The 1820 John Johnston House in Caswell County: An Immaculate Little Cottage on the National Register, $118,500

3125 nc hwy 62 north blanch

Update: The house sold for $131,000 on June 26, 2020, $13,000 over the asking price. The owners accepted the offer May 30, two days after putting the house up for sale.

Caswell County has some of the grandest antebellum mansions in the state. The John Johnston House is something quite different and more rare. “Though members of the Johnston family were prominent in social and economic affairs in Caswell County from the eighteenth century onward, the significance of the house derives less from the specific historical contributions of its occupants than from its representation of a class of plantation residence that has rarely been preserved,” the home’s 1997 National Register nomination says.

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Villa Fortuna: An Eclectic 1888 National Register Property in Reidsville, $99,900

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The Jennings-Baker House, also known as Villa Fortuna, is one of the most affordable National Register properties you’re likely to see. Accordingly, it also needs more work than most National Register properties. It’s not a complete wreck, though, and some of its charm has stood up to the years very well.

The brick exterior is notably elaborate. The National Register nomination calls Villa Fortuna a distinctive and vernacular mix of styles — Gothic Revival, Italianate and more — that were popular in the mid-19th century. The current real estate listing says it’s simply “the perfect blend of unpretentious elegance and a rustic urban farm,” although even an urban farmer might want more than the villa’s half acre.

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The 1839 Davie County Jail: A National Register Property in Mocksville Is For Sale in an Online Auction

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Update: The jail and guest house sold for $402,000 in December 2021. The 2019 auction didn’t result in a sale, and the jail was taken off the market in December 2019. The other two houses were sold in 2020.

Davie County’s original jail was built in Mocksville in 1839, three years after the county was established. Now it’s the centerpiece of an online auction of five properties all on the same downtown corner. Prospective buyers can bid on the properties separately or all of them together.

The jail is the centerpiece. It housed the county’s most armed and dangerous for 70 years and then became a residence. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. In 2001 the current owner bought it and converted it to office use.

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Historic House of the Week: The Twitchell-Gallaway House, an 1824 Federal-Greek Revival Mansion in Madison, $259,900

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Update: Amazingly, the house didn’t sell until July 2020, for $172,500.

Calling the Twitchell-Gallaway House a “mansion” may not completely do it justice. It has the pedigree of an antebellum mansion, but it’s smaller and less formal than a true, sprawling exemplar of the type. It’s more comfortable, affordable and comes with a lot less overhead.

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