The number of historic homes for sale has contracted sharply in recent months, along with the rest of the market, but one still robust category is National Register properties in Guilford County. There are three for sale, and 204 E. Railroad Avenue in Gibsonville is by far the most affordable. At $425,000, the price comes out to a modest $120 per square foot.
“The Francis Marion Smith House, erected in 1898, is the most stylish and impressive residence in Gibsonville surviving from the 1890-1910 period that witnessed the town’s major growth,” its National Register nomination says. “The two-and-a-half-story frame house combines elements of the Colonial Revival and Queen Anne styles, including an elaborate program of classical trim and turned ornament.”
Not surprisingly, given its location and date, it’s associated with the Whitsett Institute and family, arguably the most prominent family of its day in eastern Guilford County. “It is one of three notable late nineteenth and early twentieth residences associated with the Whitsett Institute, a boarding secondary school and junior college in the Whitsett community near Gibsonville. The three houses (one of which has already been listed in the National Register) are among the finest houses combining Colonial Revival and Queen Anne style elements in eastern Guilford County.”
The Craftsman bungalow at 506 N. Mendenhall Street is a standout on one of the most interesting blocks of one of Greensboro’s most interesting neighborhoods. It was sold recently for $650,000, more than twice its price 12 years ago. In its 102-year history, the home’s most notable resident may have been one of its most recent.
Westerwood was built out mostly in the 1920s and ’30s, just west of downtown on the north side of Market Street. The neighborhood is notable for its consistently attractive and diverse architecture. The majestic Double Oaks mansion stands near the head of North Mendenhall, with a collection of more modest bungalows, foursquares and a few Spanish Colonials and Prairie-style homes, many quite striking, arrayed down the rolling streets toward Lake Daniel Park. There’s even an outstanding Mid-Century Modern mansion overlooking the park on East Lake Drive, well hidden among the tress on what was probably the neighborhood’s last lot to be built upon.
3307 Gaston Road is one of Edward Lowenstein’s “Commencement Houses,” the three homes designed by Lowenstein and his students when he taught at the Women’s College (which had become UNCG by the time this one, the third, was built). Two of the houses still stand, and this one in Sedgefield is now for sale at $765,000.
The house is a Mid-Century Modern classic. The entrance hall has a 17-foot high wall of windows. There are large windows throughout the house, an open staircase and minimal ornamentation. At the back, a second-floor deck provides a view of the Sedgefield Country Club golf course. The house sits well back from the street in a forested landscape. The kitchen is modern but maintains its strikingly 1950s look.
Update: The MLS listing was withdrawn on March 28.
The owners of Double Oaks, the Harden Thomas Martin House, are selling it as a turnkey business, including the furnishings and fixtures. But if you need 6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms and a commercial kitchen just for yourself and your family, it would serve quite nicely as a $1.795 million single-family residence.
The house has been impeccably restored. The interior is as attention-grabbing as the exterior. Originally operated as a B&B from 1998-2007, the current owners bought and reopened it in 2016. They’ve restored the formerly closed third floor and added extensive landscaping, making it an active venue for weddings and other events.
The George and June Newman House is in Greensboro’s Latham Park neighborhood, 1307 Latham Avenue. It was designed by architect J.P. Coble, who practiced in New York City.
Jack Pickens Coble (1909-1984) was born in Greensboro. “He graduated from the Cornell University College of Architecture, where he won first prize in the 1934 Baird Prize Competition, $35 and a gold seal, for designing a proscenium arch and a curtain for an opera house,” his obituary in The New York Times reported. His residential clients included Edgar Bronfman, Bennett Cerf, Stephen Sondheim and Mrs. Marshall Field.
201 County Club Drive was a relatively late addition to Greensboro’s most affluent neighborhood. The Colonial Revival was built around 1940, and today it retains the stately elegance of its era, which was rapidly drawing to a close. The house was listed for sale this week at $863,000.
The Morgan House has 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms, in 3,058 square feet, which comes out to an impressive $282 per square foot. The lot is 0.46 acre. The interior looks impeccable; the landscaping is gorgeous as well. The house is a fine example of Irving Park at its opulent best, but it isn’t quite as remarkable as its first owner.
Roy Morgan may have had one of the most distinguished careers of anyone in Greensboro in the mid-20th century, but he may be one of the least known among the city’s leading figures of the time. Aside from serving on the City Council, most of his work was far from Greensboro.
The Conant-Praigg House was sold in April, almost four years after being put up for sale and almost three years after the owners gave up and took it off the market. It was finally sold without being listed publicly again. There are at least a couple reasons why it was a particularly difficult sell. One was a quirk of history.
Even in the hottest sellers’ market in recent memory, the sellers took a $150,000 loss on the house, and that was after owning it for 13 years. They had bought it, sadly, just two weeks before the 2008 real-estate market crash (they paid $850,000 in September 2008). Home prices have recovered overall, but, all these years later, there are still an unfortunate few houses that have been left behind.
The April sale, though, was the second in a row in which the sellers took a significant loss. The 2008 price was $50,000 less than the price paid in 2006. Prices may have peaked before the crash, but there’s another issue at 603 Hillcrest Drive.