Historic Mansions

Updated July 4, 2022

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Greensboro, High Point and Guilford County
Winston-Salem and Forsyth County
Alamance, Caswell and Rockingham Counties
Stokes, Surry, Yadkin and Davie Counties
Davidson, Randolph and Montgomery Counties

In Limbo

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2018-2021 Sales

411 S. Main Street, Old Salem, Winston-Salem
The Charles A. Cooper House
listing expired February 2, 2022
relisted February 23, 2022

  • $989,000 (originally $1.05 million)
  • 4 bedrooms, 5 1/2 bathrooms, 3,900 square feet
  • Price/square foot: $254
  • Built in 2006
  • Listed September 20, 2021
  • Last sale: $38,000, December 2001 (land only)
  • Listing: “Based on old photography, partially excavated foundation, and tons of research and experience, the home has been reconstructed to its original 1840’s appearance by historic home builder Steven Cole.”
    • The house features reclaimed doors and iron work from the 1700’s, full mortise and peg windows made of heartpine wood and wavy glass, imported European bricks to line the fireplaces, and wide board white oak flooring on three of the four levels.
    • County records show the square footage as 2,628, which looks way too small.

Greensboro, High Point and Guilford County

710 Country Club Drive, Greensboro
The J. Spencer Love House I
Blog post — $7.5 million and It’s Yours: The 1937 J. Spencer Love House in Irving Park

  • $6.5 million (originally $7.495 million)
  • 6 bedrooms, 7 full bathrooms, 3 half-bathrooms, 11,201 square feet, 3.3 acres
  • Price/square foot: $580
  • Built in 1937
  • Listed August 5, 2021
  • Last sale: $2.49 million, February 1997
  • Neighborhood: Irving Park Historic District
  • Listing: “In the late 1990’s the house underwent a total renovation by the present owners. Original features to the house include the Grand Foyer, Formal Living & Dining Rooms, Sunroom, Library, Kitchen, Butler Pantry’s, Morning Room, Six Bedrooms, inclusive of a magnificent primary suite with his & hers dressing rooms, baths.
    • “Lower level with Sauna, hot tub, bedroom, bath, exercise room & mechanical room. Pool House with two kitchens, two living areas & three bedrooms. The Cottage with open kitchen & living area, massive fireplace, two bedrooms, two baths, Carriage House with kitchen, bedroom & bath.
    • “Gazebo, Tennis Court & open air breeze back grounds overlooking beautifully maintained gardens. Picturesque park like grounds face Greensboro Country Club golf course.”
    • District NRHP nomination: “This was the residence of J. Spencer Love, president of Burlington Mills, and his family. The Love House is a palatial Georgian Revival mansion inspired by eighteenth century Virginia houses. It features Flemish bond brickwork, a steep hipped roof with segmental-arched dormers and a modillioned cornice, a five-bay facade with a swan’s neck pedimented entrance, a string course between floors, and brick corner quoins. Large one and two-story wings project from either side of the main block. An expansive landscaped lawn fronts the house and is bordered by a molded brick wall.”
    • James Spencer Love (1896-1962) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father, James Lee Love, was a professor of mathematics at Harvard and, more importantly, a native a Gastonia, where his father and brother owned a small mill called the Gastonia Cotton Manufacturing Company. After graduating from Harvard, J. Spencer went to Gastonia and in 1919 bought the company. In 1922 he moved it to Burlington and gave it a new name. “Shortly afterwards, he decided to gamble on a new product, rayon. Throughout his business career, Love continued to be bold, expanding frequently and seeking new products even in the hard times of the 1930s.” (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography) That kind of initiative turned his small mill into the largest textile company in the world, Burlington Industries.
    • Benjamin and Anne Cone bought the house in 1941 from Love’s ex-wife, Elizabeth Love Appleget. Cone (1899-1982) was a son of Ceasar and Jeannette Cone. He served as chairman of Cone Mills, 1957-71; mayor of Greensboro, 1949-51 (Greensboro mayors traditionally served only one term until the 1970s); and chairman of Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, 1956-65. He and his wife, Anne Coleman Wortham Cone (1915-1999), were major benefactors to the Weatherspoon Art Museum. They owned the house until 1977, when they sold it to Richard Love, a son of J. Spencer Love, and his wife, Bonnie B. Love. They sold the house in 1982.
    • in 1997, the house was bought by the current owner, Bonnie McElveen Hunter, founder and CEO of Greensboro’s Pace Communications, president of the American Red Cross and former ambassador to Finland, and her husband, Bynum Merritt Hunter (1925-2018).
415 e. main street jamestown.jpg

415 E. Main Street, Jamestown, Guilford County
The Thomas C. Ragsdale House
listing withdrawn May 14, 2020; relisted August 10, 2020
listing withdrawn August 24, 2021; relisted November 15, 2021
sale pending April 8, 2022
no longer under contract May 12, 2022

  • $2.5 million (originally $2.5 million, later as low as $2.25 million and as high as $3.5 million)
  • 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 7,685 square feet, 21 acres
  • Price/square foot: $325
  • Built in 1951
  • Listed September 4, 2019
  • Last sale: $880,000, June 2004
  • Note: The price was raised by $1 million when the size of the property for sale was doubled to 42 acres for a time.
    • Ragsdale was a mayor of Jamestown (1951-53) and one of seven children of Lucy Coffin Ragsdale, a well-known advocate for public education and namesake of Ragsdale High School in Jamestown.
    • The property includes a swimming pool, pond, guest house, four-car garage, a five-stall horse barn and horse pasture.
815 woodland place 2019.jpg

815 Woodland Drive, Greensboro
The Haywood Duke House
listing removed and relisted six times since May 2011
relisted most recently August 23, 2021

  • $1.789 million (originally $1.89 million, later $1.59 million)
  • 5 bedrooms, 5 1/2 bathrooms, 5,215 square feet
  • Price/square foot: $343
  • Built in 1925
  • Listed January 8, 2011
  • Last sale: $1.7 million, June 2004
  • Neighborhood: Irving Park
  • Note: Haywood Duke was general manager of the King Cotton Hotel. The grand 13-story hotel stood downtown on Market Street at Davie, where the News & Record building now is, from 1927 to 1971.

303 W. Greenway Drive North, Greensboro
The Mary and Hugh Preddy House

  • $995,000
  • 3 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms, 3,961 square feet, 0.61 acre
  • Price/square foot: $251
  • Built in 1928
  • Listed July 14, 2022
  • Last sale: $160,000, December 1981
  • Neighborhood: Sunset Hills Historic District (NRHP)
  • Note: The house is on a hill overlooking Sunset Hills Park.
    • Architect Lorenzo Winslow (1892-1976) designed the house. Among his other local works are the Irving Park Apartments on North Elm Street. He later served for 20 years as architect of the White House, responsible for the complete reconstruction of the interior from 1948-52.
  • District NRHP nomination: “The two-and-a-half-story, three-bay, side-gabled, brick and half-timbered Tudor Revival-style house features a projecting, two-story, front gable containing the entrance.
    • “A wood batten door with metal strap hinges and pierced by a small window with diamond-patterned wood muntins is set in a Tudor arched-head brick surround. Narrow windows with stone sills flank the door.
    • “Square posts support a porch that extends along the façade of the south end of the house. It is topped by a wood balustrade enclosing a balcony. French doors replace the original windows and allow access from a second floor bedroom to the balcony. A metal spiral staircase joins the balcony and lower level porch.
    • “Windows throughout are primarily casement and six-over-six and four-over-four. A variety of decorative brick patterns grace the first level.
    • “On the north elevation, two side-gabled wings of differing heights project from the main block. A one-and-a-half-story, side-gabled wing occupies the south gable end.
    • “Two brick chimneys rise from the house, one on the south gable end of the main block and one on the rear roof slope. A wooden Tudor arch crowns a rear recessed entry that is sheathed in weatherboard. A slate roof tops the dwelling.
    • “The interior follows a center hall plan with the stair originating in the rear portion of the passage. Just inside the door, the original tile floor remains.
    • “The interior remains largely unchanged, except for the removal of a wall between two second floor bedrooms.”
    • Hugh Newell Preddy (1886-1952) and Mary Dodson Preddy (1891-1963) bought the house in 1928. Hugh was a clerk for E.A. Pierce & Co., one of the brokerage houses that later were merged into Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith. After the stock market crash, he lost job, and in 1933 the Preddys lost the house to foreclosure. By then, five other family members and a lodger were living with them. The house was bought by the estate of Mary’s grandfather, allowing the family to stay until 1941, when the house was sold.
    • The next owners, Wylanta McKay Bucker (1902-1981) and David Buckner (1894-1956), owned the house until 1981, when the current owners bought it. David Buckner was an actuary and later an executive with Jefferson Standard Life Insurance.

809 Church Street, Gibsonville, Guilford County
Valhalla
sale pending June 28, 2022

  • $625,000
  • 5 bedrooms, 2 2/12 bathrooms, 4,364 square feet, 16.28 acres
  • Price/square foot: $143
  • Built in 1904
  • Listed June 3, 2022
  • Last sale: $510,000. The property was bought in two transactions:
    • $390,000, December 2018, for the lot containing the house and 2.6 acres
    • $120,000, January 2019, for two adjoining parcels totaling 13.68 acres
  • Note: The property includes a detached two-car garage with a studio apartment upstairs and an in-ground swimming pool and pool house.
    • The three parcels have been combined into one.
    • I haven’t been able to find anything on the history of this house, oddly. I’m still trying.

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County

7980 Valley View Drive, Clemmons, Forsyth County
The Robert and Nancy Lasater House
listing withdrawn July 16, 2021
relisted December 23, 2021

  • $2.95 million (originally $3.9 million, more recently, $2.2 million)
  • 7 bedrooms, 8 full and 4 half bathrooms, 12,881 square feet, 4.45 acres
  • Price/square foot: $229
  • Built in 1928
  • Listed October 9, 2009
  • Last sale: $625,000, December 2006
  • Neighborhood: Fair Oaks
  • Note: Designed by Charles Barton Keen for Robert E. Lasater (1867-1954), an executive of R.J. Reynolds, and his wife, Nancy Margaret Lybrook Lasater (1877-1952), a niece of R.J. Reynolds. Nancy’s mother, Mary Josephine Reynolds Lybrook (1844-1888), was a sister of RJR. She was the first of 12 children; only seven survived to adulthood.
    • Landscape architecture by Thomas Sears, designer of Reynolda Gardens.
    • Listing: “One of the largest and most historical private homes in NC. Magnificent woodwork, intricate mural, crystal chandeliers, restored original Otis elevator … Circle drive / Antique Samuel Yelin wrought-iron staircase railing / Wide plank oak floors / Nine wood burning fireplaces / Intricate woodwork and molding / Restored Zuber wall mural / Antique chandeliers and sconces by E.F. Caldwell.”
    • The house has been listed and withdrawn without a sale several times since 2009.

428 S. Main Street, Old Salem
The Dr. J.F. Shaffner House

  • $1.899 million
  • 5 bedrooms, 5 1/2 bathrooms, 7,124 square feet, 0.45 acre
  • Price/square foot: $267
  • Built in 1873
  • Listed June 22, 2022
  • Last sale: $600,000, March 2018
  • Listing: “hidden secrets to be disclosed once under contract!”
    • The house includes an apartment with a kitchenette.
    • District NRHP nomination: “This fine example of the Second Empire style, the Shaffner House, is symbolic in many ways. Associated with three historically significant families in Salem: Shaffner, Vogler and Fries, the house represented growth and expanding wealth of Forsyth County in the 1870s and that manifestation in the town of Salem. In addition, the house was also a hotly-debated preservation issue during Old Salem’s first forty years, with many eager to remove it as an intrusion and interpret the important early pottery site on the lot.”
    • Located on the unusually large Lot 48, previously the site of a building that housed the Salem Pottery (1768-1829) and then the Concert Hall, the Temperance Society, the 1849 Forsyth County courthouse, and a school. The lot was sold to John Nissen in 1865 and then in 1868 to Dr. J.F. Shaffner (1838-1908).
    • “Shaffner, a Salem native and son of potter Heinrich Schaffner, was then recently back from service as a doctor in the Civil War. A protégé of Francis Fries since before the war, Shaffner became a prominent physician and was an active participant in the railroad, industrial pursuits, the Moravian Church, and the Town of Salem.
    • “By 1871, Dr. Shaffner was operating a drug store in a building constructed by Nissen on Lot 48. The pottery buildings were cleared and construction of the Shaffner House began in 1873 by Fogle Brothers Company.
    • “Elias A. Vogler was the architect of this new house for his niece Caroline Fries [1839-1922] (daughter of Francis and Lisetta Vogler Fries) and her husband Dr. Shaffner. Vogler was an artist and former merchant who had designed Salem Cemetery (1857) and stylistic renovations to homes in Salem in the 1870s.”
    • “It was the first large house to be built in Salem after the Civil War. The highly decorative, two-story brick house on a brick foundation has a clipped-corner, gray slate Mansard roof with concave sides. The house was set well back from the street and connected to the pre-existing drugstore and an icehouse by several porches.
    • “The main block of the house is five bays and has a pressed brick facade of running bond (other elevations common bond) with many decorative features, including red glass transoms and sidelights at the arched paneled double door centered entrance, richly ornamented pediments and bracketed sills at the tall four-over-four sash windows, and a center-bay tripartite window above the portico.
    • “There are pilaster strips at the corners, rectangular brick panels between paired scrolled brackets set on small molded shelves supporting wide eaves, and decorative hood molds at the round arch dormers.
    • “The tall brick end chimneys feature recessed arches above the roof line (south corbelling is missing). The paired brackets and brick panels at the cornice continue around the house; however, other decorative features are less apparent on other elevations.
    • “A large frame decorative bay window room on the south elevation served as a greenhouse for Dr. Shaffner. …
    • “Following the deaths of Dr. Shaffner and his adult son John Francis, Jr. [1874-1910], their widows (Caroline and Margeretta, respectively) had changes made to the house and lot in 1913. The drugstore and icehouse were removed and a two-story brick addition (with one-story rear brick section) was made to the north side of the house by Fogle Brothers. A new dining room and kitchen were included in this addition which is dominated by a large bay window on the first floor facade, the remaining fenestration (without decorative pediments and sills) and roof line continue from the main block. The three-bay front porch was altered at this time from Italianate to Classical Revival with four Ionic columns and a modillioned cornice. The 1874 main block and the 1913 addition blended together to create a unified and pleasing whole.”
    • Margeretta Shaffner (1874-1952) left the house in 1938, and things gradually got messy. The house was unoccupied until 1944, when it was bought by Evan and Emma Norwood, Moravian missionaries returning from China. They remodeled the house as six apartments and lived in one of them. Later, their son John took responsibility for the house.
    • “It was during the Norwood family’s ownership that the house became the subject of great controversy in the debate of the restoration in Old Salem. Because of the pottery site significance and because the Shaffner house was beyond the interpretive dates for Old Salem (1766-1856), there was a strong desire to acquire Lot 48 and remove the house. John Norwood repeatedly refused to sell the property for demolition.” John died in 1993, and his brother Wilson sold the house in 1994 to owners who restored it as their single-family residence.

2482 S. Bitting Road, Winston-Salem

  • $1.399 million (originally $1.499 million)
  • 5 bedrooms, 5 1/2 bathrooms, 5,066 square feet, 1.0 acre
  • Price/square foot: $276
  • Built in 1915
  • Listed May 10, 2022
  • Last sale: $251,500, August 1978
  • Neighborhood: Country Club Estates
  • Note: The property includes a carriage house.
    • Something you don’t see every day: “Exterior is made of historic stucco with rolled roof edges designed to look like an English thatched roof.”
    • From 1969-1978, the house was owned by Frank Christian Gray (1939-2001), one of five sons of Bowman Gray Jr., president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (as was Bowman Gray Sr.). Chris was a graduate of Yale. He worked for RJR in New York but then struck out on his own, establishing a consumer market research company. He later returned to Winston-Salem and worked for Merrill Lynch. He was a board member of Forsyth Technical Community College and Warren Wilson College, and he hosted the Piedmont Opera’s annual Magnolia Ball at the family farm, Brookberry, in Lewisville. He was married and divorced three times.
    • In 1978, Gray sold the house to the current owners. He lived for much of the rest of his life at Brookberry Farm.

415 Roslyn Road, Winston-Salem

  • $1.295 million
  • 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 5,722 square feet, 0.72 acre
  • Price/square foot: $226
  • Built in 1928
  • Listed May 27, 2022
  • Last sale: $50,000 (1/4 interest in property)
  • Neighborhood: Buena Vista

411 S. Main Street, Old Salem, Winston-Salem
The Charles A. Cooper House
listing expired February 2, 2022
relisted February 23, 2022

  • $989,000 (originally $1,050,000)
  • 4 bedrooms, 5 1/2 bathrooms, 3,900 square feet
  • Price/square foot: $254
  • Built in 2006
  • Listed September 20, 2021
  • Last sale: $38,000, December 2001 (land only)
  • Listing: “Based on old photography, partially excavated foundation, and tons of research and experience, the home has been reconstructed to its original 1840’s appearance by historic home builder Steven Cole.”
    • The house features reclaimed doors and iron work from the 1700’s, full mortise and peg windows made of heartpine wood and wavy glass, imported European bricks to line the fireplaces, and wide board white oak flooring on three of the four levels.
    • County records show the square footage as 2,628, which looks way too small.

2202 Buena Vista Road, Winston-Salem
The John and Gertrude Eller House
sale pending June 14, 2022

  • $975,000
  • 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 4,073 square feet, 0.34 acre
  • Price/square foot: $239
  • Built in 1927
  • Listed May 5, 2022
  • Last sale: $275,000, March 1995
  • Neighborhood: Buena Vista
  • Note: The property includes a two-car detached garage.
    • The address first appeared in the city directory in 1929, with John DeWalden Eller (1898-1978) and Alice Gertrude Seely Eller (1901-1987) as occupants. John was a traveling salesman.
    • John’s epitaph: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.”
    • Gertrude’s epitaph: “O heavenly father, who hast filled the world with beauty; open my eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works.”

938 W. 5th Street, Winston-Salem
The J. Kent Sheppard House

  • $675,000 (originally $775,000)
  • Converted to offices (no bedrooms), 1 bathroom, 3,077 square feet (per county), 0.16 acre (county)
  • Price/square foot: $219
  • Built in 1913
  • Listed February 18, 2022
  • Last sale: $219,000, August 2002
  • Neighborhood: West End Historic District (local and NRHP)
  • Note: “Currently is used for separate offices, but the zoning fits multiple uses including residential and residential duplex. This property will require a substantial amount of renovation for residential purposes.” Unfortunately, it’s not priced appropriately for residential renovation.
    • The listing shows the house and lot both larger than county records do — 4,500 square feet and 0.22 acre.
    • District NRHP nomination: “This large Craftsman bungalow is a one-and-a-half-story house with a pebbledash first story and an aluminum-sided upper story. (The siding does not significantly diminish the integrity of the house.)
    • “It has a broad gable roof interrupted by front and rear shed dormers, an engaged front porch with heavy pebbledash columns and balustrade, and an extension of the south side of the porch which forms a terrace.
    • “The house is prominently situated on a terraced corner lot.
    • “From ca. 1914 to ca. 1956 this was the residence of the J. Kent Sheppard family. The secretary-manager of the Sheppard Veneer Co., he was the son of Benjamin J. Sheppard, who lived immediately behind at 420 Summit St.”

610 S. Hawthorne Road, Winston-Salem
The William and Grace Lineback House

  • $595,000
  • 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, 2,539 square feet, 0.34 acre
  • Price/square foot: $234
  • Built in 1922
  • Listed July 8, 2022
  • Last sale: $230,000, May 2006
  • Neighborhood: Ardmore Historic District (NRHP)
  • Note: The listing says a separate apartment was created in the house, but isn’t clear about whether the separate unit remains after the house has been “completely renovated for today’s living.” There’s also a guest house in the back that has been rented out.
  • District NRHP nomination: “Classical Revival. Two story; hip-roof; stucco; nine-over-one windows; wooden casements with transom in one-story sun porch; flat-roof entry porch; Tuscan columns; belt course; sidelights; modillions at cornice and paired at porch; porte-cochere.”
    • The original owners were William Edward Lineback (1868-1941) and Grace Roberts Lineback (1868-1931). William was the proprietor of The Gift Shop downtown at 428 N. Liberty Street, jewelers and opticians.

3561 Clemmons Road, Clemmons, Forsyth County

  • $549,000
  • 8 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 4,780 square feet, 0.66 acre
  • Price/square foot: $115
  • Built in 1902
  • Listed March 31, 2022
  • Last sale: October 1999, price not recorded on deed
  • Note: Originally built as a girls dormitory for a Moravian school. The school was established through the will of Edwin Theodore Clemmons (1826-1896), a grandson of town founder Peter Clemons. It opened in 1901.
    • The house is next door to the Clemmons Moravian Church, the establishment of which was also called for in Clemmons’s will.
    • The Moravian church owned the house until 1999.
    • Although the listing extols the historic quality of the house, it has vinyl siding and replacement windows.
    • The immediate area is a mix of residential and commercial properties; the listing promotes the property for residential or commercial use.

Alamance, Caswell and Rockingham Counties

No historic mansions available at the moment

Stokes, Surry, Yadkin and Davie Counties

618 N. Main Street, Mount Airy, Surry County
The William Edward Merritt House
Heart & Soul Bed & Breakfast
listing withdrawn January 2, 2022
relisted June 24, 2022

  • $899,900 (originally $850,000, later $750,000)
  • 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 5,024 square feet (per county), 0.66 acre
  • Price/square foot: $179
  • Built in 1901
  • Listed July 8, 2021
  • Last sale: $152,000, April 2014
  • Neighborhood: Mount Airy Historic District
  • Note: The listing gives the square footage as 4,779.
    • The listing previously said there were 7 bedrooms and 7 1/2 bathrooms.
    • Listing: “The house is selling completely furnished except for personal belongings.” That includes a restored 1939 Cadillac Series 75 limousine (click for photo).
    • The property includes a detached two-car garage with an apartment above.
    • District NRHP nomination: “Large, impressive two-story brick late Victorian style house with granite trim, dominated by a two-and-one-half story polygonal projecting bay and one-story wrap-around porch with spindle frieze.
    • “The virtually unaltered house also features decorative, tall, corbelled and recessed panel interior chimneys, one-over-one windows with granite lintels and sills, granite string course extending around the house above the second story windows, decorative sawn brackets supporting wide overhanging eaves and Colonial Revival interior features.
    • “Built in 1901 by contractor J.A. Tesh for W.E. Merritt, who owned a hardware store and brickyard, and was the founder of the Renfro Textile Company and one of the founders of the Mount Airy Furniture Company.”
    • William Edward “Ed” Merritt (1867-1946) was born in Chatham, Virginia. His wife, Caroline Octavia “Carrie” Kochtitzky Merritt (1868-1960), was a native of Oakland, Missouri. After they came to Mount Airy, Ed’s parents and five of his six siblings also moved to the town.
    • From the Mount Airy News: “As is often the case, this new blood energized and benefited the community, as they established or led several major businesses: Merritt Hardware, Renfro Hosiery, Mount Airy Furniture Company, Merritt Machine Shop, Piedmont Manufacturing Company, and Floyd Pike Electrical, the North Carolina Granite Corp., and others. Several family members have served as town commissioners, the city engineer, the Surry County Draft Board, the county Board of Commissioners, and in the US Navy and Army.”

2314 Asbury Road, Asbury, Stokes County

  • $609,900 (originally $679,000)
  • 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,918 square feet (per county), 1 acre
  • Price/square foot: $209
  • Built in 1891
  • Listed April 11, 2022
  • Last sale: $34,000, November 2016
  • Note: The listing shows 4,492 square feet, a discrepancy of 54 percent.
    • The house has a Mount Airy mailing address, although it’s near the Asbury community in Stokes County, 12 miles northeast of Mount Airy.
    • Listing: “Some of the furnishings are also available for sale.”
    • The property includes a barn and a “pub,” originally the free-standing kitchen.

615 N. Main Street, Mount Airy, Surry County
The Robert E. Smith House, also known as The Blue House
sale pending May 27, 2022

  • $425,000
  • 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 4,344 square feet (per county), 0.61 acre
  • Price/square foot: $98
  • Built in 1910
  • Listed April 4, 2022
  • Last sale: Unknown; it was bequeathed to its current owner, the Gilmer-Smith Foundation, by the will of interior designer and preservationist Gertrude Smith (1891-1981).
  • Neighborhood: Mount Airy Historic District
  • Note: The listing shows only 4,182 square feet.
    • The house served as the medical office of Gertrude Smith’s brother, Dr. Robert Edwin Smith (1897-1971). He was an ear, nose and throat specialist and a veteran of World Wars I and II.
    • Later, the house was the location of the Mount Airy Visitors Center and, for the past 17 years, the home of the Blue House Art Studio, which conducts art programs for special-needs artists. The home’s park-like backyard hosted summer music events.
    • The Blue House art program has been forced to close by the upcoming sale of the house. The Gilmer-Smith Foundation says it can no longer afford to maintain the programs and the house. It will continue to own the Gertrude Smith House at 708 N. Main, which is now a house museum, as dictated by Mrs. Smith’s will.
    • District NRHP nomination: “Two-and-one-half story frame Colonial Revival style house with projecting front and side bays.
    • “Tall corbelled chimneys extend above a high hip roof with gabled dormers; dormers accented by fanlighted windows and sawn shingles.
    • “Originally the house had a wrap-around one-story porch with sawn brackets; a portion remains as the south, side porch, where it was moved from the main elevation and replaced by an elaborate Federal style door surrounded by transom, sidelights and oversized dentils and metopes.”
    • The nomination identifies it with R.L. Haymore, a founder of the National Furniture Company, and his sister Martha.

Davidson, Randolph and Montgomery Counties

745 Lexington Road, Asheboro, Randolph County
sale pending May 9, 2022

  • $1.8 million
  • 5 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms, 5,509 square feet, 19.2 acres
  • Price/square foot: $327
  • Built in 1938
  • Listed July 26, 2021
  • Last sale: $1 million, June 2000
  • Note: I haven’t been able to find a thing about the history of this place.

2989 Thickety Creek Road, Mount Gilead
The Haywood House
sale pending May 12, 2022
Blog post — The Haywood House, an 1802 Mansion near Mount Gilead, $350,000

  • $350,000
  • 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, 4,330 square feet (per county), 10 acres
  • Price/square foot: $81
  • Built in 1802
  • Listed May 8, 2022
  • Last sale: $255,000, August 2001
  • Listing: “Nestled on 10 acres and several hundred feet off the road, with a little updating and TLC the Haywood House would quickly become a show piece family homestead, Bed and Breakfast or Wedding venue.”
    • The listing shows 4,800 square feet.
    • The property is a few miles east of Mount Gilead in the Uwharrie National Forest.
    • The earliest Haywood associated with the house identifiable online is plantation owner William Haywood (1809-1888). He could have been the son of the builder, but an obituary in the Montgomery Vidette (apparently written by his son, then an editor at the paper) describes William’s father as “a comparatively poor man, and [William] therefore inherited nothing worth mentioning.”
    • William’s epitaph: “He died as he lived — a Christian”
    • According to the obituary, William had nine children by two wives (the first of whom, Elizabeth Robinson Haywood, is identified simply as “a Miss Robertson”). The most notable child appears to have been the youngest, Oscar Haywood (1868-1943, 37 years younger than his eldest half-sibling). At William’s direction, Oscar began preaching at age 12, apparently to the plantation’s former slaves. He entered Wake Forest College at age 14.
    • “His career as a Baptist minister was phenomenal, climaxing in his leadership in the consolidation of Collegiate and Calvary Baptist Churches of New York City, which resulted in a church with a membership of 3,000 and was one of the wealthiest churches in the world.” (Mount Gilead Pride on Facebook, quoting a 1980 presentation by Ms. Frances Haywood [1901-1994])
    • Not the most humble of the Lord’s messengers, Oscar lived at the Waldorf. It is said he returned to North Carolina in the first automobile ever seen in the state. Back again in Montgomery County, he gained fame as an orator and was elected to the state House of Representatives.
    • “Oscar inherited the plantation house with 180 acres in 1888. He made renovations to the house, which included a crystal chandelier from Europe, a hand-painted landscape mural, and the installation of carved doors which were a gift from one of the Rockefellers (a member of his church).
    • “He installed an art glass window (said to be commissioned by Tiffany Studios in NYC) in the library of the plantation house bearing the initials O.H. In Oscar’s day, the library contained inscribed books and manuscript letters by James Whitcomb Riley, numerous first editions by Oscar Wilde, O. Henry, Mark Twain, Robert G. Ingersoll, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Nelson Page, Thomas Dixon, George W. Cable, James Lane Allen, Thomas Hardy, and William Cullen Bryant. …
    • “To quote an article written by George Reed Andrews for the Charlotte Observer in 1942: ‘Upon his return to his ancestral home here, in the Piedmont, Dr. Haywood was able to set up in the midst of the wide cotton fields a literary oasis which could scarcely be equalled in the most metropolitan quarters.'” (Mount Gilead Pride)
    • In his father’s memory, Oscar donated a stained glass window to First Baptist Church in Mount Gilead. Mount Gilead Pride: “‘The Empty Tomb’ (Artist Unidentified), arguably the most beautiful stained glass window in the NC Piedmont, adorns the sanctuary of First Baptist Church. Its enormous size and scale dominate the westward facing side of the sanctuary, and the sunsets work their magic each evening through the richly colored panes for those fortunate enough to find themselves inside at that hour.”
    • Oddly, two different woman are identified as Oscar’s wife at the time of his death. Contemporary obituaries listed “the former Mary Eaddy of New York,” who is apparently untraceable online. Ancestry.com and findagrave.com list Marion Davis Haywood (1930-1946), who died at age 15 or 16, the same year Oscar did. She was about 62 years younger than he was.

In Limbo

7241 Burlington Road, Whitsett, Guilford County
The Joseph Bason Whitsett House
Blog post — The Joseph Bason Whitsett House: A Possibly Endangered 1883 Guilford County Landmark, $1.3 Million
sale pending February 1, 2022; no update since then

  • $1.3 million
  • 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 6,983 square feet, 11.33 acres
  • Price/square foot: $186
  • Built in 1883
  • Listed September 28, 2021
  • Last sale: $176,000, October 1987
  • Note: Designated a historic landmark by Guilford County
    • The house is now used for offices by a financial firm.
    • Listing: The property has three buildings, including a 700 square-foot guest house.
    • The house was built by Joseph Bason Whitsett (1835-1917). Joseph was a railroad man, his obituary recalled: “Twenty-five years of his life was [sic] spent in various capacities of railroad work, and he was identified with the first railroad building ever done in this section of the old North Carolina Railroad: afterwards with the Richmond and Danville system, and for a short while with the Southern.” (Shame on the Greensboro Patriot copy desk for letting this get into print.)
    • In 1863, Joseph married Mary Lusetta Foust (1845-1938), whose family owned grist mills and were major landowners in the area.
  • Their son, William Thornton Whitsett (1866-1934), was a renowned educator. In 1888, he founded the Whitsett Institute, a boarding school for boys. He operated it until it was destroyed by a fire in 1918. He served on the Guilford County Board of Education for 21 years and as a trustee of the University of North Carolina for 22 years.
    • William also was a locally prominent literary figure and historian. The Whitsett Institute published a book of his poems, Saber and Song, in 1917 (now available in hardcover, paperback and Kindle).
    • William’s death prompted an especially mournful report in The Burlington Daily Times-News, March 22, 1934:
    • “Dr. William Thornton Whitsett has passed away!
    • “The sun sank behind the horizon of the life of this illustrious citizen of North Carolina at twelve-forty o’clock last night, following a critical illness of ten days with pneumonia. He was 67 years old. His works will echo and re-echi [typo, probably] throughout many years to come.”
    • In addition to the residential listing, the owners have posted a commercial real-estate listing that positions the property for redevelopment, initially referring to the house as “an office building”:
    • “Prime development opportunity along the I-40/I-85 corridor in the fast-growing E. Guilford and W. Alamance market. 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. … Beautiful Victorian House built in the 1880s is currently used as office.”
    • GIS map of the area with the 11-acre and 67-acre tracts highlighted (click to enlarge):
7075 kivette house road.jpg

7075 Kivette House Road, Gibsonville
The Kivette House
Blog post on Greensboro Historic Homes — The Kivette Houses, Both Now For Sale: The Gibsonville Homes of Two Sisters Who Loved Parties and Elon
listing withdrawn November 8, 2018; relisted September 9, 2019
contract pending April 28, 2021; no update since then

  • $825,000 (originally $875,000)
  • 7 bedrooms, 4 1/2 bathrooms, 6,336 square feet, 12.82 acres
  • Price/square foot: $130
  • Built in 1934
  • Listed March 11, 2018
  • Last sale: $365,000, December 2004
  • Note: The property includes a two-story carriage house.
    • The property was marketed previously as a residence or as a b&b/event venue (although there already is one in Gibsonville).
    • For more about the Kivette family, click here.