Frederick Edward Belo (1811-1883) was born in Salem. He attended the Salem Boys’ School and was trained as a cabinetmaker. He constructed a general store on South Main Street, built with red brick and decorated with Corinthian columns. Frederick Edward was married to Carolina Amanda Fries (1817-1881). Frederick helped build a railroad between Winston-Salem and Greensboro. He also was a farmer and raised flowers. One of his sons was Alfred Horatio Belo (discussed below) and one of his daughters was Agnes Cornelia Belo (1852-1932) who married John Cameron Buxton.
The house also featured iron railings and grills that he made in his foundry, plus animal sculptures (a lion and two dogs) that graced the steps on the Bank Street side of the house. The first floor was for business, and the family lived on the second floor. A third floor was added later and was used for staff housing.
Because of the size of the house, and because other houses were located across the street from the Belo House, photographing the house from the front was difficult. When Old Salem Inc. demolished the existing buildings in order to reconstruct earlier Old Salem houses, the Belo House could be seen in its entirety and photographed.
The Single Sisters of the Moravian Church lived for a while in the Brothers House at the corner of South Main and Academy Street. It was also called the Widow’s House at that time. Old Salem Inc. planned to reconstruct the Brothers House as an exhibit building, so the Sisters were relocated to the Belo House. The house is used as apartments today and is owned by the Moravian Church of the Southern Province.
Alfred Horatio Belo (1839-1901) was one of the sons of Frederick Edward and Carolina Amanda Fries Belo. Alfred attended the Salem Boys’ School, the Masonic Institute at Germanton, and Wilson’s Academy in Alamance County. For a while he worked in his father’s store, and at his father’s linseed oil mill, and on the family farm. During the Civil War Alfred was commissioned a captain in the Forsyth Riflemen.
After the war he moved to Texas and worked as a tutor before joining the Galveston Daily News. He later purchased the company and began the Dallas Morning News. Alfred married Jeannette Ennis (1846-1913). Jeannette was the daughter of Cornelius Ennis who was Mayor of Houston and an incorporator in the Houston and Texas Central Railway. Jeannette bought a frame house on a ten acre tract on Ross Avenue in Dallas and commissioned a stately mansion patterned after the Belo family home in Salem.
The house was completed about 1900. Ross Avenue became the first elegant address in Dallas and the house became a city showplace. Alfred Sr. and Carolina’s son, Alfred Jr., married Helen Ponder in 1900 and moved into the residence with his parents. They had two daughters. Alfred Sr. and Carolina’s daughter was Jeannette Belo Peabody (1871-1951). Alfred Sr. died in 1901 and his son died in 1906.
Alfred Sr.’s wife, Carolina, lived in the house until her death in 1913. Her daughter-in-law, Helen Ponder Belo (1875-1954), lived in the house until 1922, when she moved to North Carolina for health reasons. In 1926, granddaughter Helen Belo Morrison (1902-1988), negotiated a 50-year lease to use the house as the Loudermilk-Sparkman Funeral Home. The house was remodeled in 1926 and a chapel was built onto the house in 1936.
In 1976, the granddaughter (75 years old) negotiated an agreement to sell the property to the Dallas Bar Foundation. With contributions from lawyers, foundations, and citizens, the house was restored and opened in 1979 as the new headquarters of the Dallas Bar Association/Dallas Bar Foundation. The granddaughter attended the opening and proclaimed the restoration made the house just as she remembered it. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Pavilion was added to the Belo Mansion in 2003, to meet the demands of the growing membership. The house is also available today as a venue that can be rented for weddings, receptions, meetings, and other special occasions.
While the houses are not identical, there are some similarities in the two houses, such as the tall columns and in the grandeur of the style as the houses are positioned in their locations. They are both still functioning and people in Winston-Salem and Dallas know exactly which house one is referring to when the “Belo House” is mentioned.
Frederick Edward Belo, his wife Carolina Amanda Belo, Alfred Horatio Belo, and his wife Jeannette Ennis Belo, are buried in Salem Cemetery.
See more photos of the Belo House in Winston-Salem at http://www.digitalforsyth.org/photos/?q=belo+house&b=r&o=a&s=advanced&dv=true
Black and white photographs courtesy of Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection.
Stay tuned for the next historical post on July 1st.