In the first half of the 20th century, James W. Hopper was the man to see about designing just about any kind of building in Leaksville, Spray or Draper. In 1923, he designed his own Tudor Revival home at 817 Washington Street in Leaksville. It’s been for sale for a long time (on and off for eight years) at a conspicuously low price, now $245,000 ($62/square foot). It’s now under contract.
There are some visible reasons for that price. The listing’s photos don’t make the house look like an all-out restoration project, but it could use quite a bit of updating (to use the language of the internet, your jaw will not drop when you see the kitchen and bathrooms). It’s right on the edge of the neighborhood, facing a busy thoroughfare. The air conditioning is unusual.
It’s an outstanding house, though, “the best example of the Tudor Revival style“ in the fine Central Leaksville Historic District, the district’s National Register nomination says.
“The large two-and-one-half story house features the characteristic elements of applied half-timbering on rough stucco on the second story, brick first story, prominent gabled wings, and bands of multi-pane casement windows.
“Careful exterior detailing includes soldier courses of brick above the first-story windows and just below the second-story windows and carved raking boards with brackets in all of the gables. This attention to detail continues on the interior where all of the trim, including deep crown molding, and all of the doors, which are the vertical two-panel type, are stained. …
“In the living room, tall walnut wainscoting rises to rough plaster walls and exposed beams highlight the ceiling.”
Except for the tile floor in the library, originally a solarium, the floors are hardwoods. They’re mostly covered with wall-to-wall carpeting.
The house remained in the Hopper family until 1973, when James W. Hopper Jr. sold it to the current owners for $35,000.
James Woodson Hopper
Hopper (1888-1965) was born in Preston, Virginia, up the road from Eden (just beyond Horse Pasture, if you’re familiar with greater Martinsville). He studied engineering at the University of Michigan and initially practiced architecture in Danville. Early on, he moved to Leaksville, where his father, James Monroe Hopper, had become a prominent builder (a second-generation local builder, actually).
“Hopper was the principal if not the only local architect active in the building up of the industrial-based communities that compose the present town of Eden,” his biography says on the invaluable NCSU Architects and Builders biographical dictionary. “His prolific practice encompassed essentially every building type including industrial, commercial, religious, and residential, as well as popular styles of the day, typically rendered in substantial and conservative fashion.”
His local works include Leaksville Hospital (now the Towne Apartments), Mount Sinai Baptist Church, three schools and many homes. He also had a substantial career beyond the three little towns that became Eden, designing buildings from Wilmington, New Bern and Elizabeth City to Salisbury, Charlotte and Asheville.
819 Washington Street, Eden, Rockingham County
The J.W. Hopper House
listing removed May 30, 2014; relisted March 4, 2015
listing removed April 8, 2015; relisted May 8, 2017
listing withdrawn September 30, 2017; relisted January 5, 2018
listing removed September 5, 2019; relisted November 3, 2021
contract pending February 8, 2022
- $245,000 (originally $230,000, later $215,000)
- 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 3,941 square feet, 0.31 acre
- Price/square foot: $62
- Built in 1923
- Listed March 1, 2014
- Last sale: $35,000, February 1973
- Neighborhood: Central Leaksville Historic District
- Listing: “Paint allowance for exterior with acceptable offer. Sold As-Is.”
- Previous listing: “Hardwoods under all carpet.”
- The air conditioning appears to consist of mini-split systems throughout the first floor. A window air conditioner is visible in an upstairs window.
- Out-of-state owner
- District NRHP nomination: “The best example of the Tudor Revival style is the J.W. Hopper House located at 819 Washington Street (#98). Around 1920, James W. Hopper (1888-1965) Leaksville’s foremost architect, designed this academic rendition of the style for his family.”