It can be quite a feat to sell a million-dollar house. Some of them remain on the market for years. It’s an even neater trick to sell one without even listing it for sale. It happens, but rarely. And the Owen Moon Jr. House in Winston-Salem is a rare one.
The house, at 1077 E. Kent Road in Reynolda Park, sold for $1.495 million on August 6 without being listed. It was built in 1926. The last time it was sold, in 2015, a listing called it an “English Cotswold Cottage.” I don’t know about the Cotswolds, but around here cottages tend to run quite a bit smaller than 5,500 square feet. The
cottage mansion has six bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms. It sits on a two-acre lot. The price came out to $262 per square foot, which isn’t so high at all for a house this grand, especially in a neighborhood this grand.
Reynolda Park is the kind of neighborhood that Buena Vista residents might move to if they want to take a step up (if you’re not familiar with Winston-Salem real estate, Buena Vista is the city’s signature high-end neighborhood — old, sprawling and quite, quite rich … and, by the way, it’s pronounced “boona vista” in Winston-Salem).
Reynolda Park isn’t as big, but it’s about as old, and in the beginning it was, if anything, even richer and more exclusive than Buena Vista. “The expansive residences situated on large lots [two to six acres] in Reynolda Park Sections One and Three reflect Winston-Salem’s early twentieth-century wealth and growth to a greater extent than any other suburb of the period,” Winston-Salem’s Architectural Heritage says. It consists of 65 acres divided off from the Reynolda estate in the early 1920s. Many of the original residents were relations of the Reynolds family, RJR executives and other top business people.
The Moon house is a classic ’20s mansion — linen-fold paneling in the living room, a winding staircase, elevator, butler’s pantry, slate roof, stone terraces, three-car garage, guest cottage. Even the garage is gorgeous.
Owen Moon Jr.
The house was built by Owen Moon Jr. (1872-1947), owner of the Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel and a man of remarkably varied business interests. Unlike many of his neighbors, he wasn’t from around here. He came to Winston-Salem in 1925, at the age of 53, when he bought the Journal. Moon soon bought the Evening Sentinel as well and established radio station WSSJ.
He was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, just north of Philadelphia and across the Delaware River from Trenton, New Jersey. His father was a farmer and a Quaker. Moon graduated from the Friends’ nearby Swarthmore College in 1894 and soon became a major player in Trenton’s suburban trolley lines. He was president of one trolley company, a director of another and a director of a company owning the only local bridge across the Delaware that wasn’t under the control of the Pennsylvania Railroad, archenemy of the trolley lines.
At the same time, he launched a 30-year career as an executive with Essex Rubber Company in Trenton, ultimately serving as president. Never a guy to put all of his many eggs into just a couple baskets, Moon also was an executive and director of Scott Paper Company of Chester, Pennsylvania, founded by his father-in-law. In his spare time, he raised horses and Jersey cattle on a farm in Vermont, where he had a second home.
By 1901 he had purchased an interest in the Trenton Times. “Under his capable management the circulation of ‘The Times’ has nearly doubled, and it is becoming one of the popular and strong newspapers of the state,” a 1905 history of Bucks County reported. He appears to have become the owner of the Times at some point, selling it in 1924 to buy the Journal. In 1927, he bought the Sentinel. Moon launched WSSJ in 1930. At the age of 65, in 1937, he sold them all to attorney Gordon Gray, another man of varied careers (and son of Bowman Gray). Moon died at his winter home in Florida in 1947. He’s buried in Woodstock, Vermont.
The photos are from the 2015 listing.