

The Pollock was in the heart of town located at the corner of South Queen Street and West Caswell Street. It was admired by the residents of the Kinston, who took pride in this splendid hotel being in their town

I have no doubt during the Civil War, officers of the occupied town at times must have used the observatory atop the hotel to scan with spy glasses the surrounding area for miles. It must have been used around the clock during the advance of the Federal armies during both the Battle of Kinston and the Battle of Wyse Fork.

The 1860 census indicates Pollock prospered with his real and property values in the thousands of dollars.


Dr. Pollock eventually gave up the hotel to put more time into his medical practice. He sold it to a Mr. Steven and a Mr. West. They later sold it to G. Bagsby. This landmark was destroyed by fire in 1878, very likely when the first big courthouse fire happened.

Dr. Pollock was born around 1815 in the Stone’s Bay area in Onslow County. He got his medical education from a Dr. Freeman in Wilmington and later went to New York and studied under the tutelage of a Dr. Beach. For more than 50 years he was engaged in the practice of medicine in both Onslow and Lenoir counties.

He was also a druggist. During that time, Dr. Pollock earned the reputation of being a skilled and intelligent physician.

Dr. Pollock died in 1896 and is buried in Maplewood Cemetery. The 1899 industrial edition of the Kinston Daily Free Press stated, “Dr. W. A. J. Pollock was one of the most prominently known physicians that ever practiced medicine in Kinston. It was said he had a keen sense of honor and set an excellent example for his children.”

There are always people out there who can keep us grounded. I encountered one such person this week.

He told me he was almost 90 years old and had never heard of the New York Café, which was the subject of my last column. After several e-mails going back and forth and his own research, he came to learn there was a New York Café once in Kinston but insisted I had used the wrong address.  

After looking at an old New York Café advertisement he showed me, I concede the ad states the New York Café was next to Quinn Miller Furniture Store on Queen Street. We both remember a Quinn Miller on the other side of the street from where I had posted in my story.

That means it was not where Christopher’s Café was located.

My apologies for this error. As I stated at the beginning of my Neuse News journey, I do not profess to be a historian but a student of history. Thank you, Mr. Sutton for helping me make this correction.

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