North Carolina November 20, 2016
The North Carolina Hotel That Used To Be A Bank Is Truly Unique
It’s refreshing to see someone take what’s old and reshape it into something new, as opposed to bulldozing it. Holding on to the past is something that is dear to North Carolina. Throughout the state, we can experience and sometimes recreate history, but what about staying the night in a historic setting? One that has found new purpose. That’s exactly what you’ll get at the O’Neil Hotel in Kinston.
Celebrating the old and new, the O'Neil was formerly Farmers & Merchants Bank which opened in 1924. On the corner of Queen and Gordon Street, the bank among others ushered in the change of Lenoir County's booming agricultural industry. Unique and noticeable in its limestone facade and detailed design set the standard for Kinston's transition from a rural farming community to bustling, turn of the century city.
After the Great Depression, the original bank was forced out of business, later replaced by BB&T, then First Citizens. In 1980, the bank and its vaults closed for good. It wasn't until Stephen Hill took particular interest in the building, as part to revitalization efforts, that it found new life.
Named after his father, Robert O'Neil Hill, a prominent business leader in the community, the O'Neil is a beautiful mix of new and old. Once you walk inside, the two-story open lobby takes your breath away. At the center is the 16-ton vault. In all, the hotel has four vaults, with the main one still being operational.
Intricate details like the lobby's ornate plaster ceiling add extra elegance. Teller windows and marble counters find new purpose as sitting areas - you can even see old alarm mechanisms beneath your seat.
Although the vault is the main eye catcher, you can also see North Carolina's first registered elevator - and even ride it. Don't worry; it's been remodeled to reach modern standards.
Each of the seven rooms, (created from original offices of the Farmers & Merchant Bank), are wildly unique. The rooms are a mix of comfort, charm and elegance.
Each room has the original door from the building's former use - from a dentist's office to bank's trust department, it's neat to imagine the history that has occurred here. Unlike a new development, the O'Neil possesses a very unique energy throughout.
Stephen Hill also co-owns the popular Mother Earth Brewing Company (p.s. - look inside the vault for complimentary beer). The eight-story building reflects original charm and is the best place to stay if you want to be in walking distance to everything Kinston has to offer.
You'll find the O'Neil at 200 N. Queen Street, Kinston, North Carolina 28501.
For more information, or to book a room, visit their Website or Facebook Page.
What a gorgeous reuse of a historic structure. Now you must plan a visit to Kinston! While you’re there, it’s almost mandatory to try both the Boiler Room and Chef and the Farmer – to learn the fascinating story behind North Carolina’s celebrity chef, and her amazing restaurants –