Owner of The Table in group that buys historic mill
ASHEBORO — Members of the Asheboro City Council approved a resolution Thursday night to accept an offer of $119,000 to buy a historic downtown mill property.
The company that submitted the bid is named VSR LLC. Dustie Gregson of The Table Farmhouse Bakery, one of the partners, said the letters VSR are significant: They stand for “Vision to Sow and Rebuild.”
The vision, she explained, is to restore the structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to sow seeds to rebuild downtown Asheboro.
“It’s so beautifully located in our community in the center of downtown,” she said Friday. “I really believe this is going to become the springboard for more and more people to say, ‘I’m willing to invest and invest well and create things for downtown.’ I think it’s just the beginning of what we’re going to see downtown.”
Of course, Gregson said, revitalization is well under way, with a number of downtown restaurants thriving and attracting patrons, along with other private enterprises and the city-owned Sunset Theatre.
The old Cleveland High School, 335 Hudson St., Shelby, caught fire around 6 p.m. Thursday.
Shelby Fire Department responded to the abandoned building for a fire that engulfed part of the school, blocking off Hudson Street to combat the flames.
Fire department officials were unable to respond to questions about the fire at presstime. No injuries were reported.
Gregory Moore lives directly across the street from the school at 380 Hudson St. He stated he did not see the fire start, but heard the trucks come in.
(The Shelby Star, 9/15/2016)
Leaders in cities committed to sustainable growth understand that the prospect of creating a modern city with a vigorous culture and economy is exciting, but presents considerable challenges along the way. That’s why Greenville’s leaders in 1992 created a long-range blueprint for the city’s growth. The plan seems to place Greenville on the right growth trajectory if it maintains support from city residents.
A commitment was made to review the plan every five years and complete a “full review” every 10 years. There are no guarantees that the future on which Greenville’s residents set their course will materialize just as they envisioned it. But it looks like they’ve made adequate preparations to head for the horizon with confidence.
(Daily Reflector, 9/13/2016)
SALISBURY — The Historic Preservation Commission will be considering two demolitions on Wednesday.
The commission will meet at 217 S. Main St. at 5:15 p.m.
Pete Bogle, of The Bogle Firm, is proposing to demolish a building at 201 E. Innes St. to make way for a new mixed-use building for Healthcare Management offices on the first floor and residential units on the second and possibly the third floor. He plans to use the current building’s granite blocks in the new building.
(Salisbury Post, 9/13/2016)
CARY–Local farmers will begin sowing seeds this spring for their first batches of fruits and vegetables on part of a 29-acre, town-owned property off Morrisville Carpenter Road.
The town preserved this land, known as A.M. Howard Farm, in 2007 so it could one day be developed a working farm – and could pay homage to the land’s and the town’s agricultural history. The Cary Town Council took some of the first steps to make that happen at a Thursday, Aug. 25, meeting.
The council unanimously approved an 8-year lease with the Piedmont Conservation Council, a nonprofit that promotes conservation and sustainable communities, for the purpose of subleasing 1/2- to 2-acre plots to newly trained farmers. Council members also approved appropriating about $57,000, in part for water line installation, for this effort.
(News & Observer, 9/11/2016)
Durham–In a split vote, the Durham City Council approved a cohesive Golden Belt local historic district Tuesday night, denying the Durham Rescue Mission’s request to exclude its properties east of Alston Avenue.
Council members voted 4-3 to approve the city’s eighth local historic district and proposed boundaries after a nearly two-and-a-half hour public hearing and discussion.
Members Jillian Johnson, Don Moffitt, Charlie Reece and Steve Schewel supported the district boundaries as recommended by a city consultant. Mayor Bill Bell, Eddie Davis and Cora Cole-McFadden voted no after expressing support for the Durham Rescue Mission’s request to exclude 20 of its lots.
(News & Observer, 9/7/2016)
A new partnership has stepped in to take over the planned redevelopment of the historic Bellevue Mill property in Hillsborough that was partially destroyed by fire in May.
Kirk Carrison of Maverick Partners Realty Services of Durham, who has been marketing the property since 2014, confirms the sale of the buildings to a collaboration of real estate investors under Bellevue Mill LLC, which includes Charlotte development firm Sari & Co. that’s been involved in the redevelopment of multiple historic structures across North Carolina.
(Triangle Business Journal, 9/5/2016)
WILLARD — In Pender County, just south of Wallace, a 1920s-era schoolhouse with a new blue roof can be seen from U.S. 117. Turning onto N.C. 11 takes you to Willard Outreach Community Center, housed in two historic African American school buildings.
Both of the buildings hold personal significance for me. From 1960 to 1967 I attended Willard Elementary, the brick building at the front of the site. Behind it, the 1920s-era one-room schoolhouse represents the sacrifice that African-American families made for education. During the segregation era African-American families paid their taxes, and then had to donate additional money to build schools for their children.
(Star News Online, 9/4/2016)
Beware of goblins and ghouls as runners of all ages prepare to take over Greenfield Lake Park while decked out in their best Halloween costumes.
Registration for the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Trick or Trot 5K for Preservation, sponsored by Port City Java, is now open. The event, which is set for Sat., Oct. 29, also includes a one-mile untimed Candy Dash that includes trick-or-treat stops.
Proceeds from the run and walk will go toward the foundation’s Tar Heels Go Walking program, which takes New Hanover County students, parents and teachers on history and architecture walking tours throughout downtown Wilmington.
(Port City Daily, 9/4/2016)
FARMVILLE — Don Edwards has spent nearly 30 years helping to revitalize downtown Greenville. Now he believes there are similar possibilities in Farmville.
Edwards’ pitch was among a few options proposed for the Farmville Hardware building during a recent Farmville Board of Commissioners meeting. The Greenville businessman, who owns UBE, has had success adapting buildings for new uses, preserving historic structures and mixed-use development that adds jobs. He proposed $1.5 million project to turn the historic Farmville building into apartments and business offices.
The agenda included a $5,000 design services proposal from an architect willing to provide the board options for the property, as well as a presentation by Preservation North Carolina, a group willing to help the town sell the historic property to a preservationist.
(Daily Reflector, 9/3/2016)
The Town of Boone Historic Preservation Commission is pleased to announce the public dedication ceremony celebrating the designation of the United States Post Office in Downtown Boone as a Local Historic Landmark.
This ceremony will take place on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016, at the US Post Office Building at 680 West King Street. Festivities will include live music and light refreshments beginning at 5:00 p.m. Mayor Rennie Brantz and members of the Boone Historic Preservation Commission will unveil the Local Historic Landmark plaque during the official ceremony starting at approximately 5:30pm. Members of the public are welcome and highly encouraged to attend.
(High Country Press, 9/1/2016)
Durham, N.C. — The Durham Rescue Mission is hoping to clear up some confusion about its stance on a proposed historic district.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, the Durham Rescue Mission said there are people who are under the impression that the organization is completely opposed to a proposal for a historic district near East Main Street in downtown Durham. The mission said that is not the case but they do, however, want to make sure that if the Golden Belt is designated as a historic district, the people they serve are not completely pushed out.
LAURINBURG — Laurinburg’s new community development director, told members of the Laurinburg Rotary, that he is “hard at work” trying to revitalize not only downtown, but improve the city’s economic fortunes as a well.
Michael Mandeville, who took the position in May, said in that brief time has worked to secure several grants to aid economic and industrial development. He was the guest speaker at Tuesday’s meeting of the Laurinburg Rotary Club at the Masonic Lodge.
(Laurinburg Exchange, 8/31/2016)
ZEBULON, N.C. (WNCN) — The town of Zebulon is full of history and historic buildings, including the Town Hall in the historic Wakelon School building. Now there’s a movement to preserve even more of its rich history.
A new group called Preservation Zebulon is working to do just that: protect parts of the town that have historical significance.
In downtown Zebulon, impressive hundred year old homes line the streets. Some have been kept up over the years, others have been left to wither away until they have to be torn down. MaryBeth Carpenter and her husband, Scott, are salvaging a historic home in need of much TLC.
ZEBULON — Scott and MaryBeth Carpenter of Raleigh have developed a new interest since buying and falling in love with a distinctive part of Zebulon’s history over the past year.
“She always wanted to find a Queen Anne Victorian house to restore,” Scott Carpenter said of his wife.
The couple found one East Horton Street near downtown Zebulon – the John D. Finch House that dates to about 1911.
The house has its original roof, staircase, hardwood floors and upper porch bannister, among other things, still intact.
As they began working on the old home, the Carpenters realized it was just one of many historic treasures still standing in the town.
That led them to reach out to other owners of historic buildings and homes in the area, and to the formation of an interest group that wants to preserve such structures and identify possible historic districts in town to be considered for the National Register of Historic Places.
(News & Observer, 8/29/2016)
Drive just a few minutes north of Asheville on the interstate or up the old river highway and Madison County quickly turns rural. You’ll pass by more barns than people in the countryside.
“We believe we are the barn county,” said Sandy Stevenson, director of the Madison County Visitor’s Center. But just how many barns dot Madison’s countryside, no one had really counted until Taylor Barnhill came along.
(Asheville Citizen-Times, 8/19/2016)
Raleigh, N.C. — The fight over a modern home built in Raleigh’s historic Oakwood neighborhood appears to be over after the North Carolina Supreme Court said Friday that it won’t hear an appeal in the case.
Marsha Gordon and Louis Cherry were granted necessary permits three years ago to build the contemporary house at 516 Euclid St., including a certificate of appropriateness from the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.
In its early 20th century heyday, the Loray Mill village was a vibrant hub of Gastonia, filled with hard-working people and a communal spirit.
This fall, a nonprofit working to revitalize the historic neighborhood will aim to conjure up those same vibes with a block party and home tour. Preservation North Carolina’s Loray Open Village will celebrate what’s been achieved and what more is coming.
“We decided to have this block party to introduce the neighborhood to the public,” said Jennie Stultz, the incoming vice chairwoman of Preservation N.C., and a former mayor of Gastonia.
The Open Village will serve as a weekend celebration and fundraiser for Preservation N.C. on Oct. 15 and 16. That Saturday, a Hog & Hops Block Party will be held from noon to 5 p.m. along South Vance Street, in the shadow of the redeveloped Loray Mill Loft Apartments between Second and Fourth avenues.
For $35 per person, attendants will get barbecue, beer and wine while listening to music, speakers and other entertainment. They’ll also have access to a tour of renovated homes for sale on Vance Street, Second Avenue and elsewhere throughout the one-time mill village.
Those who would like access only to the tour of homes can pay $15 per person to experience it from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Residents of Vance Street will be invited to attend the entire event at no cost, Stultz said.
In addition, a free program will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. that Sunday in the Loray Mill Event Center. Speaker Thomas Hanchett, a historian and former director of the Levine Museum, will discuss “The Roots of Country Music in the Piedmont South.” Music will be provided by the WBT Briarhoppers, with the overall presentationsponsored by the Glenn Foundation.
Spotlight on the village
Since last year, Preservation N.C. has worked to obtain homes and properties in the shadow of the mill. The nonprofit bought some of the property while other pieces were foreclosed, bank-owned homes that were acquired by the city of Gastonia, then sold to the organization.
Preservation N.C. currently owns more than a dozen mill village homes and one vacant lot. It plans to redevelop several of them in ways that both show off their historic architectural features and provide key modern amenities. That’s necessary to get the historic tax credits that will make the projects possible.
Proceeds from the Loray Open Village fundraiser will go back into supporting the acquisition and redevelopment of homes, using a revolving loan fund.
Stultz said organizers decided to have the October outdoor party on Vance Street because it had become the most downtrodden block in the neighborhood. That began to change a couple of years ago with the development of a new city park, as well as Preservation N.C.’s rehab efforts.
“We wanted to show off the houses in the Vance Street area to let people know what they look like,” said Stultz. “They’re anywhere from 800 to 1,200 square feet. We’ll have some of the homes either partially or completely renovated so people can come in and see them.”
The event is being timed to coincide with the opening of the mill’s new Alfred Kessell History Center that weekend, Stultz said. Gastonia native Robert Allen, a UNC-Chapel Hill history professor, has had a leading role in creating that digital history project, which will provide interactive information on the heritage of the mill and surrounding village.
Jack Kiser, a project director for Preservation N.C., said the goal is to bring attention to what is going on throughout the village.
“All of this is part of our marketing efforts to change the real estate dynamic in that neighborhood,” he said.
by Michael Barrett for the Gaston Gazette, 8/14/2016
A few Salisbury residents were convinced that Billy Hughes planned to renovate the historic Empire Hotel in downtown a year before Hughes had committed to the project.
Months ago, Ed Clement, a 90-plus-year-old resident who’s active in the preservation community, greeted Hughes, founding principal of Historic Preservation Partners, with a handshake and a presumption that he was in town to sign the papers.
(Salisbury Post, 8/12/2016)
The first of a dozen old houses the state is selling in downtown Raleigh has changed hands, more than nine months after the state began accepting offers for them.
Matthew Brown closed on the purchase of the Lamar House on North Person Street on Tuesday. State officials say the deeds for two other homes will be transferred this week, as well.
Most of the houses are in the Blount Street Historic District, just north of the Executive Mansion, and two of them are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Brown and some of the other buyers are frustrated by the time it has taken to complete the sales, as were others in the neighborhood who have watched the houses deteriorate over the years. Brown’s offer of $536,000 for the 115-year-old Lamar House was accepted in November.
(News & Observer, 8/11/2016)
SALISBURY — The home of Elizabeth Hanford Dole, former U. S. senator from North Carolina and one of Salisbury’s most prominent citizens, will be on tour for the first time in OctoberTour’s 41-year history, according to Historic Salisbury Foundation.
OctoberTour patrons and ticket holders will have the opportunity to visit this house located at 712 S. Fulton St. and enjoy seeing one of West Square’s most beautiful residences.
Senator Dole’s parents, John Van Hanford and Mary Ella Cathey Hanford, built the house in 1937 and there raised their two children – Elizabeth and her brother, the late John Van Hanford, Jr.
(The Salisbury Post, 8/7/2016)
For more than 100 years, the Warren-Whitehurst House has greeted visitors to the intersection of Kenan and Daniel streets with a cheery blue facade, a white picket fence and an expansive front porch.
Neglect and a foreclosure have left the facade faded, the fence rotted and the porch has lost its inviting feel.
“I just fell in love with this house,” said Omar Salazar. “When I saw it, I just said, ‘Wow.’”
The Queen Anne-style house was foreclosed by the State Employees Credit Union, but more than four years of unsuccessful searching for a new owner left the bank leaning toward demolition of the historic property. Preservation of Wilson helped to market the property, but Executive Director Kathryn Ferrari Bethune said the group couldn’t find a buyer to sign on the dotted line to take on the project.
Meanwhile, Liz and Joe Uditis brought in Salazar, their master carpenter friend who worked for family business Rockin’teriors in Raleigh, to look over a property on Vance Street they were planning to restore.
(The Wilson Times, 731/2016)
Please see the link below for an RFQ from East Carolina University for the restoration of the Export Leaf Tobacco Building.
A presentation by Preservation North Carolina will be hosted at the Loray Mill on Thursday night. Local author Joe DePriest and local historian Lucy Penegar will be speaking about the stories that make up the history of the Loray Mill.
The history of the mill is something Penegar was keen to learn about, although she admits when she first started, she really didn’t know much.
“I went with Myrick (Howard, Preservation N.C. president) the first time he went to Firestone Mill,” she said. “They were moving out and gave the mill to Preservation N.C. I told him, ‘Myrick, I don’t know anything about this mill. I don’t know the story.’ He told me to ‘read whatever I could find.’ I started ordering off of Amazon and finding as much as I could.”
“I don’t have roots in the mill or anything, but I just jumped in with all four feet and have loved it ever since,” Penegar said.
After the building was given to Preservation N.C., construction began to turn the former textile mill into residential, retail and commercial space.
DePriest, who originally grew up in Shelby, learned a lot about the mill during his time in Cleveland County. Once a reporter at The Shelby Star, he fell in love with local history.
“Two icons of Shelby, O. Max Gardner and Clyde R. Hoey, were a part of the cast of the Loray Strike of 1929,” he said. “Gardner was governor and called in the National Guard. Hoey was a lawyer and was on the prosecution. I had a relative who sold Cleveland County livermush in the mill.”
DePriest and Penegar crossed paths in 1990 when DePriest came to Gastonia and a love of Loray and literature collided.
“This program – put on Preservation N.C. – is about the literature of Loray,” DePriest said. “We’ve interpreted that as fiction and nonfiction works. Lucy has compiled an all-inclusive list.”
The event, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will have DePriest and Penegar sharing some of their favorite stories about the good and the bad of Loray Mill.
“I think people are real curious about what happened (at the mill) before,” Penegar said. “We’re not telling all bad stories. I mean, the strike is a bad story. But the Firestone story is a wonderful story. They had a band, a swimming pool, a ball team that was fantastic, they had a camp up in the mountains they went to. A lot of people say, ‘I don’t want to hear the bad parts. I just want to hear the good parts.’”
“It’s all a part of the history,” she said. “You learn from all of it. I think it’s kind of neat people still want to know what happened here.”
Calling Penegar’s list of references would be an understatement. Made up of historical and social studies books, journals, radical novels, new fiction and more, there are 56 titles on the list. And it continues to grow.
“I couldn’t believe it. I found dramas and plays and music. I was blown away by the fact there were plays written in the 1930s. One of them (“Strike Song”) was done in 1931. That’s just two years after the strike,” she said. “There was a play in Massachusetts called ‘Strike’. And one called ‘Let Freedom Ring.’ It was produced on Broadway in 1931.
“The Charlotte Symphony produced a symphony about textile history and the closing of the mills. I saw people sitting there listening to that thing and crying. They went around and passed around pieces of fabric made in the mill. You would touch that as you listened to the music.”
The presentation will be happening in the Kessell History Center at Loray Mill, which will be undergoing renovations for a high-tech display about the history of the mill and the village surrounding it. While the project is still in the works, DePriest said programs like the Literature of Loray fit perfectly with the idea of learning from the past and looking toward the future.
“People will be able to come in and get on computers and explore the original Loray Mill Village house-by-house,” DePriest said. “As that transformation around the mill continues, the history is an integral part of the project.”
While the Loray Mill is looking toward the future as they begin Phase II of construction, Penegar and DePriest point out how the mill influenced us as a culture.
“There are so many things that have come out of the textile story,” Penegar said. “People came down from the mountains and sat on their porch playing music. And now (some people are) saying that’s how country music got its start.”
“I’ve picked up lots of stories about Loray over the years,” DePriest said. “It’s close to my heart.”
by Allison Drennan for the Gaston Gazette, 8/1/2016
LUMBERTON — A piece of Lumberton history could be yours for $39,000 — and a little elbow grease.
The municipal building that previously housed Lumberton’s City Hall and fire station has been on the market since 2013, attracting dozens of prospective buyers looking to own a bit of the past.
“This is probably one of the most popular municipal or community buildings I’ve worked with,” said Cathleen Turner, regional director for Preservation North Carolina, which is working to sell the building to an investor willing to restore its historical character. Turner said many potential buyers have been introduced to Lumberton and its historic district by the old municipal building and are “charmed by it.”
(The Robesonian, 7/30/2016)
Standing before a packed gallery of Whitley Building supporters at Whiteville City Council Tuesday, Jeff Adolphson of the State Historic Preservation Office said Whiteville’s City Hall can and should be saved.
“It’s a beautiful building and certainly worth preserving,” Adolphson said.
The preservation specialist came to council Tuesday with Cathleen Turner of Preservation North Carolina, a non-profit group that specializes in preserving and reusing historic properties across the state. Adolphson also introduced Hannah Beckman, the county’s representative with the State Historic Preservation Office.
(The News Reporter, 7/29/2016)
Take Penland Road in Mitchell County, away from the perpetual road-widening project on U.S. 19 East, and you travel back in time. Cross the North Toe River, then rattle across tracks of the old Clinchfield railroad. Pull off to the right, and park beneath the old sycamore. The whitewashed building flies the red, white and blue American flag, signaling the official Penland Post Office and General Store.
Postmistress Rebecca Davis, now in her 49th year with the U.S. Postal Service, greets customers at the wooden slatted teller’s window. When she started work at this office, Davis would sell you a stamp for 15 cents. Now she can sell you a forever stamp at 49 cents or send off your package by Priority Mail, connecting Penland with the wider world.
(Asheville Citizen-Times, 7/29/2016)
Morganton’s Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina reached a milestone –50,000 acres of protected land – with the addition this week of 377 acres in the South Mountains.
The conservancy formed in 1995 to protect an 18,000-acre tract in the South Mountains.
“It is fitting that 20 years later we reached and surpassed 50,000 protected acres with a project in the South Mountains,” said executive director Susie Hamrick Jones.
(Charlotte Observer, 7/28/2016)
A Chapel Hill real estate developer has bought the 101-year-old O’Hanlon Building at the corner of Fourth and Liberty streets and plans to renovate the interior for mixed uses including possibly apartments.
Ted Kairys, the founder and chief executive of Kairys Real Estate Group in Chapel Hill, said he plans to remove some alterations that were done to the building’s original design and make it look inside like it did in its heyday.
“We are looking to take the building back to its original form,” said Kairys. “We are excited about it. We’re going to remove dropped ceilings and interior walls, open the space up and reveal its hardwoods.”
(Winston-Salem Journal, 7/28/2016)
Alumni of the old Sampson High School in Clinton want to restore the worn-down facility and remake it into a community resource center, all while celebrating its history as a Rosenwald school and status as an importance landmark in this county.
Next month, the Sampson High School Alumni Association (SHSAA) Inc.’s Phase Two Committee, in conjunction with the City of Clinton and the Clinton Historic Preservation Commission, will sponsor a half-day free event aptly-entitled “Importance of Place Workshop: ‘Ole’ Sampson School Matters.”
(Sampson Independent, 7/21/2016)
RALEIGH–The state has found buyers for a dozen old and historic homes in downtown Raleigh since last fall, but none of the houses has actually changed hands yet.
Buyers such as Matthew Brown, whose $536,000 offer on a house on North Person Street was accepted in November, are frustrated by the time it’s taking to complete the sales. So are others in the neighborhood who are anxious about the continued deterioration of the empty homes, most of which are in the Blount Street Historic District between Oakwood and the State Government Complex.
“The state acts when it wants to act. Evidently this is not an urgent matter to them,” said Sandra Scherer, president of the Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood. “Every day those houses fall into greater and greater disrepair.”
Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina, an advocacy group that has long urged the state to sell the houses to people who will restore them, notes that the state accepted offers on all but one of the houses six to eight months ago.
(News & Observer, 7/20/2016)
Although Brian Miller grew up in Charlotte, he always felt drawn to Gastonia’s Loray Mill village, where his mother lived as a child.
The 30-block neighborhood with about 500 small houses surrounded the historic Loray Mill, site of a bloody 1929 labor strike that claimed the lives of Gastonia Police Chief Orville Aderholt and union activist Ella May Wiggins.
When Miller, a band director and adjunct professor of music at Louisburg College and Vance-Granville Community College, learned from a Gastonia friend that the nonprofit group Preservation North Carolina was restoring some of the Loray village houses and offering them for sale, he could hardly believe his good fortune. One of the houses was right around the corner from where his mother grew up. He’s the first person to purchase a property in Preservation North Carolina’s latest restoration project.
“I’m reconnecting with my family heritage,” said Miller, 44, of Louisburg. “I felt that connection when I first saw the house and knew this was the right thing.”
At its peak in the late 1920s, the five-story, 600,000-square foot plant known as the “Million Dollar Mill” employed 3,500 workers, many who lived in the village. Firestone Textile and Fibers bought the West Gastonia building in 1935 and stayed until 1993 when most of the operation moved to a new tire cord manufacturing plant in Kings Mountain. Preservation North Carolina got the 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 and a Gastonia landmark.
It was a long and difficult process, but the first phase of a $50 million residential/commercial restoration began in April 2013. In March 2015, the grand opening took place. Now all 190 loft apartments have been occupied in the 600,000-square-foot building, and developers plan to launch phase two – 106 additional apartments – soon. Inside is a 14,000-square-foot fitness club, and opening soon is Growlers USA, a microbrew pub with 100 craft beers. Developers expect to get a coffee house, music studio and are in discussions with several national restaurant chains.
“We’re pleased with the success Loray has shown,” said developer Billy Hughes, a partner in the Loray Mill project. He hopes the mill’s revitalization will extend into the surrounding area.
The public can tap into the history of the mill and village in a 1,100-square-foot space that houses “Digital Loray” – produced by the Digital Innovation Lab at UNC Chapel Hill. The project, supported by Preservation North Carolina through a gift by Rick and Susan Kessell, is a digital collection of material related to both the mill and the mill village.
“These can be very sweet residences, and the neighborhood can be a real charmer.” — Myrick Howard, Preservation North Carolina
Meanwhile, Raleigh-based Preservation North Carolina has shifted its focus to the Loray village, where 25 percent of residents own their own homes and 75 percent of the properties are rentals, many of them not well maintained.
The nonprofit has had successes with restorations of mill houses in East Durham, Edenton and near Burlington.
Usually, Preservation North Carolina acquires properties and sells them as is. The Loray Mill Village project follows a different approach. While some houses will be sold as is, the nonprofit group is renovating the rest. It owns 12 houses, and the goal is to sell 20 in the next five years.
During renovations, the houses will be transformed into modern, energy-efficient residences selling for around $100,000.
Protective covenants attached to the deeds require the properties to be sold to homeowners and to meet preservation standards.
“We are trying to lift the market,” said Preservation North President Myrick Howard. “We want to re-establish home ownership in the neighborhood. These can be very sweet residences, and the neighborhood can be a real charmer.”
Two basic house types – A and B – date from 1901. A third, Type C, was added when the mill expanded around 1921-22. House sizes range from about 900 to 1,200 square feet.
As the original village grew, with the mill owning the houses, the mill owners considered incorporating the village as a municipality, but the village and mill became part of Gastonia.
Before World War II, the company started selling off the houses. As the owners, typically retired mill workers, moved away or died, the properties fell to heirs. By the late 1970s, the neighborhood went into decline.
Fifty-nine-year-old Bubbles Styers has lived in the Loray neighborhood all her life and is encouraged by the mill restoration and the possibility of the village finding new life.
Her grandparents, Jack and Irma Kennedy, moved there in 1932 and lived in a three-bedroom house was built in 1902. Both worked in the Loray Mill, and later the Firestone.
Styers remembers children playing in the mill swimming pool and running in the streets of the sprawling village. When the shifts changed at the mill, hundreds of workers spilled outside, sometimes creating congestion on the sidewalks.
Loray Village was a tightly knit world where families knew each other and looked out for neighbors.
Styers lives in her parents’ old house on Dalton Street, just two blocks from the mill.
“I love it here,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
According to Styers, some in the neighborhood are laughing at the notion that modest mill houses, even when renovated, will sell for $100,000.
“They think it’s funny,” she said. “They can’t see it. But they don’t understand.”
She’s impressed by the quality of new construction and feels doubtful minds will be changed when people see the final product – high-energy homes with granite counters, modern appliances and other up-to-date features.
“I think folks will be happy then,” she said. “They’ll believe.”
House restorations are in the early stages, but he likes to imagine what they’ll look like when completed.
Original features that are still in good shape, such as heart pine floors, will stay. The condition of many houses is mixed, but Kiser said that overall they’re of solid build and the lumber is good. Examining the progress at a house at 906 West Second St., until recently occupied by renters, he recalled what the 1902 Type A residence looked like when he first saw it. The roof sagged and front and rear walls were bowed in. The house had asbestos siding that had to be removed, abated and properly disposed of.
“It was far worse than the average house,” Kiser said.
But now he can picture it as a snug, modern, one-bedroom residence with new appliances, handcrafted windows, new foundation wall, insulated walls, and outside deck.
He hopes Preservation North Carolina’s effort in the village will draw more homeowners into “what may be the largest mill village in the state.”
“I’m very excited about what we’re doing here. This is a historic undertaking,” said Kiser. “We plan to be here for the long haul.”
Gastonia Mayor John Bridgeman thinks the restored mill and village “will be a great shot in the arm for that side of town.” West Gastonia was once a thriving section of the city, with numerous textile mills and adjacent neighborhoods. But with a slow decline in the industry and plant closings, the west side also went into a decline, blighted in some areas with high crime.
Other strategies to boost West Gastonia are in the works. One is a major ballpark similar to the Knights’ BB&T Stadium in uptown Charlotte, where the Gastonia Grizzlies and other teams would play. It will be the centerpiece of a major sports complex. A committee is looking into the possibility of the project, which involves the City of Gastonia, Gaston County and the Gastonia Regional Chamber. “As we all join together, I think you’ll see more and more commercial construction on the west side,” Bridgeman said.
For Brian Miller, Gastonia has always occupied a special place in his heart. His honors thesis in history at UNC Chapel Hill was on the 1929 Loray strike. And he eagerly listened to family stories about the fabled mill and village.
“I immersed myself in Gastonia history,” said Miller. “I couldn’t get Gastonia off my mind.”
He plans to restore his newly acquired mill house to what it would have looked like in the 1920s. Because he bought it “as is” and was not interested in modern fixtures, he paid only $20,000. He already has antique light fixtures, and a Louisburg resident gave him a 1925 L & H electric stove that had been in storage since 1948. He remembers his mother telling him about her earliest stove that stood on legs.
Miller said the interior of his house is largely intact from the early 1900s with original beadboard walls and ceiling.
From his back porch, he can see the towering Loray building which dominates the village. Looking around the village itself, he has a vision of its successful transformation, over time.
“I look forward to taking my part in the revitalization of this historic neighborhood in West Gastonia and to see it thrive,” said Miller. “I’m proud to be the pioneer.”
(by Joe DePriest, for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, 7/12/2016)
Graduate students in Dr. Alicia McGill’s Cultural Resource Management (CRM) graduate seminar recently partnered with the NC Historic Preservation Office on a project in which they researched, collected and documented invaluable archival, bibliographic, and observational information, as well as oral histories about African American cultural heritage and historic preservation issues in multiple North Carolina communities. Many departments were represented in the CRM seminar student makeup including History, Sociology, Anthropology and Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.
( NC State, Department of History News, 7/11/2016)
DURHAM — Durham must find a way to use historic preservation as an economic development tool that includes all community members and mitigates the effects of displacement for local businesses and residents as growth continues throughout the county, Preservation Durham executive director Ben Filippo said at a discussion about housing issues in the area.
(Herald Sun, 7/9/2016)
The Old Post Office building in Lexington — also known as former locations for the Lexington Library and Arts United for Davidson County — deserves a better fate. The building has sat vacant since 2009 after Arts United moved to a new location. A Washington, D.C., lawyer bought it in 2012.
Therein lies part of the problem. The lawyer, Lillian S. Hardy, doesn’t live in Davidson County. She was within her rights, of course, to purchase the structure from the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, which bought it from Davidson County. But the structure seems to be out of sight, out of mind, while local residents drive by it on a regular basis.
(Lexington Dispatch, 7/8/2016)
Crews are on-site with bulldozers and shovels at the old Cherokee Elementary School site in the Yellowhill Community. Archaeological work, being done prior to development, has currently begun and should be finished in early fall.
“When they did the demolition work at the old elementary school site, the Tribe wanted to be able to use that corner property as prime real estate for some kind of venture in the future, and so they need to have that cleared archaeologically so that they can proceed with whatever kind of construction activity they deem might be best,” said Russell Townsend, EBCI tribal historic preservation officer. “When the school was originally built, the laws that are in place now to protect archaeology and, probably more importantly for us, the human remains, were not in place.”
He said as the school was built, “They plowed through portions of what are probably two large archaeological sites, and that includes the property where the BIA Agency is today.”
(Cherokee One Feather, 7/7/2016)
Friends of the Smokies today announced it will receive a $250,000 grant provided by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Great Smoky Mountains National Park qualified for the grant as one of the top nine most voted for parks in the Partners in Preservation: National Parks campaign.
Friends of the Smokies will apply the grant to help restore Clingmans Dome Observation Tower and will receive the grant by September 2016. Great Smoky Mountains National Park expects to begin work on the project in 2017.
(Mountain Xpress, 7/6/2016)
SANFORD — The Wilrik Hotel, a historic landmark of Lee County built in 1925, was owned by the county itself for a time until it was sold in the late 1990s.
(Sanford Herald, 7/6/2016)
Almost a year after being cited for not maintaining the upkeep on the Old Post Office building in Lexington, the owner of the property has received an extension to finish the work.
The building on South Main Street was built in 1911 and functioned as the community post office until the current post office was built in 1967. Afterward the building was a branch of the Davidson County Library for another 16 years and then as the location of Arts United for Davidson County for another 17 years. It has remained vacant since 2009 when the arts council moved to another location.
The Dispatch, 7/6/2016
A Greenville commission has given the city, ECU and the State Historic Preservation Office 365 days to save five houses in the College View Historic District from demolition — and ECU said it would consider saving one of the homes if it could be rezoned.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission, East Carolina University officially submitted certificate of appropriateness applications to demolish or relocate if possible five houses that surround the chancellor’s residence at 603 E. Fifth St.
The commission grants certificates to approve exterior work done on buildings within a city’s historic district, including windows, doors, paint colors, materials, rooflines, gutters, fences and yards. COAs also must be issued if a home within a historical district is moved or demolished.
(Daily Reflector, 7/2/2016)
We are sharing this story because it concerns a member of our Preservation Family. Tania Tully works with the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. Please consider visiting the firstgiving page to support her daughter.
Sir Ernest Bunnybottom isn’t your ordinary skateboarder.
For starters, he shreds with four legs instead of two, and when this Raleigh corgi hits the pavement on his skateboard, he’s often clad in a stylish coat designed by his owner, Edie Farris.
Farris partnered with Sprout Patterns, a division of Durham’s Spoonflower custom fabric company, to create custom dog jackets for the pup. Fashionable skateboarding aside, the coats serve a greater purpose: building buzz for an important cause close to Sir Bunnybottom’s (and Farris’) heart.
The pooch makes videos and wears the coats in photos to attract publicity for a fundraising effort to purchase a service dog for a young Raleigh girl named Anika suffering from Baraitser-Winter Syndrome, which causes seizures. The service dog will provide support for Anika and help alert her and her caregivers when she has a medical emergency.
To learn more about the effort, visit firstgiving.com/fundraiser/tania-tully/4paws4anika.
(News & Observer, 7/4/2016)
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall….”
In his Second Inaugural, President Barack Obama spoke of the diverse places that reflect important chapters in America’s complex history. In the years since, he has visited Seneca Fall’s Women’s Rights National Historical Park and marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. This week, he completed the inaugural trifecta by designating the Stonewall Inn a national monument. The significance of all of these sites endures, just as the struggles for justice they symbolize continue.
(Huffington Post, 6/24/2016)
The board of a prominent historic preservation group in downtown Raleigh has sent a plea to state government leaders to push forward the sale of multiple historic state-owned properties in the Blount Street Historic District slated for renovation.
The Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood sent a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory and other state leaders urging the state to finalize the sale of about 17 historic homes that had then put on the market in summer 2015.
(Triangle Business Journal, 6/24/2016)
The Wilmington Historical Preservation Committee unanimously approved a brick-streets policy on Thursday that could be reviewed by the Wilmington City Council as early as August. In a 12-page document, city staff laid out how it planned to preserve brick streets, and potentially restore brick streets that are now covered with asphalt.
‘If there are bricks on the road now, we will preserve it,” said Dave Mayes, the city’s public works director.
The proposed policy primarily affects how streets are to be treated in the event that utilities need to perform construction on the street to make repairs. Depending on how much traffic the street attracts, in some cases, streets that have been paved over with asphalt could be restored under the policy proposal.
(Lumina News, 6/24/2016)
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Historic Preservation Commission is in support of the proposed Brick Streets Policy. The commission held a special meeting Thursday to discuss the policy with city staff.
The Brick Streets Policy was created to maintain and preserve Wilmington’s historic brick streets, and outlines what would happen if the streets need to be torn up for utility work or other repairs. In many cases, the brick street would be replaced.
The National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has cited 44 North Carolina communities for economic vitality and fidelity in following the best-practice standards for historic preservation and community revitalization championed by the center. Eleven new communities joined the ranks of accredited North Carolina communities.
Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners issue accreditation to Main Street programs across the country.
The eleven communities newly appearing in this year’s list are: Shelby, Cherryville, Hendersonville, Lexington, Lincolnton, Rocky Mount, Rutherfordton, Sanford, Sylva, Waxhaw and Williamston.
(Shelby Star, 6/23/2016)
The Town of Rutherfordton has joined a list of communities in North Carolina to be recognized by the National Main Street Center®. The center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has cited 44 North Carolina communities for economic vitality and fidelity in following the best-practice standards for historic preservation and community revitalization championed by the center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners issue accreditation to Main Street® programs across the country.
(The Digital Courier, 6/23/2016)
City officials continue to receive recognition for the activity happening in downtown Rocky Mount.
The National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, recently cited Rocky Mount as one of 44 North Carolina communities and one of 11 areas in the state receiving recognition for economic vitality and fidelity in following the best-practice standards for historic preservation and community revitalization championed by the center.
According to a release, each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners issue accreditation to Main Street programs across the country. The peformance standards set the benchmarks for measuring a community’s application of the Main Street Center’s four-point approach to commercial district revitalization. Standards include fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.
(Rocky Mount Telegram, 6/23/2016)
Mount Airy will maintain its National Main Street Accreditation for another year, according to a statement released Wednesday by the N.C. Department of Commerce.
The National Main Street Center program, which is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, cited 44 communities in North Carolina for economic vitality and following best practices for historic preservation and revitalization.
“I’m really proud of this status because it recognizes the hard work of all our volunteers who care so passionately about downtown,” said Lizzie Morrison, coordinator of Mount Airy Downtown Inc. (MAD), the organization which received the accreditation.
(Mount Airy News, 6/23/2016)
“I love the sight of red clay.” Those words, from a professional colleague of my wife’s as he showed her the view from his high-rise office in uptown Charlotte, were jarring for her as a newly arrived preservationist.
She had recently moved to Charlotte from Washington, where she had worked for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and was still trying to understand the culture and spirit of a city where even an ardent preservationist, though uneasy with the apparent disregard for most things historic and green, could nonetheless feel and appreciate the raw energy and force of a city on the make, transforming itself daily. And she understood that her colleague, a board member for one of the city’s preservation groups, was not dismissing the city’s historic and cultural fabric. Quite the opposite. His comment reflected, in a fundamental way, something essential about this city.
Several Western North Carolina municipalities are among those achieving formal distinction as accredited Main Street communities.
The National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, identified 44 North Carolina communities this year, the state Department of Commerce announced Tuesday.
“Vibrant downtowns are important economic engines for the North Carolina economy,” North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla III said in a prepared statement.
“This national recognition confirms the results we’re seeing every day in these forward-thinking communities and is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our Main Street program participants,” Skvarla said.
The Pepper Building, a historic downtown landmark, has been sold and will be renovated as a hotel, the former owner of the building told the Winston-Salem Journal.
Michael Coe deeded the property to Pepper Property Investments LLC of Cumming, Ga., on June 17. According to Forsyth County Register of Deeds Office, the sale price was $2 million.
The building is at the southwest corner of North Liberty and West Fourth streets. One side of the building faces the old courthouse.
(Winston-Salem Journal, 6/22/2016)
RALEIGH, N.C.– It’s had 3 different homes over the last century, and next week, people across the Triangle will celebrate All Saints Chapel, and raise money to help preserve similar buildings in need of revitalization and care.
Raleigh’s historic All Saints Chapel will celebrate 10 years since its historic move that saved it from demolition on Thursday, June 30, with a party to benefit Preservation North Carolina.
The event is at All Saints from 5:00p.m.- 7:30 p.m. at 110 S. East St. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. All proceeds benefit Preservation NC, a nonprofit that protects and promotes the state’s diverse historic buildings and sites. Tickets are available by calling 919-832-3652 x 227.
For decades, All Saints was part of the Church of the Good Shepherd on Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh. After the congregation grew and needed a bigger church in the early 1900s, the chapel was moved around the corner to Morgan Street. In 2005, the congregation decided it needed more space for a parking lot and planned to raze the chapel if someone didn’t buy it before demolition day.
Greg Hatem, manager partner of Empire Properties, which has been restoring historic buildings in downtown Raleigh and Durham since 1996, caught wind of the possibility, and in the 11th hour, stepped in to save the chapel.
On June 18, 2006, the 70-foot-long, 40-foot-wide, 235,000-pound structure made its second move, this time a half mile east to the edge of historic Oakwood in downtown Raleigh. Hatem and his team held their breath, praying the historic structure was not damaged en-route. After the chapel was safely settled in its new location on South East Street, the second task began: looking at dozens of old photos of the chapel to ensure the team could restore it to its original glory, from ornate lighting fixtures to intricate wood trim.
After more than $1.5 million and countless man hours, the chapel was restored in 2008 to reflect the work of its original designer, Reverend Johannes Adam Simon Oertel, and the sanctuary looks like it did upon opening for its first service on Easter Sunday in 1875. With its wooden aisles leading to a gothic cross configuration, highlighted by five clerestory windows on either side of the five-bay nave, cathedral-like ceilings, stained-glass window and pointed arches, All Saints is an architectural treasure and one of the few Carpenter Gothic structures left of its kind.
All Saints now serves as an all-purpose events space, most frequently used as a wedding chapel. Since opening in 2008, the chapel has hosted more than 700 events, most of which have been weddings and receptions.
(Time Warner Cable News, 6/20/2016)
The National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation has cited 44 North Carolina communities, including Salisbury, for economic vitality and fidelity in following the best-practice standards for historic preservation and community revitalization championed by the center.
Eleven new communities joined the ranks of accredited North Carolina communities as compared to last year’s roster. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners issue accreditation to Main Street programs across the country.
The 11 communities newly appearing in this year’s list are: Cherryville, Hendersonville, Lexington, Lincolnton, Rocky Mount, Rutherfordton, Sanford, Shelby, Sylva, Waxhaw and Williamston.
(Salisbury Post, 6/21/2016)
A new regional office for Preservation North Carolina recently opened in downtown Greenville, and its new director is already busy on the job.
The old office that served the northeastern region of North Carolina was located in Edenton, and its director of 18 years recently retired.
Preservation North Carolina then decided to expand the office to become the Eastern Regional Office and move it to Greenville. It will serve to find, protect and preserve historic properties, including homes and commercial buildings, in 31 counties in eastern North Carolina.
Some of the buildings have been on the verge of being demolished, and Preservation NC has been able to step in and save them.
(Daily Reflector, 6/13/2016)
A pair of historic Gastonia homes that spent more than a century watching the sun set will now see it rise every day.
In recent weeks, workers removed masonry from the base of the two mill houses on Vance Street and nestled the buildings onto trailers. On Friday, they towed each home from the east to the west side of the street, where foundation bricks will be relaid.
In all, four homes on Vance Street are being relocated within the village around the former Loray Mill. The shift is necessary to make way for the second phase of the mill’s redevelopment.
Moving the dwellings, rather than simply razing them, may seem like a lot of work for properties that are far from ready to be featured in the pages of Southern Living magazine. But it’s all part of a sweeping plan to redevelop homes within the village, and establish a new template for home ownership involving historically significant properties.
“We are creating a new market in the neighborhood,” said Jack Kiser, a project director for the nonprofit Preservation North Carolina. “And core to the market attraction will be the historic character of the homes.”
Preservation N.C.’s mission is to protect and promote buildings and sites that are important to the state’s diverse heritage. It also owned the abandoned Loray Mill before selling it to a developer three years ago, paving the way for a $40 million, Phase 1 residential and commercial redevelopment of the former textile citadel.
With that project having taken flight, it has turned its attention to rehabilitating downtrodden homes nearby. The Loray Mill village once boasted 900 residences, and still has almost 500 homes that have undeniable historical significance.
“It’s absolutely no different than the York Chester Historic District, other than the fact that these are smaller houses and those are bigger houses,” Kiser said of the village’s importance. “We’re a big believer that small houses deserve the same respect.”
Small space, big market
Since last year, Preservation N.C. has worked to acquire homes and properties in the shadow of the mill. It has bought some itself, while others were foreclosed, bank-owned homes that were acquired by the city of Gastonia, then sold to the nonprofit.
The nonprofit currently owns 12 mill village homes and one vacant lot. It plans to redevelop several of them in ways that herald their historic architectural features, while also providing key modern amenities. That’s necessary to get the historic tax credits that will make the projects possible.
Most of the homes average 1,000 to 1,100 square feet. The goal will be to sell them to owner-occupants — such as millennials and empty nesters — who will appreciate the condensed living space and other factors that make them historically unique.
The one-person household is the fastest growing household size in America,” said Kiser. “We’re mainly targeting singles and couples.”
Mill homes of the early 20th century here had a specific style. Authentically restoring their exteriors means reinstating original porches, chimneys, real wood clapboard siding, and chamfered columns with beveled corners.
It also means making sure each house has six-over-six-paned, divided light windows.
“Windows are a big thing in historic preservation,” Kiser said.
Buyers will have much more leeway on what they can do inside the homes. And on the outside, they’ll also have options on color schemes, albeit nothing too garish.
“All of these mill homes were white with brown or black trim,” said Kiser. “We will redevelop these with some nice color options that fit in to the neighborhood.”
Preservation N.C. is redeveloping one of its mill village properties on Second Avenue as a model home with all the historic architectural bells and whistles. Kiser said they are hoping to partner with one or more real estate professionals who will help them to aggressively market the houses in the Charlotte region.
Similar projects within mill villages and blue-collar neighborhoods in Edenton, Burlington and Durham have been extremely successful.
“In every one of those cases, we have been able to dramatically increase property values in the neighborhood,” said Kiser.
by Michael Barrett, Gaston Gazette, 6/10/2016
A four-year veteran of the Burgwin-Wright Paint-Out and a newcomer received the top awards in the annual plein-air painting event.
Ann Lees of Wilmington, who has participated in every Burgwin-Wright Paint-Out since it launched in 2013, received the Poster Image award. Her iconic painting of the orchard, “Sundial Pomegranate Tree,” will represent next year’s Paint-Out on posters and other marketing materials.
Paint-Out first-timer Annie McCoy of Cambridge, Md., received the People’s Choice award, having racked up the most votes by visitors who viewed the show on its opening night, May 20. McCoy happens to be married to a sixth-generation lineal descendant of John Burgwin, who built the Burgwin-Wright House in 1770-1771.
(Star News, 6/10/2016)
SALISBURY — An archway will soon be added to the entrance of Hogan’s Alley.
Paula Bohland, director of Downtown Salisbury Inc., and Josh Canup, an architect and urban designer, went before the Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday to get its approval on the design, fabrication and installation of an archway leading into Hogan’s Alley.
(Salisbury Post, 6/10/2016)
The North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPS) will hold a workshop to explore the nuts and bolts of maintaining historic properties on June 20, at the Western Office of the NCDCR, 176 Riceville Road, Asheville, NC 28805.
(Tryon Daily Bulleton, 6/8/2016)
Julian Price was born into money but spent most of his life giving it away.
A new documentary looks closely at how his social and entrepreneurial vision shaped downtown Asheville.
When Price arrived there in 1989, the downtown was vacant and boarded up. More than two decades later it has a vibrant and thriving arts scene, thanks in large part to his investment in key institutions like Malaprop’s Books, The Orange Peel, and the Mountain Xpress.
DENVER–Growing up on a farm in eastern Lincoln County, Betty Gwynn spent four hours a day riding a bus to and from an all-black high school in Lincolnton.
It was a long trip, but it gave her time to do homework and look out the window at a rural landscape where her family had tilled the soil for generations. She remembers seeing wheat blowing in the breeze and thinking how beautiful it was.
Three years ago, when Gwynn moved back to her home county from Michigan, where she worked as a family planning nurse practitioner, she found a much-changed landscape. Explosive growth on the west side of Lake Norman had transformed former farmlands into sprawling neighborhoods with big, expensive houses, and shops, restaurants and businesses seemed to pop up everywhere.
(Charlotte Observer, 5/30/2016)
A once-grand hunting lodge perches on the edge of Lake Mattamuskeet. Its garnet-red tile roof and blue-and-white 12-story observation tower, which resembles a lighthouse, hint at its former glory.
Kris Noble, who played at the lodge as a child, still gets a little wide-eyed when recalling what it looked like inside. “There were animal heads and stuffed animal furs and big fireplaces,” she says.
Mattamuskeet Lodge was once a hotspot for bird and game hunters, parties, and special guests. Author Rachel Carson, who penned the seminal environmental book Silent Spring, stayed here while writing for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
(Our State, 5/16/2016)
The North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPS) will hold a workshop to explore the nuts and bolts of maintaining historic properties on June 20, 2016 at the Western Office of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, 176 Riceville Road, Asheville NC 28805.
The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The morning session will feature a lecture and discussion. After lunch the workshop will move to the Smith-McDowell House Museum located at 283 Victoria Road, Asheville NC 28801.
Speakers Reid Thomas and Jennifer Cathey of the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office (HPO) in the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources will share more than 35 years of “lessons learned” assisting historic house museums and other heritage properties. Thomas specializes in early building technology, historic paints, building conservation, and disaster planning and recovery. Cathey began her career in collections management at historic houses and museums including Biltmore and the North Carolina Museum of History, before transitioning into architectural history and preservation.
(Biltmore Beacon, 6/2/2016)
With the purpose of drawing attention to an historic site in the area, the Bethel Rural Community Organization (BRCO) Historic Preservation Committee recently placed an historic marker at Pigeon Gap Watering Hole atop Waynesville Mountain. The signage is the fourth historic marker erected by the organization.
The hard work of several individuals went into making the marker — The Historic Preservation Committee designed the marker; Wayne McCrary and Jared Best, from the welding department at Haywood Community College, developed the plasma-cut imagery; Gifford and Glenda Farmer, with G&G Media Blasting, provided a metal finish; and Jason Swope and Jacob Deaver, with A to Z Signs & Engraving, inscribed text to complete the attractive marker, which commemorates a watering site that was used by people traversing the mountain in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Mountaineer, 6/1/2016
A campaign to fix up an iconic symbol of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park needs support from park lovers — in the form of daily online votes through Tuesday, July 5.
Clingmans Dome Tower, which straddles the North Carolina-Tennessee state line at 6,643 feet, is in the running for a $250,000 grant to correct up to 4 inches of foundation settlement and address deterioration along the stone masonry walls, concrete and flagstone terrace. The tower, completed in 1959, is still structurally sound but needs help now to avoid further settlement of the foundation and prevent the need for a more extensive structural repair in the future.
(Smoky Mountain News, 6/1/2016)
A family of investors bought more than 80 historic downtown rental homes recently for nearly $5 million.
Olson Portfolio 2 LLC, whose managing members Amariah and Larry Olson are from Wilmington but now live in Atlanta, bought 83 houses with a total of 93 units for about $4.9 million, according to an announcement from Cape Fear Commercial.
(Wilmington Business Journal, 6/1/2016)
ASHEVILLE – Not many cities in the South can boast gargoyles and griffins guarding their downtown.
“If you look at the tourists downtown and what they’re looking at, it’s not just the mountains, it’s the built environment,” said Jack W.L. Thomson, executive director of the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County. ”Outside of South Beach, Florida, Asheville has the richest array of Art Deco buildings.”
Banking on its architectural past when many cities were busy razing downtowns in the name of urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s, Asheville invested in its future as a visitor destination.
The Tide Water building on Chestnut Street that reopened earlier this year as a modern office complex stands today as a testament to the power of preservation.
It was a building once thought better off razed than rehabilitated, until a little attention from the Historic Wilmington Foundation (HWF) got the notice of New Hanover County government officials, who ultimately decided to give it new life as administrative space.
HWF will once again shine a spotlight on some struggling older properties across the tri-county region with the release of its annual Most Threatened Historic Places list on Tuesday.
Compiled each year with the help of residents’ feedback, the list is released in May as part of National Preservation Month.
While alone it’s not enough to save old homes, hidden cemeteries, local landmarks and little rural gems, HWF director George Edwards said in an earlier interview that “the beauty of the list” is that it often gets the ball rolling by putting a public focus on otherwise abandoned, forgotten or dilapidated sites.
(Port City Daily. 5/30/2016)
By J. Michael Welton
Here we have a quintet of little architectural gems designed during the birth of the cool – when Stan Getz, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker were reinventing music, when icy gin martinis ruled at the bar and when glass, aluminum and stainless steel were de rigueur materials for modern living.
These five midcentury moderns were created by gifted postwar architects intent on ushering in a new language for Raleigh’s built environment. Today, they stand as hip, modern symbols of the 1950s and ’60s, when this city boldly projected itself as a forward-looking hotbed of progressive ideas onto the international design stage.
All five were designed by architects from N.C. State’s School of Design, most recruited by Dean Henry Kamphoefner from around the globe. Four were envisioned as homes and offices for the architects themselves. Each is protected today from demolition and alteration, either by local landmark status or protective easements in perpetuity – or both.
Those designations differ in their effectiveness. “Landmarked is the Raleigh historic designation – that’s really good but not the ultimate thing to do,” says Catherine Bishir, curator in architectural special collections at N. C. State. “The ultimate is to put an easement on it. If it’s landmarked, it can be torn down after a year.”
Both protections seem absolute necessities now, in light of the recent destruction of Milton Small’s 1966 office building on Glenwood and James Fitzgibbon’s 1950 Paschal House. Most of these five are relatively small structures built on large lots assessed in value as much as four times the buildings themselves. The challenge for caring owners now is to assure that these and others like them won’t ever be sacrificed at the twin altars of demolition and development.
Raleigh’s honor roll of currently protected midcentury moderns includes:
The Kamphoefner House, 3060 Granville Drive: Designed in 1950 by Kamphoefner and George Matsumoto, this home earns distinction as a place where both Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe once slept. Influenced by Wright’s affordable Usonian homes designed for middle-class families, its original rear elevation overlooks Carolina Country Club’s golf course through a wall of windows. In 2002, architect Robert Burns, a Kamphoefner protégé who succeeded him as dean at the School of Design, added more square footage.
Out front, it offers a facade of brick, clapboard and glass, with Burns’ addition seemingly floating in midair. But its real significance lies elsewhere: “It’s a very concrete symbol of everything represented in Kamphoefner’s vision for that historical era,” says architect Michael Stevenson. It enjoys both local landmark status, recommended by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission and approved by Raleigh’s City Council, and a protective easement from Preservation North Carolina. It’s currently on the market at $729,000.
The Fadum House, 3056 Granville Drive: A compact little home designed by Fitzgibbon in 1949, it’s almost ship-like with its built-ins and its place for everything and everything in its place. “It’s one of those houses where every condition, everywhere you turn, has been so carefully thought about,” says architect Louis Cherry.
In 2007, Fitzgibbon’s colleague Brian Shawcroft renovated the house and added one of the most sensitive complementary structures this city will ever see. “He was able to take so many cues from that house – it was such a great generator of ideas and forms that he took into the addition,” Cherry says. “Of all of Brian’s work, that is the finest example. It’s very seamless to the original and a beautiful addition – it seems like an homage to Fitzgibbon.” It’s landmarked, with a protective easement.
The Matsumoto House, 821 Runnymede Road: Designed and built in 1954, this 1,752 square-foot home takes its cues from van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Ill. But where Farnsworth is a sparkling sonnet in glass and steel, Matsumoto’s house explores the opacity of wood, block and paneling.
“George showed how to use wood and plywood for the same modern experience – it was earthshaking that way,” says architect Frank Harmon. Featured on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens in 1956, the home repositioned Raleigh nationally as a cool and modern place to live. “There’s not an inch of space wasted –it feels like it’s twice as big as it is,” Harmon says. The home is landmarked, without an easement.
The Owen Smith House, 122 Perquimans Drive: In 1950, achitect Owen Smith built his own home with a full basement dedicated to his practice. Upstairs was to be a showcase for his work – and the materials of the day. “It has got some of the finest interior detailing of a midcentury modern house that I have seen,” says Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina. “Clearly, he was building a house to impress his customers and to walk them through different kinds of woods and tiles in a very elegant building.”
Smith graduated from N.C. State in 1938, 10 years before Kamphoefner arrived, and by the time he died in 2012, he was the longest-practicing architect in the state. His home is landmarked today, but unprotected by an easement.
The G. Milton Small & Associates Office Building, 105 Brooks Ave.: For the past 4 1/2 years, David Burney, founding partner at a branding company named New Kind, has been living a life that’s the envy of all midcentury modern aficionados. In a near-ritual every morning, he pulls into a ground floor parking lot below Milton Small’s best work – the architect’s own office – and embarks upon a carefully scripted entry sequence. He’ll walk past a water feature, ascend a flight of exterior stairs and drop to his knees at the front door. “We call it the temple – the lock is way down on the ground and you have to kneel before you can go in,” he says. “You have to do the same thing if you’re the last to leave.”
Inside, he and his team collaborate at treetop level in a glass-clad building that’s now celebrating its 50th anniversary. It’s landmarked but lacks a protective easement.
These five Raleigh midcentury moderns are a drop in the bucket of the Triangle’s inventory. George Smart, executive director of North Carolina Modernist Houses, estimates that more than 800 residences alone populate this area. But of the 152 buildings earning landmark status through the Raleigh Historic Development Commission, only 15 are midcentury moderns. And of more than 750 structures granted easements by Preservation North Carolina, only 10 date from the mid-20th century.
Too young to be considered antiques, those without easements exist at a vulnerable point in their lifespan.
“Fifty years from now, I hope they’ll move from being important to being sacred,” says Preservation North Carolina’s Howard. “People have a tendency not to like what they grew up with, but to like what their grandparents grew up with – so these will be older, rarer and more distinctive.”
Until then, their best hope for survival lies with a more enlightened approach from tax assessors.
According to the Wake County website, assessors value the Matsumoto house at $112,960, while the land it’s built on comes in at $418,500. “That shows something about the assessors; they’re viewing the building as a teardown,” Howard says.
For a three-dimensional, Mondrian-like, jewel-box work of art, designed and built during the birth of the cool, that could add up to a wasteful and very uncool ending.
J. Michael Welton writes about architecture, art and design for national and international publications, and edits a digital design magazine at www.architectsandartisans.com. He is the author of “Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand (Routledge: 2015). He can be reached at email@example.com.
(News & Observer, 5/27/2016)
May is National Historic Preservation Month, and the Historic Jamestown Society honors it by presenting awards to contributors to the preservation of Jamestown history.
This year, there was a bumper crop of excellent nominations, each and every one of award-winning stature. It was impossible to select just one, so two were honored and received their awards May 22.
First among honorees was Quentin “Wimpy” Hodgin, who has spent most of the last century in the Oakdale community of Jamestown, where he apparently knew or knew of every person or event that made up the history of that old place. This community of mine and mill workers created much of whatever wealth and fame came from our town’s past, and Wimpy knows all of it.
(News & Record, 5/27/2016)
SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) is hoping to restore a historic place in East Tennessee.
The park entered to win a $250,000 grant from Partners in Preservation (PIP) for the Clingmans Dome Tower. The park would like to preserve the tower which is located on the North Carolina-Tennessee line.
“Clingmans Dome is a special treasure for the people of North Carolina and Tennessee,” said Friends of the Smokies President Jim Hart. “Visitors from all over the world flock to this iconic tower and with everyone’s help, we can preserve this magnificent structure for generations to come.”
It is the highest point in the national park and in the state of Tennessee at 6,643 feet. The tower has been a destination for visitors since 1959. Visitors are able to see 100 miles of the park’s scenery. Over 600,000 people drive on Clingmans Dome Road between April and November, according to GSMNP.
For 282 years’ worth of Sundays, someone has sat, and stood, and sung, and knelt, and prayed here, in this space, inside these very walls. Someone in a waistcoat, in a hoop skirt, someone holding a homemade rag doll or an imported, porcelain-headed version, has stood at the first strains of the opening hymn. Someone wearing a bustle, or Confederate gray, or denim overalls, or deep black mourning, has unobtrusively bowed his or her head as a sign of humility as the processional cross was carried aloft and down this very aisle toward the altar. Someone in a middy blouse or boxy suit; in knickers or a knitted cloche; in a belted, darted, shirtwaist dress or Army fatigues, has opened the Book of Common Prayer and followed a liturgy dating from 1549. Like these colonists, these forebears, these faithful, this Sunday, in the oldest town in North Carolina, in the oldest standing, active church in North Carolina, in a short-sleeve dress and flats, I’m doing what they did, and what has been done every week for 282 years.
(Our State, 5/29/2016)
Longtime local history buffs might recall an inventory of Surry’s architectural treasures which was conducted by Laura A.W. Phillips in 1980.
Though done more than 35 years ago, the Surry County Architectural Inventory that included 638 properties has remained a valuable historical resource, with Phillips’ work often consulted by those wanting to learn about older local sites.
(Mount Airy News, 5/21/2016)
WILMINGTON — Historic preservation for homeowners and home buyers will be the topic of a workshop by the Historic Wilmington Foundation to be held at 8:30 a.m. June 4 in the Wilmington City Council chambers at 102 N. Third St.
The four-hour program will cover buying and renovating a historic property, using the newly enacted North Carolina tax credits and incentives.
Such topics as financing, insurance, energy efficiency, project planning and design and complying in historic districts will also be covered, according to foundation executive director George W. Edwards.
Continuing education credits (CEU) are available to architects who take the workshop.
(Star News Online, 5/20/2016)
Winston-Salem is a city that cares about its history, as Mayor Allen Joines noted during the May 14 unveiling of a historic marker to commemorate Five Row. He might have added that the city’s reverence for history sometimes amounts to memorializing what’s been lost rather than sustaining what has value.
The community was home to the African-American workers who helped build and maintain Reynolda, the early 20th Century country estate of the Reynolds tobacco family.
(Triad City Beat, 5/18/2016)
WHITE OAK — Though the crowd was small Saturday at harmony Hall Plantation Village, the grounds were abuzz with the annual homecoming activities under a sunny sky that brought only brief periods of puffy, white clouds passing by the historic Revolutionary War-era homeplace of Col. James Richardson.
It’s been a little thin today, but we’ve had a lot of fun here,” said Sunday Allen, a members of the Harmony Hall Plantation Village Committee charged with organizing the event.
For those who chose to wander the iconic 1760 plantation residence and surrounding property, those in attendance included more than just those modern-day folks who came to tour the buildings, watch as period-style dolls were being made on the home’s porch, eat some chicken bog cooked over an open fire, watch a musket get fired and see the period costumes being worn.
(Bladen Journal, 5/14/2016)
On a hill in Nebo, a new bed and breakfast seeks to provide a quiet and comforting place where families of special needs children and adults can relax and renew their bonds with each other.
On Wednesday, May 4, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Jason’s Getaway at Holly Hill. Located on 5 acres, the non-profit bed and breakfast is for families with special needs children or people who live in group homes. It is intended for children and adults who are developmentally disabled or autistic and those who care for them.
The house has two adult bedrooms, two children’s bedrooms and two staff bedrooms. Six meals will be provided with a two-night stay. The meals will be served family-style and will be tailored to the guests’ tastes. Jason’s Getaway at Holly Hill has a game/sensory room and playroom, a large wraparound porch, outdoor games, a spacious front yard and a back yard complete with a fire pit.
(McDowell News, 5/12/2016)
Celebrating a 100-year anniversary is an accomplishment for any entity, even more so for a country club described as “nestled in a picturesque valley away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.”
Such a place sounds like it is out of a travel magazine in some faraway destination.
In fact, that place is the Tryon Country Club located right in our backyard in Polk County, and it celebrated its 100-year anniversary earlier this month.
In 2010, club members Jane Templeton and Clay Griffith prepared an application to the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office to get the Tryon Country Club’s golf course and clubhouse placed on the list of the National Register of Historic Places. Their application was subsequently approved in 2013, joining just a handful of other historic golf courses across the state.
Adding to the uniqueness of the club is the fact that secondary sources attribute the course design to preeminent golf course, architect Donald Ross.
(Blue Ridge Now, 5/15/2016)
Efforts to help repair and save the Salvo Day Use Cemetery – also known as the Midgett Cemetery – are heating up as community members recognize the current dire state of the site, as well as the devastating effects the next major hurricane or storm could inflict on the already troubled area.
The cemetery, which is located on National Park Service land within the popular Salvo Day Use Area just south of the tri-villages, has been battered by storms and erosion, particularly for the past five to 10 years, and has rapidly deteriorated to the dismay of the descendants of the islanders who are buried there.
Headstones have broken, washed away, or have been removed by concerned family members who worry they could disappear altogether, and tombs are becoming exposed as the soundfront area steadily recedes from a regular battering of high water and waves.
Tri-village community members have been fighting for a long time to address the issue, but it’s quickly becoming a race against time to raise the roughly $120,000 required to protect and save the site.
(Island Free Press, 5/5/2016)
GREENSBORO — Here’s your chance to turn a Greensboro landmark into one of North Carolina’s “Great Places” and earn bragging rights over a few other cities.
A year after developers reopened the Southeastern Building at 100 N. Elm St., the American Planning Association has chosen the building as a finalist for a “Great Places in North Carolina” award for historic preservation.
Developers Barry Siegal and Willard Tucker spent two years and $15 million restoring the 100,000-square-foot building for high-end apartments, offices and retail. They paid special attention to returning the building’s exterior to the classical stone facade it had when it opened in 1920.
(News & Record, 5/9/2016)
RALEIGH – Workers are putting the finishing touches on a new entrance and reception area at Edenton Street United Methodist Church downtown, part of a $4 million capital campaign to improve the church’s outreach efforts.
Two blocks away, St. Paul A.M.E. Church is in the midst of a more modest capital project, that includes repairing and refurbishing some of the church’s stained-glass windows. After more than 100 years of winter cold and summer heat, the leading that holds the thousands of pieces of colored glass together has begun to deteriorate, causing many of the windows to bow out or sag.
A proposal that would turn Waynesville’s historic hospital, the first public hospital in North Carolina, into affordable housing units, is inching its way forward through a complicated process.
Landmark Developers, a Winston-Salem company that specialized in restoring historic buildings through the use of tax credits, has assumed the $8,000 cost of putting the county building most recently used for the department of social services, on the National Register of Historic Places. That application should be submitted this month, said David Francis, who handles special projects for the county.
In the first round of competition for the tax credit dollars, the Haywood project received a perfect score. It will be August before county leaders learn whether the structure will be among those awarded funding that will turn the former hospital rooms/offices into 54 one- and two-bedroom apartments earmarked for veterans, elderly and low-to-moderate income individuals.
(The Mountaineer, 5/6/2016)
May is National Preservation Month-and this year is a particularly special May for the Historic Wilmington Foundation (HWF). This year is HWF’s 50th Anniversary, so the organization has been celebrating all year. This month, the celebrations are in high gear.
Pat Marriott spoke with George Edwards, the Executive Director of HWF; listen to the interview above.
There are at least 10,000 barns in Madison County, according to a conservative estimate by the Appalachian Barn Alliance — that’s roughly one barn for every two people in the area. It’s already a shocking figure, but the organization’s lead researcher, architect Taylor Barnhill, says a more realistic estimate would near 20,000 or 30,000 barns. Many people quote a lower barn-count estimate, “because they really can’t believe how many barns there are here,” Barnhill says. His countywide study averages about five barns per mile of county road. At 3,800 miles of county roads, that’s 19,000 barns at least, and, “That doesn’t count all the barns up all these hollers and private roads that you can’t see from a county road,” he says.
To celebrate that particular crop, the Appalachian Barn Alliance hosts Barn Month 2016, a series of events surrounding the third annual Barn Day on Saturday, May 21. The festivities kick off Friday, May 6, with the opening reception of The Barns of Madison County exhibit at The Madison County Arts Center.
(Mountain Xpress, 5/2/2016)
GARYSBURG – As a boy in the Depression, Q.J. Stephenson wandered into the woods out of need, trapping muskrat, mink and raccoons for their meat and their pelts, which Sears & Roebuck bought for $1.60 apiece.
But as he got older, he rambled through the wilderness of Northampton County out of pure wonder, plucking fossils and arrowheads out of prehistoric dirt, pulling petrified wood from deep holes in the mud, gathering bullets fired in the Civil War. One time, after years of scouring swamps, he found a meteorite.
Then over 50 years, Stephenson slowly built a museum out of his collection, shaping it into a house in his front yard, its walls made from soapstone, mussel shells and beaver teeth. He carved dinosaurs out of cedar, using deer hoofs for the tail spikes. He built totem poles out of cypress knees, poison ivy vines and feathers.
As part of what they called a “surprise attack” on utility companies Tuesday, pipeline opposition groups and leaders of the Nelson County community held a press conference at the Natural History Center in Nellysford to voice disapproval of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Representatives for the pipeline project were not notified of the event and were not present, making it a surprise, according to organizers.
(Nelson County Times, 5/3/2016)
On a previous visit to Mount Airy, Susan Kluttz drummed up support for reinstating historic tax credits that had aided restoration projects statewide – now she’s returning to thank local leaders for helping to achieve that.
Kluttz, who is the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources secretary, is scheduled to speak at Mount Museum of Regional History Monday at 11:30 a.m.
The state Cabinet official’s primary purpose will involve thanking Mount Airy for its efforts in leading to the historic preservation tax credit program being brought back from the dead. It has benefited a number of local projects.
Those credits had expired on Dec. 31, 2014, as part of budget-reform efforts by the N.C. General Assembly. That led Gov. Pat McCrory, a supporter of the program, to join with Secretary Kluttz on a statewide tour aimed at reinstating the credits, which are a major funding source for revitalization efforts.
(Mt. Airy News, 5/4/2016)
As part of a week long (May 9-15) event christened “Celebrate The Old North State!”, the Bienenstock Furniture Library is hosting two extraordinary events.
On Wednesday May 11 at 2PM, The Furniture Library will host Johanna Metzgar Brown, Director of Collections and Curator of Moravian Decorative Arts at Old Salem Museum and Gardens for a presentation on the history of Moravian decorative arts in North Carolina between 1753 and 1850.
(Furniture World Magazine, 5/1/2016)
The kickoff event for Historic Preservation Month in Winston-Salem features a rare chance to look inside two historic houses on Cherry Street that will be open for public viewing from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
One house is the Col. William Allen Blair House, at 210 S. Cherry St., and the other is Hylehurst, at 224 S. Cherry St.
“It is exciting to have both of these houses open,” said Michelle McCullough with City-County Planning Department. “Cherry Street used to be residential, and both of these houses are fabulous inside and outside.”
(Winston-Salem Journal, 4/29/2016)
Nearly 100 years ago, residents of Currituck County rallied to build a school for the underserved African-American population. Recently, residents of the same community chose to save the dilapidated structure from destruction. Chris Thomas reports.
How do you make the best out of a bad situation?
In the old Coinjock Colored School’s case, the answer seems to be “move it about a mile down the road.”
(Public Radio East, 4/29/2016)
May serves as National Historic Preservation Month, a month dedicated to events promoting historic places, heritage tourism, and instilling a sense of national and community pride.
On May 1 from 4–6 p.m., the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission kicks off a month of local events by inviting the public to an open house of two historic landmarks: John W. Fries’ 1884 Hylehurst and the 1901 Col. William Allen Blair House. Stationed side-by-side on S. Cherry Street, the properties are both listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places—the official list of America’s historic places worthy of preservation. Both homes have been converted into office space in recent decades, and both are currently on the market.
(Winston-Salem Monthly, 4/29/2016)
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)
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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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)
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.
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)
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.”
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)
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)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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)
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)