Kitchens are among the trickiest rooms of historic houses. How do you balance historic character with practicality? Most homeowners are willing to sacrifice character for the benefits of modern lighting, adequate cabinet space and a convenient outlet for the microwave. With Mid-Century Modern, though, a time-capsule kitchen can be both livable and authentic.
Consider 108 Jackson Road in Mount Airy. Joe and Eleanor Powell built their home around 1955. Now, for sale for the first time, it’s in very good condition. The kitchen is beautiful, a trip back into the Age of Turquoise. Undisturbed by nearly 70 years of decorating styles, trends and fads, it’s worth celebrating.
What’s particularly wonderful about the Barefoot-Tate House, 507 N. Main Street in Graham, is that it’s a kit house manufactured by the Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan, and shipped to Graham to be assembled on site. (They also were referred to as “knock-down” houses; Aladdin used the term “Readi-Cut”).
“Manufactured housing” meant something different 100 years ago compared to today. Aladdin houses were affordable but substantial structures, made to last and designed for a variety of neighborhoods. Aladdin was the first mail-order home company, established in 1906. Its competitors eventually included Sears, Montgomery Ward and, briefly after World War II, the late, lamented Lustron.
The Barefoot-Tate House is the Aladdin “Colonial” model. The original price was about $1,895; the 2021 price is $285,000. It has 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms in 2,915 square feet, just $98 per square foot. The lot is 0.67 acre. Pictures with the listing indicate that it looks to be in great condition. It’s in Graham’s North Main Street Historic District on the National Register.
If you don’t recognize the name, various members of the family also went by Hoenes, Höhns, Haenes, Haines and Haynes. Also Hanes, which is how it’s pronounced. Eventually, this particular branch of the family started spelling it that way, and that’s how the world knows them today. Philip Hoehns, a second-generation Moravian American, was the first of the family to move to North Carolina, bringing along his parents and siblings from Pennsylvania in 1774. A few years earlier, he had bought land in Wachovia, the large Moravian settlement that contained most of what is now Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. He ultimately accumulated 1,800 acres in the area.
In 1778, Philip (1752-1820) married Johanna Salome Frey (1760-1845). “Settling on land Philip had purchased, tradition claims they first lived in a hickory-pole hut, followed by a log house,” the home’s National Register nomination states. “In the winter of 1797-1798, they began construction of their last house, a commodious and sophisticated two-story, four-bay-wide, double-pile, Flemish-bond brick dwelling.”
Philip became a prosperous farmer and distiller, and after his death it was said that “his industry and economy were accompanied by the blessing of God in an evident manner.” The blessing is still evident, as that commodious and sophisticated house of his has come up for sale at $1.695 million.
Mebane’s future has arrived. In recent years, the town has become a bedroom community, nicely situated on I-40/I-85 between the Triad and the Triangle. With the current momentum for telework, the town may be better positioned than ever. If you have to commute only once or twice a week, or less, to Chapel Hill, Durham or Greensboro, why not live in Mebane?
The town’s home prices suggest that many people feel that way. Two current examples are a couple of 1920’s bungalows that have come up for sale recently. Both are immaculate, and both occupy relatively large in-town lots. 304 S. 5th Street is a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom home, 2,363 square feet. The price is $430,000, $182 per square foot. A few blocks away, 100 N. 6th Street is a 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom home, a bit bigger at 2,633 square feet, and a bit more expensive at $498,000, $189 per square foot.
The town of Whitsett was named for the Whitsett Institute, a school for boys founded by the son of early settler Joseph Whisett. The family homestead has stood in the small eastern Guilford County town since 1883, but it may need some luck to remain standing much longer. The house and its surrounding 11 acres are for sale at $1.3 million. A hopeful sign: The owners have listed it as a residential property, even though it has been used as a financial firm’s office for many years. A less hopeful sign: They’ve also listed it as a commercial property, “11.3 Acres of Improved Commercial Land for Sale”:
“Prime development opportunity along the I-40/I-85 corridor in the fast-growing E. Guilford and W. Alamance market,” the listing reads. “Two properties consist of an office building on 11 acres and a vacant tract of 67 acres. Highest and best use is mixed use residential consisting of apartments, townhomes and SF lots.”
And, oh, by the way, “Beautiful Victorian House built in the 1880s is currently used as office.”
212 Florence Street is a little worse for wear after more than 100 years. Still, its Craftsman features are intact, and now it has a chance for a new lease on life. The Preservation Greensboro Development Fund is seeking a buyer to restore the house to its original use as a single-family residence. It was divided into three apartments decades ago.
It’s a great opportunity for anyone who would love to restore a historic home. And as a contributing structure in the National Register Fisher Park Historic District, it’s eligible for historic-rehabilitation tax credits. The house will be sold subject to a rehabilitation agreement and a preservation easement to ensure the structure and its distinctive features are returned to good condition and converted back to a single-family residence.