Fire destroys historic hotel annex in Smokies
ELKMONT – The former Wonderland Hotel annex in the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park burned to the ground Tuesday after the 8,600-square-foot building was consumed by flames, a park news release states.
The park fire management crew and the Gatlinburg Fire Department responded to the scene after a passer-by reported the fire at 7:15 a.m., according to the release.
The fire spread about half an acre with flames contained to the immediate area of the structure. Gravel roads and a dense alluvial forest of hemlock and rhododendron helped slow down the fire, the release states.
(Asheville Citizen-Times, 4/21/2016)
In its heyday, Loray Mill was the largest textile mill in North Carolina. The 600,000-square-foot factory employed more than 3,500 and spurred construction of a 1,000-home mill village. The Loray Mill Village had more homes than the rest of Gastonia in the early 1900s, but as the textile industry declined, so did the village.
Working with private investors and the City of Gastonia, Preservation North Carolina aims to turn that around and restore an important part of North Carolina’s history. Jack Kiser, retired City of Gastonia planning director, is now overseeing the Loray Mill Village project for Preservation North Carolina.
“Over time, those workers moved out or passed on,” Kiser said. “As that happened, a neighborhood, which was vast majority homeowners, went to rental housing over the course of decades. We want to create our own market.”
He estimates there are 400 remaining houses in the village – most ranging from 800 to 1,200 square feet– and Preservation North Carolina is starting the project by buying, renovating and selling about a dozen homes. The ownership/rental ratio is about 30/70, and Kiser said they would like to flip those numbers by spurring private investment.
Preservation North Carolina will buy the homes for $15,000 to $20,000 on average, restore them to their historically accurate appearance, with wood clapboard siding and original windows. The interiors will also be inspired by the history of the village, with pine flooring and bead-board walls, but they will be modernized for today’s market.
Kiser said the houses will sell for around $100,000, and by restoring the houses’ historic appearances, Preservation North Carolina will be able to pass along tax savings to the new homeowner because of the recently restored state historic preservation tax credit, in this case a 15-percent tax credit of the eligible rehabilitation costs.
“We are going to do quality work and upfitting,” Kiser said. “These are small houses, but with today’s housing trends, a huge demographic is going to smaller households. The one person household is by far the largest growing household segment, and we think we can appeal to that market.”
Preservation North Carolina saw great success with similar projects at the Edenton Cotton Mill and Burlington Glencoe Cotton Mill areas. As an added bonus, the village will benefit from its proximity to the Loray Mill itself, which was recently transformed into high-end apartments and commercial space by a private investor.
Firestone Tire and Rubber occupied the Loray Mill from 1935 to 1993. In 1998, Preservation North Carolina assumed ownership until it was sold to a private investor 15 years later.
“These developers stuck with it through thick and thin – the worst recession we’ve seen,” Kiser said. “When the recession hit, I think they picked their best project and stuck with it.”
The investors were set to close on the project with conventional financing, but overnight all credit dried up, and the investors went through a lengthy process to secure funding through a Federal Housing Administration loan.
After completing the largest historic preservation project under one roof, the mill is now open for business once again with 190 apartments on the third through sixth floors and space for retail below. The first commercial tenant is a fitness center, and developers are looking to attract a hair salon, café, brewpub, restaurants and the like. A second phase of the project will add an additional 100 apartments and a 6,000-square-foot memorial hall with mementos, old machines and photos.
The apartments range in rent from $850 to $1,550, which is on the more expensive end of the rent spectrum in Gastonia, but it’s a unique place to live, especially for commuters, who Kiser thinks make up the majority of tenants.
“They can get what they want: something historic, authentic and different than a regular, old two-bedroom garden apartment – you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” he said. “There are a lot of people, particularly in the millennial generation, who do want something different. We think these houses will have something to offer, too. Anyone who can afford to rent at Loray Mill can afford to buy one of these houses.”
The village and mill apartments are easy driving distance to Charlotte. For Charlotte Douglas International Airport employees, Kiser said the commute is probably even shorter from Gastonia than some parts of Charlotte.
In addition to attracting citizens who work throughout the region, Council Member Robert Kellogg said the City of Gastonia is interested in connecting the mill village to its historic downtown and the York Chester Historic District. He said that while the three districts are close to each other, there isn’t anything that holds them together.
“Loray Mill could be the piece of the puzzle that fuses everything together. We’d like to take what’s happened with the revitalization and try to connect that with the redevelopment of our downtown, which is also starting to take off,” Kellogg said. “If we can connect the two, we’ll be able to see some good things happen in downtown Gastonia.”
Kiser said the city has been helpful in terms of infrastructure by replacing sidewalks and hopefully streets, but the city is also moving the western branch of the police department into the Loray Mill. Kiser said it isn’t a particularly high-crime area, but the mere presence of officers, additional law enforcement programs and community policing will be a positive addition.
“It’s been a huge effort with a host of different groups coming together to make it happen. I think it symbolizes our ability to embrace our past and use that past to further economic development,” Kellogg said. “If there’s anything we can do to help spur that, most of us will be on board.”
Preservation North Carolina is funding the project through a revolving fund from the 1772 Foundation, so as they sell homes, the profits go back into another rehabilitation project. Kiser said it could take years to create the new market they envision as the decline in ownership took more than three decades to evolve, but Preservation North Carolina plans to stay as long as it is needed. Homes will be ready in October for an open house ceremony to start showing off the properties.
“The overwhelming majority couldn’t see the Loray Mill for what it could be, but once it was done, it really knocked their socks off. I think a lot of people never imagined what these mill cottages could be until they can see one done,” Kiser said. “All we need to do is keep doing this over and over again, and, over time, we’ve turned the neighborhood around.”
by League Communications Associate Jessica Wells
(NC League of Municipalities, April 2016)
Historic Wilmington Foundation continues the observance of its 50th anniversary celebration during the entire month of May, which is National Preservation Month. An array of multi-generational, free public events and special ticketed events are planned for local Wilmington residents and visitors beginning with a ribbon cutting 10 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center, Second and Orange streets.
Here is a list of the commemorative events occurring 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the center. Some are exhibits that will be around for additional periods.
(Star News, 4/19/2016)
Donald LaHuffman, 73, remembers a handful of times when he’s been touched by community support for a place dear to him: his church of 67 years, St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church.
Words of encouragement and support have poured into the church – where his family has attended for generations – since a fire engulfed the sanctuary and ceiling last March.
Roughly $20,000 in donations from supporters and area churches has been gifted to St. Joseph’s on Ramsey Street to restore it to its beauty as a fixture in Fayetteville’s history since 1873, LaHuffman said.
“We’ve received support from those who are not Episcopalian,” LaHuffman, a senior warden at the church, said. “We didn’t ask for anything. It was all spontaneous. It was just so heartwarming.”
A year ago, the ordeal crushed many and those who appreciate the church for being a cornerstone in one of Fayetteville’s booming African-American neighborhoods.
A year later, the mood has changed.
(Fayetteville Observer, 4/14/2016)
BLAIRS — The Dan River Region’s historic tobacco barns will forever be remembered in history, thanks to a new highway marker preservation officials unveiled Friday morning.
Officials dedicated the state historical marker from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources recalling the numerous tobacco barns once found in Pittsylvania County and other Southside Virginia counties.
The Salisbury Historic Preservation Commission decided to postpone a decision on the use of colored lighting at the Gateway Park fountain during its meeting on Thursday.
The city is performing maintenance on the fountain and proposed to replace the existing light bulbs with LED bulbs that can change colors.
(Salisbury Post, 4/15/2016)
The presentation came during HSF’s 43rd annual meeting held at Salisbury Station Tuesday night.
The award is named for Ed Clement, a founder of HSF and a leading preservation figure in the state and nation.
(Salisbury Post, 4/14/2016)
In 1966 bulldozers were poised to raze a bloated antediluvian structure leaking and collapsing on a prime block of downtown Greensboro real estate, perched on a hill in one of the last residential neighborhoods in the shadow of the Jefferson Building.
For almost 70 years this compound served as a lonely outpost for The Keeley Institute, a live-in rehabilitation program promising drunks and drug addicts ‘That New Freedom’ after weeks of four times daily injections of bichloride of gold laced with alcohol, strychnine, apomorphine and willow bark.
The Keeley Institute’s methodology had fallen into disrepute long before the local proprietors’ death in a plane crash led to abandonment of this sanitarium delirium. Paint peeling, cracking plaster, sagging porch, shattered windows, a malingering Munster mansion entwined in knotted trees, runaway ivy and tangled weeds; a landscape nearly as terrifying as the Keeley Cure. They should have shot Dark Shadows there.
Two blocks away the glistening Carolina Theater was packing them in, which was great for Greensboro’s first Krispy Kreme, a block away on Greene Street. Downtown Greensboro was much larger in ‘66, a great deal more vibrant. Two high-rise and three smaller hotels, 40 restaurants, three lavish movie palaces, multi-storied department and dime stores, a buzzing hub of finance, commerce and, most especially, shopping.
With downtown bursting at the seams an expansion of businesses to the west was a natural. Kroger had their eye on the lot the Keeley Institute was deteriorating on so a crew was dispatched to clear the land. And they would have, had Anita Schenck and her mother Mary Lyon Caine not stood between the heavy machinery and that sacred place steeped in ceremony, where the Civil War came to an end in North Carolina, a once stately manor they knew as Blandwood.
(Yes! Weekly, 4/13/2016)
Last year, the death of Freddie Gray in police custody placed his neighborhood in a tragic spotlight, highlighting an all-too common urban misery: epidemic poverty, blighted lots, and shattered homes. Gray’s Baltimore has become notorious as the site of failed “urban renewal” projects, rife with liberal talking points but showing precious little progress in alleviating poverty and joblessness. There’s now a plan to generate change from the inside out, creating community housing as a source of collective healing.
Facing a change in administration in pending elections, activists are pushing a plan before the City Council to devote about $40 million to housing development, not just to fix up vacancies or construct commercial towers but to overhaul neighborhoods through developing Community Land Trusts. As we’ve reported before, the idea would be to establish communally owned property under a democratic governance structure, which allows residents and the surrounding neighborhood to cooperatively manage land and property use.
(The Nation, 4/11/2016)
Sixty years of Fayetteville dining and community history collapsed early Saturday morning as the Haymont Grill & Steak House was gutted by a pre-dawn fire.
According to fire officials, the cause cannot yet be determined, Fayetteville Battalion Chief Michael Martin said. Traffic in the area around the restaurant, including Fort Bragg Road and Morganton Road, was rerouted most of the day until a lane was opened in the afternoon.
As fire crews from across the city doused hot spots among the debris at the top of Haymount Hill, friends stopped to offer condolences and support to owner Pete Skenteris. He and his wife, Frederika, sat across the street on a pair of restaurant chairs rescued for them by city firefighters.
(Fayetteville Observer, 4/12/2016)
Natural disasters have taken a heavy toll on historic landmarks around the U.S. When Hurricane Katrina swept through parts of New Orleans in 2005, floods damaged 19th- and 20th-century buildings, causing some to collapse. High winds smashed windows and stripped away the outer layers of houses, shops, and museums. More recently, Hurricane Sandy took down monuments in the 1849 Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn and damaged the electrical system of the Fraunces Tavern Museum—which dates back to the American Revolution—in Manhattan.
Between rising sea levels, predictions of increasingly extreme weather patterns, and the Big One always looming over the West, the U.S. is bracing itself for more natural disasters. But a recent report out of the University of Colorado Denver and University of Kentucky finds that the U.S. may not be as prepared as it could be to protect historic sites from floods, wildfires, and tornadoes. In fact, almost two thirds of all states lack historic-preservation goals and strategies in their disaster plans.
RALEIGH–The Council of State approved the sale of two more old houses in the Blount Street Historic District this week but held off making a decision about two others at the urging of Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.
That’s because the buyer of the two houses plans to tear one of them down. The roof of the McGee House, a brick Tudor-revival home built on North Blount Street in the late 1940s, has collapsed, leaving most of the inside in ruin.
Forest wants to make sure demolishing the house is consistent with the preservation goals of the legislation that authorized the sale of the houses in 2003. That bill requires that sales of state property in the Blount Street district be subject to preservation agreements that “ensure that the use of the property is consistent with the historic and architectural character of the district.”
(News & Observer, 4/9/2016)
The 2016 NC Main Street Conference was held this past month in downtown Goldsboro, NC. An annual event which involves over 100 communities from across the state and draws more than 500 attendees each year, the conference features a variety of speakers alongside a coveted downtown award and downtown champion programs. In what has become a theme for our community, Downtown Hendersonville was awarded its third program award in as many years and was fortunate to see one of our fabulous “Friends of Downtown” recognized for her efforts in making our community a success story.
Main Street Champions are recognized for their commitment to downtown improvements and strong communities during the annual awards breakfast and our own Patty Adamic, owner of Mike’s On Main in downtown Hendersonville, was one of the thirty-seven individuals from around the state to receive honors for their contributions in 2015. Speaking at the awards ceremony NC Secretary of Commerce John E. Skvarla noted, “Main Street Champions recognize the possibilities in their downtowns and strive to make those possibilities a reality, they represent some of our communities most valued leaders.”
(Mountain Xpress, 4/7/2016)
The salvation of a historic hospital dormitory in Gastonia will depend on whether someone commits to leasing space in it.
Partners Behavioral Health Management is the most logical candidate to move into the old nurses dorm, which sits on its campus along South New Hope Road. But the agency may not have any need for offices that would be created as part of the building’s redevelopment. And in that case, its preferred alternative would be for the decrepit structure to be demolished, said Partners Executive Director Rhett Melton.
“The concerns I raised before will really remain as long as the building is in its current condition and shape,” he said Thursday.
(Gaston Gazette, 3/31/2016)
A nearly 140-year-old home in Lincoln County was donated to Preservation North Carolina to ensure that the home’s historic integrity would remain intact.
The home, located at 134 Nellie Circle in Stanley, was built in the 1880’s by J.P. Hager, a farmer. The home served as a post office in the area for many years. Former owners Eddie and Jane Hager were motivated by preservation to donate the home. Preservation North Carolina can incorporate covenants in the deed that would require a rehabilitation agreement with the new owners that would, among other specifics, prevent it from being demolished.
“That was the motivation,” Jane Hager said from Florida, where the couple resides today.
Lincoln County Historical Association director Jason Harpe spoke to the Hager family at a reunion in late 2014 and said that the family as a whole was on board with the idea.
(Lincon Times-News, 3/31/2016)
The historic, antebellum mansion known as Fair Oaks in Haymount has a new prospective buyer.
Suzanne Pennink, the real estate agent for the family wanting to sell the 158-year-old home at 1507 Morganton Road, said Thursday that someone put in an offer this week to buy the home, after the Fayetteville City Council rejected a proposal to convert it into a 90-student private school.
Pennink said the prospective buyer, whom she could not publicly identify, wanted to wait until the council acted Tuesday on the school proposal before submitting the offer.
(Fayetteville Observer, 3/31/2016)
CHAPEL HILL–Preservation Chapel Hill let its executive director go last week in an attempt to cut expenses and stabilize the nonprofit’s budget.
The organization’s board of trustees will be exploring ways to address increasing shortfalls and declining revenues, Vice President Evan Rodewald said. They’re also looking to members and volunteers to keep programs going, he said.
Executive Director Cheri Szcodronski could return on a contract basis for some projects, he said.
“We hope that in energizing our volunteers and getting people more directly involved in the operations of the organization that that will also have a positive effect on our donations and membership,” Rodewald said.
(News & Observer, 4/3/2016)
LUMBERTON — A panel discussion on Tuesday night will focus on how to make visions of a revitalized downtown Lumberton a reality.
The discussion will feature experts with know-how in architecture, historical preservation and economic development.
Lumberton’s Planning director, Brandon Love, will serve as moderator. Love is the 2016 president for American Institute of Architects’ North Carolina Eastern Section and a North Carolina State University graduate with degrees in Environmental Design in Architecture and Master of Industrial Design.
(The Robesonian, 4/2/2016)
An upscale gym became the first commercial tenant of the Loray Mill Loft Apartments early this year, offering a means to shed weight and get in shape.
Soon, residents and visitors to the historic building will enjoy a guiltier pleasure — eating, drinking and making merry at a new 4,000-square-foot craft brew pub.
“You look at the historic nature of this building and the edginess of the space, and it just screams for the concept we’re trying to bring,” said Matt Coben, a managing partner and franchise owner of Growler USA, during a walk-through at the site Wednesday.
(The Gaston Gazette, 3/25/2016)
Out of the approximate 2,850 properties in North Carolina listed on the National Register of Historic Places, only 73 of them are cemeteries.
The Old Chapel Hill Cemetery is one of them.
“It is really unusual for cemeteries to be listed on the national register,” said Cheri Szcodronski, executive director of Preservation Chapel Hill.
Preservation Chapel Hill aims to raise awareness about the importance of the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery and the need for its ongoing preservation.
(The Daily Tar Heel, 3/21/2016)
Uptown Shelby learned March 17 it will host the 2017 North Carolina Main Street Conference, while Kings Mountain and Cherryville collected 2015 honors at the recent awards ceremony held in Goldsboro.
Fourteen awards were given in four categories – design, organization, economic vitality and promotion. Kings Mountain (Best Innovation – The Small Business Success Project) and Cherryville (Best Public Relations Effort – The Cherryville Communications Campaign) both earned awards of merit under the organization heading.
(Shelby Star, 3/21/2016)
With old and abandoned buildings strewn across 308 acres of lush hills just south of downtown Raleigh, the Dorothea Dix campus beckons the imagination.
And the City of Raleigh, which last year purchased the land from the state government for $52 million, indeed hopes to transform it into an iconic destination park.
But designing such an amenity isn’t as easy as imagining one. City leaders can’t simply hold a meeting, put pencil to paper and start planning.
The city this year is in its “planning to plan,” stage, said Kate Pearce, one of the city’s main project planners. Staff will work with the City Council over the next few months to figure out how Raleigh will decide on the future of Dix Park over the next two years, adopting a master plan somewhere around the end of 2018.
The state’s efforts to find buyers for several old houses in the Blount Street Historic District have gone well so far.
Eleven of 12 old houses the state put up for sale in recent months are under contract with new owners. With the exception of one house that has been condemned and will be demolished, the new owners plan to restore the homes and bring new life to a quiet part of downtown.
After years of neglect by the state, extensive restoration work will be needed to make the houses usable again. Still, the sales have come quickly since the state put the first two on the market last July.
Each of the 12 historic homes that the North Carolina state government is seeking to sell in downtown Raleigh’s Blount Street Historic District has a story.
And, in the 13 years since the state started working on a plan to revitalize the district, Joy Wayman has become their storyteller.
(Triangle Business Journal, 3/18/2016)
HAMLET — The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 established a federal grant program to aid states in preserving historic properties, requires all federal agencies to take historic properties into consideration in project planning and development and created the National Register of Historic Places.
During Hamlet’s monthly city council meeting last week, Claudia Brown and Jeff Adolphsen of the North Carolina Historic Preservation office made a presentation that could benefit the town not only financially but also in preserving a large portion of the historic area.
“They started calling in the fall when the new historic preservation tax credits were passed,” said City Manger Marcus Abernethy. “They called to let us know they’ve been passed, and Hamlet could expand its national register district. A map was created for much of the residential area of Hamlet that encompasses 75 percent of the town. Getting the map designated would allow homeowners to file for the tax credit. Their presentation was to be informative and let the town know this is an opportunity to pursue in the future.”
(Richmond County Daily Journal, 3/17/2016)
A weathered, nearly 200-year-old slave cabin in northern Pasquotank County endures as its tenants once did.
The cabin, obscured by thick underbrush, is the only one of its kind in Pasquotank County and one of a handful in North Carolina that remains in its original state, said Reid Thomas, a restoration specialist for the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Many were altered for rental homes and storage sheds.
“This is a nicely constructed building,” Thomas said.
Exposed hand-hewn studs and roof beams were once painted with oyster shell whitewash to brighten the room. Long flat clapboards, gray and cracked, cover the exterior of about 30 feet by 20 feet. A second story loft is likely where the families slept after cooking all day in the fireplace that once stood in the center of building.
(The Virginian-Pilot, 3/16/2016)
Salisbury played an important part in reinstating historic tax credits for the state, according to Susan Kluttz, North Carolina secretary of natural and cultural resources.
“I’m here today on behalf of Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to say thank you to you,” she told the City Council at its meeting Tuesday. “We want to thank you and this community for your tremendous help in restoring the State Historic Preservation Tax Credits.”
(Salisbury Post, 3/16/2016)
A historic Wrightsville Beach cottage was recently purchased by owners dedicated to its preservation, and now the builder is working with the town’s historic landmark commission to make the house livable while retaining its historic characteristics.
When the property owners of 525 S. Lumina Ave. bought the historic Denny Cottage next door at 523 S. Lumina Ave., they realized the house was in need of many repairs. The builder of their home, Wrightsville Beach resident Christopher Parker, offered to manage construction of the house’s restoration, pro bono, and he and his family would rent it.
But the cottage needs numerous repairs before it is safe for his family.
“I don’t think any work has been done to it in 50 years,” Parker said.
Because the 1939 cottage was designated as a historic landmark in 2006, Parker had to seek the Wrightsville Beach historic landmark commission’s approval March 14 to make fixes to derelict windows, handrails, garage doors and lattice. After some debate, commission members approved fixes that would make the home safe and denied fixes they saw as mainly aesthetic.
(Lumina News, 3/15/2016)
SALISBURY — Historic Salisbury Foundation announced today the appointment of Karen L. Hobson as executive director effective immediately.
Hobson returned to Salisbury in 2012, restoring the historic Wright-Hobson house that has been in her family for almost 50 years. She served as a member of HSF’s board of trustees from 2013 until the present.
(Salisbury Post, 3/14/2016)
Raleigh is blessed with a sophisticated legacy of modern residential and commercial architecture. After almost seven decades of influence by N.C. State’s College of Design, the city is home to a rich heritage of contemporary buildings in a rapidly growing urban setting.
So what’s up with the ongoing demolition of buildings from the 1950s and ’60s, the turning of blind eyes to highly talented local architects and the penchant for over-scaled, out-of-proportion McMansions – not to mention those oh-so-ordinary office and apartment buildings popping up like mushrooms all over?
(News & Observer, 3/11/2016)
The Salisbury City Council will be talking about historic tax credits and the Connect NC Bond Act referendum at Tuesday’s meeting.
The council will meet at 5 p.m. at 217 S. Main St.
Susan Kluttz, North Carolina Secretary of Natural and Cultural Resources, will make a presentation about the reinstatement of North Carolina Historic Tax Credits.
(Salisbury Post, 3/15/2016)
Wilmington’s success in preserving historic buildings comes partly from a unique funding tool that buys buildings before they are destroyed, the leader of the nation’s largest historic preservation group said Tuesday, March 8.
In making her first-ever visit to the Port City, Stephanie Meeks, president and chief executive officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, came to help commemorate the twin anniversaries of the Historic Wilmington Foundation and the National Historic Preservation Act, both of which turn 50 years old in 2016.
“It certainly lives up to the reputation,” Meeks said of Wilmington’s historic district. “Wilmington is a city that gets it.”
(Lumina News, 3/9/2016)
In a tiny cabin on a sliver of property adjacent to the Jackson County Historic Courthouse, Sylva author John Parris spent years putting pen to paper, writing the newspaper columns and books celebrating life in the mountains that would ensure his long-lasting legacy in the hearts of Jackson County’s people.
Now, the county is poised to close on its purchase of the cabin and the 0.14 acres on which it and Parris’ old house sit.
(Smoky Mountain News, 3/9/2016)
A new Facade Improvement Grant opportunity is encouraging downtown Aberdeen merchants to spruce up for springtime.
With funding set aside by town leaders, the reimbursable grant program kicked off in January to a solid start with three approved projects already underway.
“We believe this will help us achieve our goal to help beautify the downtown area,” said Daniel Martin, Aberdeen’s community and downtown development planner. “We want to make it more attractive to generate more pedestrian traffic and that will, in turn, increase sales activity.”
The program aims for an organized and coordinated approach to improving the appearance of the downtown shopping area. Grant funding is restricted to commercial property owners and business tenants located within the historic district of Aberdeen. Eligible projects include exterior signage, exterior painting, windows or window replacement, door and window awnings, and general maintenance needs on the facade of a building — including the front, side, or rear of a structure.
(The Pilot, 3/3/2016)
HILDEBRAN, NC (WBTV) – It’s been five days since flames ripped through the old Hildebran High School, but it’s still the topic of most conversation there. For many, like Vivian Wilson, the school is much more than a building.
“I cried. And I cried a lot more when I came out and saw the destruction,” Wilson said.
Charred brick and warped pieces of wood are nearly all that’s left now, a sight Sonya Scott can’t force herself to drive by.
“I went to school there. My mother and father went to school there,” Scott said.
That’s a response you hear a lot around Hildebran, which is why so many came to Friday night’s council meeting, hoping for answers. The school hasn’t held student’s for many years, but the memories are still there.
A half century ago, a small group of forward-thinking Wilmington residents banded together to protect the downtown landscape against the threat of suburban sprawl.
Now, the organization that has worked to preserve and repurpose the area’s architectural history has itself reached the historic mark.
Historic Wilmington Foundation is (HWF) celebrating its 50th year of concentrated preservation efforts through the Cape Fear region. To kick off its anniversary commemoration, the local non-profit will host Stephanie Meeks, National Trust for Historic Preservation President and CEO, who will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 in Room B at the Coastline Conference and Event Center, 501 Nutt St. She’ll also lead a breakfast discussion on preservation at 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 9, at UNC-Wilmington’s Kenan-Wise House, 1713 Market St.
(Star News, 3/3/2016)
CONCORD – Warren C. Coleman certainly made his mark on this town.
From a revitalized mill building to a note in history books, the former slave’s work to build the first African-American owned and operated mill in the country has not been forgotten, heralded on historic markers, street names and at memorial events—in Concord, at least.
But the old mill now has a place on the national stage.
In 2015, the Coleman Mill officially made the National Register of Historic Places, claiming attention the often-overlooked facility has in the past neglected to receive.
(Independent Tribune, 3/1/2016)
A renovated two-story mill house built in the 1800s at the Rocky Mount Mills will soon be home to the SpringBoard Lab, whose purpose is to help develop entrepreneurs throughout the Rocky Mount metropolitan area and Eastern North Carolina region.
SpringBoardNC Inc, a nonprofit organization founded by local business leaders, serves as a resource hub for people looking to start or grow a business. The SpringBoardLab is planned to be a headquarters for innovation and entrepreneurship and a place where entrepreneurs looking to start a business can do so with low overhead expense.
(Rocky Mount Telegram, 3/1/2016)
Documentary filmmaker Aviva Kempner was inspired when she heard civil rights leader Julian Bond speak about the 5,000 schools for black youths that Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald helped establish across the South from 1912 to 1932.
“It is one of the great unknown stories of philanthropy,” Kempner said. “I’ve always been so horrified by the Jim Crow era. (Rosenwald’s story) made me really proud as a Jew.”
Kempner’s documentary “Rosenwald,” a 12-year labor of love, is being screened Sunday at 3 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History in downtown Raleigh.
“Rosenwald schools” were built in states from Maryland to Texas, but more were established in North Carolina – 787, plus 26 workshops and teachers’ homes – than in any other state, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
(News & Observer, 2/27/2016)
Investigators looking into the cause of the blaze that destroyed the old Hildebran High School say the exact cause can’t be determined at this time because they can’t go into the building over safety concerns.
While rumors and speculation over the cause of the fire have been swirling through the community, agents with the North Carolina SBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and officers with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office have been on the scene investigating the fire with the Burke County Fire Marshal’s office since Monday. They have conducted multiple interviews, reviewed fire scene photographs and building floor plan layouts, according to a release Wednesday from the Fire Marshal’s Office.
(Morganton News Herald, 2/24/2016)
Although he’s worked on traditional apartment complexes as a subcontractor in the past, a Wilmington resident and business owner envisions a different kind of project on property he’s bought over the past two years near his Queen Street home.
“I’ve always built buildings. It’s completely different when you’re building a community. I want to build a community,” Leslie Smith said Wednesday of the mixed-use development he’s proposing off Queen Street between 15th and 16th streets in Wilmington.
(Wilmington Business Journal, 2/17/2016)
HILDEBRAN – The charred remains of the old Hildebran High School have been knocked down so an investigation can begin into the cause of the fire that destroyed most of the building on Monday.
Smoldering coals prompted fire crews to douse the building with water again on Tuesday morning. The firefighters then used a ladder to take photographs for the SBI and ATF agents who arrived on the scene Monday afternoon.
An agent with the ATF said there was still no known cause for the fire because the building wasn’t safe for investigators.
(The Morganton News-Herald, 2/23/2016)
BAYBORO – Pamlico County Commissioner Carl Ollison is seeking support for building a new courthouse and abandoning the board’s plans for annual upgrades as part of a multi-million dollar project spread over a number of years.
Ollison, a commissioner from Mesic for more than 20 years, voted against the most recent $400,000 rehab, saying a new building could be built less expensively.
(New Bern Sun Journal, 2/21/2016)
BURKE COUNTY, N.C. — A beloved landmark, the old Hildebran schoolhouse, was gutted after a raging fire tore through the building early Monday morning.
Firefighters from across Burke County were called before dawn to help put out flames at the old schoolhouse.
The first fire crews were called to 202 South Center Street just after 5 a.m. and reported heavy smoke and flames coming from the building, right next to the Town Hall.
The building is nearly 100 years old and is the center of controversy in the town. Town leaders decided about a year ago to tear down the building, setting off a fierce court battle with those wanting to keep it.
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A 106-year-old historic home was moved to a new location in Raleigh on Saturday.
The move of the two-story home from North Harrington Street to New Bern Avenue began Saturday morning.
The house, known as the “Levin-Tarlton House,” was located at 208 N. Harrington Street.
The 1660-square-foot home was possibly built in 1910 and as recently as 1995 was being used as a rooming house, according to Wake County public records.
Dozens of people lined the route of the house moving on Saturday — many stopping to take photos.
WENTWORTH — The oldest settlement in Rockingham County may soon proudly display its history on the faces of its many historic homes.
On Feb. 2, Barbara Cooke, chair of the Historic Preservation Committee, came before the Wentworth Town Council seeking approval for a new project: placing plaques on 17 of Wentworth’s oldest buildings.
The plaques would denote the title of the historic site and the date the building was constructed.
With the council’s unanimous approval, the committee can now move forward and contact the current owners of the sites, all located in the old village area.
(Rockingham Now, 2/16/2016)
Facing a continued challenge from its across-the-street neighbor, the controversial Oakwood modernist house won a victory Tuesday from the N.C. Court of Appeals.
Architect Louis Cherry and Marsha Gordon’s home on Euclid Street attracted national headlines two years ago when a city Board of Adjustment vote resulted in concerns that the owners might have to demolish the house. The Board of Adjustment had sided with neighbor Gail Wiesner, who said the modernist home did not fit the design rules for the Oakwood historic district.
The Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court ruling that Wiesner doesn’t have the legal right to challenge the Cherry-Gordon home’s construction because her objections are “essentially aesthetic.”
(News & Observer, 2/16/2016)
Raleigh, N.C. — A modern home built in Raleigh’s historic Oakwood neighborhood won’t go anywhere after the North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday settled a dispute by ruling in favor of the homeowners.
Marsha Gordon and Louis Cherry were granted necessary permits to build the contemporary house at 516 Euclid St., including a certificate of appropriateness from the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.
Despite that, construction of the home irked neighbors, who argued that the house didn’t fit with the character of Oakwood and would bring down property values. Neighbor Gail Wiesner filed a complaint over the home, leading the city’s Board of Adjustment to reverse its certificate and suspend construction of the home.
“It means all together, the entire thing,” preservationist James Perry told the audience at the 50th annual meeting of Preservation Greensboro last Wednesday.
Perry was talking about a project he had worked on in New Orleans that transformed a whole neighborhood.
Now president and CEO of the Winston-Salem Urban League, Perry moved to the Triad from New Orleans, where he served with that city’s Historic District Landmark Commission and the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, an organization similar to Preservation Greensboro.
The Preservation Resource Center bought eight houses on the 600 block of General Taylor Street, one of the most blighted streets in a blighted neighborhood of New Orleans.
How bad were the houses? Measuring between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet, they had no electricity, no plumbing and few window panes. The group paid anywhere from $1,500 to $7,000 for each house, and the roof fell in on two of them within weeks of closing.
Everyone told them they were crazy, that it couldn’t be done. But they believed that if you renovated an entire block, you could made a real impact on the surrounding neighborhood.
Using the organization’s revolving fund, they spent between $60,000 and $80,000 per house. The renovated houses sold for between $85,000 and $95,000, and later resold for $196,000 and $270,000.
“The preservation work we did was real economic development,” Perry said. “It spurred investment in the whole neighborhood. Now it’s a hotbed of renovation.”
The point of the story, he said, is that preservationists are often the only ones who have the vision to see that blight and decay can be renovated rather than razed.
“When it comes to neighborhoods in despair, there are only two groups of people who have interest in supporting those neighborhoods,” Perry said. “The people who live there, and if there are historic properties, the crazy visionary preservationists who are willing to dig in and jump in and hold hands with those people in despair and say, ‘let’s rebuild this neighborhood.’ ”
The preservation of homes and buildings tell the story of a community, Perry said, so preservation is important for all communities.
The tout-ensemble idea intrigued Greensboro City Council members Sharon Hightower and Nancy Hoffmann, who attended the meeting. “We can do this,” Hightower said.
I couldn’t help but think of how different East Greensboro would be if just one street in Warnersville, Greensboro’s first African American neighborhood, had been given a tout-ensemble renovation in the 1970s instead of being razed for urban renewal.
It’s not too late for other neighborhoods in East Greensboro and other areas of the city.
Let’s hope this idea catches on.
(News & Record, 2/15/2016)
TARBORO, EDGECOMBE COUNTY – According to the Tarboro Fire Department, a home known as “the Barracks” caught fire Sunday afternoon.
Captain Ken Ruffin told Newschannel 12 that they got the call around 1 p.m. to respond to 301 N. Howard Circle. He said the fire started in the kitchen of the vacant home and spread quickly. He said it spread to places that were difficult to reach, causing over $150 thousand dollars worth of damage.
Captain Ruffin said one leiutenant cut his hand during the process. He was taken to the hospital and released.
The home was not ruled a total loss. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Better fire protection is coming to Flat Top Manor at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway thanks to a Centennial Challenge project being carried by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
The Foundation will raise $411,632 to update the fire suppression system at the manor, which is located at milepost 294, near Blowing Rock, N.C. The funds will be supplemented with an award from Congress of $294,487 to address this pressing need on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Last week the National Park Service announced nearly $48 million of Centennial Challenge projects to help parks across the country improve visitor services and support outreach to new audiences. The projects, many of which tackle deferred maintenance, come as the Park Service this year kicks off its second century of service.
Congress provided $15 million for the projects, which will be matched by almost $33 million from more than 90 park partners.
“We are excited that the Blue Ridge Parkway will be the recipient of these Centennial Challenge dollars for a second year,” said Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods. “Through making this donation, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is helping us care for the resources of this park in meaningful ways that will be enjoyed for years to come.”
(National Parks Traveler, 2/10/2016)
The N.C. Association of Realtors will use the upstairs of the old Heck-Andrews mansion on North Blount Street for its Raleigh office, but plans to make the ground floor available for public events.
The association expects to spend anywhere from $1.3 million to $2 million on renovations, in addition to the $1.5 million it will pay the state to buy the 146-year-old Second Empire-style house with the distinctive four-story tower.
Preservationists hope a similar fate awaits four more old houses the state recently put on the market on the next block. The state began acquiring houses along North Blount Street in the 1970s as part of an ill-fated plan to build parking lots for the nearby State Government Complex, and many have remained empty for years.
“I think everyone in the preservation community is thrilled to see movement,” said Martha Hobbs Lauer, executive director of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. “The worst thing for a historic building is to sit empty. To see them renovated, restored and brought back to life is just a wonderful thing.”
SALISBURY – Six houses on West Monroe Street in Salisbury’s West End neighborhood will undergo a major revitalization now that Livingstone College and Historic Salisbury Foundation, Inc. have reached a Memorandum of Agreement.
The properties are located on West Monroe Street, directly across from the college. They are all owned by Livingstone, are vacant and are in need of extensive repairs. Additionally, all of them except two are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in the Livingstone College Local Historic District.
Revitalization of the six properties will dramatically improve the West End neighborhood economically and socially while making the houses habitable and increasing their property values.
(The Salisbury Post, 2/5/2016)
The Historic Preservation Committee recently submitted the results of a survey that examined 110 properties in the Boone area to the Boone Town Council, aiming to designate those found to be significant for protection.
The survey was commissioned by the Town of Boone and overseen by Carolina Historical Consulting LLC.
Eric Plaag, the founder of Carolina Historical Consulting, said his work on the report was done on a volunteer basis. Plaag said he got involved to give back to the town and get the ball rolling on what he feels is an important process.
“So much has disappeared from downtown Boone just in the last 30 years, and I’m fearful that Boone will lose its character,” Plaag said.
The designation requires that any changes to a property or district considered historic be approved by their preservation commission to ensure that any modifications do not negatively affect the area’s historical character.
The process of designation takes place on a local level, being authorized and reviewed by the town council. The town also conducts a public hearing on the results.
Mayor Rennie Brantz said he believed the designation was very important and is excited about the progress being made, including plans to recognize downtown Boone as a historic district.
(The Appalachian, 2/10/2016)
Buildings that have been standing for generations often look the part but still tell a vital story about the communities where they were constructed.
That’s one reason Lucy Penegar was sad to hear of a brewing plan to demolish another local landmark. Gaston County commissioners on Tuesday will consider spending $90,000 to raze the old nurses dormitory beside the former North Carolina Orthopedic Hospital at 901 S. New Hope Road in Gastonia.
(Gaston Gazette, 2/8/2016)
Have you been to downtown Lenoir lately? It’s so worth a trip. Not only does the city look great due to all the improvements made during its streetscape project a few years ago– new streetlamps, planters, sidewalks, and so on — but there also are fabulous restaurants and antique stores and artsy places and big and small sculptures throughout the downtown and in the surrounding county.
Traveling into and out of the historic district, visitors find even more go-to places: shops, fresh markets, eateries, florists . . .
I hadn’t stopped in Lenoir in a long time when I decided to take some out-of-town friends on a trip to see what we could find in Caldwell County’s largest city. We weren’t disappointed, especially since we started the exploration on a full stomach thanks to 1841 Café on Main Street.
(Hickory Daily Record, 2/7/16)
More than 65 history buffs and even some descendants of Scotch Loyalist Kenneth Black, a prominent pre-Revolutionary War figure in Moore County, came out Tuesday to see grave sites marked in his family cemetery off U.S. 15-501 in Southern Pines.
The cemetery, about 100 yards off the highway behind the Chamber of Commerce building and Chick-fil-A, was first discovered in the 1960s. Time had erased all of the inscribed grave markers by the time the cemetery was discovered. A rock wall around Black’s grave had fallen and was eventually covered up.
The Moore County Historical Association, which serves as the agent for two descendants of the Black family, began a restoration of the cemetery last spring. Volunteers unearthed the stones and erected the wall around Black’s grave.
(Southern Pines Pilot, 2/5/16)
Sunday was a day to celebrate, and not just for Rick and Susan Stone, who opened the doors to the restored William Crawford House — their new home — as a fundraiser for Preservation Greensboro.
In just a few weeks, the Stones will move into this 1902 Colonial Revival home on Spring Garden Street. After 1½ years of renovation, the house that sat burned and vacant for five years is once again a showplace home in the historic College Hill neighborhood.
This isn’t simply a victory for the Stones or for College Hill or for Preservation Greensboro. It’s a victory for the whole city.
(News & Record, 2/3/2016)
Fayetteville, N.C. — A historic piece of property in Fayetteville with ties to the Civil War is now at the center of another battle. A company wants to turn the residential home into a private middle school, but some residents are concerned about their peaceful neighborhood. 1
Mary Lynn Jordan has lived next door to a historic home on Morgantown Road in the Haymount community for 53 years. She says Union Gen. William Sherman may have stayed at the home during his rampage through Fayetteville during the Civil War.
A group of residents from Franklin and Cherokee have been meeting for the last eight months to explore strategies to work together for economic development and historic preservation. Calling themselves Mountain Partners, the group has engaged in discussions regarding a potential Nikwasi-Cowee corridor that promotes heritage-tourism and related economic development opportunities.
According to Barbara McRae, one of the Mountain Partners from Franklin, the group’s efforts have been productive and insightful. “It’s been an exciting experience, especially getting to know the Cherokee members and their perspectives on the history and culture of the Nikwasi Mound.”
(Cherokee One Feather, 2/2/2016)
Two blocks off Broad Street, the bustle of boutique shopping and trendy eateries gives way to quiet tree-lined roads. Old stately homes loom large beside smaller bungalows, throwbacks to a bygone era when stables and working class dwellings were accouterments to these modest estates.
In a section of Southern Pines first mapped out in the mid-1880s, three such homes are undergoing a transformation. Originally slated for demolition in favor of eight new luxury townhomes, property owner Dean King instead had a change of heart once the houses’ old bones, so to speak, were made bare.
“We decided to turn back the clock,” said King, a Southern Pines-based architect.
Instead of starting from scratch and trying to imbue charm from the ground up, King said the metal roofs and exteriors of the homes will be restored while the interior spaces are given a thoroughly modern renovation. Old walls are coming down as the homes are cleaved in half to create new duplexes that embrace open-concept floor plans. The green space between the old homes will be reimagined to include two new cottages to enhance the neighboring architecture.
(The Pilot, 1/27/2016)
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory in his announcement Thursday that the state has reached a deal with to sell the landmark Second Empire-style Heck-Andrews House in downtown Raleigh also disclosed that more opportunities are on the way for buyers seeking to restore several of North Carolina’s most historic homes.
(Triangle Business Journal, 1/28/2016)
RALEIGH–The state has found a buyer for the 146-year-old Heck-Andrews House on North Blount Street in downtown Raleigh.
The N.C. Association of Realtors has agreed to buy the house for $1.5 million. Gov. Pat McCrory announced the sale Thursday, and the Council of State will be asked to give its approval on Tuesday.
The Realtors association’s headquarters is in Greensboro, but it has a Raleigh office on Fayetteville Street.
The sale ends more than 30 years of state ownership of the Second Empire-style mansion. The state acquired half interest in the house in 1984, then bought the remaining share by eminent domain in 1987. The state has spent more than $1.2 million on exterior renovations over the years, but the three-story home anchored by a four-story central tower remains a ruin inside.
(News & Observer, 1/28/2015)
The Historic Preservation Tax Credit program used for restoring historic properties in North Carolina has successfully been reinstated. The tax credit system, which also includes the credit for income-producing properties, phased out at the end of 2014 as part of state tax reform measures taken by North Carolina lawmakers. Since first introduced in 1998, experts estimate that the tax credits have generated $1.4 billion in statewide revenues with each project generating approximately four jobs.
After the tax credits expired in 2014, supporters in Raleigh were not convinced that phasing out the credits was a sustainable decision and worked to resuscitate the program. Members of North Carolina’s Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, which houses the State Historic Preservation Office, began touring the state and visiting locations that shared success stories, such as New Bern, Kinston, and Rocky Mount. New Bern has had more than $3 million invested in historic home projects, while Kinston’s Historic Mitchelltown district is undergoing a renaissance targeting a burgeoning creative class, in part from the assistance of tax credits.
(Sustainable Cities Collective, 1/27/2016)
CONCORD — A proposal to sell and redevelop the Hotel Concord is on the table.
The proposal by Rehab Development includes a more than $5.3 million project that would transform the old hotel into a high end apartment complex with 38 units. The proposal also includes keeping the event space and developing a market/restaurant space with a brewery.
Rehab Development is the company that redeveloped the former downtown Heilig-Meyers building, transforming it into Lofts 29, which is directly behind the Hotel Concord complex.
(Independent Tribune, 1/27/2016)
Breathtaking seems the best adjective for the 308-acre Dix property Raleigh recently acquired from the state for $52 million. And the only aspect more breathtaking than its size, scope and beauty is how far-reaching a challenge this rolling, wooded landscape presents the city.
Its development as a park calls for solutions that get it right – now, and for the ages.
Mike Welton. 2015 News & Observer File Photo – Juli Leonard email@example.com
That means looking back to the recent past for lessons learned from the politics of design. The 2012 withdrawal by artist Jaume Plensa of his world-class, downtown sculpture (along with its $2.5 million funding from Capitol Broadcasting President and CEO Jim Goodmon) comes immediately to mind.
Controversy over the city’s 2011 design competition for Moore Square – some of its “i’s” and “t’s” neither dotted nor crossed – was only recently resolved when a new Sasaki design replaced the original winner.
These are symbols of a city striving mightily for a larger presence on a regional stage. Missteps might be allowed on smaller projects, but Dix Park is no minor affair. Goodmon, a key supporter, is calling for it to be “the greatest park in the nation.”
Its monumental scope will require a master plan that proposes many uses over a long period of time.
However it’s programmed, this park will serve not only today’s citizens, but their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane notes, it must offer place-making for gatherings on a grand scale – as well as intimate spaces for thoughtful solitude.
That’s a tall order. It’s complicated by the expense of developing the property while looking for ways to pay for maintenance – making its master plan more an economic development tool than a design proposal. Broad uses will be laid out in this plan, but designs for its spaces should come later.
“It’s about programming, connections and funding,” says Durham landscape architect Walt Havenner of Surface 678, designers of the exquisite Rodin sculpture garden at the North Carolina Museum of Art. “It helps the city narrow down what it wants to do; then designers come up with approaches.”
The city already has a leg up on planning. Among its partners is a group of philanthropists formerly known as the Dix Park Visionaries, now the Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy. Goodmon is chairman of the group that has already pledged $3.5 million toward a master plan.
So now, as near-giddiness over the land acquisition recedes, the hard work of developing the park commences.
Thomas Woltz, principal in Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects of Charlottesville. Va. and New York City.
The first question to be asked, says Mark Johnson of Civitas, the Denver-based landscape firm creating a new set of gardens and parks at NCMA, is: What opportunities does this property open up for the city of Raleigh that didn’t exist before?
“The act of doing the master plan might be the process by which you get the answers,” he says.
To be relevant, Dix’s programming must be informed by the citizens of Raleigh – and the park’s past incarnations. “Think about the 200 years behind you and the 200 in front,” says Thomas Woltz, principal in Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects of Charlottesville, Va. and New York City. “You’re in the middle – the steward of the stories of the land that are linked to the past – to deliver a resilient and beautiful park for the long-term future.”
Woltz is a Mount Airy native, currently at work designing a 4 1/3-acre park in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, implementing a master plan for the 1,500-acre Memorial Park in Houston, and creating a botanical garden on the grounds of a former mental hospital in Traverse City, Mich. Each project is different because each owns its history, written by its citizens. “It’s important to build coalitions of groups and people invested in this park,” he says.
Here, the first coalition might be those connected to Dorothea Dix Hospital – doctors, nurses, former patients, and their families – even those at rest in its cemetery. But embedded too within the park are other stories: the land once farmed as part of patient therapy, the 1856 hospital designed by noted architect Alexander Jackson Davis, and the pre-Dix uses by settlers, African-Americans, Native Americans, and even prehistoric inhabitants. Hispanics and the arts community also may have more contemporary narratives to contribute.
Within the master plan, questions surely will abound, preservation among them. In addition to the 19th-century hospital, 26 other buildings dot the landscape, 22 of them considered “contributing” in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s register. Which should be preserved, and which demolished?
What would be their highest and best use? Could they be renovated and leased to generate income?
Would the Tuscan Revival hospital make, as Preservation North Carolina’s Myrick Howard suggests, an excellent boutique hotel and a destination unto itself? That would brand Raleigh one of the few cities with two functional Davis buildings – the other being the State Capitol. Again, income generation is a possibility.
(News & Observer, 1/23/2016)
Wilmington resident Sharon Stone, not of “Basic Instinct” fame, first volunteered at the Bellamy Mansion 18 years ago for the history lesson.
Moving from the Midwest with her husband who grew up locally, she was briefed on the city’s greatest hits, but she wanted the full story.
“I’m a Type A personality. It needs to be linear, defined,” she said. “So I started taking classes with a history professor at UNCW and volunteering at Bellamy Mansion. It puts context around just random facts.”
(Star News, 1/15/2016)
Dryborough, a community in New Bern with a rich history, has become the first African American neighborhood designated as a National Historic Place.
The State Historic Preservation Office made the announcement Thursday. Notification letters, a legal notice for New Bern, and certificates for owners will be mailed later.
Ethel Staten, a lifelong resident of the Dryboroghh area and president of the Dryborough Association, was thrilled with the news. She and many others have worked for several years to complete the national designation for the community.
The Walker Hotel sat vacant, deteriorating in downtown Cary for nearly five years. Its walls were coated with mold and graffiti, and its roof leaked during every rainstorm.
Hidden behind overgrown shrubbery, this historic building hardly resembled the grand French Second Empire style hotel that once housed passing railroad travelers. At its lowest point, the crumbling building was valued at $4,000, and for many, was beyond repair.
The building has since been transformed into the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, which attracts an average of 25,000 people per year for classes, events, concerts, historical and fine arts exhibitions.
While it took hundreds of people to restore the once dilapidated building, and Anne Kratzer is known for deflecting credit to others, many say this dream would not have become reality without her. She rallied dozens of people behind the goal of transforming the historic building.
“She is, as one of my friends said, the ‘matriarch of historic preservation’ in Cary,” said Brent Miller of Cary. “She always acknowledges the contributions of all the others, but 30 years ago, she was the one with the heart and the spirit and the courage to really take on this effort.”
About 30 years after the restoration began, Kratzer has been recognized for her efforts to preserve the building as well as other historic buildings in Cary. She was selected by the Town of Cary as the 2015 Hometown Spirit Award Winner – an annual recognition bestowed upon a Cary resident who has demonstrated leadership and integrity.
Miller, who was also a finalist for the award, and Cary resident Leesa Brinkley nominated Kratzer for the recognition.
Kratzer’s passion for preservering history goes beyond the Page-Walker Arts & History Center. She also has planted an education herb garden with friends around the Page-Walker’s smokehouse to preserve it; oversaw the restoration of the White Plains Cemetery; and helped create the Cary Heritage Museum. She continues to serve as an active board member of the Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel to sustain and bring recognition to the town’s history.
(Cary News/News & Observer, 1/12/2016)
HIGH POINT, N.C., Jan. 14, 2016 – High Point University will host Dr. Marjoleine Kars, an expert in early American history, for a special presentation commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Alexander Martin Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
The event will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and continue with the lecture at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 28 in the Plato S. Wilson School of Commerce Ballroom. It is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. RSVP by Jan. 25 at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-841-9209.
Kars will present, “North Carolina Regulators: America’s First Revolutionaries.” She will share research from her book, “Breaking Loose Together,” which documents the history of North Carolina farmers involved in the Regulator Rebellion, the largest organized movement for rural justice in colonial America, which took place in the Piedmont. While the Regulators were defeated at the Battle of Alamance in 1771, their demands and ideas foreshadowed popular demands of the Revolution that followed.
“Dr. Kars’ work offers important new insights into a crucial but lesser-known period of North Carolina history. It’s a great opportunity for interested local folks to learn more about our collective past,” says Paul Ringel, associate professor of history at HPU, who is helping coordinate the event as part of the Department of History’s fifth annual American Discoveries series.
Kars is an associate professor and chair in the History Department at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in Baltimore. She received her Ph.D. in early American history from Duke University and teaches early American and Atlantic history, women’s and gender history, and the history of Atlantic slavery.
This event kicks off a yearlong celebration for the Alexander Martin Chapter, which is highlighting historic preservation throughout 2016.
(High Point University, 1/15/2016)
Today’s batch of burning questions, my smart-aleck answers and the real deal:
Question: What are the oldest buildings in Asheville and Buncombe County that are still in use? What’s the history of the oldest commercial building?
My answer: And let the arguments begin!
Real answer: As a bit of a history buff myself, I got a little carried away on this one.
I talked and emailed with Jack Thomson, executive director of the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County; Jennifer Cathey, restoration specialist with the State Historic Preservation Office, part of the North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources Western Office; and John Ager, who lives in the oldest house in the county.
The preservation folks and I agreed that it’s probably best to use phrases such as “earliest known” or “oldest known surviving” when referring to these structures, as some folks may beg to differ, and some buildings have been renovated or added to over the years.
Having offered that disclaimer, Thomson offered up No. 1 Biltmore Avenue as the oldest operating, strictly mercantile building in Asheville, dating from 1887.
(Asheville Citizen-Times, 1/13/2015)
WAYNESVILLE, N.C. — Haywood County’s old, abandoned hospital in Waynesville could be getting new life.
Other attempts to convert the building into affordable housing have failed, but an easing of state restrictions could lead to a company called Landmark renovating the old hospital into 50 to 55 apartments for low income seniors.
The $7 million project would be done with the help of state, federal and historic tax credits.
“As the county we’re hoping it will have the affordable housing because there is a shortage for seniors,” Haywood County Commissioner Kevin Ensley said. “And also we hope for there to be a veterans’ component to it to where we can have veterans apply.”
A nonprofit partnership is required for the project. The Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina has agreed.
It still could be a year before tax credit awards are determined.
The fight to save Charlotte’s vanishing historic buildings is getting a boost with news that the Charlotte Museum of History and Historic Charlotte are merging to create a unified front on preserving and promoting local history and historic sites.
The alliance comes at a time when homes and buildings associated with history are under siege because of booming revitalization, including historic neighborhoods from the 1950s that are seeing older homes razed to be replaced with much larger homes, sometimes derided as “McMansions.”
Both organizations stand to gain.
The museum, which recently rebounded from financial problems, will see its role as a cultural leader elevated beyond tours and school programming. And it will get an infusion of support from community leaders involved in historic preservation.
(Charlotte Observer, 1/6/2016)
While the cranes have returned to much of uptown, and the west side of Tryon Street is noisily being transformed, here at Mint and Trade streets, a significant resurrection of the federal courthouse is quietly taking place.
It is being led, inch by square inch, by a Charlotte-born judge and a ponytailed Dutch artist.
Presiding U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney gave the order to restore the first-floor ceiling in the lobby of the historic government building. Adrianus Van Der Staack is executing the plan.
The work was launched last year as part of the courthouse’s 100th anniversary celebration. Now, a third of the lobby ceiling has been returned to its original neoclassical grandeur. Van Der Staack has repaired the plaster ornaments and adorned them with their original pastel colors. New gold leaf has been added, and restored brass fixtures now gleam like fine butterscotch.
(Charlotte Observer, 1/5/2016)
When a business owner is deciding on where to place their business their number one concerns is location. Lately many business owners have been trending towards reusing old buildings to enhance their own endeavors. In an effort to encourage the repurposing of these properties city leaders have adopted a more “business-friendly” attitude.
According to Tammy Absher, executive director of the City of Lexington Business and Community Development, the city leadership has made it easier for businesses to come to Lexington. Two of the top 10 goals adopted by the Lexington City Council include focusing efforts on improving the city’s appearance and playing active role growing the local economy.
(The Dispatch, 12/29/2015)
In the shadow of the six-story Loray Mill, where Bubbles Styers has lived for nearly 60 years, she feels a new vitality stirring.
In the spring, tenants began moving into the recently renovated mill building’s loft-apartments, and some wave at Styers as they come and go. She has high hopes for Preservation North Carolina’s plan to rejuvenate the 30-block Loray neighborhood made up of about 500 small mill houses built between 1900 and the 1930s.
The Raleigh-based nonprofit has purchased nine properties, which will be modernized and sold.
Styers, 59, is among the 25 percent of Loray village residents who own their homes; 75 percent of the properties are rentals, and many aren’t well-maintained.
Preservation North Carolina hopes to reverse those figures by demonstrating how attractive the remodeled houses with small yards can be to millennials and empty nesters. The nonprofit’s other projects with restored mill houses have been successful in such places as Edenton and near Burlington.
Styers, who has lived all her life in the same six-room house on Dalton Street, remembers the Loray neighborhood when mill employees owned most the homes.
“It was fabulous,” she said. “Everybody looked out for each other. They’d do anything in the world for you.”
She’s optimistic about Preservation North Carolina’s effort to change the dynamics of a neighborhood that fell into decline.
“I’m glad they’re doing it,” Styers said. “I’m sure the neighborhood will come back someday.”
The 600,000-square-foot Loray – once known as the “Million Dollar Mill” – is a Gastonia landmark that opened in 1902. At its peak in the late 1920s, the mill employed 3,500 workers, many who lived in the village. The Loray name became permanently stamped on American labor history as the site of the bloody 1929 strike that claimed the lives of Gastonia Police Chief Orville Aderholt and union activist and balladeer Ella May Wiggins.
Firestone Textile and Fibers bought the building in 1935 and stayed until construction of a new tire cord manufacturing plant in 1993 in Kings Mountain. Preservation North Carolina got the vacant mill building in 1998 as a donation from Firestone and tried to find a developer for what was considered one of North Carolina’s most important historic properties.
The first phase of a more than $40 million residential/commercial restoration project began in April 2013. N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory spoke at the grand opening ceremony in March.
Currently, 150 of the 190 loft apartments have been occupied and the remaining are being leased, said developer Billy Hughes. A 14,000-square-foot fitness club recently opened in the building, and he’s in negotiations with a coffee shop, taproom and restaurants, and to lease office space.
Meanwhile, Preservation North Carolina will start work soon in a neighborhood that was once larger than the city of Gastonia.
Two basic house types – A and B – date from 1901 and a third, type C, was added when the mill expanded around 1919-1920. As the original village took shape, the mill loomed like a giant watchtower. In April 1901, The Charlotte Observer reported that houses in the Loray village were going up daily and that “streets and drives are being laid and the place is fast becoming a town in itself.”
Mill owners considered incorporation, but in 1912, the mill and village became part of Gastonia.
Before World War II, the company started selling the houses. But as retired millworkers moved away or died, the properties fell to heirs and change set in. By the late 1970s, the former neighborhood of homeowners was in a decline.
Increasing home ownership
Preservation North Carolina President Myrick Howard said “we’re trying to focus on a neighborhood that’s troubled, if not blighted.”
The nonprofit’s goal in the Loray village is to buy, renovate and sell 20 mill homes in the next five years. Protective covenants attached to the deeds require the properties to be sold to homeowners and to meet preservation standards.
“We’re trying to help turn the market and re-establish home ownership in the neighborhood,” he said. “I’d love to see this as a stable, integrated neighborhood with a lot of ownership and lots of regard for small homes. We’re hoping to turn some peoples’ heads to the value of small homes.”
In March, 17 students in Professor Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll’s interior architecture II class at UNC Greensboro, came to Gastonia where they photographed and measured houses in the Loray neighborhood for a class assignment.
Using that information, they came up with design recommendations for Loray’s three mill house types, reflecting new market demands of baby boomers and millennials.
He said some of the students’ ideas will be incorporated in the Loray house designs.
While the restoration effort will take years, Howard said, “we’re betting it will work.”
Project manager for the Loray revitalization is Jack Kiser, who worked on the Loray Mill project for 20 years as Gastonia planning director. He sees great potential in the old mill houses, which are part of the Loray Mill Historic District listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
“The houses are well-built,” Kiser said. “There’s some really stout construction.”
Over time, some houses have been remodeled with additions such as artificial siding, asbestos shingles, aluminum and vinyl. These will be removed. Original features such as heart pine floors, clapboard siding, 10-foot ceilings and old-style windows will be restored. The energy-efficient houses will be rewired and replumbed and come with modern appliances, counters and cabinets.
Instead of scattering home renovations all over the neighborhood, the revitalization effort will focus on two areas at first. Kiser said the houses will likely sell in the low $100,000s. He hopes the project will raise property values and help revitalize west Gastonia.
“It’s something that doesn’t happen overnight,” he said one afternoon while inspecting what will be the project’s model house.
Built in 1902, the structure is showing its age with a sagging roof and a look of abandonment. But Kiser can visualize a refurbished house looking like it did when the big mill just up the street was new.
It’s a house that will appeal to people “who want something authentic and historic,” Kiser said.
Bubbles Styers called the prospects of a neighborhood revival “wonderful.” When the mill closed, she said things starting going downhill with an increase in crime.
The neighborhood’s appearance suffered as renters neglected their yards “and drug in all sorts of mess like junk cars,” she said.
The Loray Mill still dominated the neighborhood, but its many lights no longer glowed at night, casting a deeper gloom along the streets.
But Styers, who plans to stay in the neighborhood, feels the momentum is turning in the right direction.
“It’s nice to see lights back on in the mill,” she said. “Now it’s alive again.”
Joe DePriest: email@example.com
(Charlotte Observer, 1/2/2016)
Cheers to the city and county for agreeing to support the Bailey site. This is a fine Christmas gift to Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, and it comes just in the nick of time, taking full advantage of the state’s historic-preservation tax credits program.
The Winston-Salem City Council and Forsyth County Board of Commissioners each promised $3 million for the redevelopment of the Bailey Power Plant site in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, the Journal’s Wesley Young reported Tuesday. Votes were unanimous during city and county board meetings on Monday. Both entities had signaled their desire to help earlier, but the county had taken the time to find the best legal avenue to assist.
(December 26/2015, Winston-Salem Journal)
RALEIGH, N.C. — Six historic sites will receive funding from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund for land preservation.
One of the sites was where The Battle of Bentonville, one of the final clashes of the American Civil War,and the largest battle ever fought on North Carolina soil was fought. N.C. officials estimate that visitation to the Bentonville Battlefield generates nearly $7 million annually for the regional economy.
Governor Pat McCrory recognizes both the importance of the battlefield’s history, as well as all of the other historic sites that are maintained across the state.
“Each and every one of North Carolina’s historic sites plays an important role in telling our state’s history,” said Governor McCrory in a press release. “It is important that we continue to do all we can to preserve them for generations to come.”
In late November, the state increased its financial support for Bentonville, through the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, as well as five other cultural resource sites around North Carolina during the annual meeting of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund meeting.
(North Carolina News Network, 12/22/2015)
National advocacy and education group Preservation Rightsizing Network released a new action agenda last week. Focusing on legacy cities, the agenda’s points widen the interpretation of historic preservation, connecting the saving of old buildings to everything from municipal code enforcement to warding off modern redlining.
In recent years, preservationists have been finding peers in folks like Carol Ott, the creator of the blog Slumlord Watch, and Candy Chang, the artist behind the “I Wish This Was …” project. What the new agenda demonstrates is how this expanded view is refracting inward:
Preservationists need to pursue strategic efforts in foreclosure prevention, down payment assistance, homesteading, code enforcement, and strategic property acquisition and disposal. … Intangible heritage and culture — the stories that make a community what it is — should be recognized and preserved through oral histories, community storytelling events, and in other ways.
There’s great distance between this class of preservationists, who essentially prioritize stabilizing neighborhoods, and the common perception of one — an architectural historian-advocate who swoops in when buildings he deems significant need protecting. Most certainly, all practitioners do plenty of the latter. It’s just that the campaigning happens alongside engaging activities such as, say, throwing a birthday party for a park.
Several preservationists tell me this interdisciplinary shift is a matter of necessity rather than ambition. As Patrick Grossi, advocacy director at Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, put it, “If I’m not intimate with the zoning code, if I’m not following what’s happening with the land bank, if I’m not conscious of what certain members of city council’s priorities are, I don’t think I’m actually doing my job.”
Emilie Evans, director of the Rightsizing Cities Initiative, is a co-leader of Brick + Beam, a new Detroit-based initiative that will offer support for rehabbing houses to nonprofits, developers and residents alike. I ask Evans if she pictured herself sharing pointers for DIY home renovations to Detroiters back when she was a historic preservation grad student. She laughs. No, she “did not see [that] coming explicitly.”
“Who knows where we’re going to end up as professionals,” she says. “But it’s really exciting.”
The action agenda’s points are divided into three sections: calls for a new approach (which focuses on a healthy urban fabric), a new toolkit (programs and policies to buttress this broadened vision), and more cross-agency partnerships.
“We have good preservations tools, but they don’t go far enough,” says Preservation Rightsizing Network Chair Cara Bertron. “Many preservationists working locally in legacy cities and distressed neighborhoods have known for a long time that historic tax credits are not going to be applicable to every neighborhood. They’re a great tool! But they can only be used in locally or nationally designated properties.” The agenda, in this sense, is an overview of how practitioners are addressing that gap, she says.
Bertron’s quick to note that preservation that focuses on the built environment rather than the gems within in it isn’t new. Michael Allen agrees.
“As much as I believe in the principles, I don’t believe that they’re new or radical,” says Allen, who’s director and architectural historian at St. Louis-based Preservation Research Office and who edited the action agenda. “The challenge is how do you move these points of view from the margins to the center of practice.”
Allen says the preservationists arguing for new approaches are “those who are on the ground and being frank practitioners saying, ‘This isn’t working. Here’s something that might work.’” He continues, “The wrong way to do this is the way that fails to save the buildings, right?”
There’s a joke about historic preservationists: If you get them started, they’ll rhapsodize endlessly about cornices. Bertron recognizes it instantly. “And we love those people. They’re great! They have to be only a small part of the choir in legacy cities,” she says. “Talking about revitalizing neighborhoods instead of rehabbing [sole] buildings, it’s more complicated, so it’s a harder sell. I think sometimes we as a movement, default to talking about something that’s an easier win.”
Grossi estimates that only 3 percent of Philadelphia’s buildings are protected. One of the tough wins, thus, would be a series of district designations, particularly those outside of the city’s core.
“Even more important I think is just reframing what the values of preservation are,” he says. “Preservation does play a role in how you approach and navigate growth, how you provide a sense of empowerment in neighborhoods that are lacking. And that’s really more of a hearts and minds campaign about what the historic built environment can do for you. As opposed to ‘Hey, we’re preservationists, and we haven’t been here in a while, and we think all these buildings belong on the register. How do you feel about that?’”
Concurring with Grossi, Bertron says the registry can’t be the end goal. “Community needs” should be, she says, and as such, the field need a larger, more collaborative set of strategies.
“It’s been fun to be able to say, this is a movement. And because you guys are here, you’re part of it. Because you’re reading this, you’re part of it, because you care about cities and historic neighborhoods, you’re part of this movement,” she says. The agenda “is not the only document. It’s not the first time you’ll read any of these ideas. But it helps to frame what we’re doing.”
Local author and historian Louisa Emmons recently published a book titled “Glen Alpine Springs Hotel: A History of Burke County’s Finest Accommodation.”
The book relates the story of an historic Burke County landmark, an elegant mineral springs resort which was once the largest frame structure in North Carolina. The book will be available at the History Museum of Burke County one week before Christmas.
(The News Herald, 12/16/2015)
APEX (WTVD) — There was a lot of excitement Tuesday as a historic home was moved across Interstate 540 in Apex.
Neighbors gathered to see the moving of the historic Upchurch Williams House down Roberts Road.
“We set up a tent, just so that we could stay out of the sun and here in a little while we’re going to cook hot dogs and make a day of it,” said Gerald Woods. “It’s a big deal. It really is.”
WILMINGTON – When he lived in Wilmington, President Woodrow Wilson went by the nickname Tommy – as a bookish, bespectacled pastor’s son bound for the Ivy League and the White House, an erudite teenager who once complained that the local girls couldn’t carry on intelligent conversation.
He stood tall in Southern high society, one of handful of college boys in all of Wilmington, member of the blueblood Presbyterian Church on Third Street, best friend to John D. Bellamy Jr., whose father was perhaps North Carolina’s richest man.
He inhabited a city only nine years removed from the Civil War, and he passed his afternoons in the palatial Bellamy Mansion built with slave labor and financed by plantation profits – a culture where racism was the unquestioned norm. That house would be set on fire in 1972, largely, it is thought, because Wilson’s boyhood chum had aided the mobs that attacked leading black citizens in the 1898 race riot.
I never knew this about our 28th president. When I think of him – and it’s not often – I picture him in a top hat and overcoat, hammering out the Treaty of Versailles or dreaming up the League of Nations. But the protests at Princeton University, Wilson’s alma mater, demanding that his name be removed from a campus building as posthumous punishment for his segregationist views, caused me to turn up his roots.
And after a week of getting to know “Tommy” Wilson, I can say that I’m nauseated by several aspects of his character. And that’s precisely why we ought to keep his name on that Princeton building. Without its being written there, we might be tempted to forget.
(News & Observer, 12/6/2015)
At a recent annual meeting of the Historic Hotels of America in Indiana, Blowing Rock’s Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock has been honored with the organization’s 2015 Best Small Hotel Award for properties with under 80 rooms.
Green Park Inn General Manager Lorry Mulhern received the award from Larry Horowitz, Executive Director of HHA, who said the Green Park “represents the pinnacle in historic hotel achievements.”
slide_3The Green Park was also officially recognized for its upcoming 125th Anniversary celebration, scheduled for June, 2016. It also received a Best Practices in Creative Historic Marketing and Promotions Award for its efforts to attract the cultural and historic traveler.
Lorry Mulhern accepted the award and praised all those who helped earn it:—”the owners, staff and local contractors who contributed to saving our architectural treasure from destruction in 2009, and restored it to its former and deserving glory.”
(High Country Press, 12/7/2015)
SHELBY – A small group of volunteers spent Saturday morning on site at a historical property in Shelby, boarding up windows, cleaning debris from the inside and securing it for the winter months.
Cleveland Training School #2, an enormous brick building nestled off Hudson Street, is a former Rosenwald School, said Bettie Murchison, principal consultant for The North Carolina Rosenwald Schools Coalition. Murchison said the building is the only known remaining Rosenwald School in Cleveland County and is currently being considered for the National Register of Historic Places.
M ore than 5,000 of these schools, established by Julius Rosenwald, were built across 15 southern states during the early 20th century and used primarily for the education of African-American children.
Fred Blackley, a Historic Shelby Foundation board member, said the group of volunteers came out Saturday because preservation of any historical building is critical, especially because a developer has expressed interest in restoring and repurposing the property through Preservation North Carolina.
“What we’re doing ensures the build is preserved and gives the developer the tools he needs to begin the re-development process,” he said. “It’s all part of economic development. If this building were to disappear, probably nothing would happen at all on this site.”
Dewey Anderson, of Black Pine Development, was on site as well and said he’ll be working on the property re-development when the time comes. He said the building’s structural integrity is sound, but it does have some water damage on the inside.
“It would need rebuilt from the inside out,” he said. “It would need all new electrical systems, mechanical work and a new roof. We’re looking at about $3 million to $3.5 million.”
Anderson said he envisions turning a portion of the former school into living spaces that he feels would suit the neighborhood. The gymnasium and auditorum, on the other side of the building, could be turned into something for public use.
“With a building like this, we’re really trying to find that sustainable use for it,” he said. “This type of school building sets up perfectly for one-bedroom apartments, so that’s generally what we’re looking at.”
Having the building named to the National Register of Historic Places would assist with the re-development, Anderson said.
“If not for the historical tax credits, we could not protect the legacy this building has,” he said.
Murchison said it’s difficult to locate Rosenwald schools, so to find one in such good condition is exciting.
“With one in such great shape, as this one is, we have to do all we can to preserve it,” she said. “Any time we can save a historic landmark, especially an African-American landmark, it makes it that much more significant.
(The Shelby Star, 12/5/2015)
BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Fixer-uppers, you might say. Except the buyers will be operating under historic preservation rules that will not allow them to turn that 120-year-old sleeping porch into a media room or build a six-car garage for the Porsche collection.
No, the ambitious citizens who bought one of five historic and state-owned houses on North Person Street near downtown Raleigh, for prices ranging from $245,000 to $536,000, will be restoring the stately but long-vacant old homes. By the time their work is done, the buyers may spend as much on bringing back the fine old structures to their original beauty as they did buying them.
The sale of the homes, approved by the Council of State, is no small feat. Preservation North Carolina, a sturdy and determined nonprofit, has been after the state to sell the houses for years, and in 2003, lawmakers passed a bill to push the sale. A private developer failed to get the projects moving because of the recession.
This year, the State Property Office got the word from the General Assembly to get the homes sold, and now bids have been accepted. The restored houses will be a terrific addition to blend in to the Oakwood neighborhood, where there are many nicely restored older homes.
(Raleigh News & Observer, 12/3/2015)
State sponsored tax credits for revitalizing historic buildings have returned after a brief hiatus, but would-be renovators may not get as much help as they did before.
Something is better than nothing.
That’s the attitude some representatives from North Carolina Natural and Cultural Resources are taking with the return of a state tax credit program geared toward breathing new life into stagnate communities and time-worn buildings. After the General Assembly allowed the program to expire at the end of 2014, the state will continue contributing to the federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive program, beginning New Year’s Day, though it won’t be as lucrative as it was before.
The program gives tax breaks to firms and individuals who take on renovation programs for homes, office buildings, theaters, mills, and farms – just to name a few – that have gone into disuse, but have the potential of enjoying a second chance. Natural and Cultural Resources secretary Susan Kluttz said the tax credit helps North Carolina transition into a new economic era.
“Especially right here in North Carolina and we’ve been left with so many older buildings, it is just critical to our economic recovery…that historic preservation is practiced.”
In 1998, North Carolina began matching the federal government’s tax credit rate and according to data from the state government, the program has affected more than 2,400 structures and contributed $1.6 billion to the state’s economy.
The original program matched the federal 20 percent tax credit for restoring “income-producing historic properties.” It also offered a state tax credit of 30 percent for “nonincome-producing” structures that are a “certified historic structure.”
There are nearly 3,000 entries in the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places database in North Carolina. That includes the Robert Lee Humber House on 5th Street in downtown Greenville, now home to the North Carolina Natural and Cultural Resources’ eastern office.
Reid Thomas, a restoration specialist out of the eastern office, says it’s like working from home.
“It actually (is) quite inspiring. It really was a home, but it feels more like a home and you feel more relaxed, I get a lot more accomplished, I don’t mind staying, working at night.”
One of the structures revitalized, in part, through the tax credits, is Blount-Harvey Building, which shares a downtown Greenville address with the historical society. Built in 1923, it had gone out of use by 2004, when it was purchased and renovated, returning the building to its high-end, retail roots.
One of Thomas’ favorite stories, though, comes 63 miles north of Greenville in Edenton when a couple found out, on accident, they owned the oldest known house in North Carolina.
Thomas, a Martin County resident, says some of the poorest parts of the state feature some of the richest history.
“Quite a bit survives in Northeastern North Carolina, in areas particularly where it’s economically distressed, we have quite a few buildings, rural properties that still survive.”
For 16 years, this program progressed, but as the North Carolina faced an ever widening fiscal deficit in 2013, tax reform was on the minds and lips of law makers in Raleigh. Many tax credit programs were put on the chopping block, including the Historic Preservation Tax Credit program. That program expired New Year’s Eve, 2014.
Supporters of the reform said it was unfair for North Carolinians not living in registered, historical areas. The John Locke Foundation stated in a January publication there’s “no justification for compelling state taxpayers to subsidize the preservation of historic properties in particular cities or towns,” though they did concede there’s “justification” for local taxpayers to “chip in” to renovate historic buildings if they pose a public safety hazard.
The program, according to Kluttz like the buildings to which they catered, were history.
“The leaders in the legislature made it clear to me and to my department that they had no intention of bringing it back, that there would be no tax credit, that they felt that they wanted to do away with all tax credit for tax reform, and that, no matter how far we got, in the process, it would be killed in the end.”
But some in Raleigh –including Gov. Pat McCrory – and throughout the state were not convinced and fought with legislators over resuscitating the program. Members of Natural and Cultural Resources began touring the state and visiting places that had success stories – including New Bern, Kinston, and Rocky Mount – drumming up interest in the program’s revival.
Kinston’s Historic Mitchelltown district, home to Mother Earth Brewery, is undergoing a renaissance in part because of assistance from tax credits and New Bern has had more than $3 million invested in historic home owner projects, according to reports.
An online petition garnered 5,558 signatures and op-eds were written in newspapers across the state. As deliberations over the biannual budget progressed in the General Assembly, the issue of the historical preservation tax credit program resurfaced, until a new version of the program was agreed upon by both houses and signed into law by McCrory in September.
The governor celebrated the legislation by marking Oct. 14 “Historic Tax Credit Day” in North Carolina by a proclamation. Kluttz said though concessions were made, she’s pleased with the outcome.
“I’m very thrilled that it included residential, which had been a threat. There was a lot of talk from legislators who didn’t understand why…if a home is called ‘non-income producing, why that benefits the state. And so we had a challenge to explain to legislators and the public that with your older downtowns…the oldest residential circles and that’s usually the most expensive to rehabilitate and bring back.”
Now, this isn’t the same tax credit program passed in 1998. Instead of the 20 for 20 match for income producing historic properties, there’s a tiered system that gives a 15 percent tax credit up to $10 million dollars of qualified restoration expenses – or QREs – 10 percent from $10 to $20 million and no credit for expenses above $20 million. Those expenses must be on or within the structure and does not include acquisition and site work.
A 5 percent bonus is available for development in moderately to largely economically underdeveloped counties – tier one and two counties, which makes up the vast majority of counties in the east – and for projects specifically targeting manufacturing and agriculture, so long as the structure was at least 65 percent vacant for two years before it was certified on the national registry. In other words, the 20 percent match from the state is still possible for some would be renovators, but not through a flat rate like before.
The tax credit for non-income producing structures – like homes – has been cut in half to 15 percent with a cap at $150,000 worth of eligible rehabilitation expenses – that’s a maximum of $22,500 worth of credit.
Here’s Thomas on the new tax program.
“Well, I’m just happy there’s some new provisions, for example, now…you only have to spend $10,000 for the non-income producing in order to qualify verses having to spend $25,000, and you can also take the tax credits both for the income and non-income producing all in one year or spread them all out to 9 years, whereas before you had to take them at equal increments over a 5 year period.”
With the return of the tax credit program’s, some individuals have expressed their interest in participating. Stephen Hill, one of the owners of Mother Earth brewery, hasn’t been shy about his intent to continue Kinston’s downtown revitalization efforts.
Bob Shuller of the Swansboro Historical Association, also hopes the town will continue its downtown renaissance with a few key investments. His organization is trying to convert an old, Unitarian school house into a museum chronicling Swansboro’s long history, though he said it doesn’t qualify for the joint state-federal tax credit program. He said some long vacant lots in Swansboro’s Historic District could be a choice spot for investors looking for space near the water. That is, of course, as long as they don’t mind a little less space.
“Most of the buildings around here are small, wood frame structures and it’s very hard to keep those and convert them into a public or for profit facility, though people are doing it to varying degrees…there are some nice buildings, in my opinion, be converted into some commercially viable facilities.”
The state, historical preservation tax credit program begins in earnest in January.
(Public Radio East, 12/2/2015)
Raleigh – After years in disrepair under state ownership, five historic houses on North Person Street near downtown Raleigh will now get restored under new owners.
The Council of State, chaired by Gov. Pat McCrory, voted Tuesday to accept bids on five of the six houses it put on the market this summer. The winning bids ranged from $245,000 for the 2,200-square foot Worth House, built in 1904, to $536,000 for the 3,300-square-foot Lamar House, built in 1896.
The sale comes with strings attached: Buyers will face historic preservation covenants designed to prevent major alterations or demolitions. Matthew Brown, a longtime resident of the adjacent Oakwood neighborhood, said he’s happy to follow the covenants with his purchase of the Lamar House.
Brown’s new home has been vacant and slowly deteriorating at the corner of North Person and North streets since the state bought it in 1999. He said he expects renovations will take two years.
“My plans are to restore it meticulously and live in it,” he said Tuesday. “I find it thrilling, to be honest. The worse shape a house is in, the more important that it’s in the hands of someone who will bring it back to its proper state of renovation.”
The nonprofit Preservation North Carolina has been pushing state leaders to sell the houses for more than a decade. Legislators passed a bill in 2003 calling for the sale, but the private developer the state picked to buy the properties wasn’t able to complete the project amid the recession.
(Raleigh News & Observer, 12/1/2015)
The NC Board of Architecture would like to remind you that in order to renew your license for 2016-2017 you must obtain 12 hours of continuing education in the areas of health, safety and welfare by December 31, 2015.
The Board of Architecture has worked with AIA-NC to produce relevant continuing education programs. The next event will be a year-end review of major legislative and regulatory changes affecting the practice of architects in the design and construction industry in North Carolina. In addition to a review of Board of Architecture regulations by Executive Director, Cathe Evans, other guest speakers will discuss the upcoming $2 billion bond referendum and review changes to the reinstated Historic Preservation Tax Credits.
The programs will be offered in Charlotte and Raleigh.
December 9, 2015 – Charlotte, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
December 10, 2015 – Raleigh, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you would like to register for either session contact the AIA-NC
General questions related to CE requirements are found on the Board of Architecture web site.
ASHEVILLE – The Patton-Parker House, home to a 19th century Asheville mayor, then a leading civic leader in the 20th century, won’t be forgotten in the 21st century.
As new development comes to Charlotte Street, one of Asheville’s new innovation districts, the 146-year-old residence that was home to seven generations of one family will now house a family law practice.
Attorney James Siemens purchased the Charlotte Street property Nov. 13 from surviving Parker family members in a sale brokered by the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County.
(Asheville Citizen-Times, 11/21/2015)
It’s a little embarrassing.
Here we are in Raleigh, wearing our “world-class” buttons and boasting a College of Design at N.C. State that’s among the nation’s best. So why is there such a “disconnect”—as Robin Abrams, the head of the college’s architecture program, put it delicately—”between the aspirations of Raleigh residents and the reality of our built environment?”
In other words, why is so much of the new in Raleigh blah? And, really, does it matter?
Yes, it does. This is why a group that includes Abrams and Frank Thompson, chair emeritus of CAM Raleigh and the man whose dogged determination is the reason we have a contemporary art museum, hosted a symposium last week called “Build Raleigh Better: Innovation, Architecture, and Creating a World-Class City.” They had the perfect place for it at CAM, a triumph of design that tells us how powerful small buildings can be and that breaking the mold in Raleigh will be a long slough.
The group signaled its aspirations by leading off with Paul Goldberger, the renowned architecture lecturer and critic for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.
(The Independent Weekly, 11/18/2015)
State Rep. Steve Ross, R-Alamance, received the 2015 Metro Mayors Coalition Legislative Award last week from the N.C. Metro Mayors Coalition. Ross was recognized for legislative leadership on behalf of urban centers.
“As a former mayor, Ross is a true and honest advocate for our cities across North Carolina,” House Speaker Tim Moore said. “This session, he worked tirelessly to restore the Historic Preservation Tax Credit, that will allow towns of all shapes and sizes to revitalize their Main Streets and develop their economic potential. I commend him on his great work, and congratulate him on this distinguished honor.”
Back in July, North Carolina’s state property office announced that it was finally selling six long-neglected, historic homes on Person Street, all of which are in or near Raleigh’s Oakwood historic district.
Longtime Oakwood resident and neighborhood expert Matthew Brown learned last week that the offer he made on the 3,500-square-foot, Queen Anne’s style Lamar house, at 401 North Person Street, was accepted by the state—following a minor bidding war.
According to agent Joy Wayman who works at the State Property Office, offers have been accepted on four of the other homes as well; a fifth is under negotiation. The sales must now be approved by the state’s Joint Legislative Commission on Government Operations, and then by the Council of State. This could happen by the end of the year, at the earliest.
I sat down with Brown at his other Oakwood home on Lane Street to discuss the sale and the historic preservation process (disclosure: the state also accepted an offer from my family on the Watson House at 411 North Person Street; Brown is a friend and future neighbor).
You’ve lived in Oakwood since 1986. Can you give us a rundown on the history of these homes?
Well, the state Legislature had passed a statute that any house between Person Street on the east and Peace Street on the north, maybe McDowell on the west—anything to come on the market, they had to outbid anybody and buy it. Three of those houses were already state offices. The other three were moved there—the Watson House was moved from Wilmington Street, and the [Gay and Worth houses] were moved from Peace Street as part of a 2003 state law saying this is a ridiculous waste of our money, it’s so much cheaper to just have a regular office. So we’ll sell them all. But they wanted to sell them to a developer because that’s easier, to just do it all at once. They had a bunch of community meetings about how to do it and what was the best result. I went to all those and, actually, it was my idea to move them…because I figured with that land over there, they’d get torn down eventually if they were off by themselves and not in a neighborhood…Let that other land be used for more dense development. So [developer] L&R got the low bid on the whole thing, the whole square between Person, Peace, Wilmington and Lane. They were going to buy it in four sections, and L&R moved those three houses… But the problem was, L&R signed that contract, in maybe 2006, 2007…Then the crash came, fall of 2008, and every single one of those houses under contract, the buyers backed out. Maybe the banks wouldn’t lend them anymore, or the buyers freaked out. And so L&R sat on them for a long time, they lowered the prices. They’d already moved those other houses and spent all that money…They finally paid a million dollars to get out of the whole thing and they gave up those three houses they had moved, back to the state as part of that deal. They couldn’t sell them, until they bought that quadrant of land. They owned the buildings because they had paid to move them there, but the state still owned the land, so they couldn’t sell them. They could have just held on… It was just timing. So they bought out in, I think, 2011 or 2012. And then the state just sat on their ass for several years. And we kept pestering them, writing letters to everybody, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of Administration, Secretary of Cultural Resources, Head of the State Property Office, all on down the line, Governor’s staff, anyone we can find. July 15, they finally got off their asses and put them on the market. And they probably did the right thing, because the prices kept going up, they probably did themselves a favor by waiting.
(The Independent Weekly, 11/13/2015)
Raleigh real estate developer John Lyon has found a buyer for the 1960s-era, Modernist-style office building at 3515 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh, but the plan, he says, is to still demolish the structure and replace it with a more sleek three-story structure.
County records show that the Bank of North Carolina (Nasdaq: BNCN) has paid $4.35 million for the 34,000-square-foot building on 4.2 acres that for many years was occupied by Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic. The clinic relocated to new building in late 2013 in west Raleigh.
(Triangle Business Journal, 11/2/2015)
A West Asheville home dating to the 1870s and Mars Hill’s downtown have been named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Seven Oaks, on Westwood Place, is one of only seven brick houses dating from the 19th century in Asheville.
Constructed in the 1870s, Seven Oaks is significant in Asheville for its Italianate-style architecture and brick construction. Buildings of this style, once common in the city, were largely removed in the later 1800s and early 1900s as Asheville’s population grew, Seven Oaks showcases penciled mortar joints on the facade, bracketed porch eaves, segmental-arched windows and doors, carved mantels, tall ceilings, and ornate interior moldings.
The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is pleased to announce that one district and five individual properties across the state have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The following properties were reviewed by the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee and were subsequently approved by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Officer and forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register.
“North Carolina is a leader in the nation’s historic preservation movement and the National Register is a vital tool in the preservation of our state’s historic resources” said Susan Kluttz, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “If we count all of the buildings classified as contributing to the significance of historic districts listed in the Register, it is estimated that North Carolina has approximately 75,000 National Register Properties.”
The listing of a property in the National Register places no obligation or restriction on a private owner using private resources to maintain or alter the property. Over the years, various federal and state incentives have been introduced to assist private preservation initiatives, including tax credits for the rehabilitation of National Register properties. As of January 1, 2015, over 3,100 rehabilitation projects with an estimated private investment of over $1.96 billion have been completed.
(Via NCDCR, 10/30/2015)
About 200 people gathered Oct. 17 in Charlotte for the historic marking of the Slave and Native American Cemetery at Sardis Presbyterian Church. The Gov. John Archdale Chapter of the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century placed the granite marker to commemorate and honor the approximately 80 individuals who were buried in unmarked graves from 1790 until the 1860s. Restoration of the cemetery has been the Eagle Scout Project of Hoke Thompson, a member of Boy Scout Troop 133, which meets at the church.
The National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century is dedicated to the preservation of historic sites and records. In North Carolina, the first Colonial Dames XVII Century marker was placed in 1955 by the Sir Walter Raleigh Chapter at the Thomas Norcom Home in Chowan County. Since then, the North Carolina Society and its chapters have achieved and marked more than 30 sites in North Carolina, Virginia and England.
(The Gaston Gazette, 10/30/2015)
Grassroots support from local officials and historic preservation groups helped restore North Carolina’s historic preservation tax credits, the state’s top culture official said Thursday in Wilmington.
“We made the impossible possible with your help,” Susan Kluttz, N.C. secretary of natural and cultural resources, told the annual fundraising luncheon of the Historic Wilmington Foundation at the Coastline Convention Center.
Since the 1990s, the credits resulted in $1.67 billion in credits for historic properties, Kluttz said.
(Star News, 10/29/2015)
KERNERSVILLE, NC—Historic Körner’s Folly, 413 South Main Street, is pleased to announce the continuation of Operation Restoration, a long term project with the goal of restoring and preserving the Victorian house museum.
Jule Körner died in 1924, and his wife died in 1934. After that, Körner’s Folly was never again lived in as a full-time family home. Over the decades, time, age, and weather have all taken their toll on Körner’s Folly. Despite multiple re-purposes, by the 1960s, the house sat unused and vulnerable to vandalism. Fortunately, in the 1970s, a group of 26 local families, including Körner descendants purchased the house. Their goal was to restore and preserve Körner’s Folly for the education and enjoyment of the public. They eventually created the Körner’s Folly Foundation, a nonprofit organization, and had the house listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Over 40 years later – from 2012-2015 – the first major restorative work took place, to completely stabilize the exterior structure of Körner’s Folly. The house’s foundation was repaired, the porches were restored, and the entire roof was replaced. Now that the home is water-tight and structurally stable, interior restoration work is underway. This summer, restoration work began into the home’s main kitchen.
Restoration is the process of depicting the form, features, and character of a property at a particular period of time. Throughout the restoration process at Körner’s Folly, the Foundation focuses on the house’s 1897-1905 appearance, when the home was at the height of family activity. The goal is to move through the house, restoring one room at a time, so the house is never closed for tours. New rooms are being restored each year, three were completed in 2015. It is a remarkable time to see historic restoration in action.
One of the most challenging aspects of restoring the 135 year-old house is to maintain the home’s historic charm, character, and “lived-in” feel. Although restoration work brings in new materials and revitalizes each room, it is important that Körner’s Folly remains historic in appearance, and is not overly restored to look brand new. For example, during the kitchen restoration, extra care was taken to save the original tile floors and hardware, rather than replace them with a modern equivalent.
The first step in the restoration process is to research the history of the room, including the original paint color schemes. To determine the original paint colors of the kitchen, David Black, AIA/APT of HagerSmith Design of Raleigh, North Carolina, took multiple paint samples of the kitchen. Samples were removed from the wood trim, doors, window sash, wall plaster, and built-in cabinets using a scalpel. Each sample was evaluated with a microscope to identify its original color.
With the historic color analysis complete, work began to repair unstable infrastructure, remove modern elements added to the house over time, replicate and repair missing or damaged plaster details and woodwork, and refinish, clean, and paint architectural surfaces. However, this project really came to in the final phase – when painters were able to successfully restore the kitchen to Jule’s original color scheme. The plaster walls and the furniture have been returned to a dark red color; the wood window and door trim, window sash, ceiling, baseboards, fireplace trim, and cabinet doors are dark brown – a distinctly Victorian look. The dark trim and vibrant color scheme will offer visitors a stark contrast to the previously white walls and trim in the kitchen.
As we peel back the layers of paint, read through family letters, and look back at old photographs, we begin to gain a better understanding of not only the house itself, but also the people who lived, breathed, and slept here. Even more of Jule’s eccentric personality becomes clear when we uncover the original color schemes. The floor tiles match the original wall colors, giving visitors a better sense of Jule’s original vision. We learn about the family’s likes, their interests, their joys, and their fears. Eventually, as all the pieces begin to come together, we gain a glimmer of what it might have been like to live here.
Restoration of the Kitchen is made possible by Wolfe & Associates in Honor of Mary Cook for her more than twenty years of service to the Law Firm and her many years as Board Member and Secretary of the Körner’s Folly Foundation. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting restoration project!
(Via The Körner’s Folly Foundation, 10/29/2015)
A Piece of Charlotte History Seeks New Home –
Pappas Properties to Award Legendary Queen Park Cinema Signage to Contest Winner
Charlotte’s Queen Park Cinema sold tickets for 16 years as a fixture of the second-run movie scene. Opened in 1982, Queen Park showed countless movies to Charlotteans looking for affordable, family entertainment. Eventually succumbing to an ever-evolving world of entertainment media and Charlotte’s dynamic real estate market, Queen Park Cinema closed in 1998.
Fast forward to 2015 and Pappas Properties is currently finalizing plans to develop the property with
the intent of bringing a new, transit-oriented development along Charlotte’s Lynx light rail line.
Despite repeated attempts to incorporate the sign in its entirety within the new development, Pappas was forced to carefully dismantle the sign in 2014.
What remains is a lozenge-shaped “Queen Park Multi-Cinema” sign made from Plexiglas and metal (5’x10’) and a plastic “QP” sign (2’x4’). Both of the signs have acquired an appealing patina in their 32 years of service.
In partnership with Historic Charlotte and D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co., Pappas Properties is graciously
offering the sign for free to a new owner. Those who are interested in the sign should write to Historic Charlotte at firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 32782, Charlotte, NC 28232 with a description of the following:
1. Why you think you are the most deserving caretaker of this piece of Charlotte’s History?
2. Where it will be displayed if you win?
3. Who will see it once on display?
4. How the piece will be protected and preserved.
Submissions will be accepted (via email: email@example.com) until October 30th at 5:00 PM.
Free delivery of the sign within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area to the contest winner. For more photos and information, please visit www.historiccharlotte.org.
About Pappas Properties
Pappas Properties develops, manages and markets residential and mixed-use projects that meet the changing lifestyle needs of the market by utilizing innovative planning and offering exceptional design and amenities that add value to the overall community. The principal at Pappas Properties, Peter A. Pappas, has more than 25 years of experience in real estate, including the development of resort, residential, office, retail, mixed-use properties and master-planned communities. Charlotte-based Pappas Properties and its
team of professionals provide in-house expertise in land development, construction, project financing, marketing, sales and property management. Pappas Properties has executed a number of nationally and internationally award-winning multiuse and mixed-use projects throughout the Charlotte area, including Phillips Place, Metropolitan and Birkdale Village. To learn more about Pappas Properties, visit www.pappasproperties.com.
About Historic Charlotte
Historic Charlotte promotes people saving historic places. We do this by supporting and coordinating activities of history and heritage groups throughout the region and by encouraging individuals to learn about and protect the stories of their pasts. Understanding and preserving tangible evidence of our diverse histories allows us to see the present and plan the future with more clarity, turning the places where we live into the places that we love.To learn more about Historic Charlotte, visit www.historiccharlotte.org
Charlotte, North Carolina
Durham, NC is the final stop in the 2015 Traditional Building Conference Series; Materials and Methods is the theme.
The theme of Materials and Methods comes to life in Durham December 1-2, 2015. Tours and demonstrations of the Duke University West Campus, Sarah P. Duke gardens, brick masonry, plastering, wood flooring, restoring cast iron and more.
Speakers include the following: John Speweik, historic masonry specialist, Elgin, IL; Wayne Thompson, historic mason, Hillsborough, NC; Mark Hough, FASLA, Landscape Architect, Duke University, Durham, NC; Paul O. Manning, Director of Facilities, Duke University, Durham, NC; James S. Collins, Architect, Greensboro, NC and New York, NY; Robert A. Baird, vice-president, Historical Arts and Casting, West Jordan, UT; Brian Stowell, president and ceo, Crown Point Cabinetry, Claremont, NH; Daniel Chasse, carpentry instructor, Edgecombe Community College, Historic Preservation Program, Tarboro, NC; Jeffrey Allen, ASLA, Winston-Salem, NC and Patrick Webb, Professor of Plastering, American College of the Building Arts, Charleston, SC
Sponsors who will bring experienced technical representatives available for project discussion and project research include the following:
Gold Sponsors: Marvin Windows and Doors and Historical Arts and Casting
Silver Sponsors: Allied Window, Inc.; Connor Homes; Crown Point Cabinetry; Heritage Tile, Ludowici, and The Unico System
Bronze Sponsors: Old World Stone and Wiemann Metalcraft
Registration for the Traditional Building Conference in Durham may be made at www.traditionalbuildingshow.com and if you register by November 23, 2015 and you will get the best rates. Please contact Carolyn Walsh at CWalsh@aimmedia.com or 781-779-1560 if you wish to register a group of three or more for a discounted registration rate for the Two-Day conference tuition.
The Traditional Building Conference Series serves professionals who do traditional building including, historic preservation, and renovation for residential, commercial and institutional markets. The events are produced by Active Interest Media, based in Boulder, Colorado, which also publishes Clem Labine’s Period Homes, Clem Labine’s Traditional Building Old-House Journal, New Old House, Early Homes, Arts & Crafts Homes and the Design Center Sourcebook.
Free webinars- live and on-demand- are available through the show website as well. Most offer AIA Health Safety and Welfare credits for architects seeking continuing education. Both the conference and webinars offer credits for some NAHB certifications and for NARI and AIBD members seeking continuing education credit.
For more information, please contact the following:
Registration Inquiries- Carolyn Walsh- CWalsh@aimmedia.com 781-779-1560; Education Inquiries- Judy L. Hayward, JHayward@aimmedia.com 802-674-6752; and Sponsorship Sales Inquiries- Robin Habberly
HICKORY — Hickory’s Historic Preservation Commission has completed an updated survey of the city’s historic properties, identifying potential candidates for historic places and districts.
Hickory’s first historic properties survey was completed in 1980, serving as the basis for original historic districts and landmarks. Another survey occurred in the 1990s, targeting residential areas near downtown and leading to the expansion of two of the city’s historic districts, according to a press release from the city.
The City of Hickory received a $15,000 grant from the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office in 2014 to update the existing architectural survey of the city and to record undocumented properties and neighborhoods constructed before 1970.
The survey updated all the existing records from the 185 properties that were previously studied. It found that 63 had been demolished since the last survey.
Historic properties are listed through either the National Register of Historic Places or through designation as a local landmark or district.
(Hickory Daily Record, 10/21/2015)
Raleigh, N.C. — Organizers are one step closer to building a park dedicated to highlighting the African-American experience in North Carolina, but they still need financial support to making it a reality.
Earlier this year, Preservation NC sent out an appeal for new wheels, and received an overwhelming response! We let you know that our “fleet” of cars, which constantly carry us from one corner of the state to another, needed to be replaced.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have raised close to $40,000 and were able to purchase three new (to us, at least), safe cars at good deals for the Headquarters, Western and Piedmont Offices. You can check out the smiling faces and new wheels below! And, once again, thank you to all of the generous folks who responded to our appeal for new wheels!
By Sarah Woodard David
This summer, I took my children to Alamance Battleground, the scene of a pre-Revolutionary War skirmish. The conflict’s small scale created a landscape that a child can digest easily, and my boys scouted the field from the Regulators’ high-ground and crouched behind a rock to take aim at Governor Tryon’s “bad guys.”
On the drive back to Raleigh, I attempted to answer a torrent of questions. Once the queries about the actual battle had passed, my 7-year-old took up more abstract contemplation. We covered a lot of ground including the Constitution, the First and Second Amendments, and how our government officials are not above the law. Eventually, he formulated this question, “So the Regulators were like the people at the protests?” He was referring to the various protests we regularly see at the Legislative Building, and, now, because he had visited someplace old, he suddenly understood something new about our current world.
Our old buildings, landscapes and streetscapes, even the modest ones, provide us with so much: proven opportunities for economic development demonstrated in the Raleigh Historic Development Commission’s recent study of preservation’s impact in Raleigh; a sense of place that helps us “buy in” to our city and foster its well-being; and sustainability because the greenest building is the one that’s already built.
But preservation also provides Raleigh with something even more valuable: history-based conversation that leads to understanding and empathy. Old buildings and landscapes are the only historic documents we can walk into. They are the best way for us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, or, more literally, in someone else’s house or neighborhood or place of business or worship. That comprehension and recognition of a perspective different from yours are priceless human experiences that our elected officials and economic leaders should support even though they can’t run a cost-benefit analysis on them.
It’s our collective duty to understand our current political, economic and social climate. That climate affects where our tax dollars go, and understanding it helps us recognize why people respond to the world in certain ways. Learning about our past is how we come to that understanding, and buildings and landscapes give us the perfect starting point.
Look around Raleigh and ask questions. Why do we have two beautiful carousels? Why is there a house on Boylan Avenue that’s facing the wrong way? Why did Dr. Manassas Pope build his house where he built it? What’s that stone hut on Glenwood Avenue at Harvey Street?
A visit to Yates Mill can help one appreciate the bags of cornmeal at the grocery store, but it also can provide an understanding of the state’s geography and agriculture that eventually created cotton mills that led to company towns that are now ghost towns. Today, those job losses are at the root of many conversations in the General Assembly: Learning about Yates Mill can help you understand why politicians talk about job creation.
Sitting in a classroom in the Panther Branch Rosenwald School or comparing the architectural embellishment of Washington Elementary School to that of Wiley Elementary can open up a world of conversation about Jim Crow: To figure out why The News & Observer writes about school diversity, start at a Rosenwald School.
Asking why there are Confederate soldiers in Oakwood Cemetery reveals a bit about Reconstruction, which might help one understand how a losing battle to maintain the horrors of slavery morphed into a romantic Lost Cause commemorated with monuments. That conversation can provide a context for many of today’s headlines: Start at disinterment, work your way to Black Lives Matter.
Buildings and places ignite the whys and the whos and the whats that cannot help but produce the I-get-its, the ah-has and the oh-that-explains-a-lots. When residents and visitors enjoy Moore and Nash squares, Oakwood, St. Augustine’s or the Capitol, they might ask a question that fires up a conversation that yields the understanding, recognition and empathy that make us better citizens.
The development pressures in downtown Raleigh and on the historic resources, districts and landmarks in Raleigh are tremendous at the moment. Hopefully, we have the confidence in our attractiveness to developers that we can occasionally say no to a few things in order to say yes to our collective self, our collective place, our collective history. The knowledge that an old place can give us is more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey. It contributes to making us better and smarter, and more tolerant, peaceful and responsible. Can a new hotel do that?
Sarah Woodard David, an architectural historian, is chair of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.
(originally published in the News & Observer, 10/18/2015)
Carl and Gladys Carpenter have watched the Loray Mill’s residential redevelopment command all the attention in west Gastonia over the last two years.
Now, they’re seeing quiet progress on plans to breathe new life into the community that surrounds it. And as lifetime residents of that historic mill village, they’re encouraged that it’s moving toward a prosperous future after years of a gradual decline.
“It makes us proud to see this place growing like it is,” said Carl Carpenter, 87. “It’s really picking up again.”
The $40 million redevelopment of the mill has produced 190 upscale lofts over the last two years, as well as 79,000 square feet of available commercial space. A second phase will eventually rehabilitate the far west wing of the historic one-time factory.
In the surrounding mill village, a nonprofit is leading a similar resurgence. It is acquiring neglected mill homes, with plans to redevelop them in ways that herald their historic architectural features, while also providing key modern amenities.
The goal will be to sell them to owner-occupants — such as millennials and empty nesters — who will appreciate the condensed living space and historical “cool” factor.
(The Gaston Gazette, 10/17/2015)
Developers around the state are dusting off dormant renovation projects after the legislature restored historic preservation tax credits in its budget last month.
The tax credits expired last year as part of a broader Republican-led tax reform plan. Without them, many historic preservationists said renovating old buildings wouldn’t be financially feasible.
The credits will cost the state about $8 million a year, a fraction of the total budget, but the program was a big priority for Gov. Pat McCrory. He traveled to Burlington this week to celebrate the program’s return.
“This is going to help revive the Main Streets of North Carolina,” McCrory said Wednesday. “What we proved was a grassroots effort can make a difference in the state capital … to change bad legislation and make it even better, to preserve our history, to preserve our culture and to continue economic development and to create jobs.”
Myrick Howard, director of Preservation North Carolina, said many historic renovation projects were revived “right off the bat” when the budget deal became final.
(News & Observer, 10/19/2015)
BURLINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory and one of his Cabinet chiefs have taken a victory lap of sorts after this year’s North Carolina budget restored a tax credit for renovating historic buildings.
McCrory and natural and cultural resources Secretary Susan Kluttz visited downtown Burlington on Wednesday to celebrate the revival of the historic preservation credit. McCrory signed a proclamation declaring it “historic tax credit day.”
The legislature allowed the credit to expire at the end of last year, but the governor kept pressing for its reinstatement, saying it had helped revitalize downtowns. Kluttz said in August she had made 73 stops in 52 cities and towns to build up local support for the restoration break.
The Senate and House ultimately agreed to a less generous version of the previous credit.
BURLINGTON — In the past year, Susan Kluttz and her staff traveled to 73 historic sites in North Carolina, drumming up support for renewing the state’s historic-preservation tax credits.
Kluttz, the state’s secretary of cultural resources, visited Saxapahaw. She stopped at Greensboro’s Revolution Mill. And on Wednesday, she and Gov. Pat McCrory hit the railroad depot, built in 1892, in Burlington — but this time, to celebrate rather than to stump.
(Greensboro News & Record, 10/14/2015)
Governor Pat McCrory and Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz celebrated the preservation of Historic Tax Credits (HTC) in North Carolina at an event in Burlington today. Restoring the HTC was a major element in Governor McCrory’s legislative agenda that he detailed in his State of the State Address.
“The Historic Tax Credit has a proven track record of attracting private investment for the rehabilitation of historic buildings,” Governor McCrory said. “These renovated buildings house new businesses that take pride in strengthening our economy and preserving a part of North Carolina’s history.”
Governor McCrory also signed a proclamation declaring October 14, 2015 as Historic Tax Credit Day “Reviving Downtowns” in North Carolina. The proclamation can be viewed here.
Historic Tax Credits in North Carolina have resulted in $1.65 billion in private investment since their beginning in 1998. More than 2,400 projects have been made possible by the credits.
HTC rehabilitations not only bring once vacant or underutilized buildings back to life, but also dramatically increase their property values and local property tax revenue from them.
A non-partisan study of the state HTC program projects that the state historic rehabilitation tax credit would attract 2.5 times more jobs at the same cost to the state treasury as an across the board tax reduction.
(From the Office of the Governor)
SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) – For months North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and Cultural Resources Secretary and former Salisbury mayor Susan Kluttz toured the state in support of restoring Historic Tax Credits to the state budget, and despite some opposition from his own party, those credits did make back into the recently passed state budget.
The tax credit program expired last December and Governor McCrory’s office spent months trying to convince lawmakers to restore it. Kluttz also visited dozens of communities to drum up support, including Salisbury, Kannapolis, Concord, Morganton, and many others.
The HTC is used by cities and towns of all sizes and provides an incentive to taxpayers who contribute to the preservation of historic buildings by rehabilitating them in a way that preserves the historic character of the building while allowing for new uses.
HILLSBOROUGH–The Hillsborough Town Board will begin eminent domain proceedings to take control of the Colonial Inn, capping a 12-year struggle with owner Francis Henry to save the historic site from further decay.
“I have spent a good amount of time on this and am saddened that it has come to this,” Town Commissioner Eric Hallman said before Monday night’s unanimous vote. “It would be a failure to this board if we did not address this public safety issue.”
Eminent domain is the right of a government or its agent to take possession of private property for public use, with compensation. In the case of a historic site, this falls under North Carolina Eminent Domain Law section 40A-(b)(8).
The inn, built in 1838, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was granted “Statewide Significance” in 2003 by the State Historic Preservation Office.
Town leaders have wrestled with Henry since soon after he bought the inn for $400,000 in 2002.
(News & Observer, 10/13/2015)
A tiny patch of Pinehurst is creating a stir amongst coffee drinkers and the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office. And now the Village Council wants the governor to get involved.
Council members unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday asking Gov. Pat McCrory to grant a waiver from a decision by the preservation office that a small brick patio adjacent to The Roast Office coffee shop must be removed. The coffee shop, which opened in April, is one of two businesses inside an old federal post office building at 95 Cherokee Rd.
“They want the mud back,” said Kelly Elliott, co-owner of the coffee shop.
“This old building which was such an eye sore is now this social hub,” said Elliott. “When you go there you see your neighbor talking to your neighbor.”
Elliott has collected 1,300 signatures on a petition to save the brick patio. She said before they put it in, the area on that side of the post office was only dirt. She said a large shade tree makes it a difficult place for grass to grow. Green space seems to be what the preservation office prefers.
No one from the state spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, but Council member Clark Campbell called the decision by the preservation office a “rigid read” of the building covenants.
(The Fayetteville Observer, 10/13/2015)
HILLSBOROUGH – Drawing applause from the audience in attendance Monday evening, the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to begin eminent domain processes for the town to take ownership of the long-debated Colonial Inn.
The inn, at 153 W. King Street, has been a point of contention between the town and its owner, Francis Henry, for more than a decade. Henry purchased the inn at an estate sale in 2001 for $410,000. Since then, Henry has faced fines and lawsuits because of the inn’s condition.
Commissioner Eric Hallman said that although it was unfortunate the town had to resort to eminent domain, it was necessary because the fire marshal condemned the inn as unsafe in July.
(Durham Herald-Sun, 10/13/2015)
As part of our “Block by Block,” series, this report takes you to Gastonia. In the early 20th century, Gastonia was home to one of the largest textile mills in the South: The Loray Mill. It grew to employ 3,500 workers, and most lived in the surrounding mill village. The neighborhood’s ties to the mill stayed strong well after the company stopped providing housing. In fact, it’s still strong 22 years after the mill closed and accelerated the community’s decline.
Today, the neighborhood and the mill are in transition. The mill has been turned into loft apartments with ground-level retail on the way. Developer Billy Hughes says this isn’t another example of gentrification that pushes out long-time residents.
Fifteen years ago, Hughes was redeveloping a few historic sites in the south, when his partner in Atlanta talked him into traveling to Gastonia to check out a rundown, 600,000-square-foot property. It was the Loray Mill.
“I saw it from a mile away and just fell in love with it from day one,” Hughes said. “The great brick structure, the towering stair tower that overlooks the entire valley that you can see for miles. We knew at that time we just had to figure out how to get it done.”
That was in 2005. Hughes and his partners drew up plans to carve out 190, loft apartments in phase one of the project and 110 in phase two. Those plans stalled a couple of years later when the Great Recession hit and financial credit lines dried up.
Mill village residents like Irma Styers, who’s lived in the house she was born in for 59 years felt the project was desperately needed to save her neighborhood.
We were thinking that we’re at the end and there’s nothing more for our neighborhood,” Styers said. “We were going down because most of our neighbors had left or died.”
Hughes says although he and his associates at Historic Preservation Partners dropped other development projects, they held onto Loray Mill.
“As we dug into it deeper, we understood the passion behind the building and the historic significance and as we met the people of Gastonia, we fell in love with the whole area. They just wouldn’t let us walk away which is what it came down to,” he said.
It took nine years, but when the recovery kicked in, the developers secured the $60 million they needed for the first phase renovations.
“So many people can’t believe this is the same building,” said Lucy Penegar, who
gave frequent tours of the 5-story mill where workers turned out bed sheets and later tire materials for Firestone. Penegar talks about the mill’s negative past too. African Americans were only hired to do the low-paying, and most dangerous jobs, they couldn’t live in the mill village, many young children worked there and in 1929, a violent strike at the mill attracted international media attention.
“We hid this history for a long time, pretended it didn’t happen. It was a bad time for Gastonia,” she said.
Penegar proudly shows off the 20-foot exposed ceilings and shiny concrete floors that replaced buckled, splintery wood flooring. The brick walls, thick, century-old beams and floor to ceiling factory windows are still intact throughout the complex.
“It took 20 years to get it going but it’s been worth every minute. The space is fantastic,” Penegar said.
Expansive, long hallways of the former production floors are lined with taller than normal doors that lead to one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.
“These are loft apartments, so the bedroom doesn’t have a door, it’s open and the wall doesn’t go to the ceiling to let the light bleed out into the space,” she said.
Mill village residents say they are glad to see the mill renovated because the mill and mill village have always been connected and helped each other thrive. It’s also about preserving a part of the residents’ history.
Sitting on their front porch across the street, Gladys and Carl Carpenter can look directly at the mill. Gladys’ father worked there and the family lived in a four-room mill village house.
My daddy bought it from the company and we bought it from him,” Gladys Carpenter said. “We owned it 43 years, so a lot of memories here.”
Carpenter also worked at the mill, starting when she was 16 years old.
“I was a spare hand spool winder and so I made a pretty good living. I was blessed to have a job,” she said.
After the mill closed, like others, the Carpenters says it became an eyesore. The grass often went uncut, vagrants sometimes broke into the building and over time, the mill village deteriorated as homeowners moved out, slum lords came in and crime in the area increased. The Carpenters are glad to see the mill redeveloped.
We’re just thankful to see someone around knowing someone is looking this way because it was so empty for so long,” Gladys Carpenter said.
“I think it’s wonderful the way they got it fixed up. I hope it does well. I wish it had happened earlier,” Carl Carpenter said.
So does Irma Styers, whose grandparents and father worked at the mill. Her family was thinking about moving if the mill had not been renovated
“The conditions were so bad, theft, people constantly taking stuff from our yard,” Styers said. “If it was outside, it was gone. I had to chain the furniture to the porch but we don’t have that now and it’s so wonderful that it’s turned around because we have no desire to go anywhere else.”
That’s what developer Hughes says he wants to hear because he wanted to create an environment that welcomes the surrounding community. He hopes the planned public gym, brewery and other retail will bring mill village residents and others into the mill’s public spaces. There’s also an interactive, digital gallery space under construction to document the mill’s history. Hughes hopes all of this will make the mill the epicenter of the community that it was years ago.
“We look at this as establishing an icon within the city and county,” Hughes said. “We look at this as providing an economic impact to bring jobs, provide quality housing. It is not our intention to displace people or replace the population here.”
In steps Preservation North Carolina officials. Firestone donated the mill to them after it shut down and they sold it to Hughes. The organization’s president Myrick Howard says they secured a half million dollar loan to buy and renovate mill village homes, with the exterior designs intact.
“We’re trying to knock out the vacant house, the problem houses where drug dealers and prostitutes cluster around these vacant properties,” Howard said. “We want to sell them with restrictions that they have to be owner occupied and with restrictions on their future size so they will stay small houses and we think they will have an anchoring effect on this community.”
They plan to have a model home to show millennials and empty nesters, their target buyers. The renovated homes will go for about 100 thousand dollars.
Jack Kiser is Preservation North Carolina project manager. He was also Gastonia’s planning director for 17 years. He hopes the redeveloped mill and their fully renovated homes will be incentives for others to buy rundown rental homes in the mill village and renovate them.
“The neighborhood is 75 percent rental and 25 percent homeownership. We want to see that flip,” Kiser said. “The mill is a perfect fit in terms of the renovated project being 80 percent residential and 20 percent commercial space and works hand in hand with the community.”
Hand in hand, side by side and depending on each other is how the mill and mill village two properties have always coexisted. Something the developers and preservationists hope they will continue so they will not just survive but thrive.
A Big, Big, Big Win
With the resolute support of Governor Pat McCrory as well as a bipartisan coalition of legislators, North Carolina once again has historic rehabilitation tax credits, effective January 1, 2016. Over the next four years, these credits may well stimulate another $500 million or more of historic renovation. That’s not chump change!
It feels like a miraculous come-from-behind victory – just before the final buzzer.
The 2013-14 general assembly had let North Carolina’s rehabilitation tax credits expire on January 1, 2015, in the name of tax reform. These credits had incentivized nearly $2 billion (no typo there!) of historic renovation since their first adoption in 1993 and expansion in 1997 and 2006 – legislation passed at PNC’s behest.
This spring (2015) the North Carolina House of Representatives passed the Governor’s revised version of the tax credits by a 6-1 margin. But the Senate sent the bill to its graveyard committee, never to see the light of day. We always thought that the bill would pass in the Senate if we could just get it to the floor for a vote.
This summer the House put the credits in its budget, but not the Senate. For nearly two months, we waited with bated breath while the conference committee on the budget met. It was an exercise in uncertainty. First, we’d hear that things were fine; then, we’d hear that they weren’t. Until the final committee bill was unveiled in September, we didn’t know whether the homeownership credit would be retained in the bill. It was a real nail-biter.
The new tax credits are at a lower rate, but they may be taken in one year rather than five. (You can still carry them over for nine additional years.) Most folks would prefer having $15 today rather than $4 a year for the next five years, so the lower rates are offset by the ability to take the credits quicker. That change will be a great advantage for income-producing projects.
The homeowner credit survives at a lower rate, but with a project cap. No project will receive more than $22,500 in credits, but that’s still a respectable incentive for home renovation. Many times through the process we thought we were going to lose the homeowner incentive altogether, so we are relieved.
We were told repeatedly over the last two years that we’d never succeed. We saw the end of tax credits for the film, solar, affordable housing, land conservation, and many other industries or causes.
How did we survive and succeed? Preservationists know all about persistence and the importance of coalitions, and that’s what it took. We had many institutional partners (municipalities, counties, realtors, architects, engineers, bankers, chambers of commerce and others) who helped us out.
Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz (a PNC property owner, by the way) criss-crossed the state, drumming up support and publicity for the cause. At PNC’s conference in Salisbury, she noted that her tour persuaded her even more of the value of the credits in turning around communities and creating new jobs.
Tony Adams, PNC’s lobbyist, went door-to-door around the legislature, not just once, but numerous times. He helped get a majority of House members to sign on as bill sponsors, a showing that demonstrated the depth of support in the House during negotiations with the Senate. On a daily basis, Tony knew who was with us and who might be with us with a little encouragement.
Our friends (members, professionals, local preservation organizations, etc.) from throughout North Carolina let their legislators know about the value of the credits – with letters, phone calls, tours, letters to the editor, and more. It was an easy case to make. We could point to specific landmarks and entire downtowns and neighborhoods that had been revived by the tax credits.
In the end, it was a team effort, and the entire state will be the beneficiary.
At the Salisbury conference, speaker Don Rypkema noted that the preservation community across the entire country was watching North Carolina. Our tax credits were viewed as exemplary nationally. We were among the first states to adopt a workable program, and its success has kept North Carolina in the top five nationally for the last decade for the use of the Federal tax credit. To lose the credits in 2014 was a blow to the movement, and their revival this fall is being celebrated by preservationists everywhere.
Our most sincere thanks to everyone who worked to make this victory a reality. There’s plenty of work left to do in preserving North Carolina’s rich heritage, and the renewed tax credits will continue to make our great state a better place to live, work and visit.
This article appeared in the 2015 Fall issue of NC Preservation, PNC’s magazine.
The Memorial Industrial School site is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Forsyth County received notification that the property, which is located at Horizons Park near Rural Hall and owned by the county, was designated in August as a historic site.
Memorial Industrial School served as a home for black orphans and needy children from the 1920s to ’70s. There, the children received an education and agricultural and domestic skills training.
A former resident is hoping to generate support for efforts to preserve the legacy.
(Winston-Salem Journal, 10/9/2015)
Hillsborough, N.C. — Town commissioners are weighing a possible eminent domain action to take control of a Hillsborough landmark.
The Colonial Inn, which historians say was built in 1838 – a weathered sign that hangs from the West King Street building says 1759 – survived the Civil War and entertained guests as notable as the late actor Paul Newman for generations. But it has been closed for more than a decade and is now a rundown eyesore, with rotting wood, peeling paint and a weed-choked sidewalk.
DURHAM — While the James A. Whitted School is already listed on the National Register of Historical Places, developers have started the legwork to ensure it’s a local historic landmark as well.
(Durham Herald-Sun, 10/10/20150
As water levels recede and residents begin to recover from the torrential rainfall and flooding, it’s amazing to think there are a few local buildings that have seen this type of weather many, many times over and they’re still standing.
This includes the DuBois Boatwright House in the first block of South Third Street, which at nearly two and a half centuries, is firmly historic Wilmington’s second oldest home and one of the longest-standing buildings of any sort here.
While the home built in 1767 may still be standing, it does need help. Over the past five months Beth Pancoe of SDI Construction has worked to take this piece of Wilmington’s history, and make it work better than it did before.
According to Pancoe, the home was originally owned by John Dubois, a local merchant and alderman, which she describes as the equivalent of a modern day city councilman. The Wooster family inherited the house in the 1840s. Through marriage, ownership was transferred to the Boatwright family who have owned it ever since.
(Port City Daily, 10/9/2015)
COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) – At one time, there were nearly 100 plantation homes built along or near the Cape Fear River. But neglect and Mother Nature has reduced that number to only a handful that are still standing today.
Now, a California professor, originally from North Carolina, is restoring a nearly 200-year-old dwelling, one room at a time.
Every day, hundreds of people travel on Old Stage Road in Columbus County, just like Everett Lewis did a couple of years ago. But the top of a chimney at an old house caught his attention.
It turned out what he saw was the top of the Allen-Love house, part of the old Black Rock Plantation, but the structure looked a lot different now than when he first noticed it.
“The front porch was incased, along the porch, up the walls and across the ceiling in ivy,” Lewis said, referring to the condition of the home.
RALEIGH – The state announced Friday that it will sell two historic homes near the Executive Mansion in downtown Raleigh, including the 145-year-old Heck-Andrews House on North Blount Street.
The administration of Gov. Pat McCrory had hoped to hang on to Heck-Andrews and the Bailey-Tucker House on Lane Street and restore them so they could be used for special functions for state government. McCrory had sought money for the necessary renovations in a proposal to issue bonds to generate money for building and road projects across the state, but the legislature stripped the houses out of the final version.
“We all agree these magnificent houses need to be restored,” McCrory said in a statement Friday. “But these projects are better suited for the private sector.”
(10/2/2015, News & Observer)
For more than a century, the Second Empire-style Heck-Andrews House has held court over the comings and goings along downtown Raleigh’s historic Blount Street, setting a standard for the architecture built in Raleigh after the Civil War.
The 6,300-square-foot mansion, though, has been under state ownership since the mid-1980s, used for a while as offices for state government officials but standing vacant and unused for several years as state leaders debated over its future and whether to spend the money needed to rehabilitate it and bring it up to code standards.
(10/2/2015, Triangle Business Journal)
John Goode learned agriculture, arithmetic and French at the Berry O’Kelly Training School.
He also learned leadership skills that helped him climb the ranks during a 30-year career in the U.S. Air Force.
“For a small school, they did turn out some excellent citizens,” said Goode, 69.
Descendents of Berry O’Kelly, a prominent black leader, and alumni of the African-American school that operated in Raleigh during segregation hope the lone remaining building on campus will become a national historic place.
They are working with the city of Raleigh, which owns the building in the Method community of west Raleigh, to apply for the designation. The city uses the space as part of the Method Community Center.
They also hope the Oak Grove Cemetery, an African-American cemetery that dates back to the Civil War in the Method community, will become a national historic place.
On Tuesday, the Raleigh Historic Development Commission invited residents to share photos and other relics from the cemetery and the school, which closed in 1967 when schools integrated.
(10/5/2015, News & Observer)
Preservation North Carolina has presented Chatham County with a major statewide award recognizing the rebuilding and restoration of the Chatham County Historic Courthouse. The project earned the 2015 Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit. Hobbs Architects in Pittsboro served as project architects for the courthouse, which was badly damaged by fire in March of 2010. Shown receiving the award are County Commissioners Chair James Crawford, left, and Taylor Hobbs with Hobbs Architects.
Boone Tavern, the historic hotel owned by Berea College, has been nominated for the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence as Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel in the category for hotels with less than 75 guestrooms. Boone Tavern’s Dining Room also has been nominated as Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel. The Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence recognize and celebrate the finest historic hotels and hoteliers across the nation.
Boone Tavern is one of 11 nominees in the Best Small Historic Inn category for hotels with 75 rooms or less. Other nominees include: Castle Hotel & Spa (1910) Tarrytown, New York; Cork Factory Hotel (1865) Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Green Park Inn (1891) Blowing Rock, North Carolina; Hotel Brexton (1881) Baltimore, Maryland; Hotel El Convento (1631) San Juan, Puerto Rico; Kelley House of Martha’s Vineyard (1742) Edgartown, Massachusetts; Mast Farm Inn (1792) Banner Elk, North Carolina; Nottoway Plantation (1859) White Castle, Louisiana; The Smith House (1899) Dahlonega, Georgia; and Timberline Lodge (1938) Mount Hood, Oregon.
(Berea Online, 9/29/2015)
The new Downtown Associate Community program is designed to provide Aberdeen with the organizational foundation required for long-term downtown economic development success.
“This is not a project,” said Sherry Adams, coordinator of downtown programming and technical assistance for the N.C. Main Street Center at the state Department of Commerce. “A project has a beginning and an end. This is a program geared toward sustainable economic development within the context of historic preservation.”
The program is also a three-year precursor to potential reinstatement in the Main Street program. Aberdeen joined that program in 1990 but soon became inactive.
“This is a pathway to the Main Street designation,” Adams said. “Our goal is to have you move up.”
Adams and Liz Parham, the center’s director, gave Aberdeen officials an overview of the Downtown Associate Community program during a public forum Thursday. They will return about once a quarter.
(The Pilot, 9/24/2015)
PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A public hearing will take place in Pender County Monday night to consider a Special Use permit for a historical school museum.
The building, on Union Chapel Road, was previously a school. It has not been in operation since 1953, according to Monday’s agenda. The property owner wants to restore the building and maintain it as a museum.
According to the applicant, the Union Chapel School was “the hub of the community during the 1930s and was also a Rosenwald school built to educate African-American children.”
DURHAM — City staffers will move forward with a design for the new Police Department headquarters that doesn’t include saving a 92-year-old former Chevrolet dealership on the site.
On Thursday Mayor Bill Bell and council members Diane Catotti, Eugene Brown and Cora Cole-McFadden indicated they didn’t want to spend city money to save the building.
“I’m a preservationist,” Brown said, “but in this case the dollar signs, as well as future usage, make saving the Carpenter building rather difficult.”
Councilmen Steve Schewel and Eddie Davis preferred an option proposed by a local organization that saved the Carpenter Motor Co. building and brought the potential for private development to East Main Street.
Councilman Don Moffitt said he opposed the site altogether.
At a City Council work session in August, architectural consultant firm O’Brien/Atkins presented five options for arranging the headquarters, surface parking and a parking deck on the 4.5 acre block at 600 East Main Street.
(News & Observer, 9/24/2015)
The legislature has approved a bill that would allow local governments to make grants or loans toward the rehabilitation of historic structures.
The question now is how attractive will the pending legislation be given that a slimmed-down version of the historic preservation tax credits was restored in the state budget compromise that Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law Friday.
Senate Bill 472 was approved without amending by an 87-18 vote in the House on Tuesday — nearly five months after it cleared the Senate.
The bill would go into effect with McCrory’s signature. The bill’s primary sponsors are Sens. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, and Andrew Brock, R-Davie.
(Winston-Salem Journal, 9/23/2015)
Pittsboro, NC – Preservation North Carolina has presented Chatham County with a major statewide award recognizing the rebuilding and restoration of the Chatham County Historic Courthouse. The project earned the 2015 Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit, which was presented at a ceremony last week.
(The Chatham Journal, 9/22/2015)
WINTON – The reasoning behind an effort to establish a historic district here in Hertford County’s oldest municipality is twofold: to preserve the proud past of the town and hopefully serve as an economic springboard.
On Wednesday, town citizens and other interested individuals participated in a pair meetings designed to share information on a plan devised by the Winton Historical Association (WHA) to create a historical district containing nearly 100 properties.
WHA member Libby Jones, who lives in one of the town’s numerous historic homes, said the creation of a district would be a “win-win” for all involved, including potential visitors to Winton that typically tour historic towns.
“We have so much historic architecture here; plus the creation of a historic district will perhaps serve as an economic catalyst for the town. We can advertise the fact that we have a historic district and encourage people to come and visit us,” she said.
The two meetings were held in the late afternoon and early evening, using the Winton Town Hall and the old cafeteria at C.S. Brown School as the gathering points. Both featured Scott Power, employed in the Greenville office of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. Among other duties, his department administers the National Register of Historic Places, which is a federal program under the National Park Service (NPS).
“They (NPS) have the ultimate authority for listing historic properties and historic districts,” he stated.
Power also briefly explained the state and federal tax credits that owners of historic properties can take advantage of should they opt to follow certain guidelines during the renovation/restoration process.
“However, if you choose not to accept the tax credits, you can basically do whatever you want to your property, even if it’s been declared as historic or part of a historic district,” Power noted. “But the tax credits are there if you want to apply. The credits can save you as much as 30 percent against the money you spend for renovation purposes, even if you operate a historic property as a commercial business, such as a bed and breakfast.”
One key element of having a designated historic district is the fact that it protects those properties from negative impacts caused by governmental action (i.e., road widening; erection of cell phone towers, etc.).
Power also explained the criteria for having property listed on the National Register. The starting point, he said, was the place must have physical integrity from the period in which they were important and must be significant for something.
“We have found instances where properties cannot be listed in the National Register because they have been altered in some way over the years or because they’re simply not significant,” he said.
To have a property listed on the National Register, they must meet one of four items of criteria: associated with events that have made significant contributions to the broad pattern of history; associated with the lives of significant persons of the past; embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period of method of construction, or represent the work of a master, or represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; and have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.
Power said the WHA’s plans to hopefully establish a historic district would fall under criteria #3. In Winton’s case, that district already has the presence of two properties listed on the National Register – the Gray Gables house and the auditorium at the old C.S. Brown High School.
“What you have here is a collection of buildings that represent a particular era as well as many different styles of architecture that come together as a collection unit,” Power remarked.
In order to get a district listed, Power said a concentration of historic resources is needed.
“They have to maintain enough integrity that as a collection of buildings you can look at them and tell that you’re riding through an area with a lot of history and architecture,” he stated.
A historic boundary has already been established as the WHA moves forward in establishing a district, centering along Main Street (stretching from East Weaver Street to just beyond East and West Cross Street) and includes areas along King Street, West Mulberry Street, one block of East Dickerson Street, and East and West Richard Street. The properties there can either be “contributing” or “non-contributing.”
Power explained the difference, calling contributing properties as those at least 50 years of age and have maintained their physical integrity from whatever period of importance; and non-contributing as properties that are 50-plus years-old but have been altered in some way over the years and no longer represent their period of time.
“We like to see a much higher percentage of contributing properties, as much as 80-to-85 percent, when performing an evaluation to see if an area is qualified for historic designation,” Power stressed. “That will include your commercial properties, churches and schools.”
The Winton Historical Association will hire a consultant to perform the ground work necessary to move forward to the next step – making an application for historic district designation. Power said his office will work closely with that consultant as the process moves along.
“The boundary now established may have to be tweaked a bit once the consultant you hire gets here and begins their research,” Power said.
The application for nomination as a historic district must also include a history of the town; an inventory and photographs of the historic properties (to include a written historic narrative of each); and a context statement – which is a comparison of Winton to other similar communities in the local area and the region. The consultant will perform all of the aforementioned work.
“All of that becomes your argument for national registration,” Power said. “All of those documents first come to our office for review and we may send some comments back to your consultant in order to gain additional information. Once we finalize things on our end, your nomination is forwarded to Raleigh and from there to the National Park Service who makes the final determination.”
Power said the initial step to gain designation in Winton has already been taken as the determination has been made that the town does possess a potential historic district.
“What makes Winton so unique is that it has a pre-Civil War history and a post-Civil War history since the majority of the buildings here were destroyed by Union forces back in 1862,” Power noted.
The next step is for the WHA to hire a consultant. That will cost as much as $15,000. The Association has launched an effort to raise those funds, and donations are tax deductable.
“As of the present, we are in the process of gaining non-profit status,” said Jones. “In the meantime, the Murfreesboro Historical Association has graciously agreed to shelter our group with theirs. You can help us by writing a check to the Murfreesboro Historical Association and in the memo line of the check, write Winton Historical Association and mail to us at PO Box 15, Winton, NC 27986.
(The Roanoke-Chown News-Herald, 9/20/2015)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A mothballed state prison that closed more than two decades ago is slowly crumbling in Buncombe County because the state hasn’t allocated money to knock it down.
Old Craggy Prison looks like something straight out of a horror film.
It was dedicated in 1924. Age would eventually take its toll.
Newspaper headlines throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, chronicled what was once called the “hell hole” of the state’s prisons.
“The prison flunked on every test,” says retired attorney Lou Lesesne.
He played a big part in getting Old Craggy shut down.
“We spent a lot of time in a lot of N.C. prisons in the 1980s and a lot of them were in really bad shape and this was sort of in a class by itself,” he said.
View the video at Time Warner Cable News (9/21/2015), here: http://www.twcnews.com/nc/coastal/news/2015/09/21/historic-preservation-tax-credits.html
The latest generation of Pfafftown residents celebrated the recognition of a 229-year-old community trying to hold tight to its heritage even as much of it has been swallowed in annexation.
The sponsors of the historic marker — placed on the south (county) side of the intersections of Transou and Yadkinville roads Sunday — offer a glimpse of the complexity when describing Pfafftown.
The Forsyth County Historic Preservation Commission and the City of Winston-Salem combined on the effort, with Mayor Allen Joines and two council members among the speakers.
(Winston-Salem Journal, 9/20/2015)
RALEIGH — A reinstatement of the historic preservation tax credit is included in the state budget approved last week by state legislators.
Lawmakers let the tax credit, which will now provide for up to a 25 percent credit for improvements that are made to an income-producing certified historic building, sunset on Jan. 1. Since then a movement to reinstate the credit has been under way throughout the state.
Non-income producing historic structures are limited to a 20-percent tax credit on rehabilitation projects of $10,000 or more. In short, any project that is covered under the federal historic preservation tax credit will once again receive the state tax credit.
(The Mount Airy News, 9/19/2015)
The legislature giveth and the legislature taketh away.
It is now pretty certain that North Carolina’s compromise budget will restore the tax credits for property owners who restore historic buildings. The rest of us should be grateful.
The penny pinchers in the General Assembly had abolished North Carolina’s long-standing historic preservation tax credit in their last budget round. Local officials, preservation groups and Gov. Pat McCrory — a man not often accused of tax-and-spend liberalism — had urged the Honorables to bring the tax credit back.
Even the libertarian John Locke Foundation — which sometimes seems to question whether state government should do anything other than round up hippies and Arab terrorists — thought the tax credits were a good idea.
(Star News Online, 9/18/2015)
LENOIR, NC…Following months of the NC General Assembly, the North Carolina budget bill includes the restoration of the historic rehabilitation tax credits for both income and non-income producing historic structures. The NC League of Municipalities had lobbied on behalf of cities and towns citing the importance of the preservation tax credits to economic development projects across the state.
Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz visited Lenoir in May as part of her state-wide tour of historic districts in cities that have the potential to utilize the historic preservation tax credits in their economic development strategies. While in Lenoir, Secretary Kluttz toured several historic buildings in downtown Lenoir.
(Caldwell Journal, 9/18/2015)
The new state budget has thousands of details to sift through and analyze. One item, however, was an immediate hit with a group convening in Salisbury this week: the restoration of historic rehabilitation tax credits. Members of Preservation North Carolina count that as a great victory, even if the credits are scaled back. And the preservation advocates are in the perfect place to celebrate the win, Salisbury, a community where historic tax credits and a preservation mindset have made all the difference.
Visitors can see the results in many business buildings downtown and stately homes around the city. Among those who tackled ambitious projects just before the tax credits expired were Chad Vreisema and Bryan Wymbs, who bought the former Bernhardt Hardware building on North Main Street in 2013. Since then, the building has been transformed into retail spaces on the street level and apartments above — worthy of being on OctoberTour next month. Without historic tax credits, the old structure might have languished and deteriorated.
(Salisbury Post, 9/17/2015)
Clement spoke Wednesday afternoon at Preservation North Carolina’s annual conference in Salisbury about the importance of revolving funds in the saving of historic properties. But Clement, founding president of Historic Salisbury Foundation in 1972, also took time to give preservationists in the room a list of marching orders.
(Salisbury Post, 9/17/2015)
The latest version of the North Carolina budget bill to go before the General Assembly includes a provision for historic preservation tax credits, which have been used in renovating several Morganton buildings.
“We are very happy to see that included,” said Morganton City Manager Sally Sandy. “We certainly hope they will all vote (to approve it), and we hope the governor will support it — and he’s a big supporter of (the credits) anyway.”
The state’s historic tax credit program expired at the end of December, and a bill that would have restored them earlier this year died in the N.C. Senate, according to previous reports.
Members of the Senate passed the bill Tuesday afternoon, and members of the House are slated to vote on it Thursday, according to www.ncleg.net.
(The News-Herald, 9/15/2015)
SALISBURY — “Revolving Funds Rock” is the theme to Preservation North Carolina’s Annual Conference to be held in Salisbury Wednesday through Friday. This is the first time Salisbury has been host to the conference since 1996.
The conference will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the revolving funds of both Preservation North Carolina and the Historic Salisbury Foundation.
Donovan Rypkema, principal of PlaceEconomics and a leading expert on the financial impact of historic preservation, will be the keynote speaker from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Thursday at St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Other speakers that morning include Daniel Carey, president and chief executive officer of Historic Savannah Foundation, and professor Justin Gunther of the Savannah College of Art & Design. Both Carey and Gunther will be talking about the impact of revolving funds.
The conference gets under way Wednesday afternoon at the Rowan Museum, when speakers will include Ramona Bartos, deputy state historic preservation officer; Myrick Howard, executive director of Preservation North Carolina; and Ed Clement, one of the founding members of Historic Salisbury Foundation.
(Salisbury Post, 9/15/2015)
The legislature, particularly the Senate, heeded constituents in agreeing to restore a limited level of film production grants and historic preservation tax credits in the proposed final state budget.
The compromise also restores deductions for medical expenses with no spending cap, and does not alter the sales tax refund levels for not-for-profit and nonprofit groups.
The budget compromise, expected to be more than 500 pages, is expected to be posted early today.
The Republican tax-reform code foundation approved in 2013 eliminated numerous popular tax credits and exemptions in a trade-off for increasing the standard tax deduction. Several key Senate leaders worried that making any changes to that foundation opens the door to unraveling it completely.
Gov. Pat McCrory crisscrossed the state this year in support of the historic preservation tax credits, drumming up support from local officials along the way.
(Winston-Salem Journal, 9/14/2015)
The Town of Boone Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) announces that work will begin this month on a Historic Resources Survey of Downtown Boone.
The survey area will roughly correspond to the boundaries of the Municipal Service District (MSD), but the survey will also include seven additional properties scattered throughout the community, including the Rivers House, Horn in the West, the Daniel Boone Gardens, and the Boone Cemetery. This survey is intended to gather essential information about the architectural and historical significance of the surveyed properties.
While a number of individual properties located within the municipal limits of Boone have been surveyed as part of the countywide surveys completed in 1989 and 2002, no comprehensive historic resources survey of Downtown Boone has ever been completed.
In spite of numerous attempts by local residents, historical organizations, and the HPC since the 1970s, extensive background information on the architecture of Boone’s historic downtown has never been compiled either.
The HPC anticipates that this survey will include approximately 110 survey-‐eligible properties located within the MSD and provide critically important documentation of the architecture and history of Boone’s downtown. In addition, the survey will provide similar documentation on properties at risk for near-‐term development, as well as important background information for properties that may be eligible for local landmark designation, such as the Rivers House and Horn in the West.
(High Country Press, 9/14/2015)
ASHEVILLE — The city and Buncombe County now have a plan to protect historic buildings.
But how much effect the plan will have will depend on a wide variety of factors — ranging from how legislators vote on a statewide tax proposal to how many steps property owners would have to take before demolishing downtown buildings.
The City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday to adopt the Historic Preservation Master Plan for Asheville and Buncombe County.
In recommending the plan, Historic Resources Commission Director Stacy Merten said old buildings, particularly those downtown, are important culturally, economically and even environmentally.
“Old places create a sense of community that helps people feel more balanced, stable and healthy,” Merten said.
(Asheville Citizen-Times, 9/9/2015)
A panel was held in the Merrimon-Wynne house Sept. 2 to discuss the state of historic preservation in Raleigh. The panel was moderated by City Councilor Bonner Gaylord and included Mary Ruffin Hanbury, an architectural historian who started her own consulting firm, Ed Morris, the chair of the Wake Historic Preservation Commission, and Myrick Howard, president of Preservation N.C.
According to the panelists, preservation is coming to the forefront, where it used to be a fringe issue.
“We may have gotten in a little late in the game, but Raleigh’s doing a great job [preserving historic sites],” Morris said.
The conversation initially hinged around policy issues. The private sector is often preferable for preservation, in the form of nonprofits; however, there are areas where the private sector for one reason or another is unwilling to invest. Sometimes these buildings are ignored, and other times the city buys the properties and takes care of them itself.
The panel unanimously agreed that one of the reasons the public sector does not invest in historic areas is property taxes. Lower property taxes can greatly reduce the burden that nonprofits must bear to protect historic buildings. In the 1970s-80s, the state of preservation was grim. Many properties were purchased by the government, not for preservation, but for demolition and development.
Luckily, the decision was made to protect the historic buildings, and many were spared, including the Merrimon-Wynne house, which is described on the Preservation North Carolina website as “the quintessential southern mansion” when it was built in 1876.
(The Technician, 9/9/2015)
For more than half a century, Lexington’s downtown post office functioned as just that: a post office, the place to buy stamps, rent a P.O. box and attend to one’s ordinary postal chores.
When a “new” post office was constructed in 1967, the “old” post office on South Main Street took on a new identity, as a Davidson County library branch, for another 16 years. After that, it served as a county arts center for another 17 years.
And then, nothing.
Since 2009, the majestic stone building has fallen victim to peeling paint and a chipped, weathered exterior. What historians and preservationists call “one of the most monumental structures” in all of Davidson County has been more than once a “For Sale” listing at online real estate sites.
(The Dispatch, 9/7/2015)
The LandTrust for Central North Carolina has announced the preservation of one of North Carolina’s most significant historic sites at Fort York on the Davidson/Rowan County border at the Yadkin River.
This project is one that has been in the making for 20 years – since the first months of the founding of the organization, according to a press release. “The Fort York site was identified in 1995 as one of the most important historic sites in our region and has remained at the top of our list of highest priority potential acquisition tracts,” said executive director Crystal Cockman. Thanks to private funding and a grant from the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund, The LandTrust was able to purchase the site in July.
(The Dispatch, 9/4/2015)
Rep. Mark Brody Sponsors House Bill 799
Raleigh – A piece of legislature in the North Carolina House, sponsored by Rep. Mark Brody (R-Union), stands to have a major impact not only in Oak Ridge, but across the state, as it proposes to enable individual properties to be removed from a historic district.
House Bill 799, titled “Zoning/Changes to Historic Preservation Procedures,” was changed the evening before it was to be heard by the House Finance Committee on Tuesday, Aug. 18. Brody says the opt-out provision has been in the bill for some time; however, there is no evidence of the provision in earlier versions of the bill.
The opt-out provision would let an owner of property within a designated historic district petition for removal from the district.
A local historic preservation commission (HPC) would have 10 days to submit the owner’s petition to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for review, which in turn would have 30 days to make a recommendation to the HPC. The HPC would hold a public hearing, and then make a recommendation to the local municipal government (i.e. the town council) – which would make the final decision on whether to allow the property to be pulled from the historic district.
The opt-out provision “is kind of benign” because the state’s opinion on the petition “is not binding,” said Brody.
J. Myrick Howard agrees. He’s president of Preservation NC, a nonprofit founded in 1939 to promote and protect historic buildings, landscapes, and sites. “The opt-out provision probably won’t result in that many exemptions, but it will require (historic) commission and city councils to deal individually with everyone who has a beef with the historic district process,” said Howard. I can imagine disgruntled property owners who have been denied COAs (Certificate of Appropriateness), and contractors wanting to do teardowns, filing for removal from the district – gumming up the work of commissions and creating a steady drumbeat of discontent with city councils.”
Ann Schneider, chair of Oak Ridge HPC, echoes Howard. “This provision would be incredibly burdensome for our historic preservation commission and town council. It’s also completely inappropriate because changes to the historic district should be initiated only by the HPC, working with town council, not by individuals who want to be in the historic district but want a pass on its special zoning requirements,” she said.
“This is bad for Oak Ridge, bad for the historic district, bad for any town with a similar district – and a dangerous precedent for all zoning requirements. We have all run into zoning requirements that we don’t like – but we comply,” Schneider continued. “I don’t think any of us want our town services to be burdened with the extra time and money necessary to create special reports and enlist consultants to cater to this type of request.”
The provision “sets a scary precedent for zoning laws – it goes against the basic premise of zoning, that everyone in a zoning district is treated similarly,” said Howard.
“At heart, it is a spite bill,” he said, citing strains in Oak Ridge, where CrossFit’s facility was constructed but did not adhere to the facility’s approved COA. After a request for a retroactive COA was denied, as well as appeals to the town’s Board of Adjustment and Guilford County Superior Court, one of the owners of the facility “vowed he would take his case to the governor and the legislature,” said Howard.
Brody acknowledged he was not involved in historic districts whatsoever until he took a phone call from that Oak Ridge property owner in the summer of 2014.
“If you have a historic district like in Oak Ridge, and they take a broad brush and scoop up vacant land, including farmland with nothing historic about it, the property owner should be able to opt-out of the district,” said Brody.
In 1993, the Guilford County Joint Historical Properties Commission sent a report to the SHPO, as required by law, seeking the designation in the unincorporated community of Oak Ridge. SHPO had 30 days to analyze the report and make recommendations.
According to the report, the proposed historic district encompassed 440 acres. Of its 66 properties, 50 included structures and 16 were open land tracts. Nineteen properties (28 acres) were referred to as “noncontributing,” as they were not associated with the history of the area.
“Normally, when a historic district is being looked at, it’s as a district with boundaries, and comments are made on a district basis, not on an individual property basis,” said Howard. “How is this any different from spot zoning, where one person is treated differently?”
Howard was very involved in establishing Oak Ridge’s historic district, and noted that it was a challenge, because “this was a rural area in the path of great development. It was a rural community that was going to be laid to waste if restrictions were not put into place.”
Howard was also involved in the laws that empowered governing local governing bodies to designate historic districts.
“When we drafted the legislation, the intention was that the State Historic Preservation Office was not involved… it’s a local political zoning decision,” he explained. We wanted the state office to have input in case of future legal actions, but not in any sense was there a controlling intention.”
Howard further said the state just needs to give its professional advice.
“But what will the state say when it’s a vacant parcel with no building, but it’s between two other historic properties?” he asked. “It shouldn’t really matter… its historic if it’s in the district.”
Administrator Ramona Bartos – who Brody said helped with bill language – and local government coordinator Laurie Mitchell of SHPO responded to questions about HB799 via a combined email sent by their media liaison.
“Our review of any de-designation proposal…would include our offices feedback on the cause given, just as it would for the initial designation,” stated their response. “As with designations, the state does not make the final judgment as to the district designation or boundaries, but merely has an advisory role by providing non-binding comments.”
Bartos and Mitchell further wrote, “The utility of any local historic district is best supported by an intact district that has a strong cohesiveness. ‘Spot’ de-designations may be counter-productive to the purpose of local historic districts, and our office discourages such de-designations.”
HB799 was not heard by the House Finance Committee on its scheduled date of Aug. 18. As the legislature is still working on its budget, it is unclear when the hearing will occur.
By Gerri Hunt
(Northwest Observer, 9/4/2015)
The 30 percent tax credit homeowners once received from the state of North Carolina for restoring historic properties, and the 20 percent credit for income producing projects could be back in this year’s budget, according to Myrick Howard, the longtime President of Preservation North Carolina.
Speaking at a panel of historic preservation experts at the Merrimon-Wynne house in downtown Raleigh on Wednesday, Howard said Republican members of the state House listed restoring the tax credits, which sunset at the end of 2014, as their number one budget priority after a recent caucus. The House voted in favor of restoring the tax credit earlier this summer by a 5:1 margin. House members and the Governor have been working to convince the state Senate, which never put restoring the tax credits to a vote, of their importance to the state’s economy.
A legislative conference committee is considering whether to include the tax credits in the final budget, expected to be released by September 18. Howard says a majority of the lawmakers on the conference committee are in favor of restoring the tax credits.
“We’ll know more in a few weeks, but there’s a good chance at the moment that the tax credits will be back,” Howard said. “I’ve got a good feeling, but I’ve been wrong before.”
The tax credits have generated $500 million in Raleigh since they were introduced in 1998, and $1.4 billion in revenues statewide. They have created more than 14,000 local jobs.
Panelist Ed Morris, chair of the Wake Historic Preservation Commission, pointed to the restoration of the Pine State Creamery building on Glenwood South as a Raleigh success story that couldn’t have happened without the tax credits. The area experienced a resurgence after a group restored the building and in 1997 got it listed as a Raleigh Historic Landmark.
“From an economic perspective, historic preservation is essential to Wake County’s growth,” said Jeremy Bradham, a Historic Preservation specialist at Capital Area Preservation who was also on the panel. “Every preservation project creates four and a half jobs. Preservation engages everyone in a community, and gives back.”
The panelists also addressed historic preservation versus new development, the former being work-intensive, while the latter is materials- intensive.
“I don’t think you need to balance historic preservation with economic development,” said Mary Ruffin Hanbury, a Raleigh preservationist and architectural historian. “There’s as significant an economic impact with preservation as with new development, so they are actually working hand-in-glove.”
Howard said it is time for Raleigh to “get serious” about the tear-downs occurring across the city, and that the UDO, the city’s new code, does not address the issue strongly enough. He says the model of tearing down smaller homes and replacing them with giant new houses is unsustainable, since the single-person household will soon be the largest demographic in the country.
Amending the UDO and applying protections like Neighborhood Conservation Overlay and Streetside Historic Overlay Districts, which have demolition controls, to neighborhoods could be ways for the City Council to achieve this.
“We need twice as many historic districts as there are in Raleigh currently, and we need them to be less restrictive,” Howard said. “You don’t have to be as pure with restoring a ranch house than with restoring a Victorian home. But some neighborhoods have houses now that do not fit. They’re eyesores now, and they’ll be eyesores in the future.”
Hanbury added that aesthetics isn’t necessarily a good enough reason to decide what to tear down and what to keep. She pointed to the old Clyde Cooper’s barbecue restaurant downtown that was torn down last year. It was one of the last buildings in Raleigh to have separate entrances for blacks and whites to use.
“Places are historic because of what happened there, and that’s something people don’t necessarily know,” she said. “There are great opportunities to use these places to have discussions and share our community’s values, and for people new to the area to find out why they’re important.”
By Jane Porter
(Indy Week, 9/3/2015)
The ceilings and floors in the old Cascade Saloon in downtown Greensboro are crumbling, but Rentenbach Constructors sees beyond the junk and damage inside a historic building that long has been used as a storage warehouse of sorts.
The Cascade Saloon building at 408-410 S. Elm St. is sandwiched between the railroad tracks and neighbors the old Southern Railway Office. It dates to 1895 and is among several buildings that make up Greensboro’s historic district.
(Triad Business Journal, 9/2/2015)
N.C. Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz is making a final push to convince state lawmakers to include historic preservation tax credits in whatever budget deal is ultimately reached in the General Assembly.
Kluttz is calling on state residents to reach out to lawmakers and encourage them to renew the credits, which expired last year after many Republicans on Jones Street said they cost taxpayers too much.
Between 2007 and 2013, North Carolina allocated $106 million in state income tax breaks to property owners, developers and investors of historic properties. That comes to about $15.2 million per year and doesn’t count federal tax credits.
Supporters, including Kluttz, argue some form of state tax credits are necessary to encourage investments in historic buildings, which are often much more expensive to renovate. Without the credits, they say many parts of the state have seen projects dry up.
(Triangle Business Journal, 9/3/2015)
EDEN — Sylvain Couzinet-Jacques sat in front of his computer screen in his Paris photography studio studying the image of a city more than 4,000 miles away — Eden, N.C.
The young Frenchman had no connection to the town.
But in December of 2014, he was pretty confident that it was just the kind of place he was looking for to execute a grand-scale art project, one that would join two countries in a cooperative art endeavor.
(Greensboro News & Record, 8/31/2015)
Preservation North Carolina’s Annual Conference will be held in Salisbury Sept. 16-18 at various locations throughout the city.
The conference, last held in Salisbury in 1996, has a theme of “Revolving Funds Rock,” to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the revolving funds at both the Historic Salisbury Foundation and Preservation NC.
The conference will feature several speakers from out of state, including keynote addresses from Donovan Rypkema (principal at Place Economics), Tom Mayes (National Trust for Historic Preservation) and Arthur Ziegler Jr. (Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation).
(The Salisbury Post, 9/2/2015)
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – A vacant, aging house barely visible behind trees and brush holds rich tales of its history.
Inside the three-story home, overlapping “Vs” are scratched into door frames and studs as a symbol to ward off evil spirits. Handmade nails fasten upstairs floorboards.
A wooden beam bows from where support posts at each end settled over two centuries. A brick chimney holds up the center. Overhead beams reveal saw and ax marks.
The home, known as Woodleys Manor, dates to the 1740s.
(The Virginian-Pilot, 8/30/2015)
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN_ – One of the oldest houses in Raleigh is now under contract after being moved off its location on Wake Forest Road to make way for an apartment complex.
The Crabtree Jones home, named for one of the early owners, was built around 1795. It remained surrounded by a thick grove of trees for two centuries, hidden from view near the busy intersection of Wake Forest Road and Six Forks.
Realtor Paul Setliff told WNCN earlier this month that the home is scheduled to close Oct. 26 and will be a single-family home. He said he could not reveal the contract price.
On Feb. 3, 2014, the home was moved to nearby Hillmer Street to make way for the Jones Grant apartment complex.