Rivermont in Eden: A Landmark 1936 Mansion on the Smith River, $650,000

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When the glory days of Rockingham and Caswell counties passed, they didn’t leave  much behind except some grand old houses. Rivermont in Eden is a relatively late example of the old mansions of Rockingham County (there are two others currently for sale and another under contract). Built in 1936, it’s move-in ready and all yours for $650,000.

With 5,200 square feet, the price works out to $124 per square foot, modest by mansion standards, especially for one that appears to be in such great shape. Rivermont has 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and 2 half-baths. The address is 351 W. Meadow Road. The property comprises 15 acres on the Smith River in the Leaksville section of Eden (you know about Eden, right? Leaksville, Spray and Draper were three small towns that grew together and merged in 1967 to become the town of Eden).

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Rivermont was used by its last previous owners as an event and performance venue (Facebook page, last updated more than a year ago). The current owners bought the house in March 2019 for $400,000. They’ve made some renovations, secured designation for it as a local landmark in June 2019 and now have it for sale again (at a 62 percent mark-up).

Early in the 20th century, the land belonged to B. Frank Mebane, a grandson-in-law of Gov. John Motley Morehead. Mebane built a “log clubhouse” there in the 1920s. The property was bought by Frank Letcher Eggleston (1897-1980), who owned a tire store, and his wife, Mattie Sue Parker Eggleston (1904-1998). They hired prominent Danville architect J. Bryant Heard to design their home.

“The property is locally significant  as a largely intact example of a large, stately Colonial Revival style home,” the landmark ordinance states. “The house is well set back of the road and is accessed by a long circular driveway lined with mature boxwoods. Originally, there was a large riding ring for horses that were kept in stables on the property (no longer standing). The grounds were landscaped with 1,500 English boxwoods as well as native shrubs and large trees.

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“The house is an elegant, painted brick, Colonial Revival style house with a two-story gable roofed center main block with flanking one-story wings. The five-bay wide main block has a full-height porch topped by a balustrade, with six large columns which were imported from England. The front entrance has a paneled door with leaded glass sidelights. The main block has an exterior chimney on either end. The right wing houses the kitchen and servants area as well as a garage and has a recessed arched loggia with smaller columns which were also imported from England. There is a two-car garage addition on the rear of this wing. The left side wing contains the family room and features a conservatory with a bellcast roof. The house is lit by eight-over-eight casement windows. The third floor once served as an enormous playroom. The house has gabled and hip roofs covered with slate shingles. Slate is also used for the walkways and patios.

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“The main block of the house contains the living areas on the first floor and bedrooms on the second floor. the living and dining rooms feature handmade Williamsburg-style cornices. the entry hall features arched doorways and an elegant flying staircase. There are several fireplaces with original details. the family room has a wall of built-in bookcases.”

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Rivermont was built just after colored bathroom fixtures were developed.

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294 West End Boulevard: A 1920 Craftsman Gem in Winston-Salem, $445,000

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The last time 294 West End Boulevard was sold, it went for $65,000. That was in 1984, and the West End has changed a lot since then. The house went on the market today for $445,000. It’s a beautifully restored Craftsman; the price is in line with a similarly impressive Craftsman in the West End that’s also for sale now, 701 Manly Street, and other well-restored houses in the historic district over the past year.

294 West End sits well above the street with a stone retaining wall and broad stone steps at the sidewalk. It has 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms and 2,713 square feet ($164 per square foot). The interior is beautifully restored with what look to be the original mantels, balustrades and other Craftsman touches. The kitchen and bathrooms are modern.

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“The well-preserved Brown House is a handsome Craftsman style foursquare dwelling typical of its 1920 construction date,” the West End nomination to the National Register states.

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“The house has a weather-boarded first story, a wood shingled second story, a low hip roof with overhanging eaves, and a matching front dormer. Windows are paired nine-over-one sash, and the multi-pane glass and wood panel entrance is flanked by sidelights. The broad wrap-around porch is detailed with paneled wood posts set on brick plinths connected by a plain balustrade.”

The house was built in 1920 by Hiram, Joseph and Seth Brown. “By 1921 the city directory listed various members of the Brown family at this address,” the neighborhood’s National Register nomination states. The Browns owned the house until 1938. The current owners may have owned the house longer than anyone else, 36 years this spring.

294 West End Boulevard listing

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An 1889 Restoration Candidate in Kernersville: The First Thing It Needs Is a Good, Sturdy Fence

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The owner of 4981 George West Road in Kernersville apparently doesn’t think much of the house. The listing mainly is concerned with two other things. One is how nice the flat, 1-acre lot would be for a home site. The other is this goat:

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Listing: “If there is an Old Billy Goat Gruff in the yard, RUN! He is the neighbors and shouldn’t be there!”

The goat lives nearby (supposed to, anyway) and may not appreciate having visitors on the turf he’s staked out. Since the neighbors haven’t put up a fence, that may well be the first thing a buyer will want to do. It also appears that the goat may be eating the house, so someone needs to get on it right away.

“This is a bit over an acre of FLAT land with a few old trees that would make a gorgeous homesite!” the owner says, seeming to overlook that it’s already a home site. The house was built in 1889, and from the outside it appears to have a bit of charm.

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It has 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and 1,054 square feet. There are no pictures of the inside. The house has no heating or cooling systems. The asking price is $30,000 or an economical $29 per square foot. With some work, it could be a sweet little place, a home with more character than whatever a new owner is likely to come up with to replace it.

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The outbuilding seen above appears to be a neighbor’s, judging from the county GIS system photo below.

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The house has a Kernersville address, but it’s closer to Walkertown, just east of U.S. 158.

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The 1839 Davie County Jail: A National Register Property in Mocksville Is For Sale in an Online Auction

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Davie County’s original jail was built in Mocksville in 1839, three years after the county was established. Now it’s the centerpiece of an online auction of five properties all on the same downtown corner. Prospective buyers can bid on the properties separately or all of them together.

The jail is the centerpiece. It housed the county’s most armed and dangerous for 70 years and then became a residence. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. In 2001 the current owner bought it and converted it to office use.

A brief rundown of the deal:

Update, December 17, 2019: The online auction was extended to Tuesday December 17, but the listing was taken off the auctioneer’s website before then, apparently without a sale. For comparison, the jail and other properties were listed for sale as a package in 2018 for $580,000; in 2015 it was listed for $620,000.

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As the video shows, there’s nothing left to identify the building as a jail except for the plaque. Still, it’s a substantial piece of local history. “The Davie County Jail is of considerable local significance, for its history parallels that of the county since its founding,” the National Register nomination states. “The sturdy, well maintained building with its handsome Flemish bond brickwork is an important Mocksville landmark.”

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The lot for the jail and guest house, as seen above, is a nicely wooded half acre. The jail’s address is 284 S. Main Street (online listing). It’s listed as having 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, 1,752 square feet.

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One odd detail: The kitchen appears to be upstairs.

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The guest house is being sold with the jail. It has about 858 square feet. The garden lot sits behind the guest house, well off the street.

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The entire package is 1.27 acres. The two additional houses are the “Yellow House” and the “Gray House,” 131 and 141 E. Lexington Road, respectively. The aerial view shows Lexington Road, U.S. 64, at the top and South Main Street, U.S. 158, at the right.

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131 Lexington has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 3,046 square feet. It was built in 1898.

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141 Lexington is a bungalow with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and 1,272 square feet. It was built in 1933. Both houses have vinyl siding. These are the only pictures of the two houses available.

A 1955 Mid-Century Masterpiece in Greensboro, $1.099 Million

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Update: The listing was withdrawn December 5, 2019.

Mid-Century Modern never generated any great mass appeal among mainstream home buyers. It’s too out-there for the typical family. And you won’t find a Mid-Century home much further out there than 3905 Henderson Road in Greensboro’s remarkable Hamilton Lakes neighborhood. The house is for sale at $1.099 million. The price has been reduced a bit since it was listed (originally $1.195 million), but it’s still $384 per square foot, a rather breath-taking price for any type of house in Greensboro.

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The 1955 home has everything you think of with Mid-Century design — lots of glass that brings the indoors and outdoors together, modern materials, sleek lines, flat roofs and an ultra-clean, uncluttered look. More than 60 years after it was built, it still looks as “modern” as the day it was finished. The house has 4 bedrooms and three bathrooms, 2,886 square feet on a lot of 0.4 acre.

Designed by Thomas Hayes for his college roommate, it’s known as the Will and Diane Howard House (Hayes and Howard went to N.C. State). “Their home featured a flat roofline and solid wood and brick exterior walls that alternated with voids of glass,” Benjamin Briggs of Preservation Greensboro wrote. “Interior spaces were austere, featuring areas of terrazzo and carpet coupled with masonry and textured walls. Unusual details include clerestory windows located between ceiling joists and a copper hood above the fireplace. True to the style, public spaces are logically separated from private as the form of the house is dictated by the function of spaces. Form follows function.”

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The Howards sold the house in 1967. Eventually, it fell on hard times, so hard it was included on the N.C. Modernist endangered list in 2013. Then, it was bought and restored by the current owners, Liz and Mike Felsen. The house “has been completely restored to its former glory w/open floor plan, sleek lines, walls of glass, original terrazzo floors, 6 outdoor terraces & 2-story Casita. Completely rebuilt by Gary Jobe [a prominent Greensboro builder], preserving almost everything in the original 1955 plan,” the listing says.

The reconstruction addressed “long-term challenges related to materials, drainage, and sustainability,” Briggs wrote. “It retains its original H-shaped plan and honors the scope, scale and materials of the initial design.”

The casita was a later addition, beautifully complementing the original. It could serve as a mother-in-law suite, if you have a really sophisticated mother-in-law.

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Mid-Century Modern continues to have an enthusiastic following. We’ve tracked 18 sales of Mid-Century homes in the Piedmont this year, and six sold at or above their asking prices. The Howard house is the most spectacular of the recently available Mid-Century homes in the area. There are few chances to buy such a remarkable example of the style.

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An 1898 Train Depot Goes Up for Auction in Madison This Saturday

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Update: The depot didn’t sell at the auction. It remains for sale.

The important thing to remember about the Stokesdale railroad depot is that it isn’t in Stokesdale any more. It’s in Madison. And on Saturday at 11 a.m. it will be auctioned.

The depot was bought in 1975 and moved to its present location just south of Madison at 3766 U.S. 220. Sam Heffinger spent five years turning it into a home for him and his wife, India. Sam was a carpenter, farmer and clock smith (and a Marine during World War II). Here’s how it turned out.

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The chain reportedly was found in the legendary wreck of the old 97 (“They gave him his orders at Monroe, Virginia, / Saying, ‘Steve, you’re way behind time / This is not 38, this is old 97 / You must put her into Spencer on time‘”).

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Sam was creative in his renovation. The front door and frame, along with other interior woodwork, came from a pre-Civil War home in Madison. The sliding freight doors were replaced by windows from a church. He salvaged doors from the Monticello Hotel in Charlottesville (they have “MH” on the doorknobs). The bronze railing and gate came from a bank in Charlotte that closed during the Depression. An elevator was brought in from a building in Madison.

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The house has 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bathrooms and 1,612 square feet. The lot is 1.93 acres. The wooden floors are original, as is the German paneling in what had been the office and waiting rooms. Sam added a basement and a garage. The basement holds the living room, a fireplace, the kitchen and a bathroom.It has a tin ceiling.

The property was previously listed for sale at $199,900 before the owner decided to hold an auction. The last previous sale was for $170,000 in May 2003.

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The Stokesdale depot before it was moved

 

Restoration Project of the Week: Holt’s Chapel, Haw River, $75,000

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One of Haw River’s first churches is for sale for $75,000. Holt’s Chapel was built in 1896 as the first and only home of Haw River’s Methodist Episcopal church. By 1942, the town’s two Methodist churches merged, following the national merger of their denominations. The chapel was used for Sunday school, and what had been the Methodist Protestant church on the hill behind the chapel was used for worship services.

More recently, the building was to be the home of an antiques and auction business, but it’s not clear whether the shop ever opened there.

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The address is 401 W. Main Street. Inside, there’s what looks to be some relatively new framing, but otherwise it’s 3,000 square feet of all but blank canvas. Great windows, high ceilings, open floor plan — it could be a very interesting home. With some work. “Needs electric/heat/cooling/connection to water & sewer,” the listing says. “Public water/sewer as well as electric and gas available.”

The Methodist church is still up the hill behind the chapel. A cemetery lies between them. The chapel is across Main Street from some railroad tracks. In the aerial view below it has a blue square.

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Zillow listing