201 County Club Drive was a relatively late addition to Greensboro’s most affluent neighborhood. The Colonial Revival was built around 1940, and today it retains the stately elegance of its era, which was rapidly drawing to a close. The house was listed for sale this week at $863,000.
The Morgan House has 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms, in 3,058 square feet, which comes out to an impressive $282 per square foot. The lot is 0.46 acre. The interior looks impeccable; the landscaping is gorgeous as well. The house is a fine example of Irving Park at its opulent best, but it isn’t quite as remarkable as its first owner.
Roy Morgan may have had one of the most distinguished careers of anyone in Greensboro in the mid-20th century, but he may be one of the least known among the city’s leading figures of the time. Aside from serving on the City Council, most of his work was far from Greensboro.
Roy Leonard Morgan (1908-1985) and Rosamund Woodruff Morgan (1901-1995) bought the property in 1940; they owned it until 1965. Roy was a native of Morganton, West Virginia. He came to Greensboro as a special agent with the FBI. The work left him time to practice law with Brooks, McLendon and Holderness as well, for a while, at least.
“While he was a special agent for the FBI, he represented the U.S. government during the 1942 detention of 1200 Japanese, German and Italian diplomats from North and South America at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia and The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia,” according to a brief biography in the University of Virginia’s International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Digital Collection.
The various Axis factions were constantly at each other’s throats. “One of the Americans keeping the sides apart was 33-year-old Roy L. Morgan, a husky, balding West Virginia native,” a 2018 article on HistoryNet.com, “The G-Man and the Spy,” relates. “Morgan’s easygoing manner made him ideal to head security for the Japanese detainees and, in true G-man fashion, he cultivated low-level informants among them.”
After the war Roy was sent to Tokyo as associate counsel and chief investigator for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. “While most IMTFE investigators neither spoke Japanese nor possessed local sources, Roy Morgan was doubly advantaged. He knew many Japanese from his days at the Homestead and Greenbrier,” the article states.
After his work in Japan, Roy came back to Greensboro. He resumed practicing law and served on the City Council. In 1950 he went back to Japan to work for Ford Motor Company. He went to Germany in 1954 to spend a year as a military intelligence analyst.
“For the next fifteen years Morgan served in various capacities for the U.S. and Japanese governments,” the UVa archive says. “In 1955-1956 he was one of the American advisors to the Prime Minister of Japan, and Chief Justice of the U.S. Civil Administration, Appellate Court for the Far East until 1960.
“From 1960 to 1967 he was Special Assistant to the Secretary of Commerce, and consultant of the U.S. government, advisor on international trade with Japan, and in 1962 and 1968, he served as Head of the U.S. Trade Missions to Japan.”
Roy eventually retired to Florida and later moved to Mount Airy, where he died in 1985. He and Rosemund are buried in Low Gap.
201 Country Club Drive, Greensboro
The Roy and Rosamund Morgan House
- 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms, 3,058 square feet, 0.46 acre
- Price/square foot: $282
- Built in 1939 (per county, see note)
- Listed October 11, 2021
- Last sale: $427,500, April 1999
- Neighborhood: Irving Park
- Note: The address doesn’t appear in the city directory until 1942, suggesting a slightly later date for the house than county records show.