Some historic neighborhoods and rural communities are fortunate enough to still have buildings that once housed corner grocery stores or other retail businesses. The buildings come up for sale occasionally, and there are now four historic properties for sale in the Triad that feature former stores as homes or outbuildings. For the most part, there are relatively few available details about the structures themselves and the businesses they housed. But there are at least a few facts known about all but one.
2401 Urban Street in Winston-Salem was built to be a neighborhood grocery store with an apartment upstairs. 400 W. Main Street in Reidsville may not have been designed with a residence in mind, but it has provided a location for a business and a home for its owner as far back as 1959. The Robert G. Mitchell Store in Wentworth was built in 1900 and is barely standing, an unsound building with no heat or electricity. At 3405 Maple Avenue in Burlington, the tiny old store behind the house is a mystery.
Update: The listing was withdrawn without a sale in March 2023.
The Holt family is one of the most prominent in the history of Alamance County and of North Carolina as well. Charles T. Holt was a third-generation member of the textile family, and the mansion he built is quite the monument to the Holts’ stature.
“The Charles T. Holt House, the most ornate nineteenth century mansion in Alamance County, is located in the town of Haw River overlooking the Granite Mills complex, on twenty-five acres of lawn, grazing pasture, and farm land,” the property’s National Register nomination states.
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.
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.
Who knows what they — whoever “they” were — were thinking when they designed 427 N. Main Street in Graham. But it’s the kind of house that makes you think that our grandparents and great-grandparents may have been having more fun than we would suspect of those boring old people.
The house is in Graham’s North Main Street Historic District. The French Normandy Revival-style home features “a steeply pitched hip roof, a round witches cap entrance turret, segmental arched door openings, glazed and paneled doors, and decorative eave brackets,” the district’s National Register nomination says.
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.”
One of Haw River’s first churches is for sale for $75,000. Holt’s Chapel was built in 1896 as the first and only home of Haw River’s Methodist Episcopal church. By 1942, the town’s two Methodist churches merged, following the national merger of their denominations. The chapel was used for Sunday school, and what had been the Methodist Protestant church on the hill behind the chapel was used for worship services.