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WHBC History

In 2011, the Elk’s building was for sale and falling apart. Building owner, and original WHBC owner Lee Duncan saw an opportunity to do something with the space.  Now there’s a brewpub in a 1906 building that has more stories than the packing plant has hams, and if you’d like, here’s a bit about it:

Lee is a big fan of old material—it’s full of character and forgiving for the imprecise carpenter—and we've got it in Spades. Every board and nail hole in WHBC is a century-old or more and originated from the building itself or some doomed structure nearby. Nothing was removed  from restorable buildings, only from places that the owners wanted down and gone. Because the structures were built a century ago or more, they are American-made, cut from older, slow-growth trees, and unique to the area (yellow pine!)

Material Directory


  • Top: flooring from the Elk’s Lodge

  • Front: Beaded-board from various rooms and decades (original paint)

  • Foot Board: Chewed-up white oak floor boards from Slick Nurney’s pig barn (Jonestown Rd, IOW County)

  • Floor Boards: Elk’s Lodge (check out the 75 year-old gum!)

  • Ceiling: Original wood ceiling with metal in back (Slick Nurnery’s House, 2nd floor)

  • Settle (Beer Bench) and Green Waincoting: from Comet School, 1900 (taken down April, 2014)

  • Deer Head: “Gina” was in the funeral parlor (19 Main St) where they used to park the Hearse.

  • Bottle Lights: Pre-Prohibition Bottles drunk and buried by construction workers during foundation construction, 1906 (found in a cache under the Banquette Room floor)

  • Brass Coffin Stands: Left in the funeral parlor near “Gina”.


Dining Room

  • Pressed Metal Ceiling: replaced original wood ceiling destroyed by fire.

  • Booth Benches: 1915 Oak pews from Episcopal Mission Church in Port Norfolk, P-Town.

  • Booth Partitions: Truss Boards from Comet School, 1900.

  • Tables: Roofing boards from Comet School, Beer Coasters Bier stolen from German Beer Halls by Albert Burckhardt in the 1970’s.

  • Nautical Maps: Maps of the Thames River featuring Wharves, 1930’s.

  • Indian Canoe: Discovered by Johnnie Wells in 1980, Mill Swamp. Age…OLD.

  • Mirror: Barback from Jamestown Hotel, 1898-1977, Main St., transfered to Jones Grill 1920-1986.

  • Wall Sconces: Art Deco, Tidewater.


  • Doors: Spady House, Chuckatuck, 1840.

  • Ceiling: Pressed Metal, Slick Nurney’s House, (Blue was Gus Nurney’s bedroom, Pink was his sisters) 1920’s.

  • Wainscoting: Weathered boards from Robert Cox’s first jonnie house, 1834.

  • Mirrors: Made from reclaimed decking, David Pruden, 2014.


  • Crown Molding: Fascia Boards, Comet School, 1900.

  • Banquette Hall Landing:

  • Ceiling: Pressed metal from Elk’s Lodge (1906)

  • Crown Molding: Pressed Metal from Shoe Shop @ 17 Main St (1907)

  • Floor: Mosaic Tile paying homage to original businesses, WHBC, 2/12/15.


Sinclair Room:

  • Floor: Recovered from Fort Monroe, Hampton, Age unknown.

  • Posts and beam: Spady House, 1840 (salvaged August, 2012)

  • Stage: Boards from original Elk’s Hall stage 1906.

  • Wainscoting: Bead board, Elk’s Lodge, Handrail, Spady House.

  • Chairs: (1890’s-1950) are from old churches scattered around Hampton Roads and apparently, the University of Pittsburgh.  The churches range in domination from Methodist to Episcopal to NCAA Football.  Nine of the chairs are from Mt. Gilead AME Church located in Newsomes, Southampton County.

  • Tables: Built from a massive poplar tree felled by Hurricane Irene in 2010 at the corner of Jonestown and Raynor roads in IOW County.  Old coins found in the building are embedded in the table finish.

  • Shutters: From some old farmhouse around here–a donation from Albert Burkhardt, Historius Insaneous.

  • Counter Weights: Made from sash weights from the Elks Lodge, old rough cut lumber, and the artistic genious of Meghan Pugh.

  • Pew: Oak. Hand-made in 1915 for the Port Norfolk Episcopal Mission Church, P-town.

  • Waitstaff Partition: Made from boards from the Comet School roof system (yellow pine, ca.1900), an old porch post from the original house at 390 Church street (poplar, ca. 1891), and the railing at the top is from the 1840 Spady House in Chuckatuck (yellow pine lighter wood).

  • Fluted Cast Iron Post in shuttered window #2: Original to building, oddly enclosed in wall.

  • Oyster Tong Hooks: Wrought Iron from a found (half buried, long abandoned) wagon wheel, forged by Chris Smith.

  • Table bases: Recycled from the old Bennigan’s Restaurant on Mercury in Hampton.

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