Lacking anything else to say about the house, it’s worth noting that Elkin (“the best little town in NC“) seems to be an increasingly interesting place. The historic Reeves Theatre and Cafe downtown hosts concerts regularly, twice a month featuring the renowned Martha Bassett. Elkin is in the Yadkin Valley wine region, so there are wineries nearby. Also a couple breweries, hiking trails and an interesting downtown. And more.
This is how things are going this summer: 638 N. Spring Street was listed for sale on Friday July 9 at $649,900. The sale closed on Thursday July 22. That’s crazy fast. These days, it’s amazing even to schedule a home inspection that quickly. In more normal times, you might see that kind of speed when run-down rentals are being kicked around from from one landlord to another. But a high-end property? Forget it.
Another surprise: The sellers accepted an offer $15,000 lower than their asking price. That’s not unheard-of, though, even as many sellers are getting $20,000, $30,000 or even $50,000 more than they’re asking. A number of sellers recently have started out courageously pushing the upper limit of their neighborhood’s home prices, only to quickly receive a reasonable offer and decide, “Close enough!” A slightly lower price and quick closing may be worth the assurance that the house you’re selling won’t eat even one more mortgage payment.
There aren’t that many Spanish Revival (or Spanish Eclectic) homes in the Piedmont’s older neighborhoods, but four have popped up on the market this summer, two houses in High Point and two bungalows in Winston-Salem. This style can be found in ones or twos in many older neighborhoods, adding Mediterranean flair to the mix of Tudors and Four Squares, Craftsmans and Colonials.
The homes available this summer aren’t as elaborate as many Spanish Revivals, but they share many features typical to the style — light-colored stucco exteriors, arches over doors and windows, low-pitched tile roofs and (three of them, at least) asymmetric designs. But there’s variety among them. 1503 Wiltshire Street in High Point displays a smooth combination of Spanish Revival and the closely related Craftsman style. 205 Edgedale Drive is strikingly symmetrical, which is odd for Spanish Revival. The two Winston-Salem bungalows, 900 S. Hawthorne Road and 2229 Maplewood Avenue, may be more pure examples of the style, but they look distinctly different.
Spanish Revival was popular from around 1915 to 1930, particularly in Florida, California and the Southwest. By the ’30s it had largely faded away as variety and distinctiveness lost out to conformity and more austere, less labor-intensive styles.
Mansions can be tricky to sell. How many people need a 9,000 square-foot house? Six bedrooms? Five and a half bathrooms? Belmont, the Robert Payne Richardson Jr. House, is as grand a mansion as you’ll find, and it took more than six years to sell it (the sale closed in May).
The price was $950,000, just $106 per square foot. It was listed originally for $1.495 million more than six years ago. The seller lived there and rented it out as a wedding and event venue, and that’s likely to be its use going forward. The buyer is a Delaware corporation that owns a wedding venue called the Bella Collina Mansion in Stokesdale (“Tuscany’s version of Cinderella’s Castle!!!”), so the Richardson house appears to have a sustainable future, always a big question for a grand estate like this.
Note: The listing gives the square footage as 4,700.
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.”
Update: The house sold for $650,000 on October 28, 2021
The W.T. Cheatham House is as impressive as it is rare, an International-style mansion built in 1923 in Burlington. There are relatively few International houses in the Triad, and this one in the West Davis Street-Fountain Place Historic District is brilliant inside and out.
“Its elegant design, which might best be described as ‘Classical-Mediterranean,’ renders the structure one of the most unusual houses in Burlington,” the historic district’s NRHP nomination states. “Salient features of the house are its flat roofs, stuccoed elevations, and two-story core bracketed by one-story wings with turned balustrades. Tuscan columns support the porch recessed between the wings.”
“Because of both its historical associations and its architectural distinction, the William Lindsey House is a pivotal building in the Reidsville Historic District.”
— National Register nomination for the Reidsville Historic District
The Lindsey House is as impressive inside as it is from the street. And, being in one of the Triad’s smaller cities, the $434,900 price ($83 per square foot) is probably, say, a third of what it might be in Greensboro or Winston-Salem.
Interestingly, the towering columns out front weren’t an original feature. “Early in the 20th century, a new porch was constructed across this facade, in the Neo-Classical Revival style,” the NRHP nomination says. “It consists of a one-story, full-facade porch supported by corinthian columns which are repeated in monumental fashion in the central projecting two-story pedimented portico.” The original porch was apparently wide enough only to span the entrance.