Preservation NC tour highlights historic Farmville


FARMVILLE — More than 200 people took to Main Street and historic downtown Farmville last week to join Preservation North Carolina to celebrate preservation efforts including the renovation of Turnage Department Store.

The nonprofit that supports safeguarding historic structures across the state hosted its Farmville Preservation Celebration on May 4 with a tour that began at the building that now houses the East Energy Renewables office and the Lady Turnage Lofts.

Built in 1900 by T.L. Turnage, who operated the store with his nephew W.J. and sons Carl and Otto, the store for more than a century was an engine that brought together the economy of farmers and commerce. The property was restored in 2019 by Uptown Properties.

Following a reception, participants made their way upstairs to the Lady Turnage Lofts. Residents of the lofts opened their homes so participants could view the architecture and layout along with the original elevator lift.

Loft owners Matt Daniel, Cate Farrell and Nate Nunamaker said the history of the building was an attraction for them.

“It’s got a lot of character to it and that’s one of the reasons I moved here,” said Daniel, a teacher at H.B. Sugg and Sam D. Bundy school, adding its location downtown and walking distance to restaurants and the grocery store also were a plus.

Paleteria Deya and An Autastic Dream, housed in the former Lady Turnage Opera House beside the department store building, also were open for the tour. The opera house was built by T.Y. Turnage in 1902.

It consists of two duplicate masonry facades, one unaltered and one significantly altered in 1968. Both originally had a corbelled brick cornice with corbelled stops and a trio of segmental jack-arched windows in arcaded bays. During renovations, Uptown Properties was able to repair the damaged facade and restore everything but the corbelled cornice.

Four homes that have stood the test of time also were open for touring.

The Parker-Harris House, built in 1915 and known by many as one of the “Twin Homes,” it is now owned by Gloria and Rakiem Walker. It was built by Joseph Warren Parker. The neoclassical revival residence features a Tuscan portico, gabled dormer with Palladian-influenced windows and porte-cochere on the east elevation.

Su Hodges of Farmville once lived in the Parker-Harris house. The tour gave her the chance to revisit her former home.

“It was wonderful. It was built for my great-grandmother by my grandfather. It feels wonderful. It’s had several changes of ownership and it’s great to see someone is living there and taking care of it.”

Hodges’ childhood friend Mary Allen Steinbauer of Farmville also was delighted to see the home after many years.

The A.C. Monk Jr. House was next on the list. Owned by Adele Goodine and Mark Richardson, the home is a Colonial Revival painted brick residence. It features a segmented pediment, quoins along the facade edges and pilasters flanking the entrance. The interior features crafted molding and woodwork.

It was built for Albert Coy Monk Jr. in 1939. Monk was a pillar in Farmville’s tobacco industry. The home is located in what is known as “The Monk’s Corner,” which consists of three homes.

The William Leslie Smith House is a local example of Spanish Mission-style architecture. Built in 1923, the home features a tile-hipped roof, a three-bay facade dominated by a three-stage corner tower, and an arcaded porch on the first story with a porte-cochere. The iron railing on the porch roof was utilized for lavish parties hosted by Smith, a prosperous farmer. His wife kept her ball gowns for these parties in the corner tower on the third floor.

The home is currently owned by Jason Harrell and Ryan Barlowe.

The tour concluded at the J.I. Morgan House, constructed for the founder of Farmville Oil and Fertilizer Company. It boasts Colonial Revival architecture with Dutch Colonial motifs and features a slate gambrel roof, a central pedimented portico and a porte-cochere on the west elevation. It features four fireplaces with carved mantels, original oak flooring and a servant staircase.

Chris and Linda Carol Burti purchased the home in 1980, becoming its second owners. They take great pride in the home’s unaltered and authentic elements as well as ownership of the architect’s original blueprints.

The Burti’s daughter Erika Burti Rust shared fond memories of growing up in the home, including mischievous use of the servant’s bell in the living.

“My parents have done really well in keeping it as original as possible,” Rust said. “It made it feel like we were in a modern home, but set back in history.”

Celebrating Farmville’s architectural and cultural significance was welcomed by many including, Barbara Sauls of Farmville. Sauls hosted the tour at the William Leslie Smith House.

For many Preservation North Carolina members, it was their first time visiting Farmville.

“I was surprised when we found out how close it is to Greenville. Farmville is beautiful. It’s rural but at the same time it’s an eclectic town,” said Jim Andrus of Wilmington.

Nicole Goolsby of Raleigh returned to Farmville after many years. She was impressed by its growth.

“Things have changed very quickly. I was impressed. Small towns are the salvation of the U.S. I really feel like small towns are going to keep us together,” Goolsby said.

Mary Rollins and son Chris Vinson of Raleigh returned to Farmville, and before the tour visited the gravesite of family members including Robert Rollins.

“It’s wonderful to see Farmville. It’s good to see it thriving and to see people want to preserve it and keep it alive is wonderful,” Rollins said.

by: Bob Buckley, Fox 8

(WGHP) — Just because something is gone doesn’t mean it should be forgotten.

“We won’t ever see this type of architecture again … especially with the mills themselves,” Historic Properties Superintendent with Alamance Parks and The Textile Heritage Museum John Guss said.

The museum is celebrating 20 years of keeping the story of textile mills alive.

“The importance of the mills to the South is impossible to overstate,” said Lynn Cowen, who worked for Preservation North Carolina and now lives in a restored home in the Glencoe Mill Village just north of Burlington on the Haw River.

The home Cowen and her husband restored hardly looked worth saving when they got it.

“But once you get the work done … you have a sense of history,” Cowen said. “In preservation, we often paraphrase John Ruskin, which is to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been.”

And where the South was after the Civil War was in utter devastation.

“It’s hard for us to understand the post-Civil War era because of the devastation that was created in the South, and this was like a Godsend for the people of the South. After the war was over with, they had been devastated,” Guss said. “Lots of families broken up with loss, and they didn’t have … any means of trying to figure out how to get out of the economic depression they were in. And so when these mills came into the area, it was a fantastic opportunity.”

“The mills offered an opportunity that had never been. So when you work on the farm … income is not dependable. You could have a year where the crop gets ruined for whatever reason, and then you don’t get the income, so working in the mill was a steady, dependable income source, so it’s a different lifestyle,” said Sam Powell, who grew up near the village.

One blessing for Glencoe is how the families that owned it didn’t want to see it torn down or replaced after it was no longer viable as a textile mill.  So the village sat empty for 40 years. Over the last 30, it has been brought back to life. The mill itself is still a work in progress, but the homes have been refurbished.

“These houses effectively are new as of 20 years ago,” Cowen said. “They had footings, foundations. They had all-new mechanical systems. Most of them had never had plumbing. They had electric on (what was) Front Street but not on Back Street, and the company turned it on at 6 a.m. and off again at 9 p.m.”

Glencoe is a classic example of the mills of which there were too many to count. A century ago, they defined society in the South.

“The village and where you lived in the village reflected the hierarchy in the mill,” Cowen said. “Front Street was higher up than Back Street. Closer to the mill was better than up the hill.”

The mill closed in 1954, but that wasn’t the end of the area as it was in so many of the smaller towns.

“In some communities when industry would move out, it would become a ghost town. But here in this area in Alamance County, the industry left, but it transitioned into other opportunities,” Powell said.

See more on the Glencoe Mill Village in this edition of The Buckley Report.

By Kayli Thompson – Staff Writer, Triangle Business Journal
Apr 18, 2024

Plans for a 20-story tower in a growing corridor of Downtown Raleigh have hit a wall.

Developer Wilson | Blount last year received rezoning approval for seven parcels along Hillsborough Street in Glenwood South, including the original Char-Grill location and the historic Elmwood house. But the company now confirms its plans for a new building are on hold.

The Raleigh firm was under contract to buy the land in 2022 but has since withdrawn from the agreement. And no site plans for the development have been submitted to the City of Raleigh.

Sources close to Char-Grill said that as far as they knew, the development was “dead in the water and isn’t happening.”

A condition of the rezoning was that Wilson | Blount must file a certificate of appropriateness application with the Raleigh Historic Development Commission for the relocation of the Elmwood house, which sits at the corner of North Boylan Avenue and Willard Place. Site plans won’t be approved by the city until that is complete.

A sign has been posted outside the Elmwood house advertising office space available for lease. William Little, who owns the house, declined to speak on any future project that might involve Elmwood and the Char-Grill locations, but confirmed he is looking to lease space in the house.

“We have professional space,” he said.

Little would not say how long a lease he was seeking for the space. However, a Craigslist ad posted on April 15 listed the available space showing that the rental period was monthly. The ad lists 1,525 square feet of office suites available starting at $950 a month.

Elmwood is one of the few homes remaining in Raleigh that was standing before the Civil War and dates to around 1813. In the 1870s it was owned by Samuel Ashe, a former Confederate officer and a relative of Little.

William said his priority is to preserve Elmwood.

“Whether it stays where it is or is moved in the future, it’s my goal for it to always be there,” he said.

Relocating the home could have been the barrier to Wilson | Blount moving forward with the development. According to, moving a house costs around $14 a square foot, making the Elmwood house move cost about $65,000. But that doesn’t include permitting, moving any utilities or other infrastructure and building a new foundation.

When asked if the cost and work associated with the relocation of the home was a factor in delaying the development, Wilson | Blount did not respond.

The tower project would’ve incorporated the Char-Grill location. The new zoning, approved by City Council in March 2023, is downtown mixed-use up to 20 stories. It allows up to 507 residential units, 65,734 square feet of retail space and 356,356 square feet of office space.

The zoning has several conditions to ensure preservation of the Elmwood house and keep the Char-Grill location open in some form.

The project first came to light in 2022, and caused a bit of an uproar over the future of the Char-Grill location, which opened in 1959.

The site is across from the Bloc83 development, which includes One Glenwood and Tower II. Those properties were sold in 2021 for more than $300 million.

By Laura Brummett – Staff Writer, Triangle Business Journal
Jun 29, 2022

A development hotspot in downtown Raleigh could see a new tower rise on the site of an iconic Raleigh eatery.

Developer Wilson | Blount is planning a new mixed-use development across seven parcels in the Glenwood South area. The site is located directly across from the Bloc83 development and includes the original Char-Grill location along Hillsborough Street and the historic Elmwood home off North Boylan Avenue.

The parcels are currently owned by separate parties, according to Wake County Property Records. Wilson | Blount is in the due diligence process of purchasing all the lots, a company spokesperson said. TradeMark Properties is representing the sellers in the transaction and NAI Tri Properties is representing Wilson | Blount.

The assemblage totals two acres and includes 618 and 630 Hillsborough St.; 10, 14 and 16 N. Boylan Ave.; and 607 and 615 Willard Place. That includes the Char-Grill location, four historic homes and the site of the former Taylor’s Capital Service Station. The developer plans to submit a rezoning application to bring the lots to a downtown mixed-use zoning for up to 20 stories.

Combined, the properties have an assessed value of around $10 million.

A neighborhood meeting will be held on July 12 to discuss the rezoning. The meeting will be held by Jamie Schwedler of Parker Poe. Schwedler did not respond to Triangle Business Journal requests for comment. Current zoning for the lots varies, ranging from neighborhood mixed-use up to seven stories to office mixed-use up to three stories. Parts of the assemblage are in the North Boylan Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District.

“We have deep roots and respect for our community,” said Michael Blount, managing principal at Wilson | Blount. “This site is home to structures that are part of Raleigh’s unique history. We’re taking great care in our approach to responsibly honor this history as we plan for a new, first-in-class development that will make a positive impact in our community.”

Char-Grill opened its first location at 618 Hillsborough St. In 1959. Known for its charbroiled burgers, the chain has since grown to nine locations. Wake County records show Char-Grill owners Ryon Wilder and Mahlon Aycock own the property.

Wilson | Blount is planning to “incorporate” Char-Grill in the new development, according to a press release.

“This project gives us the opportunity to upgrade our facility to better serve our customers in the future. We are excited to partner with Wilson | Blount on the next generation of Char-Grill,” Wilder and Aycock said in the release. “This isn’t ‘goodbye’ at all. It’s ‘see-you-soon.'”

Next door, the 630 Hillsborough St. space is the former home of Taylor’s Capital Service Station auto shop. Owner Timothy S. Wood had plans approved by the city to build a locally-owned restaurant concept at the site, but plans fell through and Wood put the lot on the market earlier this year.

Three of the parcels are owned by T.R. Ashe Development LLC, an entity established to act as owner or renter of office space for civil engineering firm Smith Gardner Inc. All three lots hold houses built in 1910. The firm’s website lists two of the homes as office locations for the company.

The historic Elmwood property, located at 16 N. Boylan Ave., dates back even further to 1812. It was home to the first Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, John Louis Taylor. The home spans 4,600 square feet according to property records and is owned by William B. Little and Cathryn M. Little.

The nearby mixed-use development Bloc83 made history late last year as the largest single real estate transaction in downtown Raleigh’s history when it changed hands for $330 million. A third tower is now in the works for Bloc83, this time reaching 18 stories at 615 W. Morgan St. and 117 S. Boylan Ave. Next door, Neari Coleman Associates and Tennessee has plans for up to 20 stories of development.


By Tammy Grubb, The News & Observer

If you want to preserve history, be willing to listen and be curious about what you learn and what it all means, state historians say.

“If you know the value of something, you and others will be much more motivated to try and preserve it and to amplify the story and continue the knowledge of that place, that person, that event,” said Ramona Bartos, deputy state historic preservation officer and director of the state Division of Historical Resources.

It can be as simple as documenting your family tree, experts said, or exploring the history of a community, event or building.

African-American history is particularly challenging due to the legacy of slavery and racial oppression, which tore apart families and made people wary of speaking out. In many cases, there was no medium through which people could tell those stories.

The Historical Resources department is talking about recruiting oral historians to record those stories, because it’s important to let the “witnesses speak for themselves about what was going on,” Bartos said.

The idea of letting people speak their own truth has fueled a renaissance in grassroots preservation work for a few years, said Adrienne Nirdé, director of the N.C. African American Heritage Commission. Others are motivated by inspiring the next generation.

“I think that that’s part of what spurs community members to move forward,” she said, “as they want the next generation to know their history, and to be able to learn from it and know that they are capable of great things.”

How do I get started preserving the past?

▪ Identify topics, priorities and interests to narrow your focus.

▪ Talk to family or community elders — more than once — and write down or record their stories. Start with simple questions: What do they remember? What did they do for fun, and what did people eat? Ask about smells, sights, sounds, and how it made them feel.

▪ Explore physical sources, including genealogies, journals, cemeteries, newspapers, church records, letters, old books and memorabilia.

▪ Visit the local Register of Deeds, the N.C. State Archives, or local, regional and university libraries.

How do I recognize what’s worth preserving?

▪ Learn more about what’s interesting to you or gather a group of people who can identify shared interests, potential stakeholders, and short- and long-term preservation goals for larger projects.

▪ A building that’s at least 50 years old may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. If not, a building that’s interesting or has “aesthetic appeal” can be maintained until it qualifies.

▪ Read “Buying Time for Heritage: How to Save an Endangered Historic Property,” by J. Myrick Howard, president emeritus of Preservation North Carolina, said Valerie Johnson, Shaw University sociology professor and dean of Arts, Sciences and Humanities.

Where can I get help for preserving history?

▪ Seek help from state agencies and organizations, including the N.C. State Archive, State Historic Preservation Office, Office of State Archaeology, Preservation NC, and the N.C. African American and N.C. American Indian heritage commissions.

▪ Reach out to museums, historical associations, and universities and colleges with experts working on similar topics.

▪ Search online. A good state resource is the N.C. Digital Heritage Center in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Wilson Special Collections Library.

▪ Explore history and genealogy books at a local or regional library.

Do I need a lot of money or outside funding?

Not necessarily. Historic preservation can be done for the price of a few supplies, such as pens, boxes and photographic sleeves, or up to millions of dollars, Johnson said, but it’s free to collect stories from people and work with existing groups and organizations.

▪ Private grants are available from groups such as the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation in Greensboro, but grassroots efforts often rely on fundraisers, because they don’t qualify for public grants or have the staff to meet requirements.

▪ The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program provides a 20% federal income tax credit to rehabilitate historic buildings that will produce income, such as a commercial or business use, and are designated “certified historic structures.” North Carolina offers an additional 15% to 25% state income tax credit for those structures.

▪ Homeowner tax credit: North Carolina also offers a 15% state tax credit for homeowners who rehabilitate residential properties in designated historic districts or that are listed as historic structures.

▪ Voluntary easements: Property owners who work with a preservation or conservation organization to limit development of historic properties with a preservation easement also may be eligible for federal tax credits.

▪ Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies: Over 100 members statewide, including volunteers, libraries and history groups. Offers mini-grants, loans, workshops and other resources.

How to get people to learn more or visit what’s preserved?

▪ StorytellingStoryMaps is a free online resource that uses web-based mapping software to create interactive experiences.

▪ Start a website or blog: There are free and easy ways to share history with the public through a website, blog or on social media. YouTube is another great resource for recording programs and sharing them with a wider audience, experts say.

▪ Start a museum: This may be challenging for small groups that lack money and staffing, but experts suggest working with local museums or towns to create a local history exhibit and build the collection and public interest over time.

▪ History Harvests: Look for local events where preservation groups and libraries scan and preserve family photos and artifacts.

▪ Host a program: Free and low-cost space is available at schools, churches and libraries, or host a virtual program online.

▪ Active experiences: Organize a group cycling or kayak history tour, or a trip to a historic site or a festival to get people interested in history. Host a history date night at a local brewery.

▪ Roadside markers: Contact the N.C. Highway Historical Marker Program.

By Anna Johnson, The News & Observer

When out-of-state developers bought a sliver of land that housed the historic Seaboard Train Station, neighbors and history buffs got nervous.

The 80-year-old train station didn’t have local or national historic designations, meaning it could be demolished at any time.

The developers’ original plan called for razing the station and building a 12-story garage. The station became a rallying cry for preservationists and the latest example of a local landmark threatened by development pressure.

A new group, Preservation Raleigh, has launched in Raleigh to try to help save the city’s historic structures.

“I think we’re all seasoned preservationists,” said Esther Hall, the new group’s president. “And so we know that chaining ourselves to bulldozers may not be the way to save properties. But identifying places in peril or (knowing if) there is a tweak here or there with a code or ordinance that would make a property more viable, no one is currently doing that. No one is filling that void.”


Raleigh is one of the few state capitals that lacked a historic-preservation nonprofit, owing partly to the success of the statewide Preservation North Carolina and Raleigh Historic Development Commission, a city-appointed board.

The efforts to save the Seaboard Train Station galvanized the preservation community to form Preservation Raleigh. It includes several former Raleigh Historic Development Commission members. Hall served as a consultant for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is a past president of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions.

Raleigh is “a little behind the eight ball” compared to cities with strong preservation groups, said Myrick Howard, the former long-time president of Preservation North Carolina.

“As fast as Raleigh is growing and as many issues as we have got going on, it makes sense to have a dedicated group doing this,” he said.

“It is absolutely needed,” he said.


Historical properties help communities understand their past and provide context.

Take Seaboard Train Station.

“It’s an opportunity to see segregated bathrooms; the signs exist,” Hall said. “And so for people who aren’t aware of a painful chapter of our history, this shows you that it’s not folklore. It’s just the way it was.

“And I think there’s value in understanding the history, not to be trite, but perhaps so that it can’t be repeated,” she said.

There has to be “peaceful coexistence” between what exists and what the future might bring, instead of outright erasure, Hall said.


A lot, it hopes.

It wants to advocate for preserving historical structures, especially those at risk of demolition and when city leaders are being asked for a rezoning.

“You often find upset community members up against very-well-spoken developers represented by good lawyers. And it appears that there’s no compromise,” Hall said. “I think a group like ours will have the opportunity to be consulted to say ‘Are there any other ways to make this work.’ That’s the benefit of our expertise and national perspective.”

They also want to suggest policy changes that might make it easier to save historical buildings or for someone to reuse older homes.

“There’s an exciting and valuable movement in the preservation world that looks at well-built — because the materials were excellent, and the craftsmanship was excellent — stock of houses that with a little love, attention and money could be modernized and available at reasonable rates.”

The group also wants to educate new residents who are moving to Raleigh in droves. People can’t protect what they don’t know about, she said.

One of those efforts is through a program called Places in Peril.


The nonprofit wants people to submit historic locations in the city they think are are most endangered. St. Agnes Hospital at the St. Augustine University’s campus is one example of a property that historians fear is at risk, she said.

“We believe that preserving these historic places strengthens our community, fosters a sense of place and connects us to the stories of the people who came before us,” according to the nonprofit’s callout for homes or commercial properties.

There are numerous properties in danger, Howard said, and this group has a chance to make a significant impact in protecting some of the city’s historic homes and neighborhoods.


Submit a place in peril at There is a blog post with an online form you can fill out at

Nominations are due April 30, so a list of nine endangered properties is ready for Preservation Month in May.


Greenville’s Historic Preservation Commission approved a 365-day delay in the demolition of a local landmark to give its owners time to find a buyer who will restore the house to its turn-of-the-century glory.

The delay was part of a unanimous vote granting the City of Greenville a certificate of appropriateness to demolish the Jacob W. Higgs House, 1112 Dickinson Ave. Assistant City Attorney Scott Dixon said placing a delay on the demolition is the only authority the commission has over the project.

The Greenville City Council in January voted to authorize the demolition and removal of the structure after staff reported it was dilapidated, meaning the cost of repairing the home was 50 percent greater than the value of the property. Staff placed the building’s value at $54,022 and the total property value at $126,284. Staff estimated the repair costs would be $307,671.

Maggie Gregg, regional director of Preservation North Carolina, an organization that works to preserve and repair historic properties, said despite the house’s current condition, there are people interested in restoring the home.

“I’ve been able to evaluate the property from a preservation perspective,” Gregg said. “And while there are active leaks and deterioration, overall this structure is incredibly, structurally sound for a preservation purpose. It will require rehabilitation, but it is not nearly as bad as some of the projects I’ve seen.”

City staff previously reported the flooring in a back room is gone, leaving the basement exposed. The flooring in the kitchen also is compromised and will likely cave in. People have sought shelter in the house and started fires in containers.

In her evaluation, Gregg said she found pressed tin ceilings from Rocky Mount on both the second and first floors. The central hall woodwork was shipped from Baltimore and all mantels made in Greensboro. The builder also planned for electricity and bathrooms, Gregg said.

City documents described the house, built for businessman Jacob W. Higgs between 1903-05, as “one of the most intact examples of the substantial turn-of-the-century Queen Anne/Colonial Revival House surviving in Greenville.”

Two families, the Browns and Hartfields, purchased the house, which was used as a shelter for many years.

Gregg said she talked to the owners and an option agreement has been drafted that will allow Preservation North Carolina to search for a buyer who will rehabilitate the home under the organization’s requirements.

The option must be signed and notary and all heirs and their spouses must sign the options.

Gregg said she already has some of the heirs’ signatures and the final signatures will be in place by week’s end. James Brown Jr., one of the heirs, confirmed her statement.

“The property is fixable,” Brown said. “We are willing to do whatever … all they need is that 365 days.

“We don’t want to tear down our history. No one knows where they come from if it’s not there to get them to remember the old days,” Brown said. “I grew up in Greenville and have seen many things torn down and we need to keep some things around to remember what Greenville was.”

Commission member Larry Hall was concerned that potential buyers couldn’t complete the restoration before the 365-day deadline. He asked what guarantees a buyer would have.

Chief Planner Chantae Gooby said the city will want to measure the progress. If enough work is done, the dilapidated status could be revoked, she said. It’s ultimately up to the City Council to determine if the demolition order is revoked.

Hall said it’s important to know that a potential buyer’s investment is protected.

Dixon said he believes if there is clear progress in the restoration the council would be willing to work with the new property owners.

Click here to view the article online

The new property owners plan vintage retail, Airbnb for circa 1870s building which has been vacant for decades

SUMMERFIELD – The new owners of the historic Gordon Hardware building envision selling vintage items downstairs and operating an Airbnb rental upstairs.

That’s the plan of Johanna and Thomas Elsner, a Winston-Salem couple who restores historic homes, builds tiny houses and operates four Airbnb properties. Their tiny house-building company, Perch and Nest, operates on a former dairy farm near downtown Winston-Salem.

“We worked in older home restoration for ourselves and others for many years before getting into the tiny house business,” Johanna wrote in a recent email. She explained the couple began building tiny houses on their property after they started their family and her husband, a carpenter, needed to work from home to be with their kids.

The Elsners purchased the circa 1870s Gordon Hardware building at 7722 Summerfield Road in January. Preservation North Carolina (PNC), a nonprofit organization based in Raleigh, facilitated the sale for the Town of Summerfield.

The Elsners anticipate starting restoration work on the Gordon building by this summer.

“We are waiting for septic/well permit approval and our historic tax credit application to be approved prior to any major renovations,” Johanna said.

The Gordon building sits on less than half an acre at the corner of Summerfield Road and N.C. 150. Due to the small size of the lot, the Elsners plan to seek Guilford County’s permission to install a smaller septic system that since the start of the year is now allowed within county regulations, she said. They also plan to drill a new well for water.

The couple’s crew is rehabbing other properties. They are restoring the historic Hooper house in Reidsville, after finishing the redo of a circa 1940s farmhouse in Danbury, in Stokes County, according to Johanna. They plan to wrap up the restoration of two circa 1904 vacation cabins in the North Carolina mountains before turning their focus to the Gordon building.

Johanna said the Summerfield restoration will marry her husband’s carpentry skills and her “love of all things old.”

“I have always been a collector of vintage finds (and) a thrift shopper,” she said. “So this project is really going to bring everything we both love together.”

Click here to view the article online

The Stanly News & Press

The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources has announced that 10 individual properties across the state have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The following properties were reviewed by the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee and subsequently nominated by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Officer. They were submitted to the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, an official with the National Park Service, for consideration and ultimately approved for listing in the National Register.

“Preserving our past is essential to understanding our present and shaping our future,” said Reid Wilson, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “The latest North Carolina additions to the National Register of Historic Places reflect our unwavering commitment to honoring our heritage. Each commemorated location enriches our collective narrative, bolsters local economies, and celebrates the diverse tapestry of our state’s history and culture.”

The listing of a property in the National Register places no obligation or restriction on a private owner using private resources to maintain or alter the property. Over the years, various federal and state incentives have been introduced to assist private preservation initiatives, including tax credits for the rehabilitation of National Register properties. As of Jan. 1, there have been 4,308 historic rehabilitation projects with private investments of almost $3.6 billion completed.

In Central North Carolina:

  • Ervin Building, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, listed 12/15/2023
  • Minneola Manufacturing Company Mill, Gibsonville, Guilford County, listed 12/21/2023
  • Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Naval Armory at UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, Orange County, listed 2/7/2024
  • Ridge Road School, Hillsborough vicinity, Orange County, listed 12/12/2023
  • Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, Oxford, Granville County, listed 12/18/2023
  • West Southern Pines School, Southern Pines, Moore County, listed 12/21/2023
  • Winston Lake Golf Course, Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, listed 12/12/2023
  • Wood-Rains Cotton Gin, Princeton, Johnston County, listed 12/21/2023

In Western North Carolina:

  • Walton Street Park and Pool, Asheville, Buncombe County, listed 12/14/2023
  • Woodlawn Mill, Mount Holly, Gaston County, listed 12/18/2023

Click here to view the article online with descriptions of each listing

Teyah Glenn (WFMY News2)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A historic Irving Park home is being demolished.

Crews began demolishing the mansion just after 8:30 on Wednesday morning.

All day, there was a constant flow of neighbors and people stopping by to get their last glimpse of the home.

One of them was Kerrie Ellison, who lived in that neighborhood.

” I was devastated and I was actually I was in tears,” Ellison said. “My husband thought I was crazy because I was crying so much when I saw that it was coming down.

She made a post about it on Facebook, and many are sharing their memories both online and as they drive by the house, saying it’s an iconic piece in the neighborhood.

“I just made this post just to say how sad I was,” Ellison said. “People are really sad, outraged, and dumbfounded. A home like this is rare and to lose it, it’s just heartbreaking and it affects our whole city. It affects our entire city this is history. This is history in it, and if we wipe away all of our history, and what do we have, what do we have left?”

Kathryn McDowell is the Community Outreach Director for Restoration Greensboro.

She said this history is rich in the home. It was known as the J. Spencer Love House.

It is named after the founder of Burlington Textiles, who originally built and lived in the home.

McDowell said the house was built in the 1930s and is considered one of Greensboro’s historic homes.

“He purchased the property early on in the 1930s, with construction beginning somewhere at the beginning of 1936,” she said. “He lived in the house for a few years before he and his wife divorced by 1940, and then by 1941, the house was sold to its second owner.

McDowell said the house is historic for a multitude of reasons.

“One, because Spencer Love is such a prominent businessman in the area, two, it’s a mansion, three, it’s in Irving Park, which is enough for another historic area of other big moguls and tycoons and things like that, for not only Greensboro, but for the United States and also, the way it’s designed, it’s a colonial revival brick house with a Flemish bond,” She said. “It was designed by a local architecture firm here in Greensboro, specifically by William Holleman, who continues to design other houses in Irving Park, as well as houses in Pinehurst, and then bigger buildings on the women’s college campus and even A&T’s campus. So, it’s prominent for its architecture and its original owner, as well as the proceeding owners after the Loves. So, after the Loves purchased it, we also have Benjamin Cone, one of the Cone boys living there, and then its more recent prominent owner is the Hunters.”

Other notable residents of the Spencer Love home include Benjamin Cone, Cone textile heir and former Greensboro mayor, and Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, former ambassador to Finland and founder of marketing agency Pace Communications.

The house was recently sold to developer Roy Carroll for 4-and-a-half million dollars after it was on the market for 5 years.

“It’s a great property and I remember being in high school right and driving right by this property and just loving it and everything and when an opportunity came for us to possibly purchase the property we had hoped to renovate it,” said Carroll.

Carroll said ultimately, they found that was not a feasible option to meet the family’s needs.

“I spent a lot of time, a lot of money, studying the house to renovate but the fact it’s functionally obsolete, it is not economical to renovate the house and it’s small rooms, low ceilings, and what we’re going to build back is going to be better,” he said. “I know people are concerned and upset, I get all that, but if people just calm down a little bit we haven’t done anything in Greensboro halfway, the Carroll companies, we’re not gonna do this halfway.”

Carroll intends to preserve the picturesque, scenic trees on the property and to undertake the responsibility of protecting the iconic feel and aesthetic of the Irving Park neighborhood.

“There are five structures and this is a compound,” he said. “There is more than 3 acres and the only thing we’re tearing down right now is the main house and we’re going to try and save every tree on the property.”

Neighbors said they hope he keeps the same historic look.

“I just hope that what the new owners build is of the beauty, the elegance, the stature of what was here, so that in 100 years when their home has been sold to other people, that someone won’t want to come along and bulldoze it,” said Ellison.

Carroll was allowed to tear down the home.

The home itself is not listed in the National Registered Historic District, but it is in a historic neighborhood. Only two homes in Irving Park are protected from demolition as per the National Register of Historic Places, but the Spencer Love house is not one of them.

“Irving Park was put on the National Register in 1994. That goes into doing the histories of all the houses,” said McDowell. “This is a document that anybody can look up online, actually. If you ask us, we get there a little faster. It’s a history that contributes your house to the national district. You can have a national district and then you can have an individual house, also listed on the National Register. ”

McDowell said there is a common misconception that being on the National Register saves your building.

All it does is increase the value of the area, which is good for homeowners, and then you get a tax credit to fix things like the roof and porch.

“One of the legal ways in order to make sure that a home is never just demolished is a preservation easement which is basically a legal agreement between the owner of the house and the holder of the easement,” said McDowell. “The holder of the easement can be like our local preservation Greensboro Development Fund which is a local volunteer organization that holds easements, or it can be on a state or national level. So we also have preservation North Carolina, which holds easements and they are a 50-year-old organization staffed and holds who I think last time I counted are a couple 100.”

This is starting the conversation in the neighborhood on how to avoid this from happening again.

Preservation Greensboro said homeowners can put an addendum restriction in the contract when selling and once the house is sold, there is nothing that can be done.

Carroll was allowed to do what he wanted to do in the house.

Preservation Greensboro said that neighborhoods that see a historic home for sale and are worried it will get demolished are the eyes and ears. Report it to Preservation Greensboro so it can work to put restrictions on the house before it’s sold.

“It is sad to see this Love House coming down but it’s also sad to see houses in White Oak New Town coming down or Westerwood or any other neighborhood that’s not the big grand mansions that Irving Park is,” said McDowell. “That is one of our goals is it’s not just Irving Park. It’s not just Sunset Hills, it’s White of Newtown, it’s millhouses, it’s our downtown a historic district.”

“I want to get that out to the world because our neighborhood is so unique,” said Ellison.

 Roy Carroll also released this statement:

As we have stated, the interior of the house was built for a 1937 lifestyle with a configuration that did not meet the needs of how we live in our homes today. Many elements of the house would not be deemed adequate by current inspection and planning requirements. As sentimental as many people may feel about this home, it did not make economic sense to renovate the main house, which is most likely why it sat on the market for several years before this sale. The process of rebuilding is common in Irving Park to create a current home with modern conveniences, safety features, and efficient systems.

We appreciate that Ms. Hunter has strong personal attachments and family memories at the home. However, she knowingly decided to sell the home. She engaged with professional agents to represent her in listing and marketing the home, and ultimately signed a contract to sell the home without conditions or restrictions. Ms. Hunter made the decision to sign the sale agreement without knowing or questioning the buyer or their intentions. No representations were given by the buyer or requested as to buyer’s plans for the home. Once Ms. Hunter became aware of the identity of the Carroll family as the buyer, which occurred after she signed the contract, she never requested nor did we share with her any plans that we had for the home. Ms. Hunter had every right prior to signing the contract to deed restrict the property to limit the potential for the main house to be torn down. She also had the ability to seek protections for the main house on the Historic Registry. Neither was done, so the buyer and subsequent buyers have the right to do as they wish to the house. It seems disingenuous for a seller to so publicly express sellers’ remorse after cashing a multi-million-dollar check.
It was a great property in the past, and we plan to create a property that will be great for generations to come.

 Manning Franks (WFMY News2)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — This past week, the controversial demolition began of the J. Spencer Love Home in historic Irving Park. Greensboro developer, Roy Carroll, recently purchased the property from former owner and business woman, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter.

“It is a big stab at our heart. We always get super upset when that happens but it also kind of sends us into a flight mode of okay, let’s gather all the history we can on the house now that it’s come down,” said Kathryn McDowell, the Community Outreach Director for Preservation Greensboro.

For Preservation Greensboro, the second-oldest preservation organization in all of North Carolina, the demolition of the historic home was a gut-punch, but by that point, there was nothing to be done.

“People have this misconception that you can bring us in at any point and save a building, but that’s unfortunately not how it goes. We are a nonprofit, we are not a dictator, we have no legal stance, as much as we would love to. If a property owner wants to tear it down, they want to tear it down. They can do that,” McDowell said.

Preservation Greensboro was originally established back in 1966 when three separate preservation entities merged into one, from there they have been attempting to, for lack of a better word, preserve the architectural history of Guilford County.

“Our mission is twofold. One, it is to save the history that we have here. While it’s saving the built history, obviously it also saving the built history saves the social history behind it as well…. The second part of our preservation leg is education, and educating people on the built history and educating people that the most economically friendly house or building that that exists is the one already standing,” Said McDowell.

The non-profit acts, at its core, as a resource for the community. From playing the role of historians, researchers, educators, they routinely put on many hats. However, preserving a building is not just about preserving the structure itself.

“So, we’re big architecture buffs. And it’s not just in working to save the buildings. That is a big portion of what we do. But it is also to document the history that we have through architecture here. So, we’re also saving the community history by saving and researching the buildings,” said McDowell.

And while the Spencer Love House is going down, Greensboro has something to be proud of.

“I think another misconception or at least something that we get see on our way that people like to post on our Facebook all the time, is that we’re losing our history, our architectural history left and right, and that we’re losing all of our stock and historic houses, well, Greensboro actually has a very large stock of original buildings. And you go to Charlotte, or other cities that do the same thing, but don’t have necessarily a 50-year-old established organization to back all the saving,” encouraged McDowell.

Currently, Preservation Greensboro acts out of the historic Blandwood Mansion in Downtown Greensboro and will continue, as a non-profit, to promote the preserving of the city’s history.

Click here to view the article online


by: Doug Coats, Matthew Memrick
Queen City News

BELMONT, N.C.— A historic home named for a prominent African American educator was sold in Belmont on Feb. 29.

According to Preservation North Carolina, Joseph and Panagiota Melchiors of Chicago purchased the Charles Bynum Reid House in the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The Raleigh-based organization says the house, at 301 Sacco St., is the last remnant of Reid High School, established by the namesake of the house.

“We are thrilled this important African American property … is now protected and in the hands of the Melchiors,” Preserve NC wrote. “We’re looking forward to seeing the revival of this significant property!”

The 1,721-square-foot home was listed for $289,900. The 103-year-old house sits on a 0.35-acre lot adjacent to Reid Park and less than a mile from downtown.

Preserve NC says Reid was born in 1879 in the village of Lowell to Mag and John Reid, one of eight children born to his formerly enslaved parents. In 1918, at the age of 38, he married another Gaston County schoolteacher, Maude Herndon, and the couple built their craftsman bungalow in Belmont.

Reid commissioned a school to be built adjacent to their home, initially named the Reid School, which included instruction through the sixth grade. In time, the school was expanded to include grades 1-12 and was renamed Reid High School in 1932.

Reid died in 1940 and the school was closed in 1966 with the buildings on its campus quickly destroyed. Today, the site remains open to the public as a community park and features a sculpture entitled “The Message” to honor the role of the school in Belmont’s Black community.

Preserve NC says the house will require “a comprehensive rehabilitation” that preserves original architectural features such as windows, molding, mantels and built-in cabinetry.

Oscar Reid, who was part of the locally based CJB Foundation, that worked to sell the old house, said he gives credit to Jack Thompson and Preservation NC for their efforts. Oscar Reid said his family worked to keep the house intact.

He said he’s pleased with the Illinois family and after meeting with his new neighbors, called them “down-to-earth” and “wonderful people.”Over time, Oscar Reid said his family hoped to keep the house from getting knocked down and rebuilt. After years of family members passing it down to him (Charles Reid and Vera Hailey died in the past few years), he worked with Preservation NC to find a new buyer.

“”My brother Charles had taken care of it,” Oscar Reid said. “It was his dream to keep it going, but it didn’t happen.”

Oscar Reid said he hopes the Melchiors will be able to enjoy the house for years to come.

Click here to view the article online


A preservation organization is working with the owners of a Greenville landmark to sell the property to someone who can renovate it.

Preservation North Carolina, a nonprofit that works to protect buildings, landscapes and sites important to the state’ heritage, must first identify all the heirs of the J.W. Higgs House at 1112 Dickinson Ave. and have them agree to sell the property to someone who wants to rehabilitate it, Greenville Chief Planner Chantae Gooby told the Greenville Historic Preservation Commission.

The heirs of two families, the Browns and the Hartsfields, have ownership interest in the house, a Queen Anne/Colonial Revival built at the turn of the 20th century and made a local historic landmark in 1993. The house is associated with Jacob W. Higgs, a prominent Greenville businessman and developer of the Higgs neighborhood.

It’s also remembered as the Faith House, a location that provided housing for people in need.

The house is considered dilapidated because its repair costs, more than $300,000, is more than 50 percent higher than the structure’s value, Gooby said.

The Greenville City Council in January adopted a resolution seeking a certificate of appropriateness from the historic preservation commission to demolish the structure. The resolution also authorized staff to demolish the home if the owners didn’t do it and to place a lien on the property to recoup the city’s costs.

Maggie Gregg of Preservation NC’s eastern office is working with owners of the house and was present at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Since it’s a local landmark it comes to you,” Gooby said. “Your only option is literally to delay the demolition up to 365 (days). We’re going to allow Maggie and the buyers to get this accomplished as quickly as possible.”

But starting in March there will be a time clock, Gooby said. The only way to stop the clock is for the City Council to reverse its decision.

Carlos White, a local resident with connections to the house, urged the commission and staff to do everything possible to find the heirs. White said some of the heirs don’t live locally and don’t understand what is at stake.

Gooby said both certified letters and traditional letters are being sent to the parties involved.

James Brown, one of the heirs, told commission members last month that the family wants to repair the home but they don’t have the financial means.

Gregg, who is talking to James Brown and a member of the Hartsfield family, said both have asked about the availability of grants. There are none available.

The city’s grants are only available for owner-occupied properties and max out at $70,000, she said.

“For those of us who have being do this for a while know there haven’t been state grants, anything for private homes for decades,” commission chairman Jeremy Jordan said. “The only help is state and federal tax credits which only help a person if they have a considerable income.”

Commission member Larry Hall asked if the commission could set a 90-day extension instead of a 365-day, saying that people sometimes work more quickly when the timeline is short.

“I am more worried about the 365 days not being enough instead of lighting a fire,” commission member Andrew Morehead said.

The board did not vote on an extension. I will take up the matter again in March.

Click here to view the article online

By María Alejandra Trujillo,

In Brunswick County, North Carolina, a significant piece of African American history is being brought back to life. The Reaves Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, with roots dating back to the late 1800s, is undergoing a major restoration project. This endeavor, initiated in 2019, not only aims to repair the church’s deteriorating foundation but also to preserve the rich narrative of its past for future generations.

Reviving History Through Restoration

The project, led by the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust and supported by the Cedar Hill/West Bank Heritage Foundation, seeks to accurately represent history amidst tendencies to rewrite or ignore it. According to Jesica Blake from the Coastal Land Trust, this restoration is crucial for connecting people with their heritage. Henry Robbins of the Cedar Hill/West Bank Heritage Foundation emphasizes the importance of factual historical representation, and how the project strives to fulfill this objective. The church, once relocated to Cedar Hill Rd. in the 1920s, has become a symbol of resilience and community spirit.

Community Engagement and Challenges

Community involvement has played a pivotal role in the advancement of the restoration process. Local figures, including Bridge Presbyterian Church Pastor Doug Cushing, have highlighted the communal support in preserving this historical monument. Despite significant progress, there’s still a considerable amount of work to be done, including interior refurbishments, electrical installations, water systems, landscaping, parking lot creation, and the addition of outdoor restrooms. Funding remains a critical challenge, yet the community’s optimism and dedication continue to drive the project forward.

Looking Toward the Future

The restoration of Reaves Chapel is more than just a construction project; it’s an endeavor to honor and maintain the integrity of the African American experience in Brunswick County. As the chapel inches closer to its completion, it stands as a beacon of historical preservation and a testament to the power of community. The project not only aims to restore the physical structure of the chapel but also to rekindle the connection between the present and the past, ensuring that the stories and struggles of those who came before are not forgotten.

Click here to view this article online

WFMY News2
By Manning Franks

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It’s time to wish a happy centennial to one of Greensboro’s most iconic structures: The Jefferson Standard Building.

“When Will Rogers the movie star came to Greensboro in the 1920s. He said that the people in Greensboro were as proud of it as a parent would be proud of a baby’s first tooth,” said Benjamin Briggs, the director of Preservation North Carolina.

Yet, baby’s first tooth has a richer history than you would expect – a history dating all the way back to 1917.

“Guilford County Commissioners chose to sell the old Guilford County Courthouse, which had been located on this site of this building for about 150 years. So, the county commissioners sold this property in 1917 Jefferson standard was the highest bidder, and the old building was torn down. And on that site was erected the new Jefferson Standard Building,” Briggs said.

Of course, the Building didn’t sprout up overnight – President of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance, Julian Price, needed a unique design.

“This one specifically replicates a building that still exists today the equitable building on Broadway in lower Manhattan and that is because of the architect of this building was Charles Hartman, who came from Manhattan to Greensboro in 1920,” said Briggs.

In October of 1923, the Jefferson Standard Building was fully builtm, becoming the tallest building in all of Greensboro.

“And it really remained unrivaled until the 1960s. And it was surpassed then with the addition to the back of it to the West that was built in 1990. So, today it’s really an icon for the city,” Briggs said.

An icon for the city that later expanded in 1990 to include its well-known sister structure, The Lincoln Financial Building, now currently the tallest structure in Greensboro.

“Our lives are expressed through the buildings and the built environment around us. When we care for those buildings, it’s a way to illustrate that we find that our voice our history is important,” Briggs proclaimed.

In the coming years, even more Greensboro buildings will be reaching their centennial, and just like Jefferson Standard Building, they all will have a story to tell.

Click here to view the article online


National Trust for Historic Preservation
By Myrick Howard

In 2023 Myrick Howard received the highest honor in preservation, the Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award.

Forty-eight years ago, I was a graduate student sitting in the audience at my first National Trust for Historic Preservation meeting. I was a quiet, gay, working-class kid—not exactly the norm in Mobile, Alabama. But I found preservationists to be a welcoming bunch of souls.

Through the years, I have been mentored by several great preservation leaders who helped me find my place. Jim Gray, a gentleman with years of preservation experience, hired me straight out of law school at age 25. A month later he retired, setting the stage for me to become the executive director of Preservation North Carolina (PNC). Jim continued to mentor me for years after he retired.

Our life stories couldn’t have been more different. His father ran a huge tobacco company and major bank. Jim’s cousin, Gordon Gray, was one of the founders of the National Trust. On the other hand, my father was a mechanist in a cigarette factory. My mother was school secretary. My family didn’t flee to the suburbs. We stayed put in the bungalow my grandfather built.

Our different backgrounds didn’t matter. Jim and I both shared a passion for place…and the diverse people whose stories they told. We had common ground.

Another mentor was Bob Stipe, a lawyer, writer and educator whose course got me interested in preservation. With Bob’s encouragement, I developed a passion for revolving funds.

Preservation as Property Work

During my career, PNC focused like a laser beam on preservation as property work. Real estate is the name of the game. We bought and sold hundreds of endangered properties and protected hundreds more with easements.

For the last 35 years, I’ve also taught Bob’s course and watched the careers of my own former students. For example, Andrew Stewart’s master’s project in 2006 was to conceptualize and advocate for an enhanced tax credit for the renovation of vacant industrial buildings.

Shortly after he graduated, Andrew got to watch from the legislative gallery as his bill was enacted. It has since generated more than $2.5 billion of historic rehab—yes, billion. The credit is still in place and attracting new investment, years after the pilot project first passed. Not bad for a student project!

Shelby Star

Ted Alexander was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2023. The award will be presented to him at the Champions Ceremony during the NC Main Street Conference on Thursday, March 14, at 11 a.m. at the Paramount Theater in Goldsboro.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is the highest honor awarded by the governor’s office and is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to North Carolina. Some of the guidelines by which recipients are selected for the award include significant contributions to communities and many years of service to an organization.

“The State of North Carolina reserves its highest civilian honor for North Carolinians who exhibit exemplary service and exceptional accomplishment to and on behalf of their state and their community. I can think of no more worthy recipient of this extraordinary honor than Ted Alexander,” Patrick N. Woodie, president & CEO of the NC Rural Center, said in a press release.

Alexander’s contributions to North Carolina are the result of a lifetime of personal and professional achievements. Recently retired, he worked for private nonprofit organizations and public agencies in historic preservation and downtown revitalization throughout his entire career.

Born and raised in Morganton, Alexander graduated from Freedom High School and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UNC-Charlotte in 1982 and his master’s degree in historic preservation from Cornell University in 1985. His decades of experience in historic preservation and downtown revitalization started with a summer internship with the NC State Historic Preservation Office in 1981 through the UNC Institute of Government.

Most of Alexander’s professional career was spent in Shelby, where he served for nearly 14 years as the executive director of Uptown Shelby Association’s Main Street revitalization program, and then two terms as mayor, from 2003-2011.

Shelby was one of the original five Main Street communities in North Carolina.

For 18 years, 2005-2023, Alexander served as regional director for Preservation North Carolina’s Western Office, serving 37 counties from an office in Shelby. As the state’s only private nonprofit statewide historic preservation organization, Preservation NC’s mission is to protect and preserve places important to the diverse people of North Carolina. During his time with the organization, 146 historic buildings in his region were protected in perpetuity through preservation covenants or easements. He retired from Preservation NC in January 2023.

Alexander has left a legacy in Shelby, Cleveland County and the Western North Carolina region through his work with the Main Street Program, his directorship of the Uptown Shelby Association and his work with Preservation NC.

As mayor of Shelby, he continued to work to improve the community. From working with the homeless and their advocates – helping birth the Inter-Faith Alliance that promises to bring change and aid to the situation of homelessness in Cleveland County.

He is currently serving his second term in the N.C. Senate, having been first elected in 2018, representing District 44, comprised of Lincoln, Clevelan, and a portion of Gaston counties. As a senator, he has been an important advocate for the state’s historic rehabilitation tax credits, which have resulted in more $3.25 billion in revitalization since their inception in 1993. Numerous vacant industrial factories and schools have been transformed by these credits for 21st Century research and innovation, housing (including affordable), and commercial enterprises.

“Without question, Ted’s exemplary public service to North Carolina makes him most deserving of The Order of the Long Leaf Pine,” said Myrick Howard, Preservation NC’s President Emeritus, who will be presenting the award to Ted in March.

The award will be presented to him at the Champions Ceremony in March. To register to attend the free event, go to

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Spectrum News 1

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A longstanding church in a historically Black neighborhood in Asheville, built in 1908 and rebuilt in 1926, has been saved from the wrecking ball.

“Developers had bought it and were going to develop this whole area, and the neighborhood was really upset,” Executive Director of the Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County Jessie Landl said. “It’s an important landmark for the community.”

According to Landl, the Cappadocia Church saw its last congregation on Beaucatcher Mountain around 2013.

Even if not currently open, the church continues to hold stories and connections as a part of Asheville’s East End neighborhood.

“The transfers in the newspaper showed that it had sold, and so, we reached out to the neighborhood association and asked what their feelings were and they were really adamant that the church be saved,” Landl said.

And that is exactly what they are doing. Affordable housing soon became a part of the plan, and Landl’s team is now partnering with the Asheville Buncombe Community Land Trust as an affordable housing partner.

“The first reason this project is important is this is Asheville’s oldest Black neighborhood, hardest hit by urban renewal and under incredible development pressure right now really close to downtown,” Landl said. “As you drive around this neighborhood, you’ll see that the houses are just getting purchased, demolished and new things built in their place. So it’s really important to see preservation happen in this neighborhood.”

Landl said the affordable housing crisis in Asheville was important to take into account with this project, bringing up many questions on how to move forward.

“We have an affordable housing crisis,” Landl said. “We also don’t want to come in and gentrify neighborhoods. So how do you kind of accomplish all of these things at once? We think preservation is a really good tool for affordable housing.”

Not only do they plan to preserve the building, but this change will help tell new stories too.

“We’re working on getting the site rezoned and also working on designing it to fit three apartments into it,” Landl said. “So, it’ll have two units in the front of the church going this way and one in the back of the church going that way. The goal is for them all to be deeply affordable.”

Landl says the exterior of the building will remain what it has always been in the neighborhood. The preservation team is in the midst of the first part of the project.

“Phase one of the church project, which is the design phase and planning phase, is really going to take place through all of this year,” Landl said.

Phase two of the project will include rehabilitating the house they also purchased next door, which they plan to start next month. Phase three will be rehabilitating the church, which will include putting together funding partners, along with the project’s design and engineering work.

Click here to view the article online and to watch the video interview with Jessie Landl at the church

RALEIGH, N.C. — The men who built our state’s most iconic building, although they were enslaved, left a legacy for all North Carolinians. Their contribution to the construction of the State Capitol during the 1830s has been researched by a team of historians who will present their initial findings during an upcoming virtual Lunch & Learn program hosted by the State Archives.

In this program, State Capitol staff also will discuss the launch of “From Naming to Knowing,” the project’s website. They also will provide genealogy tips for researching the lives of the enslaved.

The panel of presenters will include State Capitol Historic Site staff Terra Schramm, Kara Deadmon, and Natalie Rodriguez, and Alex Dowrey, archivist for state agency records.

The event is scheduled Wednesday, Feb. 21, from noon to 1 p.m.

Register in advance:

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by Paul Garber

The city of Winston-Salem is honoring Black History Month with a traveling exhibit celebrating the history of Black builders and craftspeople.

The exhibit called “We Built This” celebrates those whose labor and skill contributed to the urban environment in the city and across the state.

Among those honored is George Black, whose work included providing the handmade bricks for the original North Carolina Baptist Hospital.

His granddaughter, former state Representative Evelyn Terry, told the story about how as a child George Black walked from Randolph to Forsyth County, looking for better opportunities.

She says if he were alive today her grandfather would be proud of the contributions that Black workers have had and continue to have on the city.

“He would look and say, ‘My, my, look what they’ve done. And look what I was even able to accomplish,'” she says. “There can be even more, perhaps in the future for those who come after all of us, because we have decided that we know how to work together.”

On Friday, visitors wandered through the restored Union Station to see poster boards detailing their work.

East Ward Councilwoman Annette Scippio says the exhibit adds a new layer of understanding of the rich cultural history that the African-American community has contributed locally and in North Carolina.

“It’s sort of like the movie Hidden Figures,” she says. “They’re at the same level, people who were doing excellent work and never got recognition for it.”

The exhibit is sponsored by Forsyth County’s Historic Resources Commission, The African-American Heritage Initiative, and Winston-Salem State University.

The Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Farmers Market will host the self-guided tour for the remaining Saturdays of February. After that, it moves to the C.G. O’Kelly Library at Winston-Salem State University.

Read the article here

Salisbury Post
By Brad Dountz

SALISBURY — Harvey Gantt has been a beacon of hope for many people who have aspired to do more with their lives despite their circumstances. As an architect, politician and public figure, Gantt has never slowed down in his pursuit of making a difference.

On Feb. 1, Gantt spoke at the welcome reception for the “We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina” traveling exhibit that has relocated to Livingstone College to coincide with Black History Month.

The exhibit was partly sponsored by the Historic Salisbury Foundation so that they could continue to bring to light the figures that have laid the groundwork of where we are today.

“For 52 years, Historic Salisbury Foundation has had a mission to preserve and protect the historic fabric of Salisbury and Rowan County and a lot of that has to do with saving buildings. Another part of that is partnering with the community and a great example of that is tonight,” HSF Executive Director Kimberly Stieg said.

Livingstone President Dr. Anthony Davis introduced Gantt at the reception and praised him for the impact he has made not just in the Carolinas, but the entire country.

“He inspired not a generation, but generations,” Davis said. “Sometimes standing up for what’s right means having the courage to blaze your own trail.”

In 1963, Gantt became the first Black student enrolled at Clemson University. After he graduated, he obtained his master’s from MIT and then founded Gantt Huberman Architects with Jeff Huberman in 1971. He was then elected as Charlotte’s first Black mayor in 1983.

“When I got to school, a lot of people thought I should have the burden of the entire African American race on my shoulders and it didn’t quite feel that way. It always felt that the promise of America was going to be made real by pursuing education, vigor, energy and preparation. I was always confident that I could make it through and do well,” Gantt said.

When it came to architecture, Gantt mentioned the educators and guidance counselors that pushed him towards his lifelong profession. While only 2 percent of architects in America are Black, that fact motivated Gantt even more.

“It felt very natural doing it. For me, it was an artform that made a lot of sense,” Gantt said.

Gantt and Huberman’s firm started with just the two of them, but it grew exponentially over time. They had no desire to be like the other architecture firms they competed with, they aimed to represent the true social fabric of where they lived.

“We wanted the firm to look like America,” Gantt said. “Sometimes when you want diversity, you have to be intentional about it. You have to go out and work for that diversity, you can’t expect that diversity and sympathy to walk in.”

Gantt Huberman Architects designed several public and private projects that included the Charlotte Transportation Center, churches, libraries and buildings at Johnson C. Smith University.

“We wanted to create meaningful places, places that people would remember. We didn’t want to do anything what we call ‘cookie cutter.’ We wanted spaces that were creative and that were memorable,” Gantt said. “When I look back over our legacy and remember what our goals were when we started that firm years ago with a couple people, we succeeded.”

Once Gantt finished his speech, Mayor Karen Alexander, herself an architect who previously worked with Gantt at his firm, shared how much he shaped her to go out and thrive on her own.

“I feel so grateful to you all these years later because you put my life on a certain path that I didn’t believe at the time, that I could have my own firm,” Alexander said.

People then made their way over to the “We Built This” exhibit next door to take in an unsung aspect of history. Gantt said he already saw the exhibit last year in Charlotte, but he still relishes its significance.

“I’m glad to see it on an HBCU campus,” Gantt said. “If you think about the percentage of architects in America that are Black, this is very special that they’re doing this and showing this here in the deep South in a wonderful place like this.”

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Preservation Magazine, Winter 2024
The National Trust for Historic Preservation

Architect Eddie Belk, 74 years old and dressed in a well-worn green T-shirt, khaki pants, and a red-and-white North Carolina State University ball cap, looks over what was once an enormous cotton-spinning room at Revolution Mill in Greensboro, North Carolina. It’s an impressive scene: two rows of 14-foot-tall heart-pine columns run down the middle of the expanse, longer than two football fields. Sunlight from the clerestory windows above creates patterns on the polished maple floors. White doors with transom windows on each side of this building and an adjacent one lead to 150 apartments with tall ceilings, recycled-glass countertops, and exposed brick walls. “No matter who I bring in here, they get that smile on their face trying to gather it all in,” he says, noticing my grin. “It’s a wonderful space. I’ll come in here just to spend a minute. Just to enjoy it.”

Decades ago, this space was impressive for different reasons. This was the heart of Revolution Cotton Mills, at one time the largest cotton flannel mill in the world. The spinning room was where hundreds of looms the size of golf carts clattered away, 24 hours a day. Cotton lint filled the air as fans moving along a track, still present on the ceiling, blew debris off the machines. Giant “air washer” units did their best to suck the particles out of the room. Workers, dubbed “lintheads” by those outside the mill communities, would leave their shifts covered in dust. Some came down with brown lung disease caused by inhaling fibers or lost fingers to the rapidly moving looms. Millwork was a dangerous job.

This spinning room is one of nine renovated buildings—six contiguous—on the sprawling 42-acre campus of Revolution Mill, a mixed-use development that includes apartments, offices, restaurants, shops, and event spaces. Belk, principal at Belk Architecture in Durham, North Carolina, is eager to show me them all. This is the 14th mill complex that Belk’s firm has worked on, and at 750,000 square feet it isn’t even the largest. That title goes to the 1-million-square-foot American Tobacco factory: nine buildings in Durham that Belk and his team turned into a mixed-use campus, the first tenants arriving in 2005. All told, Belk says he’s redesigned more than 7 million square feet of historic properties since launching his firm on his birthday in 1982. “This is one of my architectural children that I’m proud of,” he says of Revolution Mill in a lilting Carolina drawl. “By the time we got to this one, [old mills] were just something that we understood.”

We began our tour several hours earlier in what was the distribution warehouse, a five-story, brick-clad building that dates to 1915 (with a 1930 addition). Here, workers would store reams of finished flannel awaiting pickup via trains on adjacent tracks. Belk’s firm ended up removing a 40- by 40-foot section of the building’s interior to create a soaring atrium topped by skylights. At night, LED lights mounted on metal rings around concrete support columns shine upward. “It’s just a beautiful sight,” he says.

Traces of the building’s prior use can be found throughout: nicks on the columns from careless forklift operators, scorch marks from some past fire, an old bale press repurposed into a bench. On one concrete support someone has scrawled, “T.W. Nelson, Aug. 27, 1969.”

When Belk and his team surveyed the property in 2013, they found the majority of the mill buildings structurally sound. The sturdy columns and floors had done their jobs, but most structures required new roofs. As in many Southern mills, at some point the windows throughout the complex had been bricked over, as the advent of air washing systems and fluorescent lighting replaced natural ventilation and sunlight. During the rehabilitation, crews removed these bricks and repaired and replicated hundreds of windows and frames throughout, including in the warehouse, dubbed Mill House.

These days, the warehouse holds a coworking space, a nail salon, a cosmetic medical office, a future eatery and market, and three apartments on its ground floor. Upper floors contain another 30 apartments as well as office space, including the homes of two national textile design firms. More than four decades after Revolution Mill’s looms went silent, the textile industry has returned. “These companies have all decided, ‘Well, let’s go back to the mill,’” says Belk. “It seems very appropriate, doesn’t it?”

Revolution Mill’s roots date to 1891, when brothers Moses and Ceasar Cone, the two eldest sons of a prominent German-Jewish immigrant family in Baltimore, formed the Cone Export & Commission Company to broker Southern textile products. Soon they decided to operate their own mills and built their first Greensboro plant, Proximity Cotton Mills, which began weaving denim in 1896. Revolution was the brothers’ second mill; they opened it in 1899 with business partners Emanuel and Herman Sternberger specifically to produce cotton flannel. Six years later the Cones finished building White Oak Cotton Mills, which became the world’s largest denim factory, eventually supplying material for Levi Strauss, Lee, Wrangler, and others. Proximity Print Works, opened in 1912, was the South’s first plant to specialize in printed cotton fabrics.

Like other mill owners in the region, the Cones built self-sufficient villages for their employees. The company provided land for churches, stores, schools, playing fields, and recreation centers, and constructed hundreds of simple clapboard company-owned houses that workers leased. Black employees lived in a separate village and often worked lower-paying jobs at the mills or toiled in the houses of company higher-ups who occupied an area dubbed “Snob Hill.” By the 1940s, more than 2,600 workers lived in 1,500 houses around the four plants.

But by the 1970s, the American textile industry was in decline, as manufacturing jobs moved overseas. Revolution Mill produced its last flannel in 1982, and the complex was left to deteriorate. The local economy also declined as workers sought opportunities elsewhere. The other Cone mills closed, with White Oak hanging on until early 2018—one of the last remaining denim mills in the country.

Proximity Cotton Mills was razed, and many thought Revolution Mill would suffer the same fate. “Mills were not celebrated as part of North Carolina history at all,” says Benjamin Briggs, head of Preservation North Carolina, who previously consulted on the rehabilitation of Revolution as executive director of Preservation Greensboro. He says lawsuits from brown lung and the rapid decline of United States–made textiles precipitated the demolition of historic mills across the state. “How did you deal with our deep textile mill history?” asks Briggs. “You got rid of it.”

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The city of Winston-Salem has a new way for you to commemorate Black History Month.

“We Built This” will be an exhibit to highlight Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina. It opens at Union Station, on 300 South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Friday, Feb. 2, from noon to 4 p.m. There will also be a program at 2 p.m.

There will be stories of the people who designed historic sites, such as internationally known brickmaker George Black.

After Friday, the traveling exhibit will move to the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Farmers Market at 2532 Farmers Market Way in Winston-Salem. There, it will be open from 6 a.m. to noon on Feb. 10, 17, and 24.

In March, the exhibit moves to the C.G. O’Kelly Library on the campus of Winston-Salem State University.

The Historic Resources Commission, the African American Heritage Initiative, and Winston-Salem State University are sponsoring it.

This is just the start of several ways the city of Winston-Salem is helping sponsor Black History Month events.

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SALISBURY — Livingstone College will honor its founder, Dr. Joseph Charles Price, on Feb. 8, at 10 a.m., during the Founder’s Day Program at Varick Auditorium. The Right Rev. Dennis V. Proctor will be the keynote speaker. This program is open to the Salisbury Community; everyone is welcome to attend.

The Andrew Carnegie Library is set to reopen on Feb. 1 and will host the “We Built This” exhibit, which will showcase the work of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina. The exhibit will run from Feb. 1-29. On the same day, there will be a reception in the Shipman Science Building with Harvey Gantt, an architect and politician, as the guest speaker. The event is sponsored by Preservation North Carolina, Historic Salisbury Foundation, Livingstone College, and Rowan Library. If you’d like to attend, register by sending an email to

The Andrew Carnegie Library will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Smithsonian Exhibition “Exploring Human Origins” during Founder’s Week. The exhibition will open on Feb. 5 at 11 a.m. and be on display until May 15.

Additionally, Heritage Hall will reopen on Feb. 6 at 10 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and viewing special exhibits. If you wish to attend the ribbon-cutting for Heritage Hall, please register through email at

For more information about other scheduled events happening during February, go to

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Thirty-one Black churches have received a total of $4 million to help preserve their buildings and the Black history they represent.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced the second round of Preserving Black Churches grants from its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund on Monday (Jan. 15), the national holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Along with the funds provided last year, the Action Fund has supported more than 70 historic churches with $8.7 million in grants.

“We created the Preserving Black Churches program to ensure the historic Black church’s legacy is told and secured,” said Brent Leggs, executive director of the fund, in a statement, adding that “these cultural assets can continue to foster community resilience and drive meaningful change in our society.”

This year’s grants, which range from $50,000 to $200,000, will allow congregations to address issues such as mold contamination, demolition, water filtration and deferred maintenance.

Among the recipients this year is Town Clock Church in New Albany, Indiana, which was constructed in 1852 and then named Second Presbyterian Church. It was a station on the Underground Railroad, providing shelter to enslaved people who were fugitives. Funds earmarked for endowment and financial sustainability will be used to maintain 2014 preservation and restoration efforts.

Others include African Methodist Episcopal churches that received capital project grants. For example, Atlanta’s Big Bethel AME Church was the birthplace of Morris Brown College, the first educational institution in Georgia owned completely by African Americans. New Orleans’ St. James AME Church was a gathering site for marchers of the Civil Rights Movement and the headquarters of the Louisiana Native Guards, Black Union soldiers who fought in the Civil War.

Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., an adviser to the fund, which is supported by Lilly Endowment Inc., welcomed the decisions on the new grant recipients, some of which currently have facilities that are closed due to structural damage.

“The heart of our spiritual world is the Black church,” said Gates in the announcement. “These places of worship, these sacred cultural centers, must exist for future generations to understand who we were as a people.”

The other recipients are:

Receiving planning grants:

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Fort Valley, Georgia

Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Moore’s Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Morrilton, Arkansas

Calvin Memorial Presbyterian Church, Omaha, Nebraska

St. Peter’s United Methodist Church, Oxford, North Carolina

Henderson Chapel AME Zion Church, Rutledge, Tennessee

Ward Chapel AME Church, Cairo, Illinois

Taveau Church, Cordesville, South Carolina

Receiving programming and interpretation grants:

Mt. Zion AME Church, Skillman, New Jersey

Guidance Church of Religious Science, Los Angeles, California

Gather Place (the former African Methodist Episcopal Church of Yardley) in Yardley, Pennsylvania

Receiving organizational capacity grant:

The House of God Church – Keith Dominion, Nashville, Tennessee

Receiving capital projects grants:

Shiloh Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio

Union Bethel AME Church, Great Falls, Montana

First Zion Baptist Church, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Houston, Texas

Central United Methodist Church, Jackson, Mississippi

Washington Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Missouri

Beulah Missionary Baptist Church, Natchez, Mississippi

Jacob’s Chapel AME Church, Mount Laurel, New Jersey

St. Augustine Catholic Church, New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Paul AME Church, Lexington, Kentucky

Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church, Keeseville, New York

Mother Bethel AME Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tabernacle Baptist Church, Selma, Alabama

First Missionary Baptist Church, Thomasville, Georgia

Campbell AME Church, Washington, D.C.

St. Paul’s Methodist Church, Augusta, Kentucky

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Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — As part of the Historic Salisbury Foundation’s ongoing “We Built This” exhibit, Charlotte’s first Black mayor Harvey Gantt will be featured during a special presentation at Livingstone College.

The event will take place at F. George Shipman Science Center at Livingstone College at 701 W. Monroe St. in Salisbury on Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

It is a free event. There is limited seating and registration is required if you wish to attend. Light refreshments will be provided.

The presentation is part of the “We Built This” exhibit. Guests may view the exhibit from 5-8:30 p.m. at Livingstone’s Andrew Carnegie Library.

The “We Built This” exhibit is at the Rowan Public Library through January and may be viewed during operating hours.

The public may request to view the exhibit during the month of February, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-8 p.m., by contacting Livingstone College librarian Jeffrey Cockerel at 704-216-6330 or

The ‘We Built This’ exhibit is sponsored by Joe L. & Hester M. Sims Family Foundation and Edward and Susan Norvell with special thanks to Preservation North Carolina, The Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, Inc., Rowan Public Library and Livingstone College.

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A statewide nonprofit agency whose mission is to save historic buildings and properties that reflect North Carolina’s diverse history is set to have the first two days of a three-day conference this fall in Rocky Mount with the last day of the conference in Tarboro.

Preservation North Carolina President and CEO Benjamin Briggs in a phone interview Thursday said, “We want to learn and be inspired by Rocky Mount.”

Briggs said places like New Bern, Edenton and Chapel Hill have a long history with historic preservation.

“Rocky Mount is a great representative city of North Carolina where we are in this point in time,” Briggs said. “Our manufacturing economy is transitioning. Our downtowns are growing and changing and evolving.”

Briggs also spoke of cities and towns once having vacant textile mills that now are being revitalized.

“You’ve got an example of that,” he said about the Rocky Mount Mills commercial and residential development off Falls Road and Peachtree Street.

“You just sort of check off all the boxes of the greatest hits of what’s happening in cities across our state right now,” he said of Rocky Mount. “It makes it a great choice for this meeting.”

Briggs is from High Point, but before he was born his father lived in Rocky Mount. Briggs said his father told him High Point has sort of a distant kinship with Rocky Mount because neither city is a seat of a county’s government and both have always been industrial-railroad cities.

Although a more specific schedule about Preservation North Carolina’s 2024 conference remains in the works, Briggs said the conference will be from Oct. 16 through Oct. 18.

Briggs said Preservation North Carolina also is hoping to have “a deep dive” into Tarboro on the last day of the conference because Tarboro is such a different community than Rocky Mount, being a seat of a county government and an older river town.

“We want to sort of showcase some of the architecture there in our day in Tarboro on Friday,” Briggs said.

He said this is a way to bring Tarboro and Edgecombe County into the conference.

He said he expects the schedule for the conference to be fleshed out by March or April.

Briggs said the Preservation North Carolina conference, which is held yearly, has been seen as an educational tool for people who have an interest in learning more about how to preserve buildings, why to preserve buildings and what tools are available.

Briggs also said one of the things Preservation North Carolina has tried to do is show great examples in the state of what people are doing and celebrate people with awards and recognitions.

Preservation North Carolina’s website said the organization is fondly referred to as “the animal shelter for old houses.”

Preservation North Carolina, which is based in Raleigh, was established in 1939 and works in many ways to save historic buildings and properties, but the organization is most recognized for what is called the Endangered Properties Program. The program is one in which Preservation North Carolina acquires a legal interest in historic properties to save buildings.

“Our model is to transition those properties back into the private sector, with a rehabilitation agreement in place in order to see that the building is preserved,” Briggs said.

Briggs said Preservation North Carolina has used this model to save nearly 900 buildings from western North Carolina to the Atlantic Coast.

For 20 years, Briggs led Preservation Greensboro before beginning as the new president and CEO of Preservation North Carolina. Briggs stepped into that role in August when his predecessor, Myrick Howard, retired after 45 years of service.

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By Sydney Smith Hamrick
Rowan Public Library

During the week of Jan. 8, creatives and builders are invited to attend We Can Build This, a special all-ages STEAM building program, at any of RPL’s branches. The program is inspired by the “We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina” exhibit, which is currently on display at RPL Headquarters through Jan. 27.  Interested participants can attend any of the program’s dates during the week of January 8:

• Monday, Jan. 8, 4 p.m. at RPL West (Cleveland)
• Tuesday, Jan. 9, 4 p.m. at RPL Headquarters (Salisbury)
• Wednesday, Jan. 10, 4 p.m. at RPL South (China Grove)
• Saturday, Jan. 14, 11 a.m. at RPL East (Rockwell)

The program invites participants to construct their own buildings and structures out of recycled and repurposed materials. A wide assortment of building materials, including cardboard, paper tubes, tape, will be provided by the library. Individuals, groups, and families will have a full hour to build and create any sort of structures they like, turning recyclables into new, unique creations. To kick off the program at each location, Kim Smith’s book “Boxitects,” a story all about teamwork, being creative, and building with unexpected materials will be read aloud as a short all-ages storytime for children and adults alike.

Besides getting creative and building, participants visiting the RPL Headquarters program on Tuesday, Jan. 9 will also have a chance to explore the “We Built This” exhibit and learn more about the many black builders, architects, brick masons and craftspeople who worked hard to create much of the architectural landscape seen in North Carolina today. Spanning more than three centuries, the exhibit provides more than two dozen personal profiles and historic context on key topics including slavery and Reconstruction; founding of HBCUs and Black churches; Jim Crow and segregation; and the rise of Black civic leaders and professionals. The exhibit is sponsored by Joe L. & Hester M. Sims Family Foundation and Edward & Susan Norvell and is in collaboration with the Historic Salisbury Foundation, Rowan Public Library, Livingstone College, and Friends of Rowan Public Library.

The We Can Build This program is open to participants of all ages and is free to the public; all materials will be provided. To learn more, call 980-432-8670 to connect with your most convenient RPL branch.

Read the article online here.


By Laurie Lyda
Rowan Public Library

This January, you’re invited to visit the traveling exhibit “We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina” at Rowan Public Library’s Headquarters branch, located at 201 W. Fisher St. in Salisbury. The free exhibit is located on the first floor of the library and is open to the public during the branch’s operating hours (Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

Presented by Preservation North Carolina, this exhibit is sponsored by Joe L. & Hester M. Sims Family Foundation and Edward & Susan Norvell and is in collaboration with the Historic Salisbury Foundation, Rowan Public Library, Livingstone College and Friends of Rowan Public Library.

“We Built This” celebrates the history and legacy of Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina. Spanning more than three centuries, the exhibit provides more than two dozen personal profiles and historic context on key topics including slavery and Reconstruction; the founding of Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) and Black churches; Jim Crow and segregation; and the rise of Black civic leaders and professionals. Salisbury’s Livingstone College is among the featured HBCUs.

January offers several free opportunities for the community to engage with the exhibit through RPL-hosted programs and activities:

On Jan. 8 at 9 a.m., a virtual “Photowalk at Livingston College” will be shared via RPL’s YouTube channel ( and social media accounts. This virtual program will focus on the earliest buildings found on college grounds, several of which are featured in the “We Built This” exhibit. The video’s guides will provide information about each location and compare the images of vintage campus architecture with contemporary photographs that show how these long-standing buildings look today. To learn more about this virtual program, contact David at or 704-216-8229.

During the week of Jan. 8, each of RPL’s four branches will host an “All Ages STEAM Challenge.” STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, and this program challenges participants to employ those skillsets! All ages and all skill levels are invited to learn about famous builders featured in the “We Built This” exhibit and use recycled materials such as cardboard boxes, wrapping paper tubes and tape, to design their own unique structures. All materials will be provided. This STEAM challenge is designed for all ages. Children ages 8 and under must be accompanied by a responsible caretaker (age 16+). RPL West (Cleveland) hosts this program on Monday, Jan. 8, at 4 p.m.; RPL Headquarters (Salisbury) hosts on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 4 p.m.; RPL South (China Grove) hosts on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 4 p.m.; and RPL East (Rockwell) hosts on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 11 a.m. To learn more, call 980-432-8670.

Each RPL branch will feature a “We Built This Family Storytime” during the week of Jan. 22. Children are invited to enjoy stories and activities about Black architects and builders of North Carolina. While designed for children ages 5 and under, all are welcome. Children ages 8 and under must be accompanied by a responsible caregiver (age 16+). Runtime is approximately 45 minutes. This special storytime will be held at 4 p.m. at each location: RPL West (Cleveland) on Monday, Jan. 22; RPL East (Rockwell) on Tuesday, Jan. 23; RPL South (China Grove) on Wednesday, Jan. 24; and RPL Headquarters (Salisbury) on Thursday, Jan. 25. To learn more, call 980-432-8670.

Through Jan. 27, special activities are also available for those who visit the exhibit in person. Visitors are invited to complete an all-ages scavenger hunt or matching activity as they tour through the exhibit. All activity participants are eligible to receive a small prize immediately upon completion; they may also submit their completed form as an entry for a raffle prize. To learn more, call 704-216-8240.

For those who want to read further about the Black architects and craftspeople highlighted in the “We Built This” exhibit, a variety of resources are available through RPL. A selection of books, articles, databases, and other resource recommendations may be accessed via A library card number is required for off-site e-Resource access. Patrons may obtain a physical library card number and four-digit PIN by visiting any RPL branch. Digital cards may be obtained by visiting (If a patron has both a physical and a digital card, those numbers will not be the same.) For assistance, call 980-432-8670.

The “We Built This” exhibit will be on display at RPL Headquarters through Saturday, Jan. 27. It will then move to Livingston College for the month of February. For more information about RPL events, programs, and services, go to

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Editor’s Note: J. Myrick Howard previously was honored as a News & Observer Tar Heel of the Week. This story was originally published Aug. 10, 1997. He was named The N&O’s Tar Heel of the Year in 2023.

J. Myrick Howard produces a key to the door of the old Briggs Hardware building on the Fayetteville Street Mall and promptly confronts a circumstance that, at one level or another, defines his life’s work: The door is stuck shut.

Given that this is frustratingly common — Howard, who last week began his 20th year as executive director of Preservation North Carolina, has grown accustomed to facing obstacles, doors included — he’d be forgiven an outburst. A hearty shove, at least.

Yet despite the jam, Howard is tenaciously patient. Even though there’s a meeting demanding his attention in 15 minutes, and the building he is supposed to be showing is sealed tight, he remains perfectly at ease, willing instead to discuss the exterior renovation that soon will transform the four-story structure from its current state of neglect to the glory of its past.

And why get all flustered, really? A couple of workmen soon appear and solve the problem. Within minutes, the door is flung open and Howard, as usual, is in.

“His ego never gets in the way — never, never,” says Carol Wyant, director of statewide partnerships for the Washington-based National Trust of Historic Preservations. “He focuses on the mission and, if one way won’t work, he finds what will.”

Howard’s steady leadership has made Preservation North Carolina one of the nation’s premier historic conservation groups, Wyant says, comparable in scope and achievement to groups in Georgia, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania and Utah.

His group has risen in stature along with his reputation — a 20-year evolution inextricably linked. When Howard joined Preservation North Carolina in 1978, he was 25 years old and fresh out of college. He became the assistant director of the nonprofit foundation, which is dedicated to saving the state’s historic buildings and places.

It was a part-time post — one that he chose over a full-time position offered by the National Trust in Washington. But Howard says he was never torn between the two offers; he wanted to stay in North Carolina.

Such a commitment to place, he says, is deeply rooted. He grew up in a house that his grandfather built 80 years ago in Lakewood, a working-class neighborhood in Durham. His mother moved there when she was 3 and still lives there. His father, a machinist at American Tobacco, never worked anywhere else.

“I grew up with stability and continuity,” Howard says. “I had a real sense of place.”

He remembers how, when he was a kid, such Durham landmarks as the Benjamin Duke mansion were torn down — “to make way for motels and in some cases to make way for nothing,” he says.

So by the time he went to college, his career track was set. First he studied at Brown University, then at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he collected three degrees. He says he remembers telling the dean of the law school that he was pursuing his law degree to go into historic preservation.

“He laughed,” Howard says. “Now they ask me back to talk about alternative degrees in law.”

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Myrick Howard says when Preservation North Carolina sets out to protect buildings and places, it has succeeded far more often than it has failed.

But in 45 years leading Preservation NC, Howard can point to a few endeavors that fell short and places that were lost despite his and the statewide organization’s best efforts.

Here’s a short list:


Wakestone was the mansion built in Raleigh for Josephus Daniels in the early 1920s as he was nearing the end of his tenure as U.S. Secretary of the Navy. Daniels was later U.S. ambassador to Mexico under Franklin Roosevelt and for more than 50 years was owner and editor of The News & Observer until his death in 1948.

The home was then sold to The Masonic Lodge of Raleigh, which added a large kitchen, meeting room and auditorium. In 1976, the building was named a National Historic Landmark, one of only three in the city, and became a local historic landmark in 1990.

The local landmark designation prohibited anyone from demolishing the building. But the focus on racism in America after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in 2020 brought renewed scrutiny to Daniels and his use of The N&O to promote white supremacy.

The Masons, who had long sought to sell the property, teamed up with a developer to ask the city to rescind the local landmark status. The City Council obliged in early 2021, and by year’s end the house was gone and the property divided into 11 house lots.

Preservation NC had tried to buy Wakestone, but its offer was turned down. Howard said removing the landmark status was a cynical move to take advantage of the Black Lives Matter movement and cash in on what had become valuable property.

“Preserving buildings is not about honoring individuals; it’s about recognizing where history happened,” Howard wrote in an essay in The N&O. “Historic preservation tangibly tells history’s complex stories, but only if the buildings survive.”


George and Beth Paschal hired architect James Fitzgibbon, a founding member of N.C. State University’s College of Design, to design their one-story home on a large lot off Glenwood Avenue. The modernist house, built with granite, wood and glass, was finished in 1950. Instead of air conditioning, it had expansive windows for ventilation, heated floors and a sunken fireplace to provide warmth in the winter.

The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But after the couple died, the house sat empty for years. After trying without success to find someone willing to restore the house, the family sold it to a builder who tore it down in 2013. Howard says he had just met with architects from Triangle Modernist Homes to devise a plan for the Paschal House when he learned it had been demolished.


B. Frank Mebane built this two-story brick and timber textile mill in 1896 in what became a huge complex of mills along the Smith River in Eden in Rockingham County. After 105 years of churning out cotton yarn, the mill closed in 2001. Preservation NC took an option to buy the mill in 2013 and set about seeking someone to renovate the building and give it new life.

In 2017, it announced a sale to Pittsboro developer Faisal Khan, who had previously renovated old buildings in Virginia. It was being converted into apartments when fire destroyed the main building in January 2023. Howard cites Spray Cotton Mills as one of a handful of historic structures that have been lost to fire over the years, including the Carolina Mill in Burlington over Thanksgiving weekend.


The Charlotte Masonic Temple was “one of the most dramatic buildings in downtown Charlotte,” the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission wrote in 1980. Completed in 1914 on South Tryon Street, the four-story building was meant to look like King Solomon’s Temple, with two stone columns topped by lotus blossoms flanking the front doors.

First Union Bank acquired the building and much of the rest of the block for its new headquarters in the 1980s. Preservation NC tried to persuade the bank, now Wells Fargo, to incorporate the building into its plans, but it was razed in 1987 to create the plaza in front of the bank’s towers.

“It really truly was a building that everybody knew in downtown Charlotte,” Howard said. “And it was just iconic. It was a strangely cool building.”

The columns were saved, however, and erected in Rock Hill, South Carolina, in 1991 astride a prominent entrance to the city.


As the state began selling the grand old houses along Raleigh’s North Blount Street in 2015, Preservation NC had its eye on the smallest, most decrepit of them all. It made an offer on the McGee House, hoping to turn the white Tudor-style home into its headquarters.

But the state accepted a higher offer from the buyers of a larger house next door that wanted to demolish the McGee House and leave the lot unused. Howard says the law directing the state to sell the houses stipulated that they be preserved, but state officials didn’t see it that way.

“We got undercut by the bureaucracy of the State of North Carolina,” he said. “That was really frustrating.”

Read the article on The News & Observer online


In 45 years as president of Preservation North Carolina, Myrick Howard can point to thousands of buildings and places across the state that he and his organization had a hand in revitalizing and protecting.

From modest farm houses to massive mills, Howard has helped find new purpose and vitality for the state’s historic structures.

He’s The News & Observer’s Tar Heel of the Year.

As he stepped down to make way for a new leader, The N&O asked Howard to identify some of the organization’s accomplishments that make him happiest and most proud.

Here’s a short list:


The 10,000-square-foot, 22-room Bellamy Mansion was built just before the start of the Civil War on Wilmington’s Market Street, a few blocks from the riverfront. The home was built for physician and merchant John D. Bellamy primarily by skilled enslaved workers and free Black artisans. Behind the mansion was a two-story brick building that served as a privy and the quarters for slaves who worked in the house.

Following an arson fire in 1972, family members and community volunteers worked to restore the house in hopes of opening it as a museum. Still struggling with that effort, the family donated the property to Preservation NC, which finished restoring the home, slave quarters and gardens and opened the site as a museum in 1994.

“That’s a house that deserves to be a museum,” Howard said. “That’s a house where you’re in Wilmington, it screams at you as you’re going down the street. But from the get-go we pushed on telling the stories of the connections to slavery and the enslaved folks who lived there.”


The four-story brick Briggs Building was heralded as “Raleigh’s first skyscraper” when it was completed on Fayetteville Street in 1874. While it housed numerous tenants in its upper floors, it was primarily home to Briggs Hardware for 120 years before the family decided to leave downtown.

Preservation NC teamed up with the A.J. Fletcher Foundation to acquire and restore the building starting in 1997, and both organizations moved their offices there. It’s one of several buildings Preservation NC restored and then occupied for a time, before moving on to the next building in need of saving. The organization left the Briggs Building in 2019 to move into the restored Graves-Fields and Hall houses in Raleigh’s Oberlin Village neighborhood (see below).

“If you compared where the Briggs Building was in terms of what was going on around it in downtown Raleigh in 1997 and 2017, we had done all we needed to do,” Howard said. “It was going to be just fine without us.”


Preservation NC has acquired historic mill buildings and worker housing in places such as Gastonia, Edenton and Glencoe, playing a direct role in preventing them from being torn down.

But Howard says he had a larger impact by helping lead an effort to persuade the General Assembly to create tax credits for rehabbing and revitalizing old mills. He says the so-called Mills Bill, passed in 2005, has helped bring about $2.5 billion in private renovation projects across the state, turning old brick factories and warehouses into new work places, homes and restaurants.

“We’re to the point where our developer friends are saying, ‘There aren’t any mills left in Greensboro. There aren’t any mills left in Durham,’” he said. “So they’re looking at places like Rocky Mount and Kinston.”


At the end of the 19th century, North Blount Street was one of Raleigh’s most fashionable neighborhoods, anchored by the Executive Mansion and lined with grand houses.

By the 1960s, many of those homes had fallen into disrepair or been divided into apartments and rooming houses. In 1965, the State Capital Planning Commission adopted a plan for a sprawling campus of state office buildings that called for demolishing many of the homes along Blount.

The plan was only partially carried out, but many of the grand old houses became state office buildings, and their decline continued. Howard and other Preservation NC allies persuaded lawmakers to order the state to sell the homes to private owners who would fix them up and care for them.

The state moved some houses, making vacant lots available for new apartments and townhouses and a new church. Eventually the state sold most of the big old houses, with the last, the Andrews-Duncan House, being fully restored earlier this year.


Preservation NC is now headquartered in two 19th century homes built by prominent families in Oberlin Village, the community established by former slaves after the Civil War on what was then the outskirts of Raleigh. Restoring and occupying the Hall and Graves-Fields houses was a way of preserving pieces of a historic African American community that is disappearing under new houses, condos and businesses.

But as important to Howard were the stories of the Hall, Graves and Fields families that the organization was able to uncover as it researched the homes. The families not only helped build a thriving community in the face of discrimination and segregation, they provided foundations, through education, for future generations who made their mark beyond the community and the state.

Howard refers to the project as “hitting the history jackpot” in Oberlin Village.

“There was just so much more history there than met the eye,” he said.

View the article on The News & Observer online



In a scene near the beginning of the 1997 movie “Titanic,” our heroine, Rose, peers out of a submarine surveying the ship’s wreckage to see through the murky water the corroded, but distinctly curlicued, metal grate of the double doors once leading to the First-Class Dining Saloon.

The broken ship has sat on the ocean floor for 84 years. But instantly, in the character’s mind, it’s 1912 and a pair of white-jacketed waiters swing open the gleaming doors to welcome Rose into the elegant Louis XVI-style room with its ornate columns, arched ceiling and elaborate plasterwork, in all their original glory.

Maggie Gregg believes something like that happens behind the eyes of her longtime boss, Myrick Howard, every time he crosses the threshold of a historic building that Preservation North Carolina has been summoned to try to rescue. Howard sees past the fallen chimneys of the 1800s farmhouses and the collapsed ceilings of the century-old schools and envisions, instead, what the structures used to be and what — with a little love and creative financing — they might become.

“He has such an enthusiasm and an ability to convey that vision,” said Gregg, who has been the Eastern regional director for PNC since 2016. “People naturally get excited about what he’s proposing, because he’s so excited and believes in it so much.”

For 45 years, J. Myrick Howard braved chiggers, mosquitoes, flea infestations, scorched roof rafters, rotted floor joists, recalcitrant land owners and unsympathetic zoning boards for the sake of saving nearly 900 structures that tell the stories of North Carolina. He’s The News & Observer’s 2023 Tar Heel of the Year, an annual honor that recognizes North Carolinians who have made a significant impact in the region and beyond.


Howard was born in 1953 in Durham, the second son of a career machinist for American Tobacco. Growing up, his family lived with his grandmother in the rock-solid home his grandfather had built in a working-class neighborhood using bricks salvaged from an old tobacco warehouse.

After graduating from Durham High as a National Merit Scholar with a four-year scholarship from American Tobacco, Howard went to Brown University for two years before transferring to UNC-Chapel Hill for an undergraduate degree in history.

He moved straight into grad school for double degrees in city planning and law, heading for what he expected to be a career in environmental law.

But along the way, he took a class in historic preservation and, “I got the bug,” he says, which prompted a professional detour that wasn’t as wild a turn as it might first appear. Some of the same statutes apply in both settings.

Meanwhile, from the 1950s through the 1970s, his hometown had undergone the same kind of “urban renewal” that happened across the country with the help of federal Housing and Urban Development and transportation grants. While aimed at updating aging infrastructure and encouraging economic growth, urban renewal nearly always resulted in the destruction of lower-income neighborhoods and business districts, with residents getting displaced and buildings being bulldozed. Often the structures were replaced with highway bypasses, such as the Durham Freeway, or their former lots were simply left empty.

Much of Durham’s African American community of Hayti was razed during that period, along with businesses and institutions that made up the Howard family’s daily life. Down came the school where Howard’s mother had worked as a secretary. Down came the car dealership that had kept his father on the road. The drug stores, the barber shops, the clothing stores and shoe shops, down, down, down, down.

Howard also recalls going with his father as a young boy to watch as one of the mansions of the Duke family — founders of American Tobacco — was demolished. They weren’t there to mourn, Howard says, just to observe as something that had once stood so proud was brought to the ground in someone’s notion of progress.

By the time he heard a UNC professor talk about the need to save the buildings that connect people to the past, Howard intuitively understood that buildings are part of the fabric of a community.

Continue reading on The News & Observer…

Two historic districts and 15 individual properties across the state have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources announced.

Listing of a property in the National Register places no obligation or restriction on a private owner using private resources to maintain or alter the property. Over the years, various federal and state incentives have been introduced to assist private preservation initiatives, including tax credits for the rehabilitation of National Register properties. As of Jan. 1, 2023, over 4,209 historic rehabilitation projects with an estimated private investment of over $3.5 billion have been completed.

The following properties were reviewed by the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee and subsequently nominated by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Officer and forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register for consideration for listing in the National Register:

Central North Carolina

  • Coan-Gray House, Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, listed 8/7/2023
  • Downtown Greensboro Historic District (Additional Documentation II, Boundary Increase and Boundary Decrease), Greensboro, Guilford County, listed 4/20/2023
  • Flint Mill No. 2 – Burlington Industries, Inc. Plant, Gastonia, Gaston County, listed 4/19/2023
  • Alexander S. and Mary R. Hanes House, Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, listed 4/18/2023
  • Mooresville Water Pump and Filter Plant, Mooresville, Iredell County, listed 4/18/2023
  • William and Barbara Mutschler House, Wake Forest, Wake County, listed 4/20/2023
  • Jeter and Ethel Neville House, Carrboro, Orange County, listed 8/1/2023
  • Uzzell-Best Farm, La Grange, Wayne County, listed 9/7/2023
  • Wemple-Shelton House, Yanceyville, Caswell County, listed 8/8/2023

Eastern North Carolina

  • Davis School, Engelhard, Hyde County, listed 4/17/2023
  • Golden Asro and Ruth Holley Frinks House, Edenton, Chowan County, listed 8/8/2023
  • Holt’s Chapel School, Oriental vicinity, Pamlico County, listed 8/8/2023

Western North Carolina

  • Blue Ridge Tourist Court, Boone, Watauga County, listed 4/18/2023
  • Craggy Historic District, Woodfin, Buncombe County, listed 4/19/2023
  • Boyce K. and Kitzi McLamb Miller House, Asheville vicinity, Buncombe County, listed 8/7/2023
  • Waldensian Swiss Embroidery Company – Valdese Weavers, Inc. Mill, Valdese, Burke County, listed 8/9/2023
  • Eunice Waymon Birthplace, Tryon, Polk County, listed 5/18/2023

Click here to read the full article with all of the property details.
Published by Henderson Lightning, Lightning Reports

SALISBURY — Today, people all over North Carolina work to preserve and champion the historic buildings that have lasted for as long as the country has been in existence. What may not be on everyone’s mind are the countless African Americans who were responsible for designing and constructing the many historical structures that remind North Carolinians of their long, complicated past.

Between now and Jan. 27, 2024, the Rowan Public Library Headquarters in Salisbury will be hosting the traveling exhibit “We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina,” presented by Preservation North Carolina, that sets out to honor those who “built the historic buildings we collectively treasure.”

On Nov. 30, a welcome reception for the exhibit was held at the RPL Headquarters where many residents and city officials were in attendance to learn more about how North Carolina came to be.

Monica T. Davis, is the founder and executive director of the Rebirthing Our Cultural Kingdom (R.O.C.K.) Foundation, whose mission is to save Black-built shotgun-style homes from being demolished. Having assisted in making the exhibit a reality, Davis kicked off the reception by giving a presentation on her foundation, gentrification, and her fight for affordable housing.

Davis wanted to represent as much of the state in the exhibit as possible and to get across that African American builders have a much greater impact on modern times than people realize.

“The whole exhibition is storytelling based on the life and history of that particular African American and their way of life and what they contributed back to their communities,” Davis said.

The library is even including an “all-ages scavenger hunt” for anyone to enter for a chance to win multiple prizes.

Walking through the exhibit, it’s easy for it to feel like a time machine. It identifies the slaves who traveled over to North Carolina during the Colonial times and how their labor built some of the first American buildings. The exhibit takes people to the Civil War, Reconstruction and the present day. It also highlights the positive impact Black churches and Historically Black Colleges and Universities had on certain segments of the population when it came to education and fellowship.

These buildings act as examples to show how much African Americans can accomplish when given the same opportunities as others.

The exhibit had additional biographies on a multitude of African American carpenters, builders, brickmasons, and architects whose influence branched outside of their professions.

“Not that they just built buildings, but they were also leaders, there were politicians, schoolteachers, principals, so we wanted to tell the whole story of the history and narrative of African Americans from the slave ship all the way to North Carolina and the built environment they contributed to everybody that was able to see the architecture,” Davis said.

Mayor Karen Alexander is proud to have the exhibit in Salisbury and believes it can act as a tipping point for people to better understand the historical context of North Carolina.

“This is so great for our young people to see all the different components and facets of building from the design concept to the people who actually make it happen,” Alexander said. “Even with all of the constraints that those individuals faced, they could do that kind of beautiful work. It’s pretty inspirational.” When Jeffrey Sharp found out about the welcome reception and the exhibit, he felt like it was worth checking out for himself. After reading about all these people’s lives and the history of North Carolina, Sharp says he is now more capable of putting the present into the proper perspective.

“I’m really impressed at the depth of detail about some of the individuals who were involved in the project,” Sharp said. “I think every time that I learn more about the situation in the Antebellum South, it is more and more complicated in the way the legal system bent over backwards to try and accommodate slavery. There’s stories about people who were master builders who managed to practice a trade, some of them purchased their own freedom and then set about purchasing their own family members in some instances in order to bring them to freedom.”

After the “We Built This” exhibit leaves the RPL Headquarters, it will move to Livingstone College for the month of Feb.

By Brad Dountz, Salisbury Post
Click here to view the article online.


ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) – Around 75 attendees visited Rowan Public Library Headquarters after hours on Thursday, November 30 to hear Monica T. Davis speak on the topics of architecture, restoration, and the cultural value of preserving Black-built homes.

Davis, who is the founder and Executive Director of the Rebirthing Our Cultural Kingdom (R.O.C.K.) Foundation, headlined the welcome reception for North Carolina Preservation’s traveling exhibit We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina, which is currently on display at RPL Headquarters in Salisbury through January 27, 2024.

Davis’ knowledge of preservation and historic, Black-built homes runs deep. Not only does she hold a Master of Fine Arts degree in Interior Architecture and a Post Baccalaureate certificate in Historical Preservation, but she also has over 10 years of architecture experience and is the owner and principal designer of Rinascita Designs, LLC.

During her speech, Davis explained how devastating it was to see the historical, Black-built shotgun-style homes in her hometown of Wilson, NC falling into serious disrepair.

“The City of Wilson has not really invested in this area, and a lot of these homes have been renter-occupied for over 30 years. When I was doing my thesis survey, only one house had been owner-occupied. That shows that African Americans in this area weren’t able to create generational wealth because they had been renting the same homes for 30-plus years,” Davis explained. With a lack of attention to this important historical hub of Wilson, the homes – and their historical significance – teetered on the edge of total loss. Davis wanted to do more than preserve these structures. She also wanted to preserve the deep cultural and historical value they held for Wilson’s Black community.

By establishing the R.O.C.K. Foundation, Davis contributed much information and research to the We Built This exhibit. As she learned more about the deteriorating shotgun-style homes in Wilson, she dove deeper into the historical context in which they were built. Many Black tobacco field laborers lived in these homes, which were the chosen style of residence because of their

slim designs. Davis explained that the shotgun-style house design originated in West Africa. Multiple shotgun-style homes could be squeezed into smaller plots of land, making them the most economical choice for workers’ housing. In turn, these neighborhoods became the setting for generations of Black families living in these homes, working on the local tobacco farms, and building a unique culture within their communities.

Davis explained how the R.O.C.K. Foundation does more than repairing and restoring the homes: it also serves to educate the community on the rich culture from which many Black Wilson residents come. Davis realized that many Wilson citizens, many of whom had ancestors living in these homes and working in the tobacco fields, didn’t fully understand the significance of the dilapidated homes. Not only were the homes Black-built, but they also served as the backdrop for the history of multiple generations of Wilson’s Black citizens.

However, the R.O.C.K. Foundation doesn’t stop with restoration and education. Davis takes her entire operation a major step further by making the restored shotgun-style homes available as affordable housing options for members of the Wilson community. “As you all know right now, inflation and the cost of living are skyrocketing, so an important part of my preservation work is creating affordable housing options from already-existing structures,” explained Davis.

After Davis’ presentation, attendees had a chance to tour through the entire We Built This exhibit, meet and speak with Davis, and enjoy refreshments together. Exhibit-goers also had the opportunity to complete scavenger hunt activities where the answers were tucked away within the exhibit’s informational panels and posters. Scavenger hunt activities are available for library visitors to complete throughout the exhibit’s stay at RPL Headquarters.

For those who missed the reception, there are multiple upcoming opportunities for you to enjoy programs and activities themed around We Built This. On Saturday, Dec. 9 at 12:30 pm, photographers of all skill levels are invited to join RPL staff at Livingstone College for a photowalk and take photos of historical buildings on campus, some of which are featured in the We Built This exhibit. To see a complete list of programming, visit or call 980-432-8670 to connect with your most convenient RPL location.

The exhibit will remain at RPL Headquarters through January 27, 2024–interested visitors can view it during the branch’s regular business hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 9 am to 9 pm; and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm. The exhibit will move to Livingstone College during the month of February 2024. We Built This is presented by Preservation North Carolina, sponsored by Joe L. & Hester M. Sims Family Foundation and Edward & Susan Norvell, and in collaboration with the Historic Salisbury Foundation, Rowan Public Library, Livingstone College, and Friends of Rowan Public Library.

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At over 100 years old, the Addor Community Center has seen better days. But work is underway to revitalize the historic structure given a recently awarded $15,000 grant.

The community center received the 2023 Stedman Incentive Grant, which recognizes and assists nonprofit organizations working to preserve architectural heritage in the state, according to a statement.

The award is funded by the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation of Greensboro in memory of Marion’s father. Preservation North Carolina presented the grant in October during its annual preservation conference.

Addor is a small community outside Pinebluff on Moore County’s southern edge. The community center was formerly the Lincoln Park School, constructed in 1922. It was a Rosenwald school, serving as an African-American elementary school, high school and community center for 27 years.

Rosenwald schools were constructed throughout the south in the early 1900s, funded by donations from Black communities, the Rosenwald Fund and public monies. There were 15 Rosenwald schools built in Moore County, and the Lincoln Park School is believed to be the only one left standing.

The building is a classic example of a four-room Rosenwald school designed to face east or west, according to a statement. It was modeled with “Floor Plan No. 400.”

“These historic places tell the story of our communities,” said Benjamin Briggs, Preservation N.C. president and CEO. “Places like the Addor Community Center represent an important and fascinating chapter of American history by representing the history of Rosenwald schools. Moore County is fortunate to have an example of an original Rosenwald school and to make it even more significant, it still serves the community today. This site is not only a landmark for the people of Moore County but a gold star for the state of North Carolina.”

The school closed in 1949 and was later acquired by the Pinebluff Maternity and Welfare Committee. It has operated as the Addor Community Center since 1952, having undergone a few renovations to serve the community better by adding a library, computers and a kitchen.

It also served as a rental space for a few decades before the building began to decline in 2010, and there was no group to oversee its maintenance. A new board formed in 2015 as a nonprofit with hopes to save the old school.

“The current children don’t have any venue for recreation or education,” said John Bright, the community center’s treasurer. “… God just touched my heart to help these younger children have something to be proud of in the community and for adults as well.”

Bright grew up in Addor and said the community center was a “focal point” for residents.

“I experienced how much of an asset the center was and learned later on how important to the community it was as well,” Bright said. “That was the hub of everything for the citizens of the community.”

None of the churches nearby were large enough to accommodate much of a crowd in those days, so the community center was the default location for funerals, weddings and family reunions. The same goes for community celebrations and holiday events.

Bright said the building has also hosted GED classes, after-school programs, community basketball leagues, scout troops and a food bank.

What initially seemed like an insurmountable task of restoring the building became more challenging when Hurricanes Florence and Michael damaged it in 2018. The community center was tarped to try and prevent further damage, but water leaked through the roof and caused issues with the foundation, floors and walls, according to a statement.

The Addor Community Center received a $785,000 award from the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office in 2021 from a pool of federal disaster relief money designated to repair historic buildings damaged by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

The Addor Community Center was eligible for these funds because it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

The scope of work defined for the project included structural and foundation repairs, replacement of the roof and windows, new interior finishes and updates to the building’s electrical system, heating and cooling and plumbing.

Bright said the federal grant was supposed to cover all repairs, including upgrades like new bathrooms, but the project’s budget has grown due to the inflation of construction materials over the last few years. He said the new goal is to save the building and then fundraise to make additional improvements for the interior.

The community center also received a $5,000 grant from Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church in 2021 to assist with rehabilitation efforts. The Stedman Incentive Grant is expected to fund a new roof and begin securing the foundation.

Bright said work hasn’t begun yet, but the board is working with an architect. He said the federal funds have to be spent by next fall, and he is hopeful for work to start before the end of this year.

By Ana M. Risano, The Pilot

Click here to view the article online.

He is a hero to thousands of North Carolinians who live near precious old buildings that, but for Myrick Howard, would have been destroyed.

Because of Howard’s work, scores of old school buildings, historic homes, commercial buildings, and other treasures — a total of almost 900 — have been restored and remain a part of North Carolina’s landscape.

Howard’s work and the endeavors of those he inspired or directed are making North Carolina’s visual building landscape a collection of treasures that will be enjoyed by North Carolinians for years to come.

Who is Myrick Howard and exactly what has he done to preserve so many important buildings? Howard recently retired as president of Preservation North Carolina, an organization he served for 45 years.

He responds to these questions and outlines the key ingredients of a successful historic preservation program in “Buying Time for Heritage: How to Save an Endangered Historic Property” revised and expanded edition, published by UNC Press and released on October 3.

Early in the book Howard explains why preservation of certain old buildings is so important. “If you save a historic resource, its stories can be recounted, illustrated and experienced. The cultural and economic benefits of preservation can be enjoyed.

“But if the resource is destroyed, its place in history will eventually be lost. Its value as a trigger for economic development and community revitalization will have been squandered. Where historic buildings survive, so does a community’s sense of history and identity. One might even say that these buildings are the heart and soul of a community.”

To explain why old buildings need the attention of preservationists, Howard makes an analogy to the variety of pups at an animal shelter. He writes:

“We often refer to Preservation North Carolina as an animal shelter for endangered buildings and sites. We are working to find good new owners for historic places that need love and attention.

“Shelter dogs are sweet animals, worthy of love and affection. They may need a bath or groom grooming, and they may need their shots. In some cases, they also need serious medical attention. What these dogs have in common with endangered properties is as an owner who can’t or won’t take care of them it’s not the dogs’ fault, or the building’s fault.”

But Howard concedes that not all pups or all old buildings can be saved and that “recognizing a lost cause and walking away is sometimes the right decision. Overinvesting in property that is truly ‘too far gone’ without having an explicit strategy for subsidizing its preservation can be deadly for an organization.”

Howard believes that hard work and experience in real estate is more important than money in developing and implementing a successful preservation project. “Throughout my career, I have found property expertise to be more important than readily available capital in working to save endangered properties. Working with endangered properties is a program, not a bank account.”

He emphasizes other benefits that come from having real estate expertise and having a reputation for getting things done. He emphasizes that active work in the business of real estate gives an historic preservation organization credibility in the community, it gives its experience and authority, and it strengthens the network of practitioners in historic preservation.

By seeking assistance in the real estate business, “the preservation organization develops relationships with contractors, lenders, architects, lawyers, craftspeople, and investors who can be of enormous help in future projects.”

The best feature of the book might be Howard’s detailed descriptions of the complicated and difficult processes that led to successful preservation projects, for instance, the saving of Rosedale in Charlotte, a historic house near U.S.29, Howard says that “if it had gone on the conventional real estate market without limitations, it would almost certainly have been relocated or destroyed.”

The story of its saving is just one of many preservation stories that make up this fine book.

Finally, this colorful book is worth its price just for the many beautiful photos of buildings that Preservation North Carolina helped saved.

By D.G. Martin, a lawyer, retired as UNC system vice president for public affairs in 1997. He hosted PBC-NC’s “North Carolina Bookwatch,” for more than 20 years.

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The people who restored a historic mansion and a former department store in downtown Raleigh were among those receiving awards for their preservation work in North Carolina last month.

Others included a group that restored Durham’s earliest surviving cemetery for African Americans and a contractor credited with saving some of the city’s finest old homes from neglect.

The awards were given by Preservation North Carolina, the private, statewide nonprofit that works to protect and promote important buildings and sites. Each year, Preservation NC honors people, organizations and businesses for injecting new life into historic places at risk of disappearing.

Among this year’s winners:

  • Tina Konidaris and Jeff Turpin, who restored the Andrews-Duncan House on Raleigh’s North Blount Street. The state had owned the house since 1972 and let it sit empty and consumed by mold and overrun with raccoons for a decade. The couple spent more than three years and millions of dollars painstakingly restoring the 10,000-square-foot home, which is both a Raleigh Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s now home to them and their six children.
  • Empire Properties, which bought and renovated the Efird Building on Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street into new office and retail space. Built in 1935, the building was home to the Efird’s Department Store until Hudson Belk took it over in 1959. The three-story building, designed in a subtle Art Deco style, was later home to the N.C. State Bar Association. The Efird Building runs through the block to Salisbury Street, where the retail space is occupied by the DECO Raleigh gift shop.
  • Friends of Geer Cemetery, for its work to restore and maintain a burial ground that was active from the 1870s until the 1950s and was the only public cemetery available to Durham’s African American residents until the city created Beechwood in the 1920s. Geer Cemetery had become unrecognizable when the friends group was formed in 2003 to reclaim it and to begin documenting who is buried there. So far, the group has identified about 1,650 people who rest at Geer Cemetery.
  • TurnLight Partners of Durham, which has stabilized and restored several homes and others buildings built between the late 1800s and the 1950s. Led by owner Ken Gasch, the general contractor has taken on projects no one else would touch, including a two-story, century-old grocery building on Holloway Street that lost its rear wall during a rare East Coast earthquake in 2011.
  • Michelle Michael, for her 30 years of historic preservation work. Michael was the architectural historian at what is now Fort Liberty, before going to work for the Town of Wake Forest in 2014. As a planner, Michael has beefed up the town’s historic preservation program by helping update standards for historic districts and local landmarks, creating walking tour apps and hosting archaeology and property owner workshops.

By Richard Stradling, The News & Observer

Click here to view the article online.


The Addor Community Center, Inc. in Pinebluff has been named the 2023 winner of the Stedman Incentive Grant presented annually by Preservation North Carolina (PNC), according to a press release from PNC.

Each year, the honor awards recognize outstanding people, projects, businesses, and organizations in the field of historic preservation across the state.

The Addor Community Center was honored in Durham on Oct. 4 as part of PNC’s annual historic preservation conference. The award ceremony featured a presentation, which can be viewed at, followed by a reception at the Hayti Heritage Center.

The Stedman Incentive Grant is awarded to recognize and assist nonprofit organizations in their efforts to preserve the state’s architectural heritage. Originating in 1976, the award is funded each year by the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation of Greensboro in memory of Marion’s father. The $15,000 grant encourages and facilitates the rescue of endangered historic and architecturally significant properties in North Carolina.

The Lincoln Park School, more commonly known as the Addor Community Center, was constructed in 1922 by the Rosenwald Southern Office in Nashville, Tennessee, said PNC. For 27 years, the building served as an African-American elementary school, high school, and community center for the rural population of Addor in southeastern Moore County.

The building is a largely intact example of the Rosenwald schools built for African American children throughout the South in the early twentieth century. Construction was funded through public funds, the Julius Rosenwald Fund and significant donations from the Black community.

The Lincoln Park School is an excellent example of the Rosenwald Four Teacher Community School — Floor Plan No. 400, designed to face east or west. It is a one-story gabled-roof frame building with four large classrooms. Of the fifteen Rosenwald schools built in Moore County, the Lincoln Park School is one of only two surviving, said PNC.

In 1949, the school closed its doors and was acquired by the Pinebluff Maternity and Welfare Committee a year later. The school has operated as the Addor Community Center since 1952, and a series of renovations turned the building into a fully functional center with computers, a library and a kitchen.

For decades, it was a rental space for family reunions or worship services. But by 2010, the building had begun to decline, and there was no longer a community board to oversee its maintenance.

In 2015, a new board was formed and set out to restore its beloved center but was met with challenges. In 2018, the building was damaged by hurricanes Florence and Michael.

The building sustained significant damage to the roof. Traps were placed at the northern corner of the building to hold back the inflow of water; however, due to continued water leakage, the damage has spread to the foundation, floors, and walls of the structure. Thankfully, the building received a grant in early 2021 from the state historic preservation office and National Park Service to address some of the damage, said PNC.

The Stedman Incentive Grant will fund a new roof and begin to secure the foundation of the building. The Addor Community is continuously putting in the time and effort to restore this building and make it an integral asset that adults and children alike can utilize. Preservation North Carolina is pleased to support the Addor Community Center in bringing this piece of history back to serve the community.

Click here to view the article on the Sandhills Sentinel

The Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit was presented to Vincent Spaulding, Project leader, on behalf of the George Henry White Memorial Health and Education Center on Wednesday, October 4, at the award ceremony that is a part of the annual conference of Preservation North Carolina.

This award is presented each year to people and organizations demonstrating genuine commitment through extraordinary leadership, research, philanthropy, promotion and/or personal participation in historic preservation. Representatives of the Benjamin and Edith Spaulding Descendants Foundation were honored at the reception that was held at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC, including Milton Campbell (President), Wanda Campbell-Clay, (The donors of the original building and land); Stacy Robinson (Secretary), Vincent Spaulding (Project leader), Paula Spaulding, and Robert Egleston, whose constant support for the GHW Center led to the application for the Carraway Award.

“Retired Architect Vincent Spaulding sought to redress an historical gap by creating a memorial to one of North Carolina’s forgotten figures in the form of a community center that revives his legacy,” wrote Kate Tsubata, communications coordinator, in the application.

“With his architectural acumen, Vince took the lead in protecting and preserving the building….Vince led financially as well as in architecture and labor. Today, health fairs, computer classes, land management seminars, electrician training, Meals on Wheels, and fitness classes fill the center, bettering life for people of Bladen and Columbus counties.”

Of special import for Preservation North Carolina is the significance of carrying on the traditions established by our forebears. “The center does not merely memorialize GH White’s legacy: it embodies it. His famous promise, of a “Phoenix rising again from the ashes,” is a fitting metaphor for the new life given to a dying building—and new opportunities it provides for the entire community.”

Unaware of the nomination, Vince was surprised by the award and was impressed by the ceremony, which featured lovely landmark buildngs and projects all over North Carolina. “I don’t deserve this honor,” he said, “but I accept it on behalf of the leadership team and all the supporters and volunteers who have helped turn the vacant farmhouse into a thriving center for the community where George Henry White was born and raised.”

As many now know, George Henry White started life in the farms and turpentine woods of Bladen and Columbus counties to become a highly respected attorney and state delegate, and finally, congressman during the tumultuous years of 1897 to 1901. Despite the barriers he faced, he always worked to empower others with education, business development and land development. The center was initiated with $10,000 in funding from the BESDF, and is the first building memorializing his contributions to North Carolina and the nation as a whole.

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Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit Awarded to Ludlow & Sheppard Houses in Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem, NC: Winston-Salem Historic Inns announced today that one of their properties, Summit Street Inns- comprised of the Jacob L. and Myra Ludlow House and Benjamin J. and Rosa H. Sheppard House- are the award recipients of the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from Perservation NC.  Owners Eric Alspaugh and Lou Baldwin accepted the award at Preservation NC’s Annual Conference that took place Wednesday night.  This milestone is a major move for Winston-Salem Historic Inns on its mission to uphold the authenticity and integrity of historical homes in Winston-Salem.

“It’s a big honor to receive this award from Preservation NC,” says Dr. Eric Alspaugh, project manager and designer of Summit Street Inns and co-owner of Winston-Salem Historic Inns. “We hope all of the citizens of Winston-Salem benefit from the life, character, and history of these magnificent structures.”

To learn more about the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit given to Summit Street Inns, click here.

About Winston-Salem Historic Inns: Winston-Salem Historic Inns features two unique and significant historic properties in Downtown Winston-Salem: The Shaffner Inn & The Summit Street Inns. Each Inn represents different styles of architecture.  Inside The Shaffner Inn is a restaurant, Founders, which features an extensive breakfast and lunch menu six days a week. Winston-Salem Historic Inns is dedicated to providing an enchanting journey through history, where the elegance of the past harmoniously converges with the comforts of the present. Our mission is to create an immersive experience that celebrates the rich tapestry of heritage, offering guests a retreat into a world of refined luxury and captivating stories.

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HIGH POINT — Benjamin Briggs has come full circle in the world of historic preservation. In 1993, after buying and successfully restoring a fire damaged historic house on Johnson Street, Briggs received a distinguished award from Preservation North Carolina for the daunting project. Last month, some 30 years later, he was named president and CEO of Preservation North Carolina, a fitting culmination for a man who has given much of his adult life to historic preservation.

“I’ve had a strong working relationship with Preservation North Carolina going back to my first preservation project in High Point,” the 56-year-old High Point native said. “I’ve had this relationship with them for decades, so when I learned this position was opening up, I threw my hat in the ring and was fortunate enough to get the job.” He started on Aug. 1.

In accepting the Raleigh-based job, Briggs had to give up three preservation roles in the Triad that have been important to him — his full-time job as executive director of Preservation Greensboro, a position he’d held since 2003; his appointment to the Guilford County Historic Preservation Commission; and his role as president of the High Point Preservation Society, which he helped reorganize about seven years ago.

Gloria Halstead — who now lives in the house Briggs restored 30 years ago — has replaced him as president of the preservation society. “I’ve left them in very good hands,” Briggs said. “They have a board of super strong people who are motivated and talented.” Halstead described Briggs as “the embodiment of historic preservation.” “He is very knowledgeable about all things architecture,” she said. “Benjamin is always enthusiastic about preservation projects — nothing is too daunting or difficult — and he is eager to share his knowledge.”

In addition to the Johnson Street house he restored, Briggs has contributed to many other local projects, including the preservation of the city’s 1907 Southern Railway depot, the restoration of jazz legend John Coltrane’s childhood home, the restoration of a 1912 mill house in Highland Mill Village, and the renovation of the historic Mendenhall-Blair House, a large Quaker farmhouse believed to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.

He holds a master’s degree in preservation studies from Boston University and taught historic preservation at Randolph Community College for five years. He also wrote a column for The High Point Enterprise that focused on local architecture and history. In 2019, Briggs was appointed to the Preservation North Carolina board, and the following year he accepted a position on the executive committee as secretary. Those roles gave him insight that should help him in his new job as president and CEO, he said. “This job is a big one with a lot of responsibility,” Briggs said. “It also takes a lot of time, but I’m excited about the opportunity.”

By: | 336-888-3579
High Point Enterprise

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by: Kassaundra Shanette Lockhart, Davidson Local

In July, it was announced that the former Dunbar High School building on Smith Ave. would be undergoing a transfer of ownership. The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, who’d previously owned the property since 2009, donated the 10-acre Dunbar school tract Preservation North Carolina. The transfer was finalized on August 1.

A previously published press release from Preservation NC noted the structure was constructed in 1951 and named after African American poet and writer Paul Laurence Dunbar. The school served Black students during integration.

Its solid structure reflects an “interesting moment in the struggle to integrate schools,” said Preservation North Carolina President Myrick Howard. “The Dunbar School was built when North Carolina was investing more heavily in African American schools with the hope of making them ‘equal’ but Civil Rights cases were already raising questions about the future of the Jim Crow ‘separate but equal’ policy – which was ultimately struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954.”

Currently, the organization is seeking to sell the property. Davidson Local contacted Preservation NC Regional Director Cathleen Turner to discuss the future of the city landmark..

  1. How did the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte & Preservation NC arrive at the decision to donate the property? Preservation NC remained in communication with the Diocese the whole time they owned it. We urged them to move forward with rehabbing the property or move on. This seemed like a good solution for all parties.

  2.  In a July press release, you all stated you’re “talking with parties who have the interest and know-how to renovate historic buildings.” In talking with these parties, are the desires of neighborhood residents being taken into consideration? If so, in what manner?  We are looking for purchasers who have the experience and capacity to do a $16+ million redevelopment of the long-vacant historic school.  They will create a redevelopment plan for the site and will no doubt consult with neighborhood residents. Our preservation covenants will manage changes to the visual and historical character of the site..

  3. Residents of the neighborhood were opposed to the building being used for housing. Will there be any discussions or meetings with residents to gather feedback during this time of transition? What is Preservation NC’s hopes/goals for the building? Our current exploration and discussions are preliminary given how early it is in the process and would include conversations with residents. Our initial RFP process prioritized a preservation-minded buyer with relevant development experience who would acquire the property for a use that will benefit the community and that is compatible with the historic building. We continue to support those priorities. The property is zoned Traditional Neighborhood Development that allows various uses including residential.  We know that there are neighbors who are supportive of residential use and want to see the building renovated as soon as possible, and that there are a lot of questions.  As stated above, any potential purchaser would consult with neighbors as part of the process.

  4. What is the current condition of the building? Has it been inspected recently? The building has been vacant for over ten years and has sustained damage from vandalism. It will require a complete rehabilitation by an experienced development team.

  5. The City of Lexington has made some ordinance changes since the last proposal was submitted for the building. How does this affect your process moving forward? Preservation NC’s process is to find a competent buyer who will follow the necessary local development requirements and processes.

  6.  Will Preservation NC pursue the building nomination for the National Register of Historic Places or is this something you’re hoping the buyer will do? Would this be required of the buyer? Completing the National Register nomination will document the historical and architectural significance of the property, while also making the project eligible for historic tax credits. Most developers choose to take this on themselves and we anticipate that will be the case here.

Recently, a listing of the property was added to Preservation NC’s website. It can be found here. The asking price is $200,000.

The City of Lexington will continue to maintain the park located at the school. On June 26, the City entered into a five-year lease agreement with Preservation NC. The local government entity will pay a yearly fee of one dollar.

The history and life stories of Black builders and architects in North Carolina are subjects of a traveling exhibit coming to the Museum of the Cape Fear beginning Sept. 6.

The museum, at 801 Arsenal Ave., will host Preservation North Carolina’s traveling exhibit “We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina.”

On display until the end of the year, the exhibit is part of a multifaceted education program that acknowledges and celebrates the Black builders and craftspeople who constructed or designed many of the state’s most treasured historic sites, according to a museum news release.

Spanning more than three centuries, “We Built This” provides more than two dozen personal profiles and historical context on key topics including slavery and Reconstruction; the founding of historically black universities and churches; the Jim Crow era and segregation; and the rise of Black civic leaders and professionals.

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The exhibit includes the story of Cicero Richardson, who was a brick mason in Fayetteville. At the age of 13 or 14 years, Cicero was determined to learn brick masonry. In 1832, with his Certificate of Freedom, he traveled alone 100 miles from New Bern to Fayetteville to begin an apprenticeship with Fayetteville brick mason Jacob Harris (1799-1847).

The Harrises were a prominent free Black family in Fayetteville. Cicero later married Jacob’s oldest child, Sarah Ann. The Harris family, including Cicero, migrated to Ohio in the 1850s to escape restrictive laws and increasing hostilities toward free Black people in North Carolina.

After the Civil War, Jacob Harris’s sons, Robert and Cicero (named after Cicero Richardson), returned to Fayetteville to teach with the American Missionary Association. Robert Harris would become the founding principal at the Howard School (1867) and the State Colored Normal School (1877), the predecessors of Fayetteville State University.

For more information about the exhibit, contact David Reid at or 910-500-4242 at the Museum of the Cape Fear or Demetrius Haddock at with the River Jordan Council on African American Heritage.

The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday -Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The museum operates under the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Visit the museum website at

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WAKE FOREST — Senior Planner for Historic Preservation Michelle Michael has been named the 2023 winner of the Robert E. Stipe Professional Award.

Presented annually by Preservation North Carolina, the honor is the highest award presented to North Carolina professionals who demonstrate outstanding commitment to historic preservation above and beyond their job responsibilities, a news release says.

Established in 1983 to honor the contributions of Robert E. Stipe, an educator in the field of historic preservation and a mentor to a generation of preservation professionals, the award will be presented to Michael during Preservation North Carolina’s annual conference in Durham on Oct. 4.

Michael graduated with a master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia and a bachelor of arts from Meredith College.

As Wake Forest’s Senior Planner for Historic Preservation since 2015, Michael has played a leading role in several initiatives focused on preserving Wake Forest’s history, including the restoration of the Ailey Young House, the town says. She also introduced numerous historic district walking tours, a Northeast Community walking tour and virtual tours of local and downtown historic districts.

In addition, as the town liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission, she has organized HPC Archaeology Workshops and Historic Property Owner Workshops and is instrumental in producing the Wake Forest Woman’s Club and HPC’s Christmas Historic Home Tour.

“Michelle’s dedication to serving our community and passion for preserving Wake Forest’s history make her an especially deserving recipient of Preservation North Carolina’s 2023 Robert E. Stipe Professional Award,” said Planning Director Courtney Tanner.

By John Trump | The Wake Weekly

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WUNC | By Colin Campbell

The newest state historic site will spotlight the role of free Black residents in North Carolina during slavery.

State government will soon run the house in the tiny town of Milton where Thomas Day built a famed furniture business.

In the sleepy Caswell County town on the Virginia border, volunteers have been keeping the story of Day alive for decades. The furniture maker opened his workshop in Milton in the former Union Tavern in 1827.

Volunteer tour guide Joe Graves explains Day’s significance in North Carolina history.

“By 1850, he is the largest furniture maker in the state of North Carolina by a factor of four times,” he said. “What I mean by that is that his capital investment in his furniture-making business was four times that of the number-two person, the number-two business. So he was huge.”

Graves shows visitors several examples of Thomas Day’s furniture. Most of the pieces were provided by locals who found them in the historic homes that dot the town.

For years, Graves and the other volunteers have wanted to see the site grow and attract more visitors. But it’s hard to do as a small local nonprofit. Rather than posting set hours, a sign in the window gives passerby phone numbers to call to schedule a tour.

The state’s Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is now taking over the property. It will be the first new building added to the state historic sites program in decades. The state agency sees an opportunity to spotlight an overlooked aspect of North Carolina history that goes far beyond furniture and cabinets.

“I’m excited about the fact, and I know the department is excited about the fact that we’ll be able to kind of tell that story, not only through the lens of one man, Thomas Day, but the broader story of free people of color across the state of North Carolina during the antebellum period,” said Darin Waters, a deputy secretary at the department.

About 30,000 free Black residents were in the state at the start of the Civil War. They’d either bought their freedom from slavery or their mother had done so. But they still lived their lives under racial restrictions. Thomas Day had to seek action from the state legislature to be able to marry a free Black woman from Virginia. State law at the time prevented her from moving into North Carolina.

That experience is one of many wrinkles in Day’s business success story, according to State Historic Sites director Michelle Lanier.

“He does have a complex narrative,” she said, “in that he and his family did legally own enslaved people. And there’s record of him being aligned with people who were abolitionists. And so there are some parts of his story that require us to lean in with nuance and intellectual rigor that we don’t really see in many other narratives in North Carolina.”

That story largely isn’t told in the state’s other historic sites and museums. It’s why local and state leaders worked for years to acquire the Thomas Day House.

Efforts began when N.C. Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, represented Caswell County, and accelerated when redistricting put the rural county in the district of powerful Senate leader Phil Berger.

Now the state owns both the house and a historic bank across the street, which will likely become a visitor’s center. That building is already run by the Milton Renaissance Foundation as a local history museum.

Funding in the pending state budget will allow for renovations at both buildings and to hire staff, Lanier says. While the budget isn’t final yet, both the House and Senate included more than $5 million over two years for the project.

“We will need to work to establish a really strong interpretive message that is well researched and… embracing these concepts of true inclusion and the power of place,” she said. “So there’s quite a road ahead of us.”

In the meantime, the local volunteers will keep giving tours. Milton Mayor Patricia Williams says she’s hoping to see a boost in tourism. She wants to market her town as a destination for history buffs from the Triad, Triangle, and beyond who want to check out historic homes and a main street that looks much as it did in the 1800s.

“We’re nicknamed a museum without walls,” she said. “Because you come through and you can’t believe that things still exist from that era, from during that time.”

The town was founded in the late 1700s for its proximity to the Dan River, but its commerce suffered when railroad lines went elsewhere. Milton has recently attracted new restaurants and businesses. An abandoned gas station across the street from the Thomas Day House was recently transformed into a beer garden.

Williams thinks the historic site will put Milton on the map for more tourists – much the way Day’s furniture showroom drew out-of-town visitors nearly 200 years ago.

“I think it’s going to be a huge benefit financially for the town of Milton, and I think it would be the survival card for the town of Milton to continue to exist and not dry up,” she said.

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CHARLOTTE — A historic landmark, that was the Wilmore School, in the middle of South End development will not be demolished.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools voted to sell it for just over $8 million.

CMS Director of Real Estate Dennis Lacaris said the transaction will put to rest concerns that the four-acre site will not be razed.

You don’t preserve it for five years, knock it down. You don’t preserve it for 10 years, then knock it down. It’s got to be preserved in perpetuity,” Lacaris said.

The Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, which represents the private buyer, is ensuring it will be preserved.

“The community at large, if anybody’s paying attention, has known that this school has been shuttered and closed, and deteriorating for decades now,” said Jack Thomson, the regional director for the foundation.

There will be opportunities for the public to weigh in on what it could be even though there are no specifics about what the property will be in the future.

“It (funds) generally goes toward housing,” Thomson said. “We hope in this case, something’s that a more affordable housing component in the school, itself.”

“Could be a cool, smaller Optimist Hall where it’s a food hall, different restaurant options,” said nearby resident Aida Smailagic.

He is comforted by whatever happens, it will be a historic landmark.

“Just how unique everything is,” Smailagic said. “All the houses are very different, and Wilmore has been kind of historic to Charlotte.”

He added, “This area is obviously getting developed by the day, so I think it could be an awesome something.”

There will be public hearings with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission to get input from the community on what should be done inside the Wilmore School.

However, any redevelopment plans must go through the city’s standard rezoning process.

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LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — New plans are emerging for the former Dunbar Junior and Senior High School in Lexington.

The school was built in 1951 and named after African American poet and writer Paul Laurence Dunbar. For more than a decade, it was the sole all-black school for African American kids in Lexington until de-segregation.

Susie Crump Baker was there in 1964 before integration happened. She tells FOX8 it’s tough for her to remember some things, but she recalls her time at Dunbar well.

“It was a wonderful school to come to. The teachers were nice and made you mind and act like you were a human,” Baker said.

Baker says it was a school that molded good students and good human beings.

“I loved that school, and I hate to see it sitting here like it is,” Baker said.

Baker is referring to the school’s now run down appearance. Doors are boarded up, and glass is smashed out of the auditorium windows.

The school closed in 2008. In 2009, it was purchased by the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte with the hopes of working with developers to convert the school into affordable housing for seniors.

Developers weren’t able to secure the proper tax credits to make the project feasible during the economic downturn, leading the Diocese to donate the school back to Preservation North Carolina.

“It’s a big project. It’s 85,000 square feet of building and 10 acres of land,” said Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina.

According to Howard, the project could cost anywhere from $10 to $12 million. Despite the change in ownership, the plan is still the same.

“The expectation is that it will be some form of affordable, workforce housing. It’s not zoned for other uses, and it’s really not located well for other uses,” Howard said.

Howard expects developers to keep the building intact. Howard says it was designed by a prestigious architecture firm at the time. The good bones of the school, though, have complicated roots.

“There’s a period in the 50s and 60s where the best schools in North Carolina were being built for African American students,” Howard said. “They were trying to catch up from 75 to 100 years of neglect, Jim Crow and slavery before that.”

Lynn Jowers is another former student who likes the idea of Dunbar being turned into housing for more people. She went there in the 70s after the school was integrated.

“Now we’re all equal and hopeful they’ll do something where we can all come together and it be a place where we can all be,” Jowers said.

Alumni hope to create an even bigger Dunbar family.

“We were just like family,” Baker said.

Preservation North Carolina is fielding interest from developers but can’t move forward with any official plans until the building donation is complete this month.

by: Madison Forsey, Fox 8

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By Sharon Myers, The Dispatch

LEXINGTON – The longtime saga of Dunbar High School has added another chapter after a proposed project to convert the building into apartments for senior citizens has fallen through.

The property, which served as the only high school for African Americans prior to integration in the 1960s, is being donated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte to Preservation North Carolina.

“It’s about time,” said Charles Owens, president of the Dunbar Preservation Society.

Owens, who has been at the forefront of the fight to have Dunbar High School recognized (and protected) as a historically significant building in Lexington, said he is pleased that there has finally been movement in the cause but is frustrated with the time it has taken.

“I am upset we have wasted 15 years of it not being used, and it getting … (rundown),” he said. “It should be a protected property, and it should continue to be maintained and used as a community center.”

Built in 1951 on Smith Avenue, Dunbar High School served as the only high school for the Black community in Lexington before the end of segregation. It was then used as an elementary school and renamed Charles England Elementary School until a new school was built on Cornelia Street in 2007.

The old school was closed in 2008, and the property reverted to its former name and was put up for sale by Lexington City Schools. It was purchased by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte in 2009, which originally planned on renovating the property.

Over the years, for one reason or another, the school has been left unoccupied, and no repairs or renovations have been completed.

In 2021, the diocese agreed to sell the property to Shelter Investments Development Corp., which submitted plans for turning the old school into apartments for senior citizens.

But SIDC was unable to secure necessary federal housing tax credits for the project, and the diocese retained ownership.

In 2022, the diocese decided to donate the 10-acre property to the non-profit Preservation North Carolina. They are in the process of finalizing the agreement, said Anthony Morlando, director of properties and real estate for the diocese.

“This site is a unique asset with tons of potential for the community, so we’re looking forward to see what Preservation North Carolina can achieve,” he said. “We believe they have access to a broader array of resources that will be critical to development of the site, and we’re glad to play a small part of preserving the history and heritage of Dunbar School.”

Founded in 1939, Preservation North Carolina is the state’s only private nonprofit historic preservation organization. Its mission is to protect and promote buildings, landscapes and sites important to the heritage of North Carolina.

Cathleen Turner, regional director of Preservation North Carolina’s Piedmont office, said the organization will begin preliminary plans to determine the costs associated with rehabilitation of the property.

“We’re grateful for the diocese’s generosity and continued commitment to preservation, and we’re thrilled to have a new opportunity for the renovation of the Dunbar School for the benefit of the community,” Turner said. “We’re already talking with parties who have the interest and know-how to renovate historic buildings. We’ll be working as quickly as possible to create an achievable development plan that is sensitive and appropriate.”

Preservation NC has also contracted with the city of Lexington to maintain the school’s  ballfield and playground as a community park.

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A furniture maker’s slow transformation of a 218-year-old “little slice of time”

By Ray Owen

An hour southeast of Southern Pines is Purdie Place, a plantation house set on a high bluff overlooking the Cape Fear River in the little town of Tar Heel. Since 2018, a great renewal has taken place at the house through the restoration efforts of Andrew Ownbey, a traditional woodworker and lover of history.

The home was built sometime around 1803 by James S. Purdie, who made his fortune through the labor 28 enslaved workers bleeding pines of their resin for turpentine, tar and pitch. Purdie served as sheriff of Bladen County in the 1780s and was a private in the Continental Line during the American Revolution.

Purdie Place is a stately brick edifice with double galleries facing the river and road sides and a rare exterior stair on the riverside porch. It is one of a few remaining plantation houses that once dotted early maps along the river.

Ownbey purchased the property through Preservation North Carolina, a statewide organization that protects historic sites. A preservationist, furniture maker and antique dealer, he is widely recognized for his expertise, serving on the boards of Friends of the Museum of the Albemarle and Hope Plantation and lecturing for the Society of American Period Furniture Makers.

“I got into antiques and history through my dad,” says Ownbey. “He was an Antebellum and Civil War Era history buff and the most influential person in my life as a child. When I was around 16, I met a man named Randy Harrell who became my mentor. Randy took down old buildings and put them back up and I was just amazed.”

“It didn’t really grab hold of me until I was in my mid 20s. It was almost overnight. My wife looked at me one day and it was like ‘what’s wrong with you?’ I couldn’t get enough. It was fun and it kept me away from reality, away from what I did for a living at the time.”

Formally trained in heavy diesel technology, Ownbey spent 14 years as a technician. Mechanically minded, the work came easy for him, but it got to a point where he despised his job and so he chose a different path.

“I started collecting furniture from the area,” says Ownbey. “I began going to auction and estate sales and meeting collectors. At first, they saw me bidding and started asking questions about ‘this kid in his 20s’ running them up. It’s funny thinking back, them wondering how I knew about this stuff.”

“I’m more a laborer than an academic,” he says. “Scholars typically aren’t the people doing the actual work. I never use the word ‘self-taught’ even though I don’t have a lot of formal training. Someone always showed me, whether it was copying something or studying furniture I took apart. In any case, I didn’t invent any of these processes.”

“I don’t fit the mold of my generation,” Ownbey continues. “Interest in history is fading fast among my age group, not only written history but tangible history, things you can touch and hold. My generation doesn’t appreciate those things, they only go for a look. I go a lot deeper than a superficial ‘it’s old and looks good’ kind of thing.”

“My friends think I’m different, they all laugh at me but they like it. Honestly, I have a lot of friends that really appreciate what I do. They come to the house and ask a lot of questions, but could care less about owning a piece of history. I do have a few friends who have bought old furniture from me.”

“I always wanted an early house but couldn’t afford one. In my 20s, we started having kids and bought a craftsman bungalow. I began moving any little 18th or 19th century buildings I could find to restore beside our house. I ended up saving structures nobody else would have ever touched. Looking back, I’m glad I did, otherwise they’d be gone.”

“When you save history, you’ve saved a little slice of time that represents a way of life,” says Ownbey. “The tangible object reflects the one that made it or the one who commissioned it. As a conservationist, I get to save something that somebody else created. It’s not mine. I’m just the steward, the caretaker. I’m only here for a brief period in the grand scheme of things.”

“As for Purdie Place, it was home to a number of people of importance, especially veterans of the Revolutionary War and the American Civil War. It was also home to a senator and a congressman and a Confederate Congress member named T.D. McDowell. The McDowells don’t get much credit but they essentially ran the estate through the Antebellum Era.”

“Before we found this house, if I was to make a list of everything I’d like to find in an historic property, Purdie’s got it. The style is early with Flemish bond brick construction, double porticos or porches, nine-over-nine windows upstairs and down, good sized rooms but not a mansion, and it’s back off the road but not too far from civilization on a 45-acre tract of land.”

“There are layers of history when you view it from an architectural standpoint,” says Ownbey. “But the beauty of the house is as much the setting as it is the house. When you come through the gate and it opens up, there’s an air of history here. It’s a little bit isolated. You just feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you come through the gate.”

“The house was in reasonably good condition and had been essentially shut up for about 20 years,” says Ownbey. “The power was still on but nobody lived here. Everything was mildewed and just dirty. We did about two or three weeks of a really deep cleaning of the house and it brought it back to life.”

The infrastructure required a complete overall, plumbing, heating and air, and things like that. There were some major structural issues to an addition that was brought up and attached to the left rear of the house as a modern kitchen. There was a lot of water damage where the roof had leaked, but the main brick section of the house was in fantastic condition.

The surprising thing is not much is known about the house even though it’s a county landmark on the National Register. Ownbey has probably uncovered more questions than answers: “I certainly wonder who walked through the doors, standing in the hall, seeing the thresholds so worn. I think about all those who came and went and probably will for the rest of my life.”

Click here to view the article in Sandhills Magazine online (with photos)

LINCOLNTON – After an 18-year tenure at the helm of an organization often called the “animal shelter for old, historic properties,” N.C. Sen. Ted Alexander has stepped down as regional director of the western office of Preservation North Carolina (PNC).

The agency also has a new home – in the Pleasant Retreat Academy on East Pine Street in downtown Lincolnton, a building PNC was instrumental in preserving. This building also houses Lincoln Landmarks, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to preserving historic structures of Lincoln County.

“I’ve been involved in the field of historic preservation for 43 or more years now,” Alexander said. “I’ve been a member of PNC for just about all that time. I’d worked in the areas of downtown revitalization and main street preservation programs.”

The western office covers 37 counties, including Lincoln, Mecklenburg and Iredell. There’ve been numerous projects Alexander remembers with great fondness, including Ingleside in Denver.

“I think we’ve probably protected well over 200 properties in the 18 years I’ve been with Preservation North Carolina,” he said. “The First Presbyterian Church in Lincolnton was a major project. We’ve been helping the Mount Vernon Rosenwald School (Iron Station) and I’ve been pleased with their progress.”

Not all the efforts have been total successes.

“Sometimes you get a project that’s not an A+ project, but you move the needle,” he said. “You just hope the next person who comes along will move it a little further. There’s been a few instances where the timing wasn’t good or the circumstances didn’t allow it because the building was in too bad a condition.”

Now that he’s a senator, Alexander said he wanted more time to devote to that work.

“Also, I’m turning 62 and I want to do other things in life,” he said. “I have a lot of pride when I drive by a property that I was involved in restoring. It makes me feel like I made a difference. That’s what it’s all about.”

Joining PNC with many years of historic properties experience, new regional director Jack Thomson, who lives on a historic farm in Huntersville and was previously executive director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, considers his PNC post a “dream job.”

“I’ve been in historic preservation on the nonprofit side for almost 20 years,” he said. “Working for Preservation North Carolina has been an unspoken goal for several years. It seemed like the right opportunity being a Western North Carolina boy so I threw my hat in the ring. Ted and I have worked together closely for two decades in similar roles.”

Thomson added those who work with PNC are not “hysteric preservationists” who realize they live in a modern world that needs to accommodate growth.

“We don’t want everything frozen in amber, but we do want the important historic and cultural resources that survive to remain,” Thomson said. “I think there’s plenty of opportunity to find a good balance to do that. When we roll up to a property, it’s often in bad shape and we’re the call of last resort in a lot of cases. Sometimes it’s too late, most times it’s not. We work with visionaries – people who can see the intangible history that’s represented in the physical presence of what remains.”

“These old buildings are our tangible connection to our ephemeral past,” he added. “Without them, it’s much more difficult for the community at large to have any understanding of where they came from.”

by Michelle T. Bernard, Lake Norman Media Group

Click here to view the article online

Juneteenth, also known as “Emancipation Day”, is an annual day to mark the end of slavery in America. The Emancipation Proclamation, which freed those enslaved in Confederate states, was issued by Lincoln in 1863. However, the news did not reach Texas until the war ended in 1865. On June 19th that year, Union troops reached Galveston and formerly enslaved Texans celebrated with music, prayers, and feasting. Juneteenth has been a holiday in Texas for many years but only became a Federal holiday in 2021.

The Bellamy Mansion Museum is honoring Juneteenth by establishing an annual $1000 scholarship for a graduate student of the UNCW public history program. Executive Director Gareth Evans notes, “Our museum site features a unique, restored, 1859 slave quarters and a centerpiece of our historical interpretation is the story of those enslaved at this site. The intention of the scholarship is to provide funding to traditionally underrepresented, diverse students in UNCW’s History department. It’s fitting that an educational resource like this should keep trying to broaden the field of public history with our partners at UNCW.”

All bourbons must start somewhere. This one starts with an anniversary present, albeit a tumbledown one. Specifically, an abandoned grist mill gifted by Raleigh, North Carolina, realtor Jason Queen to wife Jeanne, who shares an interest in historic preservation, on their tenth wedding anniversary.

Located in Alamance County, west of Raleigh, Cook’s Mill has origins that stretch back to the Colonial Era, and it was a gathering spot in the region that spawned the Regulator Movement, a 1760s armed insurrection that many historians consider a catalyst to the American Revolution.

“Our idea was to make it into a weekend getaway for ourselves, a cool spot to hang out,” Queen says. “But when we got in there and realized what a special place this is, we decided that wasn’t the right move.”

Instead, the couple struck upon the daunting objective of restoring it as a working mill. Then a cleaning uncovered several sacks of corn that likely had been tucked away when the mill ceased operation more than fifty years ago. Though an analysis by North Carolina State University’s agriculture department showed the corn to be of no special provenance, the process sparked the big idea of harvesting locally produced heirloom corn to distill bourbon.

“People forget that North Carolina was a major whiskey producer before Prohibition,” Queen says. “I’ve heard that the state actually has better, or more consistent, seasons for aging bourbon than does Kentucky.”

Working through the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, five North Carolina farmers have been enlisted to grow five rare, heirloom corn varieties: Southern Beauty, Jimmy Red, Jackie Freeman, Levi Mallard, and Leco Milling. (South Carolina’s High Wire Distilling also has introduced a bourbon made of Jimmy Red.) “These varieties have been identified by the agriculture people as having the potential to make some good bourbon,” Queen says. “The cool thing is that we’ll have the ability to blend batches, or to distill limited releases that focus on just one variety. It’s possible it’s been 250 years since anyone has used some of these varieties to make whiskey.”

For the business side of things, the Queens brought on partner Morgan Chapman, a beverage industry vet who cut his teeth as the bar manager at Charleston’s lauded farm-to-table restaurant McCrady’s. Meanwhile, starting a bourbon literally from the ground up takes time, so until the heirloom juice ages until spring 2024, the initial Cook’s Mill bourbon expression, introduced last October, is distilled from more readily available North Carolina–grown corn. It drinks with a full-bodied sweetness balanced by the spice of ample rye in the mash bill. “It’s nice to again show the world that North Carolina has every competency needed to make really good bourbon,” Queen says.

Bringing the project full circle, a portion of the proceeds from sales is going back to the ongoing restoration of the mill. “Our plan is to be able to grind flour and grits and such, and also grind our own mash bill there,” Queen says. “In the end, the bourbon is the solution to saving the mill.”

By Steve Russell, Garden & Gun

Click here to read the article online

For over 130 years, Raleigh’s first Union Station, formerly called Union Depot, has stood on the corner of Dawson and Martin streets, overlooking Nash Square in the Warehouse District.

It’s a far cry from its glory days after a 1980s remodel, but parts remain: The platform and viaduct are no longer there, but the head house, built in the Romanesque Revival-style, survives as an office building, minus its tower. Much of its original red brick façade, now painted white, also endures, including the coal chute that used to heat the station.

But is that enough to save this relic from the city’s past? It’s now in the hands of the buyer.

Avison Young recently listed 224 S. Dawson St., with a goal of getting about $8 million for it, the Triangle Business Journal first reported.

Legal Aid of North Carolina, which currently owns and occupies the building, plans to move to an office off Rock Quarry Road.

The two-story 29,000-square-foot building sits on about a half-acre within the Depot National Historic District — though it’s not listed on the National Register of Historic Places — and is being advertised as a “redevelopment opportunity.”

“We’re bullish on this asset’s popularity,” listing agent Marcus Jackson told The N&O. “It has limitless flexibility.”


The building has an assessed value of around $5.9 million, and is zoned for up to five stories. However, there’s “heavy precedent” for greater density in the immediate area, the listing notes, with surrounding lots already zoned for up to 20 and 40 stories.

At the opposite corner on Martin and Dawson Streets, a New York developer is already making plans for a 36-story luxury residential tower.

“Odds are it will be very high-density residential, either rental or condos,” Jackson said.

Not everyone is thrilled by the prospect.

Cathleen Turner, regional director at Preservation NC, said the building represents a “significant piece” of Raleigh’s history, even though it doesn’t have designated status. She’d like to see it preserved, especially considering its prominent location within the district, which was separately listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

The lower-density building provides a much-needed buffer, she added, between the high-rise office buildings of the central business district to the east, and the more “human-scale” residential to the west.

“With every sale and redevelopment, we’re losing a bit of that,” she said.

In its heyday, the Depot District was a wholesale distribution hub that included freight and passenger depots, warehouses, factories, hotels, cafes and shops dating back to the 1880s.

When it opened in 1892, Union Station became the epicenter, serving three passenger rail lines with a total of four tracks, connecting New York with Florida. By the late 1950s, many of the factory and warehouse buildings fell out of use.

In recent years, the district has transformed once again. It’s now a mix of art museums, restaurants and retail. Century-old buildings that helped make its namesake are giving way to high rises with the opening of Raleigh Union Station and The Dillon, a mixed-use tower and residential development.

“It would be sad to see it chipped away until there’s really nothing left,” Turner said. “Frankly, we [may] need to start calling it: “Formerly Known As The Warehouse District’.”

By Chantal Allam, The News & Observer

Click here to read the story and view photos 

William Benjamin Gould’s remarkable life, leading from bondage in the antebellum South to a daring escape and service in the Union Navy, was celebrated over Memorial Day weekend with the dedication of a bronze statue in Dedham, the town where he settled and raised his family after the Civil War.

The emotional unveiling of Gould’s dignified seated figure took place on the centennial anniversary of his death and in the presence of his great-grandson, William B. Gould IV, a retired Stanford Law professor, whose father grew up in the nearby family homestead on the Boston-Dedham line.

Several of Gould’s great-great-great grandchildren pulled on a black cloth to reveal the contemplative image, but the fabric snagged, requiring the aid of two 54th Massachusetts Regiment re-enactors to use their long bayonets to lift the cloth and complete the unveiling.

Several hundred Dedham residents, gathered to witness the ceremony at William B. Gould Park, broke into applause. The re-enactors fired volleys of tribute from their Springfield percussion-cap muskets into the still spring air.

In remarks to the audience, Gould IV, 86, said that on a family trip to Wilmington, N.C., where his great-grandfather worked as an enslaved plasterer, they saw no statues of any Black veterans of the Civil War but passed by many of Confederate soldiers.

“Statues cannot be viewed as neutral and they do not exist in a vacuum. They project the memories of the past and the values associated with them,” Gould IV said.

“When the time capsules contained within this statue are opened, 100 and 200 years from now, it may be that William B. Gould’s values, expressed in war and peace here in Dedham, will in some way shape or promote the discussions of future generations.”

Those values led all of Gould’s six sons into military service, some as officers, in the Spanish-American War and World War I. The father was a founder of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Dedham’s Oakdale Square, where he did the plastering work on the Episcopalian sanctuary’s interior.

The church honored the Dedham veteran during a Sunday morning service with the family seated in the same pew occupied by the Goulds for decades before the family dispersed around the country.

…Click here to continue reading the full article

On the summer evening young Fred Glenn sat on a bench watching a movie projected on a screen outside Baltimore Village School in Cramerton, he could not in his wildest dreams have imagined he one day would own the school building and the land on which it sits and lead a movement to preserve and restore the historic site.

In the intervening years, Glenn graduated from Reid High School in Belmont, studied mechanical engineering at North Carolina A&T, served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and worked as a certified tool and die maker. After years of watching the one-room school his mother had attended deteriorate in the village where he grew up. Glenn bought the building and the land around it, with, as he puts it, “no idea what I’d do with it.”

He has an idea now. It’s a big one. And he came to a recent meeting of the Belmont Rotary Club to talk about it. Glenn now serves as president of the nonprofit Baltimore Village School Inc. Joining him in the Rotary Club presentation was John Howard, vice president. Also attending were organization secretary Wendy Cauthen and board member Ernestine Glenn, who is Fred Glenn’s wife.

The 17 homes still remaining in Baltimore village are on a hillside along the South Fork River off Cramer Mountain Road between downtown Cramerton and New Hope Road. The school was built in 1925 by mill owner Stuart W. Cramer to be used by the African American residents of Cramerton. Children from kindergarten through eighth grade attended, often bringing with them brothers and sisters too young to attend school.

Baltimore Village School was one of seven one-room schools built in Gaston County, and it is the only one remaining. It ceased operation as a school in the 1950s, but continued to serve as a community center for many years.

“We couldn’t go to the community center in town or the theater,” Glenn said.

He also recounted stories from his childhood of Charlotte’s WBTV personality cowboy Fred Kirby and his horse entertaining residents at neighborhood get-togethers.

The building, which is about 900 square feet, has been vacant for decades and narrowly escaped being burned in a fire department training exercise in the late 1990s. That’s about when Glenn began considering how to save the building and finally decided to purchase it in 2003 and put protective measures in place to prevent further damage.

Ten years later the school was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places Study List, and in 2020, it was designated as a historic structure by the Gaston County Historic Preservation Commission, the first in Cramerton.

Baltimore Village School Inc. was formed in 2022 and obtained 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. The organization’s goal is to restore the school and continue using it as a community center and a museum displaying the history of the Baltimore Village neighborhood and the African American community’s contribution to Cramerton and Gaston County.

To make that dream come true will require raising $500,000 for construction, grading and parking, furnishings, exhibits, landscaping and operating costs. A major HUD grant has been awarded to the town of Cramerton, and from that $210,000 has been allocated to the school preservation project. Several smaller grants have also been received. But much more will be needed to restore Baltimore Village School and make it once again a community center and a museum devoted to educating future generations.

How you can help:

Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to Baltimore Village School Inc., PO Box 195, Cramerton, NC 28032. For more information and how to volunteer or donate online, go to

By Ted Hall
Click here to view the article and photos on the Gaston Gazette’s website.

NEWLAND — Avery County Board of Commissioners had a lot of ground to cover at its meeting on Monday, April 3, including a presentation on housing in the county and further discussions on the fate of the Avery CARES building.

During public comment, nine individuals spoke on the Avery CARES building. Following the announcement that the building was deemed irreparable and the commissioners’ decision to tear down the building, the board received numerous complaints from citizens that the building is historic and holds much sentimental value to a lot of people. Built by the WPA in the 1940s, community members shared their memories of the building as it was the library, community center, teen center, place for prom and dances, home for AA and NA and much more.

Speakers shared that they had fond memories of the building, whether it be from hanging out there as a teenager or if it was the reason one of their loved ones found sobriety. Several emphasized that the building impacted nearly everyone in the community in some way, while others explained that families and lives were saved thanks to the AA and NA programs the building housed.

The commissioners have already voted to tear the building down and build a probation and parole office in its space, but that vote can be reconsidered if there are other viable options for the building, commissioner Chair Martha Hicks explained. If there is an option that won’t cost the taxpayers a large chunk of money, they will look at it and consider it, Commissioner Dennis Aldridge said.

Jack Thomson, western office regional director of Preservation North Carolina, kicked off the public comments on the Avery CARES building by telling the board about what his organization does. Preservation NC is a nonprofit that aims to protect and save buildings and landscapes that represent the state’s unique culture and heritage.

“Preservation NC acquires endangered historic properties and then finds purchasers willing and able to rehabilitate them,” according to the organization’s website. “It has saved more than 800 endangered historic properties, generating an estimated $350 million in private investment. Many of the saved properties have truly been community landmarks.”

Thomson, a native of Avery County, shared that he has received numerous calls regarding the Avery CARES building. As a building that is obviously important to the community, he said, his organization would be willing to work with the county and see what it could do to help.

  • Avery is losing residents to Watauga County, but is also losing them to residential areas such as Asheville, Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Spartanburg.
  • In Avery, 3,660 residents are employed outside the county; 3,532 people commute to Avery to work. More than 60% of nonresidents surveyed said they would move here if they had somewhere to live, he said.
  • The number of cost-burdened residents, which means that they pay more than 30% of their income to housing, is 598 renters and 993 homeowners. Around 37 renters and 94 homeowners live in substandard conditions.
  • All apartments seem to be full, and there are no apartments serving the annual income range of $52,000 to $70,000.
  • Avery has a 99.6% occupancy rate. In a healthy market, that number should not be higher than 96%, he said.
  • In addition to a high demand for senior care facility housing, there is a high occupancy rate in those facilities, especially when compared to national rates.
  • In order to afford a modern house, meaning it was built in 1990 or sooner, a household would need to have an income of $140,000 or higher.
  • Out of the 145 houses for sale at the time of the study, 96 of them were more than $300,000. No houses were available for less than $99,000, and only 10 homes were available for less than $200,000.

The full report will be available on the county’s website soon, Barrier said.

Barrier announced that the paperwork for the GREAT grant is finally almost complete. It is in the final stages of being signed and approved by the internet service provider, county and any other third party partners. Once this paperwork is done, the opportunity to apply for the CAB grant is supposed to open, he said.

In other news and notes:

  • The commissioners approved the Avery County Board of Education’s request that the $354,000 needed to replace the bleachers at ACHS be requested to come from the state lottery funds.
  • Sheriff Mike Henley and Chief Deputy Van Williams explained that ACSO has acquired 44 handguns since Henley took office, replacing all the existing handguns the office had. The existing handguns were in varying condition, but Henley also wanted to change to a caliber that is cheaper and more readily available. Handguns went to patrol positions, both those that are existing and the ones that need to be filled, detectives and detention officers, and a number of them went into storage as backup.
  • Barrier reported that the property located near the area prison is not going to work for reentry housing, so Barrier has asked for an environmental review and extension for the CDBG reentry housing grant.
  • Feeding Avery Families’ open house at its new facility will be on Wednesday, April 26.
  • The commissioners passed a proclamation deeming April 2023 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

County offices will be closed on Friday, April 7, for Good Friday. In May through October, the commissioners will meet twice a month, on the first and third Monday. There will be a public input session on the national opioid settlement from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, April 24, in the commissioners boardroom. The commissioners will hold a workshop at 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 27. Avery County Board of Commissioners’ next regular meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 1.

In December 1917, Richard Joshua Reynolds, his wife, Katharine, and their children moved from their house on “millionaires’ row” in downtown Winston-Salem, “with its turrets, gables and wraparound porch where tobacco men smoked cigars on Sunday afternoons,” to their new home on their country estate: Reynolda.

In the decades that followed, dozens of families who made their fortunes in tobacco and textiles built grand houses in the suburbs (Stratford Road marked the city limits in the early 20th century), material evidence of the prosperity of Winston-Salem, which in 1931 was known as “the town of 100 millionaires.”

Margaret Supplee Smith, Harold W. Tribble Professor of Art Emerita at Wake Forest University, writes about 75 of those residences in “Great Houses and Their Stories: Winston Salem’s ‘Era of Success,’ 1912-1940,” which was published by Preservation North Carolina last year but already is in its third printing. The stunning photography is by architectural photographer Jackson Smith.

“Great Houses” is for preservationists, local history buffs and architecture lovers. It is also for those of us for whom the “great houses” have simply become part of the passing urban landscape. And if you’re looking for enticing tidbits about the lifestyles of the rich and famous, there’s enough to keep you entertained.

What sets “Great Houses and Their Stories” apart from other books of its type is the final chapter, “Great Houses Do Not Run Themselves,” in which Margaret Smith introduces the reader to the housemaids — upstairs and downstairs — chauffeurs, cooks, governesses, butlers and gardeners, which is to say, the workers, mostly but not exclusively Black, “who kept it all going.”

While some domestic workers lived on the premises, often in garage apartments, most lived elsewhere in the city — primarily in East Winston — and rode the bus to work.

The hours often were long, and the pay was low. Thirty-nine-year-old Addie Woodruff, who began working as a child care nurse when she was just 12 years old, earned an annual salary as a cook of $9,500 in today’s money.

But options were limited in the South for Black women. Smith notes, “Black women looking for paid work had little choice but to become domestic servants and clean the houses, cook the meals, care for the children and do the laundry of white families.”

Thanks to “Great Houses,” the “help” are no longer anonymous figures standing in the back of old black-and-white family photos in crisply starched uniforms.

Smith introduces them by name.

Mabel Smith, nanny. Jim Martin, cook. Lisa Little Worton, housekeeper. Cora Bailey, cook. John Carter, steward.

Addie Siewers appears in a photo with five Womble children and their pony, Gentry, on a family vacation in the North Carolina mountains.

The greatest act of respect one can show for another person is to listen to his or her story. One’s story is the content and meaning of one’s life. To listen to and retell another person’s story is to pay respect to a life.

Margaret Smith notes that “most stories about domestic workers in Winston Salem have not been captured.” Drawing on interviews with children and grandchildren of both the early occupants of the “great houses” and of those who served them, plus the meager information that could be extracted from census records and city directories, Margaret Smith tells some of those stories.

Dock Grier worked 47 years in the Hanes household. He was retained as “plant coordinator” when the mansion became the home of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. The library at SECCA was named in his honor.

Joanne, a granddaughter of Cephus Alphonso Grier, chauffeur for Pleasant Henderson Hanes, founder of Hanes Knitting Co., married Phillip Cousin, who became a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and who, in 1984, became the first Black president of the National Council of Churches.

Oscar-nominated actress Pam Grier was the granddaughter of Clarence Grier, Cephus Alphonso Grier’s brother.

“These are the stories of just a few of the men, women, and sometimes children who were essential to the smooth functioning of the great households of Winston-Salem,” Margaret Smith said in the very last sentence of “Great Houses.”

Lest we be smug, the stories of the workers who roof and paint our houses or who mow our lawns and work in our fields have not been, and probably never will be, “captured.”

Though they, too, play a significant part in keeping it all going, we don’t know their stories either.

By Richard Groves
Click here to view the article on the Greensboro News and Record

Click here to purchase Great Houses and Their Stories: Winston-Salem’s “Era of Success,” 1912-1940

Tennis superstar Venus Williams has teamed up with conceptual artist Adam Pendleton to preserve the house where the late singer Nina Simone grew up.

In collaboration with the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, Williams is raising money to renovate the North Carolina property.

The fundraising endeavor will be two-fold, and include both an auction of “exceptional works donated by internationally renowned contemporary artists” conducted by Sotheby’s, beginning online May 11 and closing May 22 — as well as a ticketed gala at Manhattan’s Pace Gallery on May 20.

“Through this project, the Action Fund aims to restore the birthplace of musical icon and civil rights activist Nina Simone in Tryon, North Carolina,” reads a press release on the National Trust for Historic Preservation website, adding that Simone’s cultural legacy is “of great personal significance to all the artists donating work.”

Simone, who was born Eunice Waymon in 1933, spent her childhood in the three-room clapboard house — attending church with her mother, a Methodist preacher.

It was during this time that community members recognized Simone’s nascent talent and the then 6-year-old prodigy began taking private piano lessons.

Eventually, in 1950, she moved to New York City to attend Julliard — then began performing in Atlantic City, changed her name, and gradually became the High Priestess of Soul and a Civil Rights activist, according to her estate.

She passed away in 2003, at the age of 70.

Until 2017, “little was known” about the humble house she came of age in when Pendleton and a group of other artists — Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, and Julie Mehretu — decided to jointly purchase it, to safeguard its legacy.

Now, a variety of groups and individuals are working together to decide how best to preserve the space.

Currently, those involved are undecided if the house should be maintained as it is or renovated to include a modern amenity-equipped expansion that could be used as an artist residency.

By Hannah Fishberg at NY Post

George Smart is an unlikely preservationist, almost an accidental one. The founder and executive director of USModernist, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and documentation of modern houses, Smart worked for 30 years as a management consultant. “I was doing strategic planning and organization training,” he says. “My wife refers to this whole other project as a 16-year seizure.” Recently I spoke with Smart about his two websites, the podcast, the house tours his organization conducts, and why documentation is such a power preservation tool.

Click here to view the full Q&A interview

By Martin C. Pedersen at Common/Edge

Click here to view our recent webinar about Historic Preservation Easements for Modernist Houses with George Smart and Cathleen Turner

Oak Ridge Historic Heritage Grant Program
2023-24 Grant Information Sheet

What’s the purpose of the Historic Heritage Grants?
To strengthen and preserve Oak Ridge’s rich historic heritage by providing grant funding to owners of historic properties. The program provides small scale, high impact grants to help preserve the properties that are at the heart of what many Oak Ridge residents love most about our community—its historic, village-like atmosphere.

Who can apply for a grant?
Owners of historic properties located in Oak Ridge. Although priority will be given to projects located in the Historic District, projects proposed for historic properties elsewhere in Oak Ridge will also be considered.

How much can I apply for? And how much do I need to contribute?
Owners of historic properties may apply for grants of up to $3,000 or nonprofits may apply for $4,000 for projects of any size. All applicants must contribute matching funds totaling at least 50% of the project costs. Since grants funds are paid on a reimbursement basis, owners must cover the full costs of the project out-of-pocket until all reporting requirements have been completed, per the terms of the official grant award.

What kinds of projects are eligible?
Eligible projects include structural repairs, restoration of historic materials, or other conservation work related to preserving the building’s exterior. In the case of highly significant properties, the preservation of other site features may also be eligible for grant support.

Properties must be at least 75 years old and of demonstrated historic, architectural, or cultural significance. The potential positive impact of the projects on Oak Ridge’s historic fabric and its streetscape are also important considerations. Approved preservation projects may be completed by property owners or by outside contractors; eligible costs include contract labor and necessary materials, with matching funds required, as described above.

All grant-funded work must comply with the Oak Ridge Historic District Design Standards (available at Interior work, new construction (including additions), and work that has already been completed are not eligible.

Grant Timeline
For the 2023-24 grants, applicants should propose projects that can be completed between July 1, 2023 and May 31, 2024. If an applicant anticipates difficulty in conforming a project to this deadline, please contact us (See “How can I learn more?”).

How can I learn more?
An information session will be held on Friday, March 3, 2023, 7-8 p.m. at Town Hall. The session will include time for potential applicants to describe their projects and ask questions. Applicants can also call Town Hall at 336.644.7009 with questions or assistance preparing an application. We’re also happy to visit your property and provide recommendations on specialized contractors and suppliers appropriate to your project.

How do I apply?
Application forms are available at Oak Ridge Town Hall or online at (under Our Town, go to Historic Oak Ridge and click on Historic Heritage Grants). Application forms can also be requested by mail by calling Town Hall at 336.644.7009. The application deadline is Friday, April 14, 2023, at 4 p.m.

How will grant decisions be made?
Grant applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:

• Architectural, historical, and cultural significance of the property
• Appropriateness and urgency of proposed Project Budget and Project Plan work for preserving the property
• Potential positive impact of the project

A committee of outside preservation experts will evaluate the applications against the criteria above and make recommendations to the Historic Preservation Commission, who will make the final decisions regarding grant awards.

Additional Information for Grant Projects in the Historic District
Grant applications for projects within the Historic District will require a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) if the project is recommended for approval. In such cases, the applicant will be asked to submit a completed COA application (available online at and at the Oak Ridge Town Hall) by Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at 12 noon. Town staff will be available to assist applicants as needed.

Review of completed COA applications will take place at the Historic Preservation Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at Oak Ridge Town Hall, beginning at 7 p.m.; applicants are required to attend this meeting.




The Town of Oak Ridge is requesting sealed bids for a construction contract to complete elements of the Farmhouse Community Center, a project funded in part by federal allocations under the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds of H.R. 1319 American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP/CSLFRF). Bidders may bid on the following contract:

Bid #23-002: TOWN OF OAK RIDGE NC, FARMHOUSE COMMUNITY CENTER requests sealed bids for the renovations and additions to the former farmhouse at 8300 Linville Rd., Oak Ridge, NC 27310. The Base Bid generally consists of the renovations and additions to the building only and connecting to the existing utilities on site. Site Development will be performed under a separate contract.

Two (2) copies of the sealed bid will be received by 2:00 pm (local prevailing time) on March 16, 2023 at this location:

Oak Ridge Town Hall
8315 Linville Road
Oak Ridge, NC 27310
Attn: Sandra Smith, Town Clerk

Your response and pricing should be submitted in a sealed envelope/package, clearly marked as follows:

Bid Enclosed for Town of Oak Ridge Farmhouse Community Center, Bid #23-002, Bidders Co. Name, North Carolina Contractor’s License number, & Bid Close Date.

Any response received after that time and/or date will be returned to the offeror unopened. All bids received for Bid #23-002 will be publicly opened and read aloud at 2:00 pm, local prevailing time, on March 16th, 2023.

Bid documents, including Instructions for Bidders, drawings and specifications may be downloaded from Hill Studio’s Dropbox website, upon request. Printing costs are the bidder’s responsibility.

Notify Amy Saunders,, (540) 342-5263 for Dropbox access to digital copies of bid documents.

A non-mandatory Pre-bid Conference is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (local prevailing time) on February 23, 2023. The in-person meeting will be at the Oak Ridge Town Hall, 8315 Linville Road, Oak Ridge, NC 27310, with a site visit following the meeting. All bidders are required to visit the site in order to provide a bid.

Questions about the Bid Package are to be sent to Hunter Greene by email,, by March 7, 2023. Answers to all questions will be sent to all Bid Set holders as an addendum via email. Bidders are responsible for having all of the Addenda.

Bidders must have a currently active license classified as a building contractor with an unlimited license limitation issued by the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. The bidder’s attention is directed to conform to North Carolina law and the public bid requirements of Chapter 143-129 applicable to public construction contracts of $500,000 or more.

This is a federally assisted project. Bidders and contractors performing work under this advertisement are bound by the requirements of President’s Executive Order 11246 as amended by Executive Order 11375; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Section 109 of Title 1 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended; Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968; the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986; the Davis-Bacon Act; the Copeland “Anti Kickback” Act; the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act; and Public Law 100 202.

Town of Oak Ridge shall provide the mechanism for the evaluation of all information received, the final determination of responsible offerors, and reserves the right to waive informalities and irregularities and to accept or reject any or all bids. Any deviations or alternates must be submitted, in writing, with your bid. Deviations or alternates discovered after bid award or material receipt, not stated in your bid, shall be grounds for disqualification and nullification of order. Withdrawal of bids due to error shall be according to N. C. Gen. Stat. 143-129.1

Contract is to be awarded on a lump sum basis. The contract for Bid # 23-002 will be awarded individually, based on the lowest responsible, responsive bid received, and negotiations with the responding firms.

By Kate Griffin

History enthusiasts and treasure hunters alike can find a not-so-hidden gem in downtown historic Carthage, the Tyson Sinclair Building. Picturesquely located on McReynolds Street by the roundabout, the Tyson Sinclair Building is currently owned by local veterans. The building serves a dual purpose as a home to multiple local businesses and a relic of history frozen in time.

Hidden in the walls of this building are endless secrets and stories from eras gone past. The building is very old, with construction speculated to have started in the 1800s. The old-fashioned architecture offers a breath of fresh air in the era of minimalism and increasingly uninspired interior design. “I’ve heard people say it’s kind of like being in our own little Biltmore,” said Georgia Chriscoe, one of the owners of the Tyson Sinclair Building since March of 2022. A perfect escape from the ever-prevalent strip malls and housing developments, the Tyson Sinclair Building adds a vital, timeless charm that isn’t so easy to find anymore.

The mansion boasts four floors of beautiful preserved antique interior, including a small lookout area where one can see all the way to Pinehurst.

“It is in our museum in Carthage, they had a party up there where they watched that comet that made the Raleigh papers,” said Chriscoe. “There’s just story after story after story you can tell about the mansion which is why we are trying to save it.”

Aside from preserving the history of downtown Carthage, the Tyson Sinclair Building offers an invaluable resource as a brick-and-mortar location for small businesses. Between its beauty, story, and purpose, the Tyson Sinclair Building is an invaluable asset to historic downtown Carthage.

From its grand staircases, 1940s tile floor, a plethora of fireplaces, and a beautiful ballroom, the mansion is worth a visit. The mansion is constructed with numerous hand painted features and each room bears intricate detailing that can only be found in older historic homes.

“My favorite part of the building is all of the amazing arches and hidden things no one else has seen, and the history. I just can’t narrow it completely down, but when I’m there alone and there’s nobody else there in all of that massiveness, there’s nothing else quite like it,” said Chriscoe. “It’s different and unique, it’s just magical!”

With all old buildings come their quirks, and the Tyson Sinclair Building is no exception. Due to refurbishment needs, the building is only at a fraction of the capacity it’s capable of, currently housing 12 small businesses started by community members, with three new businesses coming in 2023. The owners of the building are working extremely hard to preserve the building and simultaneously, the soul of downtown. Chriscoe said they are passionate about and committed to their community and their town.

“We’re just trying to keep historic downtown historical,” said Chriscoe. “We want to save this building to where it’s around a hundred more years and available to our community instead of sitting there stagnant.” Long-term goals include getting the building ready as an event venue after necessary refurbishment and renovations.

The story of the Tyson Sinclair Building is a long one. A more in-depth overview of the exact history can be found on the building’s Facebook page “The Tyson Sinclair.” The Tyson-Jones buggy factory grew exponentially in productivity and prominence. The buggy factory’s efficiency was revolutionary for its time, boasting great success over such a long span of time, and an alleged visit from Henry Ford. The Tyson family constructed a mansion in what is now downtown Carthage, and over time, the Sinclair family became in possession of the mansion house, resourcefully repurposing the mansion’s many rooms as showrooms for their family furniture company. The Tyson Sinclair Building makes for an interesting highlight of the downtown Carthage area.

Despite lack of recognition from the public eye, the Tyson Sinclair Building remains as a monument of local history and economic progression, and a goldmine of untapped potential. An unsung hero of a Sunday drive and a charming hallmark of North Carolina’s former days, the Tyson Sinclair Building is a destination not to be missed. Swing on by and browse the local businesses and take some time to breathe in the eras of old and admire the character and charisma the Tyson Sinclair Building offers. Chriscoe said, “We don’t want our names, we want the Tyson Sinclair, and we want the community to know we’re doing this for them, we’re a group of owners who want to make this building wonderful and make it available to our community.”


Click the link above to view the full article and to see images.


Feb 17, 2023, 6:45am EST

A Goldsboro home is set to become a bed and breakfast.

A new bed and breakfast could be coming to Goldsboro in a home that dates to the late 1800s.

Goldsboro City Council heard preliminary plans to turn the home at 300 S. William St. into a bed and breakfast that would contain three guest rooms in addition to a master suite for the owners. The home sits near the corner of South William and East Spruce streets near downtown Goldsboro.

More fleshed-out site plans need to be presented to the city council before it can receive final approvals.

The home features over a century of history within Goldsboro, as Wayne County property records show the house was built in 1896.

The 127-year-old home was sold for $132,000 in January 2022 to Rebecca Lucero and Andrew Thomas Sever, according to Wayne County property records. Attempts to reach Lucero and Sever for comment were unsuccessful. Today, the county values the land at $185,720.

Like other small North Carolina towns and cities, Goldsboro — about a three-and-a-half-hour drive east of Charlotte — is battling a declining population as residents flock to urban and suburban locales. The city of roughly 33,600 people saw its population drop by 7.6% between 2010 and 2020, according to U.S. Census data.

However, there are signs that trend could be reversing, as the city has attracted some big investments recently from residential developers. Projects that have made their way before Goldsboro City Council this year include a 312-unit apartment complex, a duplex community that could have up to 100 units and a 107-townhome community.


Click the link above to view the full article and to see images.

The 1772 Foundation, in cooperation with the National Preservation Partners Network, announces fifteen grant recipients.

POMFRET, CONNECTICUT – The National Preservation Partners Network and The 1772 Foundation, based in Pomfret, Connecticut, play a leading role in promoting historic properties redevelopment programs (HPRPs) also known as revolving funds, nationwide. At its quarterly meeting, the partnership awarded HPRP grants totaling $810,000. Individual grants ranged in amount from $10,000 for Vision Carthage in Carthage, Missouri, to conduct a feasibility study to $120,000 for New Bedford, Massachusetts’ Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE), the only historic preservation CDC in the country.

Other HPRP grant recipients were Cincinnati Preservation Association in Cincinnati, Ohio ($70,000), Cleveland Restoration Society in Cleveland, Ohio ($70,000), Fairmount Park Conservancy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ($20,000), Historic Charleston Foundation in Charleston, South Carolina ($75,000), Historic Wilmington Foundation Inc. in Wilmington, North Carolina ($75,000), The L’Enfant Trust in Washington, DC ($100,000), Preservation Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland ($70,000), Preservation North Carolina in Raleigh, North Carolina ($75,000), and Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation in Sarasota, Florida ($50,000).

Five preservation organizations considering the establishment of HPRPs received grants to conduct feasibility studies. Recipients of these grants were Decay Devils in Gary, Indiana ($20,000), Quapaw Quarter Association in Little Rock, Arkansas ($15,000), Selma Dallas County Historic Preservation Society in Selma, Alabama ($20,000), Historic Denver in Denver, Colorado ($20,000), and the above-noted Vision Carthage.

According to Executive Director, Mary Anthony, “The 1772 Foundation made its first grants to HPRPs in 2006, attracted to their combination of historic preservation values and entrepreneurial spirit. They continue to be a key area of interest for us and one of our earliest and best examples of high impact granting. Employing a variety of real estate techniques, these innovative organizations recycle funds to save endangered historic buildings and even whole neighborhoods.”

The 1772 Foundation was named in honor of its first restoration project, Liberty Hall in Union, NJ, which was built in 1772 and is the ancestral home of the Livingston and Kean families. The late Stewart B. Kean was the original benefactor of The 1772 Foundation. The 1772 Foundation works to ensure the safe passage of our historic buildings and farmland to future generations. More information about The 1772 Foundation may be found at

 The National Preservation Partners Network (NPPN), established as an independent organization in 2018, works to advance the growth and effectiveness of the organized historic preservation movement through education, training, and a common advocacy agenda. More information about NPPN may be found at


BURLINGTON — The matching grant program of Preservation Burlington aids owners of the city’s historically and architecturally significant properties so they may preserve and maintain the exterior character of their historic property. These investments maintain neighborhood integrity, instill pride of place and enhance real estate values in the community.

Preservation Burlington has been awarding matching grants annually since 2021.

Homeowners are eligible to apply if their property is either located within one of Burlington’s six designated National Register historic districts or listed individually as a local, state or National Register landmark.

Owners of income properties are eligible by the same standard, except that they need only be in close proximity to a designed National Register historic district in the city.

Awarded funds may be used for exterior preservation work such as porch repair/restoration; repairing/restoring period wood doors and/or windows; historic masonry repair/stabilization; exterior painting; and more, in keeping with the structural and design integrity of the historic property.

The grants refund up to 50 percent of the cost of historically appropriate exterior improvements, to a maximum award of $5,000 to any one project.

Applications open March 1; deadline is April 1. Grant recipients will be announced May 15.

Other program details include:

  • Projects must meet established code requirements of the City of Burlington, the Burlington Historic Preservation Commission, the State of North Carolina and other applicable government authorities.
  • No funds will be awarded retroactively for work performed prior to approval.
  • Work should begin no later than July 1 and be completed by Sept. 30, 2023.

For more information, contact or 336-539-1909. Application forms are available on the “Historic Property Grants” page at

Click here to view article on The Times News

Ever wanted to buy your own church?

For $525,000, a historic, 10,700-square-foot former worship hall and its 2 acres in Shelby could be yours, pews included.

Preservation North Carolina is selling the former John Knox Presbyterian Church and its 2 acres on Charles Road, less than a a mile off U.S. 74 Bypass. On its website, the preservation group describes the church building as “classic, yet restrained, Mid-Century Modernist.”

You’ll get a sanctuary with a low-slung ceiling, exposed rafters, an ante room, foyer, large assembly area and 13 Sunday school-sized classrooms, according to the property listing.

Six bathrooms, two utility rooms and seven small storage rooms also come with the deal.

The property has ample parking and a large, fenced backyard, according to its listing.

The church was built in 1955 and designed by local architect Breeze, Holland & Riviere.

Several Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced architectural features were added over the years, including “sweeping gables and wide overhangs with brick buttresses,” according to the listing.

The church building is in “move-in” condition, perfect for an emerging church, as an event venue or apartments, Jack Thomson, regional director of the Preservation NC Western office says in the listing.

Click here to view the full article and photos on The Charlotte Observer



RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — A traveling exhibit is giving people an opportunity to learn more about the Black architects who helped build North Carolina.

The exhibit is at the historic Oak View County Park in east Raleigh.

The “We Built This” exhibit highlights more than two dozen personal profiles and historic context on key topics including slavery and reconstruction; the founding of historically Black colleges and universities and Black churches; Jim Crow and segregation; and the rise of Black politicians and professionals.

The tour is free and runs through March 27.

Click here to watch the full news story video on ABC 11

Plans are underway to turn an old, historic school in Rutherford County into affordable housing for educators, as converging crises have school district leaders getting creative and trying something new.

“I’ve worked in public education for almost 30 years and I would say recruitment and retention of employees is a greater challenge today than it has ever been and that’s exacerbated by the difficulty that new and returning employees have in finding high quality, affordable housing available to them,” said Dr. David Sutton, Superintendent of Rutherford County Schools.

Dr. Sutton said he thinks the issue calls on school leaders “to think differently about how they reach out and attract and connect and build relationships and support systems for the people who provide services to our children.”

He said they still have vacancies for teaching positions that they were unable to fill in the summer, because they have inadequate applicants. He added, it is troubling to him that in December, they’re still struggling to attract applicants to apply for those jobs.

With available, affordable housing a big hindrance to hiring, the school district is undertaking something it’s never done before: Affordable housing specifically for educators in Rutherford County Schools.

Instead of new construction, the district is exploring repurposing an existing school in Rutherfordton, which used to be home to R-S Central High School and, most recently, R-S Middle School.

“Until a few months ago, this campus was R-S Middle School and served just under 600 students here in the community. We finished construction on a new middle school to replace that facility late in the last school year and into the summer,” Dr. Sutton said.

He said the early estimated cost of the renovations would be $10 million to $12 million. The district is exploring the project with the help of Dogwood Health Trust and the county government, which helped fund a feasibility study through Odom Engineering. Dr. Sutton said the outcome of the study was encouraging, and the efforts have gained momentum over the course of the past year or so. However, he said the district is taking its time and being thorough with the project to ensure they get it right.

“The early feasibility plan suggested that we could probably put in somewhere between 40 and 45 apartment units,” he said. He added that they hope to add some amenities for the residents, like a gym and recreational spaces for children.

As for the rental rates, Dr. Sutton said they’re leaning into Dogwood Health Trust’s expertise in that area, but the district’s goal is to have rent levels that don’t exceed more than 30% of residents’ annual income.

“I think, ideally, in the next three to five years, we would see full occupancy and full service back to the community in its new life form,” Dr. Sutton said.

The vision for the housing project is still very formative and fluid and could include other buildings, but it focuses on the campus’ main, historic building — which is nearly a century old.

Dr. Sutton said he’d heard a lot of positive feedback from the community regarding this undertaking.

“I was just at one of our elementary schools early today and heard from the principal that among faculty members at that school, there’s a lot of excitement already,” he said.

He added with the building’s historical value, there’s interest in also paying homage to the school’s past. As the district looks to tackle modern problems, school leaders want to maintain sight of what the campus used to be and mean to folks there.

“We want to balance those two interests very carefully to build a modern facility that’s attractive to residents but also one that pays respect to its history here in the community,” he said.

Separately, the school district is also exploring using other buildings on the expansive campus for other administrative and operational functions.

by Anjali Pate, ABC 13 News

Click here to view the full article and photos

The Grand Old Lady Hotel might be packing up its veranda rocking chairs, closing its doors and throwing in the guest towels.

If so Jackson County stands to lose a landmark and the revenue it brings in from tourism.

The 112-year-old hotel, formerly known as the Balsam Mountain Inn, is temporarily closed, according to owner Marzena Wyszynska.

“Financially, I cannot do it right now,” she said. “I would love to open. If I get any kind of help, maybe in May I would consider opening.”

However, the property is also listed for sale. Wyszenska did not disclose this fact during an interview with The Herald.

The hotel, like other businesses, suffered during the early days of the pandemic due to lockdowns and travel restrictions.

“I cannot describe the stress, shock and everything that comes with that in regards to my business,” Wyszynska said. “I had to cancel every single reservation. I had to cancel every event. We had weddings booked. We had reunions booked. We had (an) international dance competition booked. Being a hotelier, it’s devastating.”

Once restrictions were eased, tourism in Western North Carolina increased to record numbers with many thinking rural vacations and outdoor destinations might be a safer choice.

The hotel did not see increased numbers, Wyszynska said.

Wyszynska acquired the hotel in late 2017 and performed renovations.

The property was purchased “with full understanding that it’s a historical building, and I would need to do a lot of work in order to bring it to the condition that I would be proud of,” she said. “It’s was kind of challenging; however, I love challenges. After purchasing the building, I have had a lot of challenges. In the first winter, the furnace failed and the building froze up.”

Despite the trials, the hotel had performed well over the past two years with an 80 percent increase in clients in 2019, Wyszenska said. 

She believes the company was set to do well in 2020 with 20 percent occupancy on the books early in the year. 

Then, the pandemic took hold.

When restrictions were eased, Wyszenska opened the hotel up at half capacity but did not see the increase in visitors other rental services did.

Wyszenska said she was also hampered by an inability to find staff willing to work.

The hotel lost over 90 percent of revenue compared to 2019, she said.

The inability to book large events was a major loss, Wyszenska said.

The hotel received CARES act funds but closed the doors in October due to a lack of business.

The age of the building required constant maintenance and upkeep which could not be done without capital to reinvest, Wyszenska said.

In November, she held an estate auction leading some to worry that she was selling off historic pieces connected to the building’s history.

Wyszenska claims that was not the case.

“Most of the furniture that I inherited were not really antiques,” she said “They were old furniture, and they were just broken, very different styles, different values. I mean nothing really worth nothing. So, I decided to open the doors and say come and get it. You want to donate a couple of dollars here and there come and get it.”

Some of the pieces were in such disrepair that they were liabilities, she said.

A china cabinet that had been in storage was the only genuine antique sold, but all other antiques are still at the hotel and are being preserved, Wyszenska said.

The sale did not bring in enough funds to take care of repairs and continue doing business.

Wyszenska does not see a way to open the doors to business at the moment and is not taking reservations because there is no capital to open.

“All these aspects just piled up the virus and the lockdowns and the restrictions,” she said. “It completely destroyed my business.”

Wyszenska said she would like to continue operating the hotel and had been considering ways to do so including renting 10 less popular guest rooms on the first floor to local shops and bringing in a third party to operate the bar and restaurant.

However, the hotel is listed on LoopNet for $2.5 million and is being sold through Wyszenska’s realty firm The CORE Real Estate.

The listing for the hotel states, “Former small boutique hotel. This historic property is being sold ‘as is.’ Great potential for a retirement home, rehabilitation center and/or Inn/hotel.”

Wyszenska had not returned requests for comment on the listing as of press time.

By Beth Lawrence, The Sylva Herald

Click here to view the article online

SUMMERFIELD — Two historic properties in the heart of this Guilford County town are for sale, and one is under contract.

The Gordon Hardware Store and the Alexander Strong Martin House are across from each other on Summerfield Road at N.C. 150.

The hardware store, built in the 1870s by local carpenter George J. Smith, is under contract, according to Cathleen Turner of Preservation North Carolina.

“It’s someone local who appreciates the architecture and the history of the area,” Turner said of the buyer. “I think they were looking at a craft beer/music/retail venue — something really interesting that I think would piggyback onto the history of the building.”

The selling price for the 3,510-square-foot store was listed at $125,000 on Preservation North Carolina’s website.

The 2,694-square-foot Martin House, circa 1835, also is listed for $110,000 on the website.

The Summerfield Town Council acquired the house for about $90,800 in 2015, according to Town Manager Scott Whitaker. He said the town bought the hardware store, along with 13.3 acres across the street in 2014, for $399,000.

Town officials had hoped to renovate the properties, Whitaker said. They wanted to turn the hardware store into a council meeting space and to move a museum currently in Town Hall into the Martin House and have some extra municipal space there.

The town even went so far as to remove some non-historical interior walls in the Martin House — installed when the place was converted into apartments — and demolished a later addition, which included some asbestos removal.

However, town leaders became concerned about the cost of the projects, Whitaker said.

This summer, the town gave Preservation North Carolina an option to buy the properties, and it is marketing them to potential owners.

“We very much see those as important historical assets,” Whitaker said.

Turner agreed, noting that both buildings are contributing structures in the Summerfield National Register Historic District.

Protective covenants on the buildings will ensure preservation of “character defining features inside and out,” Turner said. That includes the preservation of the faded R.C. Gordon Hardware “ghost” sign on the northern wall of the store. R.C. Gordon began operating the hardware and feed store there in 1935.

“It’s very common sense,” Turner explained. “Who’s going to buy a historic house and take out all the historic stuff?”

The town did some structural stabilization of the house and installed some new wood flooring where existing flooring had failed.

Turner said interest has been high in both properties, but it may take a while to finalize their sale.

“With the historic properties that we work with, they generally take a while to find that right match,” Turner said. “Preservation North Carolina specializes in important historic properties that need a lot of work and a lot of heavy lifting.”

For instance, the Martin House has a septic system, but no well. It will also require a complete rehabilitation, including all mechanical systems (electrical, plumbing, and HVAC), a new kitchen and bathrooms. With eight fireplaces, the two-story brick residence is one of the largest in Guilford County of its era.

The Gordon Hardware Store also will need a complete rehabilitation, including all new HVAC and plumbing systems and structural repair of the rear wall. One second-story room features a freight lift that transported appliances from the outside of the building through a hinged window for storage.

“They’re both iconic, prominent structures there on the main intersection of Summerfield,” Turner said.

She said the location is a plus for selling the buildings, despite the town’s rural nature.

Summerfield “is pretty dynamic. It’s close to a lot,” Turner said. “People are very interested in what’s going on and what the outcome will be.”

Click here to view the article and photographs (including historic photos) on Greensboro News & Record

Mikkel Hansen is on mission to preserve his home.

The home, built in the mid-1950s by architect Clyde Merrill, sits on two lots between Hilltop Road and Fairway Drive in Black Mountain.

Hansen said he believes the home is historic and should be preserved.

He said he began this journey a little more than a year ago because of some changes made by the town.

“I call it irresponsible spot zoning,” Hansen said. “The spot zoning affected property that really ought not to change zoning.”

Hansen said the spot zoning is an effort to add more houses to the area. He said that because his house sits on two separate lots that span nearly an acre, several more homes could be built if his is torn down.

“There isn’t an empty lot around here, so if they can rezone this, somebody can make a lot of money on putting three houses on here instead of one,” Hansen said. “As an architect, I really felt that this ought to be preserved.”

Before Hansen moved in, the house had only two previous owners, the original architect and then a doctor.

Hansen said he bought the house in 1990 and moved in Oct. 1.

Prior to moving to Black Mountain, Hansen and his family lived in Chicago for 35 years. He said he and his wife moved to the South after their children grew up and left home because he wanted to live “where (he) didn’t have to shovel snow.”

Before Chicago, the couple lived in Kentucky, their first stop after moving from their home country of Denmark in 1954.

Hansen said he and his wife, who died of Parkinson’s a few years ago, looked for homes throughout the late 1980s before landing in Black Mountain.

Once they purchased the home, they did some slight remodeling, including adding windows in the dining room and removing carpet in favor of hardwood floors.

Now that he is working to preserve the home, Hansen said he cannot make any changes to the house or landscaping without first contacting the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina as his home is now under their protection.

Hansen said he was moved to work to preserve the home because he, as a former architect, appreciates the design and work that went into creating it.

“As architecture goes, you either appreciate it or you don’t,” Hansen said. “In this case, I obviously appreciated what this guy did for himself and his wife.”

By: Karrigan Monk, Black Mountain News

Click here to view the article and photos on Black Mountain News

RALEIGH, N.C. — A new exhibit in Raleigh opens up a part of our state’s history that may not be well-known. Preservation North Carolina presents “We Built This,” the story of Black Architects and Builders from colonial times to the present.

It begins on land where enslaved people once worked. The historic farm and home of the Benton Williams family still stands today with some structures likely built by those once enslaved.

“We have been able to do some research into their lives and uncover their names and also trace their lives after slavery as well as the steps they took in freedom to create lives for themselves and their families,” said Abby Kellerman, a park manager of education.

She says, after reconstruction many freed individuals stayed on as sharecroppers and tenant farmers. Many others like them set out to make their mark designing and building homes, churches and colleges.

“We can still see the physical legacy of these individuals and the work and the skill that they put into really constructing the state and are some of our most important resources,” Kellerman said,

In the Farm History Center at Historic Oak View County Park, you can learn about James Henry Harris, “who was an upholsterer, so he was a skilled artisan in North Carolina,” said Kellerman, adding that Harris had a second career as a politician.

Harris was one of four delegates chosen from Wake County to participate in the 1868 Constitutional Convention. He served along with Benton Williams, the owner of the Oak View estate, who also sided with the Union’s cause during the Civil War.

Also featured in the exhibit is C.E. (Calvin Esau) Lightner, who attended Shaw University and became one of the leading builders of Raleigh’s Black middle class.

Philip Freelon is one of the most well-known architects in this exhibit. Kellerman said, “he’s actually known for designing the National Museum of African American History and Culture which is the Smithsonian building in D.C.”

She added, “I do appreciate that it highlights Danita Brown who was the first Black American woman licensed to practice architecture in North Carolina.”

Now, on the very ground where enslaved people once toiled the exhibit celebrates progress. “I think it really shines a light on these individuals who perhaps were overlooked in history. It encourages us to learn more about our local history,” said Kellerman.

The Historic Oak View County Park is always open for self-guided tours – Monday through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. – and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Click here to watch the news story on WRAL and to see the article

Morgan School provided the spark for Berlinda Tolbert to dream big.

Growing up in the all-Black Cherry neighborhood in the 1950s, Tolbert was surrounded by a circle of support: family, neighbors, and teachers. Tolbert went on to a successful acting career highlighted by a starring role in the 1970s TV comedy “The Jeffersons,” but never lost touch with the community – or the 10-classroom building that helped put her on that path.

“My earliest remembrances are of Charlotte, of the community that I grew up in, which is Cherry, a working-class community,” said Tolbert, who lives near Morgan School and graduated Second Ward High School. “My people are from the working class, and I watched my mom and my dad work extremely hard to support me and the children of that community. Not just their child – every child belonged to every family there.”

With Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on the cusp of desegregating campuses in 1968, Morgan School was shut down, as were other formerly all-Black schools. Built in 1925 as Cherrytown School and renamed in 1928, it was old and too small to accommodate an influx of new students. Cherry suffered further indignity when, according to an online history of Morgan School, CMS denied funding for transporting students to their new campus at Myers Park Elementary.

The newly formed Cherry Community Organization pooled resources to buy a bus, nicknamed the “Blue Goose,” and parents volunteered for driving duty.

The drama over schools played out against a backdrop of what became known as urban renewal as cities used federal funds to remake blighted areas. Inner city neighborhoods like Cherry and nearby Brooklyn were threatened or wiped out by mass displacement of Black residents due to redevelopment and gentrification. Cherry held on, albeit without use of Morgan School. Brooklyn, where Second Ward High School was located, didn’t. It was gone by 1969, replaced by today’s urban core.

Morgan School’s history is intertwined with Cherry. The community was platted in 1891 by developers John and Mary Myers as a working-class development. As was the case for Black neighborhoods in a segregated South, Cherry was a self-contained oasis where residents had their owned their homes, businesses, schools and houses of worship.

“The Morgan School represents the African American experience here in Charlotte and in Mecklenburg County for youngsters as well as seniors,” said Mecklenburg County Commissioner-elect Arthur Griffin, a Second Ward graduate and former school board chair. “It’s something to hold on to in terms of where did that come from, because if you know where you came from, you’ll have a pretty good sense in terms of where do I go from here, and where am I going?

“It’s a symbol of the life struggles and successes of the African American community that moved from the farms into the city, but into a community of homeowners, which was unique back in the early 1900s for African Americans.”

Cherry was determined to return Morgan School to neighborhood control and launched what became a 54-year campaign for its return. Over the interim, CMS used the campus for myriad purposes: alternative school for students struggling with discipline or emotional issues. A specialized program for teen mothers. Charter school. Citywide arts initiative.

In February, though, the building’s – and Cherry’s – fortunes changed.

The school board voted unanimously to approve Cherry Community Organization’s $2 million letter of interest to buy Morgan School and preserve it as a history and neighborhood engagement center. CCO is partnering with Preservation North Carolina to incorporate protective covenants upon transfer of ownership to the neighborhood established by the Myers’ 1917 deed that developed Cherry.

PNC’s task is to ensure preservation of the school’s historical characteristics. CCO is in the process of raising money to buy the property.

“All of the stars are in alignment,” Griffin said. “One, you have a Cherry Community Organization that has some reasonable leadership today, after the after the previous leadership went through some changes. The leadership now is saying ‘wait a minute, we don’t want to lose any more of the land and properties.’ The city of Charlotte gave title to a number of parcels of property, and over the years the organization lost some of those titles. They’ve sprung back to life now and they want to retain some of that property that historically was a part of the Cherry community, and Morgan School is just one of those parcels.”

Cherry residents turned out last month for a neighborhood parade. The young and elders, Black and white, they lined the streets to celebrate Morgan School’s acquisition, including alumni. It wasn’t the end of a campaign as much as the close of a long chapter.

“It was a day of Cherry celebration, honoring Morgan School, and our accomplishments to date with finally being able to reclaim the school,” said Sylvia Bittle-Patton, CCO’s president.

School board member Thelma Byers-Bailey, who is president of the Lincoln Heights community organization, became an advocate for the transfer after touring the campus and learning about Cherry’s history.

“Everything that I’m looking at, I’m looking at through the lens of what does the neighborhood want,” she said. “What’s the purpose they’re trying to serve by wanting it and what’s standing in their way? So, when they first approached me and introduced me to the Morgan School and why they wanted the schools and the history behind the school, I couldn’t see any reason why they shouldn’t have what they were asking for.”

Even after more than a half-century of disappointment, Tolbert said the acquisition wasn’t a surprise. Gaining possession of Morgan School is another example of Cherry’s self-determination – which includes efforts to maintain affordable housing in the neighborhood as gentrification encroaches.

“That community has true grit,” she said. “It always has had true grit and it is not a community that is going to lie down and say, ‘take me.’ It’s a community that’s going to fight.

“This community has great respect for its heritage. They understand the importance of that heritage, not only for its children and the community at large but what it speaks to in terms of this part of the country and what the African American experience has been.”

Click here to continue reading on The Charlotte Post

CRAMERTON, N.C. (WJZY) – Inside the old Baltimore Village School, the time has stood still.

There are old desks, an old heater and refrigerator, and the sense of age in a nearly hundred-year-old building that’s no bigger than a home.

But for Fred Glenn, there are so many memories and a legacy.

“My mother and my aunt went to school here,” he said.

The school, built in the 1920s, was constructed for African-Americans who worked in the area during segregation.

Now, the school will live on with help from the town of Cramerton. Recently, town leaders learned that nearly $1 million in state grant funds would help the Gaston County town. Government officials say they play to use some of that money to assist in the school’s restoration.

Ford thinks the school’s history would help educate young and old.

“Could you imagine eight grades taught in one room by one teacher? Being able to get an education and make a life for yourself,” he said.

When the school closed in the 1950s, it became a type of theater and community center.

Over the years, the time has not been kind to the building. The paint and interior walls are rusted or peeling.

Recently, the 501(c)3 charity applied for a grant to spruce the school and its community.

“It’s the most significant grant the town of Cramerton has received,” said Cramerton Town Commissioner Houston Helms.

Already this year, the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina helped the school’s backers with the Stedman Initiative Grant.

The plan is to use that money for community development, improvements, and renovations to the Baltimore Village School, which is considered a historic site. The group plans to turn the building into a museum — and a community center, once again.

The board said they are applying for more grants to help with the revitalization efforts. According to the school’s Facebook page, the school will have a tree in the upcoming holiday display at Belmont’s Stowe Park with an education theme in Belmont this season.

Click here to view the article with photos

by: Derek Drellinger,


Now through March 27 at Historic Oak View County Park

Starting today, Historic Oak View County Park will host a new traveling exhibit featuring the stories of the Black craftsmen who constructed and designed many of North Carolina’s most treasured sites and buildings, including several here in Wake County. The exhibit was created by the nonprofit Preservation NC and is entitled “We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina.” It’s free and will run through March 27.

“There are so many amazing historic buildings in Wake County, but most of us walk into them and never think about who built them and what they went through,” said Shinica Thomas, vice-chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “This exhibit features people who faced systemic racism and constant adversity, preserving the legacy of that resilience in some of our most beautiful landmark buildings.”

Spanning more than three centuries, “We Built This” provides over two dozen personal profiles, along with the historic context on key topics including slavery and Reconstruction; founding of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Black churches; Jim Crow and segregation; and the rise of Black civic leaders and professionals. Profiles include these local figures:

  • Gaston Alonzo Edwards (1875–1943), the first Black architect licensed in North Carolina. He worked at Shaw University, where he planned and superintended construction of key buildings such as Leonard Medical School Hospital (1910), now Tyler Hall, using students in the construction.
  • Stewart Ellison (1834–1899), an enslaved carpenter hired out in Raleigh, where he helped construct the North Carolina Hospital for the Insane (now Dorothea Dix Hospital). He became one of the state’s longest serving Black legislators of the 19th century, representing Wake County in five legislative sessions. He was also the first Black resident to serve on what is now the Raleigh City Council.

“Their stories aren’t often told, but we all can benefit from learning the history and legacy of Black builders,” said Sig Hutchinson, chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “We’re heading into the holidays when families are gathering, visiting and looking for things to do. Stopping by this incredible historic park and taking in this free exhibit would be a wonderful opportunity for all ages.”

To experience the exhibit, the public is welcome to stop by the Farm History Center at the entrance of Historic Oak View County Park just off I-440 and Poole Road in Raleigh. The indoor exhibit will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. To learn more visit

Click here to view the article on Wake County’s website

IRON STATION – Nearly 800 Rosenwald Schools were built in North Carolina – more than in any other state. Only two of the original six Rosenwald Schools are still standing in Lincoln County. One is Oaklawn, which was rehabilitated utilizing a Community Development Block Grant and is now being used by Communities in Schools of Lincoln County and the Mount Vernon School in Iron Station. Mount Vernon School was a two-teacher schoolhouse that first welcomed students for the 1925 school year.

“Today the Mount Vernon School’s restoration and preservation are championed by former students, community members, and volunteers,” Mia Canestrari, a volunteer with the project said. “A non-profit was created in 2015 to restore and preserve the school, return it to its 1920s appearance, share its history, and open it to the community for education and fellowship.”

Intrigued by the history of Rosenwald Schools, a University of North Carolina at Charlotte Anthropology Department graduate student, Camille Richardson, has elected to do an archeological dig at the Mount Vernon School as part of her master’s thesis. She’s working under the supervision of Sara Juengst, Ph.D., an associate professor with the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

“We were contacted by Mia Canestrari who’d seen on social media a Rosenwald School archeology project that was running through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” Juengst said. “The idea is to put a few archeological excavation units in the yard of the school to see what the children left behind. If we’re lucky, we’ll find their trash pit. I think most likely, we’ll find things that were lost in the yard. It’s part of an effort to document and investigate the lives of African American children which in terms of historical documents, are often unreported on, particularly in the last 200 years in the American South.”

Richardson has been doing work with other black communities in the Charlotte area on housing issues and is interested in racial justice issues broadly.

“In eighth grade, I was taking a forensics course at a college, and they started talking about forensic anthropology,” she said. “I started to think about how I could turn anthropology into a career and here I am. I was looking for a project to do for my master’s thesis and this seemed amazing. I work with a nonprofit called Rebuilding Together where we do home modifications on low-income housing. Most of our clients are African American people and I get to learn a little bit about their history.”

Some of her clients told Richardson about how education back in the day wasn’t the greatest. When she learned of the Rosenwald Schools, she knew this would be a perfect project for her.

“I’m so excited to get in here and try to tell these children’s stories and interviewing the surviving students,” she said.

Introduced to the Mount Vernon School project by Sen. Ted Alexander (R-Cleveland), Canestrari has been a volunteer with Preservation North Carolina since 2019.

“Ted invited me and another volunteer, current Board Secretary Amanda Finlon, to a Mount Vernon Rosenwald School meeting over a year ago,” she said. “We met Ola Mae (Foster) and she asked if we were interested in helping out. I was and I needed to complete an internship to get my Historic Preservation Certificate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, so I came on as an intern. Once my internship ended, I decided to stay on as a volunteer. I’m scheduled to receive the Historic Preservation certificate from UNCG this spring.”

In the case study that Canestrari did for her certificate, she conducted extensive research on the Mount Vernon school and on Rosenwald Schools in general. Some of her research follows:

The land on which the Mount Vernon Rosenwald School is situated was sold by white businessman and landowner Andrew Link to the Lincoln County School Board for eight dollars in 1902. The deed states the land was “To be used as a schoolhouse site and for the benefit of the free school for Dist. No. (Mt Vernon) colored race.” That year the Mount Vernon Academy was built and stood until the community petitioned for a Rosenwald school.

On Sept. 10, 1924, William F. Credle, the Rosenwald Fund supervisor with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction sent a request to the Rosenwald Fund for help building 22 schools in 10 counties. Mount Vernon was one of three schools in Lincoln County approved for funding at this time. Schools were only approved if the black community demonstrated support for the school by raising money and donating labor or land. The school also had to have the backing and financial support of the white community and school board.

According to information from the Fiske University Rosenwald School database, the total cost to build the school was $2500 with $300 from the black community, $1500 in public funds, and $700 from the Rosenwald Fund.

Once built, the school functioned as an elementary school with one room for first through third grade and the second classroom for grades four through six. In 1960, following desegregation, the school closed, and classes were moved to the Newbold Elementary School. In 1961 the church next door, the Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church, purchased the school and used it as a meeting hall. Historically the church and its members were instrumental in building and supporting the schools built on the site.

The school has been altered and updated over the years. Its historic details have been either hidden or removed. The large, tall bank of 9×9 windows, a defining characteristic of Rosenwald Schools, that stretched along the front and back of the school were replaced with smaller windows. The wood exterior has been covered with vinyl siding. Interior wood paneling and drop ceilings covered the original tongue and groove.

“When evaluated in 2011, the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office found it couldn’t be encouraging about it as a likely candidate for listing on the National Register of Historic Places,” Canestrari said. “It was recommended that the school building be returned to its historic appearance by literally unwrapping it to reveal the historic materials underneath.”

With the help of local Lowe’s store volunteers, the drop ceiling and wood paneling were removed in June. In addition, the board has worked to raise money and apply for available grants. The Mount Vernon Rosenwald School recently received grant funds from the county and the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation which will allow work on the exterior façade to begin this spring.

Once the historical details of the building are more visible, the board plans to have the site re-evaluated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Interviews are planned with surviving students of the Mount Vernon Rosenwald School and will be published at a later date.

Click here to view the article with photos

By: Michelle T. Bernard, Senior Staff Writer, Lincoln Times-News


BUNCOMBE COUNTY – Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (Asheville, NC) has been named a 2022 winner of a Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit, presented annually by Preservation North Carolina, for the renovation of the Sunnicrest House. Each year, the honor awards recognize outstanding people, projects, businesses, and organizations in the field of historic preservation across the state. Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College was honored in Winston-Salem on October 26th as part of PNC’s annual historic preservation conference. The award ceremony featured a presentation, which can be viewed at, followed by a beautiful reception at the Historic Brookstown Inn.

The Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit are named in honor of the late Dr. Gertrude S. Carraway, a noted New Bern historian and preservationist. Presented since 1974, a maximum of twelve awards are given each year. The Awards of Merit give deserved recognition to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated a genuine commitment to historic preservation through extraordinary leadership, research, philanthropy, promotion, and/or significant participation in preservation. Each recipient receives a framed certificate.

The Sunnicrest House in Asheville was built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt as one of six cottages constructed north of Biltmore in an area known as Vernon Hill in the Town of Victoria. Sunnicrest is the only surviving one of the six. The architect was Richard Sharp Smith who had earlier been employed by design architect Richard Morris Hunt as his field representative during the construction of Biltmore.

Originally designed in a half-timbered Tudor Revival style, with pebble dash stucco, a shingle roof, and decorative wood windows and doors, Sunnicrest once hosted many of Vanderbilt’s guests.

In 1911 the house was sold to C.W. Redeker. Redeker and his heirs owned the property until 1990 when it was purchased by Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. In 1996, Sunnicrest was renovated into office space. Its west porch was enclosed for use as two offices.

After an extensive renovation, the house was repainted in original colors based on the investigative services of Asheville Paint Conservator, Mark Ellis Bennett.

The beautifully completed work was dedicated by Asheville-Buncombe Tech in 2019 with an event reflecting on the work of Architect Richard Sharp Smith.

Preservation North Carolina is pleased to recognize Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College for their renovation of Sunnicrest with a 2022 Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit.

Click here to view the article on Mountain Xpress.

GREENSBORO — After a visit in 2018, she packed up and left a job in health care and information technology in Atlanta to move here and finish her father’s passion project — restoring the old Magnolia House.

Now the former “Green Book” site at 442 Gorrell St. serves as a bed and breakfast, restaurant and event venue.

Last month, Preservation N.C. honored Magnolia House owner Natalie Pass Miller with one of its Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit for her work on the venerable building, which opened as a bed and breakfast in January after decades of renovation work.

The award recognizes “outstanding people, projects, businesses and organizations in the field of historic preservation across the state,” the organization said Wednesday in a news release announcing the award.

Pass Miller was recently honored in Winston-Salem as part of Preservation N.C.’s annual historic preservation conference.

The Carraway Award is named for Dr. Gertrude S. Carraway, a noted New Bern historian and preservationist.

Built in 1889 as a single-family residence in what is now the South Greensboro Historic District, Magnolia House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In September, it was inducted into Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

During segregation, the Magnolia House could be found in “The Green Book” — a state-by-state listing of safe places Black people could stay overnight while traveling through the segregated South. It hosted notable entertainers such as Ike and Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Lena Horne and baseball greats Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige.

Click here to view the article on the News & Record.

Local historic resources officer Michelle McCullough won the highest honor that Preservation North Carolina bestows on working professionals during the group’s annual historic preservation conference, held Oct. 26 in Winston-Salem.

Awards were also made recognizing historic preservation efforts by city government, the Friends of Odd Fellows Cemetery and Reynolda House. GBX Group LLC of Cleveland, Ohio was awarded for historic preservation efforts at a number of locations here and in other North Carolina cities.

McCullough won the Robert E. Stipe Professional Award for what Preservation North Carolina called exceptional leadership and outstanding commitment to preservation as part of her job responsibilities. McCullough has been historic resources officer for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Planning and Development Services Department for the last 20 years.

McCullough was cited for her work in support of the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission, which oversees Winston-Salem’s two historic districts and one historic overlay district as well as Forsyth County’s 140 local historic landmarks. The group said McCullough speaks to clubs, develops and conducts trolley, bus and walking tours, and is involved in training.

Architectural historian and planner, Langdon Oppermann called McCullough “fun, and a pleasure to work with, even in the most difficult of circumstances,” and credited her for helping to instill a widespread preservation ethic in the city.

The Friends of Odd Fellows Cemetery here won the Minnette C. Duffy Landscape Preservation Award, which is the highest highest honor given for the preservation, restoration or maintenance of landscapes, gardens, streetscapes and the like.

The cemetery friends’ group works to manage and keep up what was known as the city’s premier burial site for Black residents for decades after the establishment of the cemetery in 1907. The group organizes regular service days with volunteer groups who spend time cutting back brush and removing trash. Walkways are being established to provide descendants with access to family graves, and grass and bulbs have been planted.

The group is also honoring more than 100 military veterans buried at the cemetery including Buffalo Soldiers like Private First-Class John Hickman who belonged to the 10th Calvary of the United States Army, and Tuskegee Airman First Lieutenant Spurgeon N. Ellington.

The city of Winston-Salem won a Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit, for the restoration of Union Station. The group said the 1926 building was an iconic transportation landmark that had become an auto repair shop after rail service ended in 1970, but that the city acquired the property in 2010 and in 2017 began the effort to restore it to its former glory.

Reynolda House also won one of the Carraway awards for its roof and gardens restoration. In 2020-21, the green tile roof on Reynolda House was restored for long-term preservation in a project that included the use of new but similar tiles made by the original manufacturer, Ludowici Tile Co.

Reynolda House also carried out a garden restoration that included replacing drainage pipes, repainting stucco walls, repairing roofs and planting new cherry trees to replace ones that had aged out.

It’s not a local company, but GBX Group LLC of Cleveland won the L. Vincent Lowe Jr., Business Award presented annually by Preservation North Carolina, for work that has included historic preservation at Winston-Salem locations including the Pepper Building, Southbound Railway Freight Warehouse & Office, Efird Building, Twin-City Motors Building, and several smaller buildings on North Trade Street.

The award is Preservation North Carolina’s highest honor presented to a business that assists or promotes historic preservation. GBX partners with property owners, developers and local preservation organizations to acquire, redevelop and preserve historic real estate. It uses rehabilitation historic tax credits and preservation easements.

Click here to view the article in the Winston-Salem Journal.

What’s neat? Buying your wife an abandoned 1700s grist mill from Preservation North Carolina as a 10-year anniversary gift to upfit for weekend getaways—then discovering its condition and pivoting to salvage and revitalize it by producing a NC bourbon whiskey from corn grown, harvested, distilled and bottled in state.

So goes the origin story for brand-new NC bourbon Cook’s Mill Bourbon Whiskey—named for that very pre-Revolutionary Alamance County grist mill NC native Jason Queen bought in Mebane, halfway between where he and his wife grew up (Burlington and Hillsborough, respectively).

“When we bought it, we finally got in and it was like they had just left the day before,” says Queen of the historic mill—one of only two remaining of the original 41 in the county. “All the hand sifters, corn bags and everything were still there—so we knew we had to figure out how to restore it and get it functioning again.”

Given grist mills aren’t exactly lucrative, Queen started imagining ways to restore the building without losing his shirt, he says. Inspirited by then new-to-scene Social House Vodka and New Southern Revival’s Jimmy Red Corn’s success stories, merged with his background in restaurants and, well, the corn (naturally)—Queen’s aha moment: a whiskey company with a portion of the proceeds going back to the cost of renovating the actual mill.

Inspired by the proud tradition of farming and distillation in our state, Cook’s Mill officially splashed on the spirits scene in October after being kept under wraps for years. A straight bourbon whiskey aged in new white-oak charred barrels for two years minimum, Cook’s Mill’s first iteration blends supreme flavor as a 3-year-old bourbon made with NC native corn and a dose of history.

Born “from the hills, fields and mills of NC,” this spirit is bringing bourbon back home to NC. (Fun fact: If it weren’t for Prohibition and the moonshiner migration, we would still be one of the leading whiskey makers in the country.)

But Queen isn’t bringing any run-of-the-mill bourbon. While upward of 99% of bourbon whiskey companies rely on GMO horse-feed corns, Cook’s Mill will be a game-changer as future iterations unfold—digging deep into our state’s agriculture to resurrect seeds for sheer sipping satisfaction.

Across the state, the team is already working on farming myriad non-GMO heirloom corns native to NC—a cornucopia if you will—to yield ideal bourbon whiskey flavor profiles. To do so, Queen and his team partnered with experts at NC State who have dedicated their careers to native NC heirloom corns. The team isolated seven heirloom corns housed in a university vault in small amounts and offered them to Queen and his team for them to grow.

“These are real true heirloom seeds, original genetic varieties of these corns, that we have unique ownership of,” says Queen, “and there are only like a handful of some of these corns. They’ve never been commoditized—you can’t get them out of a catalog.” In fact, he explains, they were probably used by the pre-Prohibition NC moonshiners and distillers—and allowed to go out of production because of the dense GMO corns that are so much easier to grow.

“It’s unique that we’re experimenting with these different heirloom corns and using them in a very traditional manner—in regards to bourbon-making—as we move forward with our small batches,” says Queen, acknowledging the spirit’s shelf volume. “This whole business we’re launching is really focused on high-quality small-batch runs of these native North Carolina heirloom corns. And the North Carolina connections are very important to us.”

Queen and his team don’t plan to stop with one bourbon, one flavor profile or even one plan. “The goal is to really take an innovative approach—not unsimilar to the wine industry—trying different climates, soils and corns across the state,” he says, “then comparing once they start to age, and really starting to identify which ones are best and where and why.”

And, of course, to restore the mill—and, in a full-circle moment, eventually use it partly as the grindstones to create the brand’s whiskey “mashbill” (aka mix of corn, grains, etc.).  “Historic preservation serves a fundamental function in establishing a community’s sense of identity in the present,” says Queen—“and its idea of what it wishes to be in the future. The grist mill to us doesn’t just represent Mebane or Alamance County, it represents all of the Carolinas and its diverse communities. More so, it represents the best parts of us and our history, and what we want to carry into the future—that determination, that resourcefulness, that grit.”

“There’s a very long rich history of producing corn spirits in North Carolina and it’s just kind of been allowed to fall by the wayside,” adds Queen. “Our state was a really important area for it a long time ago—and it’s not being celebrated the way it should.” Until now. Find it on shelves (or ask for it) at any local ABC store statewide,

Click here to view the full article

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (October 27, 2022)— Reynolda has been selected as a recipient of the 2022 Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from Preservation North Carolina. The awards are presented annually to people and organizations demonstrating genuine commitment through extraordinary leadership, research, philanthropy, promotion and/or personal participation in historic preservation. Reynolda was recognized at an October 26 event in Winston-Salem for two recently completed projects across the estate: the roof rehabilitation and the Formal Gardens renovation.

The Reynolda House roof rehabilitation project was announced in 2018, following receipt of a $420,000 Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities. A ‘Raise the Roof’ campaign followed, to raise funds for the rehabilitation, and work began during the summer of 2021 to replace tiles across the 30,000-square-foot bungalow roof. Partnering with architect Joseph K. Oppermann, the Frank L. Blum Construction Company, and the Baker Roofing Company, the project honored the vision of the home’s original designer, Charles Barton Keen. It was completed in December 2021.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from Preservation North Carolina. We benefited from a meaningful collaboration with our project partners, and the rehabilitation was meticulously executed. The completed roof displays powerful historical integrity and ensures the safety and protection of the home and its collection of American art and fine objects.”

This is the third award bestowed to Reynolda for roof rehabilitation. The project was previously awarded the Robert James Award for Preservation Excellence by the North Carolina Preservation Consortium and the Commercial Historic Renovation Project of the Year Award by Ludowici Roof Tile Company.

Renovation work in Reynolda Gardens is also recognized by Preservation North Carolina. Announced in 2020, the East Garden project focused on a primary visitor entry point to the Formal Gardens and a beloved home to the estate’s weeping cherry trees. The extensive work revived the original cherry tree allée that was designed by Thomas Sears in 1917. An allée is traditionally defined as a feature of the French formal garden that is both a promenade and an extension of a garden view. Forty-four trees were planted to form the allée—six parallel to the greenhouses and 19 along the east and west sides of the greenhouse gardens.

“The full cherry tree allée was not on view as intended for nearly 50 years,” said Jon Roethling, director of Reynolda Gardens. “Visitors this spring were delighted to see the cherries in bloom as they discovered our most recent restoration efforts.”

The project also uncovered an opportunity to complete critical drainage and irrigation work that will help to preserve the Formal Gardens for generations to come. In addition to this work, the tea houses—central focal points and passageways in the Formal Gardens—received new cedar roofs, paint and plantings.

Restoration work is never complete and ever-evolving, and Reynolda is already at work on new projects—a reimagination of the bungalow’s landscaping and a complete renovation of the Gardens’s greenhouses. Visit to plan your visit and to see restoration of the 1917 estate in action.

About Reynolda

Reynolda is set on 170 acres in Winston-Salem, N.C. and comprises Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Reynolda Gardens and Reynolda Village Shops and Restaurants. The Museum presents a renowned art collection in a historic and incomparable setting: the original 1917 interiors of Katharine and R. J. Reynolds’s 34,000-square-foot home. Its collection is a chronology of American art and featured exhibitions are offered in the Museum’s Babcock Wing Gallery and historic house bedrooms. The Gardens serve as a 134-acre outdoor horticultural oasis open to the public year-round, complete with colorful formal gardens, nature trails and a greenhouse. In the Village, the estate’s historic buildings are now home to a vibrant mix of boutiques, restaurants, shops and services. Plan your visit at and use the free mobile app, Reynolda Revealed, to self-tour the estate.

Click here to view the full article on Yes! Weekly

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Oct. 14, 2022) – The University Galleries at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, in collaboration with Preservation Greensboro, will host a new traveling exhibit titled, “We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina.” The exhibit, opening Wednesday, Oct. 19, and running through Dec. 9 at the University Galleries, will feature the stories of those who constructed and designed many of North Carolina’s most treasured historic sites.

“This exhibition will highlight individuals who overcame racism and economic challenges to create some of North Carolina’s most beautiful landmark buildings,” said Roy Carter, associate professor and visual arts program director. “Many times, we walk into these facilities and admire them, and are not aware of those who built them.”

Executive Director of Preservation Greensboro Benjamin Briggs said, “We thought it was important to bring this exhibit to our city. Greensboro and North Carolina A&T hold important places in this inspirational story, and it is exciting to feature this exhibit on the university’s historic campus.”

According to Briggs, Preservation Greensboro is the only local nonprofit that advocates for historic preservation of places. “We Built This” is part of a multi-faceted educational program about the history and legacy of Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina and is produced by Preservation North Carolina.

Spanning more than three centuries, “We Built This” provides more than two dozen personal profiles and historic context on key topics including slavery and Reconstruction; founding of historically Black colleges and universities and Black churches; Jim Crow and segregation; and the rise of Black civic leaders and professionals. “We Built This” acknowledges and celebrates the Black builders and architects who constructed or designed many of North Carolina’s most cherished historic places.

The exhibit will be open to the public during normal University Galleries hours, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays by appointment. Exhibitions are free. Group tours are welcome. For more information, call Carter at 336-334-3209.

In addition to the onsite location, the University Galleries features virtual exhibitions, which include:

“Black Art Matters”

“Rosa: The Works of Bryan Collier”

“Songs from the Motherland: Musical Instruments from the Permanent Collection”

To learn more, visit the University Galleries website.

Click here to view the full article on NC A&T’s website.

It has been a historic month for notable Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) alumnus Joseph Holt, Jr., ’64, as the NC African American Heritage Commission inducted his family home site into the NC Civil Rights Trail.

“The contributions made by the Holt family to the Civil Rights Movement reflect SAU’s enduring fight for social justice,” said SAU President Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail. “I’m proud that the NC African American Heritage Commission has recognized our alumnus Mr. Holt and his family’s legacy in North Carolina’s history.”

See the full story submitted by SAU alumna Deborah Holt Noel, ’89, below:

On September 17, 2022, Raleigh’s first family to challenge the city’s segregated public school system following the 1954 Brown v. Board decision was honored with a marker designating the home site of Joseph and Elwyna Holt as a stop along the North Carolina Civil Rights Trail.  The unveiling of this 18” x 32” cast aluminum sign which stands on a seven-foot aluminum pole, was accompanied by an invitation-only dedication ceremony at Wilson Temple United Methodist Church on Oberlin Road and was hosted by the Joseph H. Holt, Jr. family.  The marker was installed at 1027 Oberlin Road.  The public is now welcome to view the marker.

Many individuals and organizations enthusiastically sponsored Joseph Holt, Jr.’s effort to apply for the marker, including Exploris Middle School instructor Shannon Hardy and her eighth-grade students, Preservation North Carolina, the Raleigh City Museum, StepUp Ministry, Cary Academy, and Raleigh Charter High School.  Holt says, “This day has been a long time in coming, and I am filled with joy and gratitude to my parents for their courage and persistence in fighting for our right to equal education, and to my daughter Deborah for her determination and talent in portraying this story through a documentary she produced called “Exhausted Remedies: Joe Holt’s Story”.

The NC African American Heritage Commission leads the NC Civil Rights Trail with funding from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and with support from Visit North Carolina and the North Carolina Office of Archives & History. The commission will work with communities across the state to designate up to 50 sites where trail markers will be placed, including 10 in Hometown Strong communities. An interactive web portal highlights these places and others to guide people to history and experiences from the past.  To learn more about the project or to apply for a marker, please visit

Click here to view the article on St. Augustine’s University blog.


Down a long gravel drive and beside a soybean field in a remote part of northeastern North Carolina, one of the state’s oldest houses is having a renaissance.

The wisteria that enveloped the Duke-Lawrence House has been cut back, and workers are gradually rehabbing the brick and clapboard building, parts of which are more than 270 years old.

Windows installed in the 1980s have been replaced using hand-blown glass from Germany that has the same waves and air pockets the originals would have had in the 18th century. The red cedar shingles on the roof are being refinished with a mixture of pine tar and linseed oil used since colonial times.

The oldest section of the T-shaped house is a story and a half and was built in about 1747, when North Carolina was still a British colony. The newest section, two stories clad in brick, was added a decade or two later.

At a time when most homes were a single room, this was a grand house, says Reid Thomas, a restoration specialist for the State Historic Preservation Office. It has six large rooms with five enormous brick fireplaces, a central entryway with a winding staircase and a basement kitchen.

The house was built for John Duke, most likely by enslaved laborers, Reid says. Each brick would have been made by hand from locally dug clay and then held together using mortar made with lime from burned oyster shells. So many shells, Reid says, that the pile would have been higher than the two-story house.

“It was an enormous amount of work,” he said, looking up at the house. “It’s just great that it survives. We’ve lost so many. Glad it’s back in good hands.”

Those hands belong to Bob Tucci, who bought the house outside the town of Rich Square last year. Tucci, 75, set out to create a “museum-like” home for him and his wife, Alice, restored as close as possible to its original look and feel and filled with 18th century furniture or accurate reproductions.

“But it has to be comfortable,” Tucci adds. “It’ll have a television.”

Tucci is an unlikely savior of a colonial plantation house. He works as a sales associate at a Home Depot store in a suburb of Baltimore, where he and Alice live in a modest townhouse.

But Tucci has always loved colonial houses and wanted to build one of his own. He taught high school science and in his free time apprenticed with builders to learn the skills he would need to lay out a floor, cut rafters and strap a roof.

He took the job at Home Depot 30 years ago, he said, because it let him pursue his dream.

“I wanted a job that allows me to do all these other things, and I wanted to build a house,” he said. “I wanted to build a colonial house, a small house. I’d wanted to do that since I was in high school.”

So he did, over many years, in the rural New Hampshire town of Grafton. And he says the fate of that house made the Duke-Lawrence project possible.


Tucci is not the first to fall in love with the Duke-Lawrence House and work to bring it back to life. (The name reflects the fact that John Duke’s daughter married John Lawrence, whose family owned the home until 1850.)

When Edward and Mildred Regan bought the house from the Murfreesboro Historic Association in 1979, it had been gutted and had no electricity, water or indoor plumbing. The roof had been replaced with tin, and the original interior woodwork, including the stairs to the second floor, had been stripped out in the 1930s and installed in a Richmond, Virginia, mansion that later became the Willow Oaks Country Club.

The Regans — retired steel company engineer and school teacher — had spent 10 years restoring an old home in New Jersey and wanted a new challenge. They recreated the wood paneling based on photos from an archive at N.C. State University and replaced the cedar shingles and missing dormers on the roof. With their support, the state successfully nominated the home for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Subsequent owners continued the work. A Catholic priest who moved into the home in the late 1990s is credited with restoring the missing stairs.

But by the time Tucci came across Duke-Lawrence during an online search, it had not been lived in for many years and had started to deteriorate again. Tucci paid $230,000 for the property, which included nearly nine acres of land.

“A lot of people liked the acreage and the price,” said Andy Tucker, the broker who handled the listing. “But Bob’s the right person for the house.”

The Duke-Lawrence House is not widely known beyond certain circles of historians; it doesn’t appear on Wikipedia’s list of the state’s oldest buildings, even though it would rank about 12th (the oldest is the Lane House in Edenton, built in about 1719).

That’s because it has always been privately owned and far from the public eye, says Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina, the nonprofit historic preservation group. But Howard said Duke-Lawrence is historically important, which is why his group holds an easement on the home that prevents it from being demolished or significantly altered.

But the covenants don’t preclude changes that “make the house livable,” as Tucci puts it, including the modern kitchen a previous owner installed and the new wiring and air conditioning that were among his top priorities. A closet off the kitchen now houses a washer/dryer, while two others have been converted into bathrooms, each with showers.

“Alice says, ‘Bob, I need a shower,’” he said. “Now we have two showers where there never was one.”

When the work is done, the couple plans to visit the house often but not live in it full-time.

Tucci says he expects to spend more than a half million dollars buying and improving the Duke-Lawrence House, including a kitchen garden and small orchard with persimmon, peach, plum, apple, pear and fig trees.

Most of the money will come from an insurance settlement he received after the colonial Cape-style home he had built in New Hampshire was destroyed by fire in October 2020.


Tucci is able to do some of the work himself, but also relies on specialists and contractors. Cardinal Joinery of Winston-Salem created the windows using the German glass and construction techniques from the period. Kurt Leahey, who was overseeing prep work for Cardinal Joinery last summer, said despite the neglect and its age Duke-Lawrence is still in good shape.

“The house is really well built,” Leahey said. “It’s still incredibly plumb and square. This has been a real delight.”

Tucci also brought in Reid Thomas, whose job with the state historic preservation office includes advising owners of historic properties on how to care for them. Thomas said he had visited the house before, to meet with previous owners, but it had been a long time.

As they toured the house, Thomas pointed out historic details, such as the trammel that once held pots over the fire in the basement kitchen and what appear to be original hand-planed shelves in the closet with the washer and dryer.

Thomas was especially impressed with the brick work on the exterior of the house. He pointed to the polished headers, or small glazed bricks, between the larger ones, that created a checkerboard pattern.

“This is an amazing wall,” he said.

Thomas said much of the exterior wood siding appeared to be original or close too it. Some of the paint was wrinkled from sun exposure, but Thomas advised against replacing the wood.

“I think it would be worthwhile if you could keep it,” he said. “It would probably outlast anything you replace it with.”

Tucci spent about 20 years building the house in New Hampshire, working when he could and learning along the way. He knows he doesn’t have that kind of time now and is hoping to finish the Duke-Lawrence House in two years, three tops.

“If it all stops tomorrow, we had fun while we were at it,” he said. As for the house? “We’ll just hand it off to somebody else.”

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By: Richard Stradling, The News & Observer

Click here to listen as Bob Tucci describes the process of restoring the Duke-Lawrence House in Rich Square, N.C. The home, whose oldest section was built in 1747, is one of the oldest houses in the state of North Carolina.

By: Kaitlin McKeown, The News & Observer

Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, Buncombe County Special Collections, and Pack Memorial Library present We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina Aug. 1-Oct. 10

The history and legacy of Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina comes to life in a new traveling exhibit at Pack Memorial Library. Produced by Preservation North Carolina (PNC), the traveling exhibit, We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina, is on display until Oct. 10.

The exhibit is open to the public during normal library hours Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For questions about the current display, contact Erica LeClaire Director of Preservation – PSABC at or (828) 254-2343.

From Preservation North Carolina: We Built This is part of a multi-faceted educational program about the history and legacy of Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina. This traveling exhibit highlights the stories of those who constructed and designed many of North Carolina’s most treasured historic sites. Spanning more than three centuries, We Built This provides more than two dozen personal profiles and historic context on key topics including slavery and Reconstruction; founding of HBCUs and Black churches; Jim Crow and segregation; and the rise of Black civic leaders and professionals. We Built This acknowledges and celebrates the Black builders and architects who constructed or designed many of North Carolina’s most treasured historic places.

For more information about We Built This, including future locations and information about rental, please contact Julianne Patterson at or (919) 832-3652 ext. 238.

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – If you’ve been to a historical mansion or museum such as Wilmington’s Bellamy Mansion, you may know when it was built, but do you know who built it?

The profiles of many black architects who built estates like the Bellamy and dozens of others across North Carolina are now on display there.

The Bellamy recently welcomed a new exhibit called “We Built This”, a way to shine a light on so many black architects and builders who quite literally laid the foundation for some early estates and settlements in the state.

When asked “Why?”, weekend manager at the Bellamy, Aryn Turner spoke on the importance of the exhibit.

“To highlight the architects and the laborers and all the craftsmanship that went into building all these historic homes that we know about, because of their owners who are usually rich or high and mighty and powerful, but the craftsmanship and the laborers who built all these historic structures that we know and treasure so much, we really want to learn more about them.” said Turner.

Turner mentions names like William Gould, who was a plasterer who helped build the Bellamy Mansion, where his initials “WBG” have been found some places in the mansion.

“We have profiles on individuals who worked here Wilmington, who worked here on the Bellamy, William Gould, he did a lot of the plaster work and a lot of the craftsmanship that went into this building. We have profiles on him and a lot of other individuals who’ve built buildings in Raleigh, Asheville, all throughout the state.”

The exhibit shows off the black architects who wouldn’t have gotten much credit for their work when it was complete. Turner says they did searching for all people involved with these projects.

“I think that we’ve been trying to do a lot of research in previous years into the people who are less well known, but who made these structures, what they are and who, what we what we cherish and know. So we’ve personally here at the Bellamy we did a lot of research into the people who lived here, not just the family, the enslaved members, the domestic workers later on.”

Turner also says it feels good to finally tell the stories of these men and women.

“That’s really nice to see here from a historical standpoint and from an architectural standpoint to really know who was behind this and know their stories and have them on display here.”

The exhibit will be at the Bellamy Mansion Museum until November 4th. Tours are offered Mon-Sun from 10:00 am-4:00 pm.

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 6:09 PM EDT
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A South Carolina-based residential developer is getting started on its second Charlotte community that will be built around one of the city’s historic homes in the SouthPark area.

The Terranova Group of Greenville is currently in the process of installing infrastructure for Foxcroft Place, a development off Sharon Lane, between Sharon and Foxcroft roads, that will consist of eight new luxury, single-family homes anchored by the McNinch House.

Terranova, which is also behind a similar project in Plaza Midwood called Mecklenburg Park, acquired the 3-acre property at 2401 Sharon Lane for $3.525 million in late 2020, according to Mecklenburg County property records.

Home construction at the site is expected to begin in the next two months, with the first residences scheduled for completion in mid-2023, said Rob Haney, president of Terranova. No homes have been sold yet at Foxcroft Place.

The McNinch House, featuring a Colonial Revival architectural style, sold this spring for $1.835 million. It was built in 1925 for Frank Ramsay McNinch, a prominent North Carolina political figure who served as Charlotte mayor, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission documents.

Terranova worked with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission and local nonprofit Preserve Mecklenburg on the sale to ensure the new owners will protect and restore the home.

“Historic Preservation and development working together has assured the preservation of former Mayor Frank McNinch’s Home on Sharon Lane,” said Dan Morrill, co-founder of Preserve Mecklenburg, in a news release. “The house will be protected by a preservation easement. Otherwise, it was at great risk of being demolished.”

Terranova also worked with Preserve Mecklenburg on the design and planning of the development. The McNinch House will inspire the design of the eight homes surrounding it.

The residences will range from 4,150 to 4,650 square feet, with four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms, Haney said. Other features include an open floor plan, primary bedroom on the main level, media room, study, reading alcove, front porch and attached two-car garage. Each buyer can select and customize high-end features for their home. Lot sizes range from about 0.1 to 0.2 acres.

The homes are priced from $2 million to $2.5 million, Haney said.

Terranova’s other local project, Mecklenburg Park, began last August at 2400 Mecklenburg Ave., surrounding the historic Knowlton-Shaw House. It consists of eight new duet-style cottages and two lots designated for custom homes.

Haney said four homes in that community have sold and are under construction, adding that two more residences available for sale with an average price point of $1.495 million are currently being built there as well. Each home is about 3,400 square feet and includes four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms. The Knowlton-Shaw House, also known as the Victor Shaw House, is listed at $1.95 million.

Salins Group is building the homes at both Foxcroft Place and Mecklenburg Park. The Charlotte-based builder is also in charge of preserving the McNinch and Knowlton-Shaw houses. Lucy Moore Butler of Cottingham Chalk is handling the residential sales for both developments.

Terranova, founded in 2011, aims to create and revitalize neighborhoods through residential development and construction, according to its website. Its portfolio includes projects across North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

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 — Would you live inside a vacant century-old church, with curtains of ivy creeping up a tall bell tower and tall, pointed arched windows?

With the cost of real estate skyrocketing in the Triangle, many are struggling to find or afford a new home. However, this historic 1908 church is for sale for just $175,000. Compare that with the median home sale price of nearly $400,000 in the Triangle area.

Selma Baptist Church sits on a prominent corner of the Selma Downtown Historic District, an iconic historic structure beloved by the surrounding community. However, for several years it has had very little ongoing maintenance, according to Cathleen Turner, regional director for Preservation North Carolina, who has been working to protect and sell the church.

“It’s been zoned to allow for mixed-use,” says Turner. “So whoever buys it could use the space for many different things — a restaurant in the sanctuary. An overnight boutique hotel upstairs. They could put residential units in the classroom spaces, or use it as office space.”

Inside the century-old Gothic-Revival church

Turner says the unique space is ideal for a preservation-minded buyer looking for a creative project. The stately masonry and architecture could provide a magical draw for visitors.

“The austere exterior…displays impressive Gothic Revival features, including a high pitch roof, corner bell tower entrance, buttresses with rusticated stone retails, and tall pointed arch windows,” reads the website description.

Inside a wide open sanctuary is a grand foyer, lit with pointed arch transoms over the doors and an Ecclesiastical Gothic chandelier. The website describes a “trio of pointed arch windows that bathe the interior with light.” At the far end of the sanctuary, the pulpit sits on a raised platform, decorated with classical elements. A lateral hallway leads to the pastor’s office and restrooms, and a “paneled staircase with turned banisters” leads into the upstairs space.

A three-story office and classroom building was added in 1948, which could be transformed into a residential or office space – or used as a unique boutique hotel experience in the midst of Historic Downtown Selma.

Increased growth and preservation in downtown Selma

While the purchase price is significantly lower than much of the real estate in the Triangle area, Turner says whoever buys the church will have to invest in repairs and upkeep. However, she says the historic structure comes with tax credits. She says the current growth in downtown Selma makes it a great time to invest in the town’s history – and future.

“Once we identify a preservation-minded buyer, the space will be subject to a protective covenant,” she says. “It’ll be protected from demolition or insensitive historic changes. Rehabilitation will need to observe its defined features, while allowing things to be modernized for current use.”

Turner says a lot is happening in downtown Selma right now.

“We have several projects underway, including the former Town Hall buildings, comprised of the former People’s Bank, the Quality Store, and House’s Grocery,” she says.

Developers rehabilitating the historic buildings for mixed-use developments are creating residential spaces on the second floor, with commercial use on the first floors.

The Selma Civic Center itself was created from the rehabilitation of a nearly century-old school gymnasium – a project that won them an award.

Turner points out that owners and developers may potentially receive a 20% federal income tax credit and a 15-25% state income tax credit for certified rehabilitation of income-producing historic structures.

As rental and real estate costs in the Triangle rise and huge companies like Apple and Meta bring jobs to the area, smaller towns like Selma, Sanford, Wilson and others are getting impacted by the growth – something the original Selma Baptist Church congregation could likely have never envisioned for their Gothic-Revival building.

However, as rapid growth takes over the Triangle and peripheral towns, Turner wants to make sure historic structures aren’t lost in the process. By revitalizing the former Selma Baptist Church, the historic character of the town remains strong, even as the future brings growth and change.

“It’s having a catalytic effect of positive activity in the downtown,” says Turner. “We look forward to seeing something amazing at the former Selma Church.”

To see more photos of Selma Baptist Church and learn more about its history, visit the Preservation NC website.

By Heather Leah, WRAL multiplatform producer
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He served nearly three years in the U.S. Navy and documented almost all of it, leaving an invaluable record of Black life during the war.

This article is part of Overlooked, a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.

On the night of Sept. 21, 1862, eight men slipped through the streets of downtown Wilmington, N.C. It was raining and humid, uncomfortable enough to keep residents, who might raise an alarm, off the street.

Reaching the docks along the Cape Fear River, the men commandeered a small sailboat. They kept the sail stowed to reduce the risk of being seen, and they rowed with the current to the river’s outlet into the Atlantic Ocean, 28 miles downstream. They made it to open waters just before dawn.

Among the eight men — all escaped slaves — was William B. Gould, a skilled tradesman who had worked as a plasterer around Wilmington. He could read and write, which was rare for an enslaved person, though he couldn’t know that just a day later, President Abraham Lincoln would sign the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that on Jan. 1, 1863, all slaves in the Confederacy would be free.

The men headed out to sea, aiming for the ships that made up the Union blockade along the North Carolina coast. Eventually they reached the Cambridge, an armed steamer. They were not alone; since almost the beginning of the war, enslaved people had been self-emancipating, taking advantage of confusion amid the Civil War to escape to Union lines.

In most cases, Union ships that took on so-called contraband were encouraged to send them north. But with only 18 sailors, the Cambridge was undermanned, and soon Gould and his shipmates found themselves a part of the crew.

Over the next two and a half years, until the end of the war, Gould served in the United States Navy, one of the few escaped slaves to do so, though nearly 180,000 served in the Army. And from the beginning, he kept a journal, the only known record of the war written by a contraband.

Gould chronicled the timeless monotony of shipboard life, but also the occasional excitement of chasing down Confederate blockade runners. He documented the relative racial equality he found in the Navy, but also the endless slights and occasional episodes of outright discrimination faced by Black sailors.

And throughout the course of his travels he related the events of a world being turned upside down by war and emancipation.

In the diary, which was later transcribed into a book, complete with misspellings, he recounted how in New York City he had visited the offices of The Anglo-African, one of the country’s leading Black newspapers, then “pass’d throug some of the wealthey streets of Brooklyn” and later “Listened to a verry good Lecture by George Thompson of England,” one of Britain’s leading abolitionists.

Gould was across the Atlantic, helping chase down Confederate warships, when he heard the news that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had captured Richmond, Va., the Confederate capital.

“On my return on board I heard the Glad Tidings that the Stars and Stripe had been planted over the Capital of the D—nd Confedercy by the invicible Grant,” he writes. “While we honor the living soldiers who have done so much we must not forget to whisper for fear of desturbeing the Glorious sleep of the ma[ny] who have fallen. Mayrters to the cau[se] of Right and Equality.”

After the war Gould settled in Dedham, Mass., and became a prosperous contractor. His diary ended up packed away in his attic.

There it sat until 1958, when his grandson William B. Gould III and great-grandson William B. Gould IV stumbled across it while cleaning out the house. His great-grandson, then in college, became fascinated with his ancestor’s diary and spent the next 50 years transcribing and annotating it while becoming a prominent legal scholar at Stanford University.

Professor Gould published the resulting book, “Diary of a Contraband: The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor,” in 2003.

“He had it first hand; he was there for the first writing of history,” Professor Gould said in a phone interview. “And some of it was humdrum, the life of a sailor day to day, but some of it quite important, and not only in terms of his involvement in the war, but his observations about the war itself.”

William Benjamin Gould was born on Nov. 18, 1837, in Wilmington. His father, Alexander Gould, was a white Englishman; his mother, Elizabeth Moore, was an enslaved Black woman. The details of their relationship are unknown.

William and his mother were properties of a white peanut farmer named Nicholas Nixon. At some point William learned to read and write, skills largely forbidden to enslaved people. Professor Gould speculates that William Gould may have been taught by white missionaries, who were known to defy slave owners by providing enslaved people with a basic education.

Gould also learned masonry, and Nixon hired him out to construction and renovation projects around the Wilmington area. The plaster molding at one home, the Bellamy Mansion — now a museum — still bears his initials.

Soon after the Civil War began in April 1861, the U.S. Navy established a blockade off the North Carolina coast to cut off trade and military supplies. Nixon, like other wealthy white people, moved his household and slaves inland, in case of an invasion. The confusion gave Gould an opportunity to plot his escape, though it would be almost 18 months before he could put his plan into action.

Once aboard the Cambridge, he enlisted for a three-year term as a first-class boy, essentially an onboard servant. “First taking the Oath of Allegiance to the Government of Uncle Samuel,” he noted on Oct. 3, 1862. Though as a Black man Gould had only limited opportunities for advancement, he was later promoted to landsman and then wardroom steward.

The Navy was not segregated the way the Army was; white and Black men served and lived side by side. But Gould still experienced racism and discrimination at the hands of white officers. In his diary he notes how they occasionally refused to let Black sailors eat out of the ship’s mess pans because they did not want to use the same ones.

He contracted measles in May 1865, and the next several months, which he spent convalescing on shore, account for the only significant pause in his diary keeping.

Gould ultimately headed north to New York and Boston, where he switched ships, to the Niagara, whose forthcoming assignment was to interdict Confederate ships coming from Europe.

They were docked in Cadiz, Spain, when news arrived that the Confederates had surrendered at Appomattox, Va. The Niagara returned to Massachusetts, where Gould received an honorable discharge from the Navy.

He traveled back to Wilmington, which he found eerily empty, then back to Massachusetts, to Nantucket, where he married Cornelia Williams Read, who had also been enslaved. They settled in Dedham, Mass., and had eight children, six of whom served in the Army.

Gould picked up his trade skills where he left them before the war, working as a plasterer and eventually as a contractor. While helping to oversee the construction of St. Mary’s Church in Dedham, he noticed that a few of his employees had fallen asleep while laying cement, which dried incorrectly.

Gould knew that the mistake would likely go unnoticed, but that it could also lead to serious damage years in the future. He had the work torn down and redone, a costly decision that almost bankrupted his business but, as word about it spread, won him significant esteem around town.

In time he became a Dedham elder; he was the commander of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic, the country’s leading veterans organization, and in 1918 he spoke at the town’s Decoration Day (today Memorial Day) festivities.

Gould died on May 25, 1923, at the age of 85. Though his descendants knew that he had served in the Civil War, it was only after years of research that William B. Gould IV discovered that his forebear had been born into slavery and had escaped from it.

In September 2021, the town of Dedham renamed a 1.3-acre plot of grass the William B. Gould Park. It also commissioned a statue in his honor, with plans to unveil it in 2023, on the 100th anniversary of his death.

Clay Risen is an obituaries reporter for The New York Times. Previously, he was a senior editor on the Politics desk and a deputy op-ed editor on the Opinion desk. He is the author, most recently, of “Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey.” @risenc

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In the Triangle, where rent and home prices continue to surge, a 2,700-square-foot house on almost 9 acres of land is going for $850 a month.

The catch? You have to take care of the historic property, which could include cutting the grass, repainting small areas of the home and keeping the gutters clean.

Preservation North Carolina is leasing the John A. Mason House in Chatham County near Chapel Hill beginning in early August. In exchange for the low rent, the new tenant would be responsible for regular maintenance of the property and the road leading up to the house, according to the organization.

It’s the first time Preservation North Carolina has publicly announced a search for a new renter, said Myrick Howard, the organization’s president.

“We’ve gotten over 90 responses so far,” he said earlier this week.

By Thursday, the organization said it no longer was accepted inquiries due to “overwhelming interest.”

Preservation North Carolina works to preserve and restore historic sites and buildings around the state. In the late 1990s, the organization bought and restored the house that’s nearly 2,700 square feet on a 8.628-acre parcel with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

“We spent quite a bit of money to get it back up to speed,” Howard said.

The property is on a peninsula of Jordan Lake south of Chapel Hill and Durham near Fearrington. The land is surrounded by horse trails and game lands, where hunting is allowed outside a perimeter from the house.

Though the home is federally owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Preservation North Carolina has been leasing the home for rent for the past two decades, Howard said.


The house comes with a deep history. Mason, the original owner, built the home around 1850 after he was given 600 acres of land for $1,000 by his father, William Mason, a vet of the Revolutionary War, in February 1835.

Historians have documented that on the property, Mason owned 20 enslaved people and produced wheat, corn and swine. Mason served in the War of 1812 with the Chatham militia. As part of the planter class in the state, he was involved in agriculture, had some education, and owned enslaved people, making him a prominent figure in his community.

The house is considered Greek Revival Style with flat-paneled corner posts and low-brick foundation. The house’s exterior also features a hip-roof porch and a distinctive staircase inside the home. The area surrounding the property is heavily wooded and only accessible through locked gates, according to the organization.

Howard said the Greek Revival style doesn’t mean the house is as high-style as a city house. The portions of the rural house are bigger, taller and more substantial, he said.


The cost of rent to live in the house is below many market prices for rental homes and apartments. The triangle has seen significant increases in rent over the past few years, as reported by the N&O. There has been a 35% increase in five years, and real estate experts predict rent prices will continue to increase.

Howard said they are not looking for any temporary tenants. Ideally, the renter would sign a multi-year lease, he said. In the past, renters have lived in the house for several years, and their successor ends up being someone they know or family members.

Tenants in the house would be responsible mainly for the day-to-day maintenance of the house and property. This can range from anything like cutting the grass, keeping gutters clean, or repainting small sections of the house.

Howard said Preservation North Carolina would pay for all of the heavily-lifting issues such as installing a new heating system or fixing the roof.

“It’s one of those things were we will be negotiating with whoever we select with the amount of rent and the amount of work. In the years, we’ve had folks who wanted to do more work for less rent.”

Since the home is a historic site, there are some variations of tours but the property will just serve as a home for a tenant and their family.

“This is a way of taking care of a property on public land,” Howard said. “It really is a lovely home.” Founded in 1939, Preservation North Carolina is the state’s only private statewide historic preservation non-profit organization. Their mission is to protect and promote sites important to the state, the organization’s website says.

By: Kristen Johnson, The News & Observer

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Citizen Times

Frances Figart | Word from the Smokies

Back in the late winter of 2016, avid cyclist Sean Perry was feeling burned out on biking. With spring just around the corner, he took a break from his Trek Superfly hardtail and began a new regimen of long runs after work into Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“I would go in the Smokies, primarily Cataloochee, and do these cruises or these bushwhacks,” he recalled. “One night I was on this solo trip, and it was in March before the time change. It had gotten dark, and I had gotten lost. I had to pull out my map and compass to figure out if I was going the right way, and it hit me: ‘I may not make it home tonight.’”

Thankfully, a short time later, Perry arrived at the Woody House, a historic structure he knew was about a mile down Rough Fork Trail. No longer feeling lost, he started looking around.

“I realized this beautiful historic house was rotting, and I just felt inspired to do something.”

Not long after, he connected with the Friends of the Smokies and floated an idea to involve his Asheville-based business, The Hands of Sean Perry, in a series of projects to renovate Cataloochee structures. But this would not be a volunteer project; he would pay his employees to do the needed high-quality restoration work, thereby making a substantial donation to the park.

A year later, in May 2017, work began – not on the Woody House (which ended up getting some renovation from the National Park Service) but on the Cook Cabin in Little Cataloochee.

“This was a real thrill because we got to rebuild the three-sided porch around Cook Cabin, hand hewing the logs to make them look like they would have been done back in the 1850s,” he said, “That site was extremely remote, which made the work a little more difficult, but also cool because we were so far off the beaten track. For instance, it was really hard to get out to make a phone call or send a text.”

Perry’s connection to the Smokies goes back almost 50 years. Born in Chattanooga, he hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia on weekends with his mother and a small group of friends. He also went with his Rogersville-based grandparents to Cades Cove and Cosby on the Tennessee side of the park. But now he almost always visits the North Carolina side and loves Cataloochee because it has fewer of the 14 million visitors the most-visited national park now sees annually.

A licensed building contractor and carpenter by trade, Perry credits his military high school in Gainesville, Georgia – at the base of the Blue Ridge and close to the beginning of the AT – with his tenacious, stick-to-it-iveness.

“What I learned there was perseverance and attention to detail, and that has led to who I am today,” he said. “As long as I have freedom, I can stick with something and get it done.”

Perry worked at a fine furniture restoration business in college, helped his brother do remodeling, and soon started his own renovation business. He moved to Asheville at age 22 and began doing high-quality restoration projects in Montford.

“It started out with just myself and a few guys doing simple designs and hands-on building and stonework,” he said. “But I soon saw that, as a small-framed guy moving thousands of pounds of rock in a day, this is not going to be sustainable, not going to work long-term.”

There came a point, Perry said, when he had to decide he was going to focus on doing business from a place of craftsmanship.

“That’s an all-encompassing word to me. Back in about 2005, I started to focus this way, and I began to work with a remodeling-specific peer group,” he said. “This group taught me the fundamentals of the remodeling business specifically. It was a real game changer to learn the appropriate ways to do craftsmanship well, taught by the leaders in the construction and remodeling industry.”

Sharp was the man on the ground making sure the vision of the architect of Biltmore was being realized. After that project, Sharp stayed in Asheville and designed several hundred buildings, including Perry’s favorite, in which he now actually lives! Now Perry and his “hands” have inherited the legacy and are doing the needed renovations on the structures designed by these early Asheville craftsmen.

“We go into a lot of homes that haven’t been touched, but that time is about to end,” he said. “So now we get to do our historic renovation and restoration work, and that’s so rewarding. I take that same spirit into the work in the Smokies, honoring the people who did the work and who lived their lives on that land.”

In 2018, Perry and his hands embarked on their second Cataloochee project: The Palmer Barn. The primary scope was rebuilding the access ramp to the second floor, but the team also performed rot repair on the back side of the structure, replaced some sill logs, posts and siding, and restored a door that was damaged from being pried open.

The Hands of Sean Perry has now been in business for 25 years and employs 15 high-quality restoration builders and support staff.

“It’s a hard business, but we are focused on building an extremely positive company culture to attract top talent,” he said. “We are being intentional and taking a conscious, meditative approach to doing business. It’s definitely not the typical model.”

Frances Figart is the editor of the biannual journal “Smokies Life” and the Creative Services Director for the 29,000-member Great Smoky Mountains Association, an educational nonprofit partner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Reach her at and learn more at

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Oak Ridge announced today the launch of its new CORE Initiative. CORE—Conserving Oak Ridge through Easements—is an innovative program with two goals: to educate property owners about how easements can preserve open space and historic structures, and to offer grant funds to offset the cost of putting such easements in place.

Oak Ridge’s CORE Initiative has been developed in collaboration with noted preservation organizations Piedmont Land Conservancy (PLC) and Preservation North Carolina (PNC). While both organizations also work directly with individuals, Oak Ridge’s CORE initiative positions the town as an advocate for residents and a unique source of funding not available elsewhere.

CORE Grants can cover up to 100% of the costs for either PLC or PNC to monitor a property, in perpetuity, for compliance with the easement terms. These costs can range from $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the property size and complexity of easement terms. CORE grants can also offset other costs typically borne by the resident for surveys, recording fees, and the like.

Understanding how conservation easements work is the first step for an interested resident. Conservation easements are legal agreements that restrict changes to the future use or appearance of a property. For example, open space easements can allow trails and recreational use, protect landscape features, and limit further development. Historic structure easements can allow interior changes and modern additions, while protecting historic exteriors and prohibiting demolition. Easements are voluntary and can’t be made without the property owner’s active participation and approval; they remain in effect regardless of changes in ownership.

The CORE Initiative grew out of the Town Council’s Strategic Plan (2018), which prioritized preservation of the town’s open spaces and historic structures. The CORE Grants were developed by a working group and are now managed by a standing Conservation Easement Committee comprised of five residents. With $20,000 currently in hand, the committee hopes to have up to $40,000 for future CORE Grants by next year. Grants will be awarded by the town, following recommendations from the committee.

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Information about Oak Ridge’s new CORE Initiative is available online at (see Boards and Committees/Conservation Easement Committee/Core Initiative). For questions regarding the new initiative, contact Planning Director Sean Taylor or Town Clerk Sandra Smith at 336-644-7009, or email

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Despite its modest population of 7,500, Oak Ridge continues to be a leader in developing strategies to preserve its small-town character, natural beauty, and historic resources. The new CORE Grants represent the second of two innovative grant programs developed to serve this small community in northwest Guilford County. Launched in 2016, Oak Ridge’s Historic Heritage Grant program provides grants to preserve the local historic structures; to date, grants totaling $22,800 have leveraged an additional $102,600 in matching funds, for a total of $125,400 invested in 16 local preservation projects. In yet another new initiative, Oak Ridge recently unveiled a new Village Core Design Guidebook designed to attract and direct innovative commercial development that is consistent with the town’s rural and historic character.

Press release from The 1772 Foundation:

At its quarterly meeting, trustees of The 1772 Foundation, based in Pomfret, Connecticut, awarded eleven grants totaling $1,996,000. Individual grants ranged in amount from $50,000 to $1,000,000. The million-dollar grant, awarded to Coastal Community Foundation in South Carolina, is the largest single grant made by the Foundation in its history.

Legacy:  The 1772 Foundation, after learning about its founder’s Kean and Livingston ancestors’ participation in the American Slavery system, issued an apology statement and began a long-term, corrective action granting program. Legacy grants support efforts that lead to meaningful change towards a more just and equitable society. The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, based in Charleston, South Carolina, received $125,000, the second half of a two-year grant. The Center works to protect heirs’ property by providing legal education and services and sustainable land use management training.

Coastal Community Foundation (CCF), Charleston and Beaufort, South Carolina, was awarded funding of $1,000,000. The largest grant The 1772 Foundation has ever made supports CCF’s Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program and its Place-based Impact Investing Fund’s investment in CommunityWorks, a statewide Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

“We are honored and very grateful for The 1772 Foundation’s generous grant supporting The Reverend Pinckney Scholarship and the Place-based Impact Investing (PBII) programs, which have impacted countless lives and generated significant potential for generational change for families in the Lowcountry of South Carolina,” said Coastal Community Foundation President & CEO Darrin Goss. “Our two foundations are committed to righting the wrongs of historic, systemic racism and we are proud to stand together with The 1772 Foundation in this effort.”

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nationwide land preservation organization, received a $250,000 grant to help fund its Black History and Culture Initiative. Noting how few sites on the National Register of Historic Places reflect the experiences of Black Americans, TPL seeks to address this omission through its “efforts to create, protect, and activate public spaces of historical and cultural significance to Black communities across the country.” Looking at places in context, rather than buildings alone, one of TPL’s successes has been the preservation of Meadowood in Simsbury, Connecticut, 200+ acres of land where Martin Luther King, Jr. came from Atlanta with other Morehouse College students to work in the tobacco fields during summer breaks. During his time in the state, King gained a new perspective on society as, for the first time, he lived without the restrictions of segregation. There is little doubt that his time in Connecticut was transformative and influenced his thinking and future leadership in the civil rights movement.

African American History:  The 1772 Foundation’s grantmaking has long supported heritage efforts that document and preserve the contributions of African Americans in the United States. In the first grant round of 2022, the Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium received $125,000 in funding. The Consortium is “a collaboration of twenty historic places of worship, lodging and civic engagement that played significant roles in the African American struggle for freedom.” In Georgia, Cultural Centers International will use its $75,000 grant toward restoration of a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1882, Fountain Hall is located on the Morris Brown College campus in Atlanta. Preservation North Carolina was awarded $50,000 to grow its African American Building Preservation Fund, which is used to preserve threatened landmarks such as schools, churches, businesses, and homes of African American leaders. The Slave Dwelling Project received $50,000 to support its three-day conference this fall in Charleston, South Carolina. At Tuskegee University in Alabama, a $50,000 award will help pay for renovations to Samuel C. Armstrong Hall, while maintaining its historical significance. Armstrong Hall, built in 1932, was designed by the first accredited African American architect, Robert R. Taylor.

Dynamic Preservation:  These grant recipients submitted robust proposals/projects, incorporating energy, innovation, and a commitment to bringing about change. The 1772 Foundation awarded $85,000 to BlackSpace, a New York City collective, which takes a compelling approach to African American history and the use of historic Black spaces through profound and thoughtful community engagement. Madison-Morgan Conservancy in Madison, Georgia received $56,000 for the creation of its Seed House revolving fund and its sustainable technologies revolving fund. The latter will pay itself back with energy savings over time, thus providing for new sustainable energy installations at other sites. Boston’s WGBH again was awarded a $100,000 grant to support the production/distribution of American Experience documentaries, which explore underrepresented American history, inadequately interpreted through the built environment. American Experience makes history accessible to a wide audience, particularly those “less-understood or even hidden pieces of history still playing out in America today.”

Drive or walk almost anywhere in our community and you will see signs of growth and new construction. It has made me curious about how best to balance historic preservation with economic development.

Preservation North Carolina is a nonprofit organization helping to make sure that we find that balance throughout the state.

I asked Myrick Howard, who has led Preservation North Carolina for over four decades, to share the challenges and opportunities that growth brings.

What does growth mean for historic preservation? It can be a great advantage or the end of much of our historic fabric. Currently, the growth is very lopsided. Our cities are growing, but many of the rural areas are not. A vacant lot in the Triangle can go for over half a million, but you can buy a historic mansion for $200,000 in other parts of the state. Some communities are begging for brakes, while others want to hit the accelerator.

In a growing area like the Triangle, how have you had to get innovative to preserve properties? A very strong tool we’re using often are preservation easements done by current property owners. It’s clear, perpetual and decisive, but it’s a one-by-one approach.

We’ve been able to lock down some pretty darn good properties in this way. In Raleigh, we’re seeing mid-century modern homes that are typically on a one-acre lot going away by the dozens. But we’re also seeing some longtime residents who want to make sure they don’t get bulldozed. You’ve got to have a love for the property, because you may not get as much money when you sell it subject to an easement.

If the dirt under your property has great value, your property is going to be lost without having a historic designation or an easement or covenant in place. We urge folks not to save that decision for the next generation. By then it’s too late.

How do historic preservation efforts differ in other areas of the state? The rural areas are focusing on the main streets, their downtowns. They are focused on tourism and economic growth. In eastern North Carolina, there is a town of 20,000 people where you cannot get cellphone service on Main Street. If you can’t do that, you can forget about economic development and selling houses. We really have an urban and rural North Carolina, and they both have different needs and expectations.

How do you maintain equity and justice in Preservation North Carolina’s work? We have been focused on learning more about the African American role in historic properties. It’s really interesting to learn about the history of buildings, who built them and under what circumstances. Some stories are awful, and some are amazing. Some of the main landmarks of Raleigh built in the late 19th and early 20th century used forced labor. Learning about this opens the door to important and necessary conversations.

We just debuted an exhibit called “We Built This” currently at Dix Park in Raleigh and will travel to the Historic Rosedale house in Charlotte and then the Bellamy Mansion Museum in Wilmington. It is about the history and legacy of Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina and tells the stories of the people who built and designed many of our most treasured historic sites.

Triangle Business Journal
By: Jennifer Tolle Whiteside, CEO of the North Carolina Community Foundation

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Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund announced more than $650,000 in grant awards to five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as a part of its HBCU Cultural Heritage Stewardship Initiative. The program empowers HBCUs with resources to protect, preserve, and leverage their historic campuses, buildings, and landscapes, ensuring these symbols of African American excellence and American achievement are preserved to inspire and educate future generations. The initiative offers two kinds of grants, a $150,000 grant for the development of campus-wide cultural stewardship plans or a $60,000 planning grant to help preserve an individual historic building on or associated with an HBCU campus.

These plans are intended to guide the grantees as they define preservation solutions to existing architectural or landscaping challenges and to identify a course of action that helps conserve their historic resources. The plans will also assist the HBCUs as they engage in capital campaigns and leverage funding and resources to restore and rehabilitate campus facilities.

The program, launched by the National Trust’s Action Fund in 2020, is a partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for Humanities, Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, J.M. Kaplan Fund, and the Executive Leadership Council. The current program is a $3.2 million initiative that offers the HBCUs funding but also leverages the Trust’s 70 years of experience and expertise to help guide the restoration and preservation process at each college or university. In total, the National Trust’s Action Fund has partnered with 13 HBCUs and funded 6 campus-wide and 7 individual-building plans to date.

“These grants are significant in light of the recent threat to HBCU campuses,” said Brent Leggs, senior vice president and executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at the National Trust. “Preservation is the strategic counterpoint to centuries of erasure, and it underscores the critical nature of the African American contribution to our nation. Without the doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals HCBUs have produced, the American story would not be the same. The Action Fund’s work to preserve the legacies of intellect, activism, and enlightenment on these campuses will inspire future generations of all Americans to believe that, despite the challenge, they too can overcome.”

This year’s HBCU awardees are:

  • Florida A&M University (Tallahassee, Florida) to develop a campus-wide stewardship plan for its 422 acre campus (1887);
  • Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, North Carolina) to develop a preservation plan for its Historic Quad (1867);
  • Rust College (Holly Springs, Mississippi) to develop a campus-wide stewardship plan for its campus (1866);
  • Shaw University (Raleigh, North Carolina) to develop a campus-wide stewardship plan for its 65-acre campus (1865); and
  • Voorhees College (Denmark, South Carolina) to develop a campus-wide stewardship plan for its 380 acre campus (1897).

“The Shaw University community expresses its sincerest appreciation to the National Trust for Historic Preservation for awarding the campus a $150,000 planning grant,” said Shaw University President Paulette Dillard, “to assist our efforts in preserving African American history. From educating the former enslaved to graduating some of the first African American doctors to helping ignite the civil rights movement, the legacy of Shaw University is woven into the fabric of American history. Preserving the treasures of our historic buildings extends the powerful narrative that describes the indelible contributions of this university.”

In addition to the planning grant, each HBCU awardee will receive resources for a paid student professional development opportunity, enabling one student from each campus to work alongside the project team of architects, engineers, and consultants. This support is provided through the Initiative. These paid positions will support building a more diverse and equitable field of African American preservationists.

“Florida A&M University is the third oldest campus in the State University System of Florida,” said Florida A&M President Dr. Larry Robinson. “We appreciate the support of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to assist the University in furthering preservation of landmark buildings on our campus. The planning grant will allow the faculty, staff, and students across the disciplines of architecture, engineering and the humanities to collaborate in ways that highlight the national impact of Johnathan C. Gibbs, Lucy Moten and Andrew Carnegie and the buildings named in their honor. They also will help preserve the history of the Civil Rights Movement on our campus where iconic figures like Booker T. Washington, Mary McLeod Bethune, Marian Anderson, and others changed American history.”

Since their founding in the 1830s, the number of HBCUs has grown to 105 Congressionally designated schools that tell the remarkable story of African American activism and the fight for education equality. These campuses and landscapes—many of which were designed and built by African American architects and students—display beauty, ingenuity, and craftsmanship, and serve as landmarks in their communities. Since listing HBCUs in the list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 1998, the National Trust has advocated and worked to strengthen the stewardship capacity of HBCUs, while also raising national awareness of their significance.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, through its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and with the support of its partners, aims to grow the leadership and preservation capacity of HBCUs, which steward some of the most diverse and exceptional historic assets in the world.

The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is a multi-year initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in partnership with the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and other partners, working to make an important and lasting contribution to our cultural landscape by elevating the stories and places of African American achievement and activism. Visit

By: Brenda Jones; National Trust for Historic Preservation

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“We are not makers of history, we are made by history.” That quote, uttered by Martin Luther King Jr., addresses both the consequences of hubris and the allure of local histories.

Local history incorporates the experiences of the ordinary and mundane. How many of us know — without help from Google — the origins of Holladay Hall, named for NC State’s first president?

We encounter these facilities, or ones like them, every day. Yet, we do not know about the people who built them. Likewise, with the exception of NC State’s architecture students, the intricacies of building design elude most of us. Regardless, we are shaped by our architectural history.

The Dix Park Pop-Up Museum, located at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, explores the architectural history of North Carolina and the eponymous ‘Dix Hill.’ This museum, the first of its kind at Dix Park, features two exhibits.

“We Built This” is one of the two attractions —  a traveling exhibit commemorating the Black builders and architects of North Carolina. Created by Preservation North Carolina (PNC), the display profiles about two dozen craftspeople.

The display includes detailed biographies on veterans, educators and even a Senatorial candidate, Harvey Gantt. Gantt lost the 1990 senate race to five-term Senator Jesse Helms. If Gantt had won the narrow race, then he would have become North Carolina’s first Black Senator since the Reconstruction era.

This exhibit is not constrained by spatial boundaries. Rather, it traces the importance of Black professionals throughout North Carolina’s history — from colony and early statehood to the modern era.

Additionally, this exhibit represents an array of craftspeople, from bricklayers to stonemasons to plasterers. The men profiled include enslaved peoples and freedmen — some alongside their families or apprentices.

In fact, some of the biographies include sections about the men’s descendents, depicting generations of history-makers in one exhibit.

The pop-up exhibit relies on audience participation to guide visitors’ interactions with historic content. At Dix Park, the interactive exhibits include an option to engage in art therapy.

“We Built This”’s sister exhibit is “From Plantation to Park.” The latter traces the origins of Dix Park from a former plantation to North Carolina’s first mental health hospital.

Dorothea Dix Hospital treated patients with variable diagnoses — from epilepsy to dementia. In the interactive art exhibit, visitors can see cartoon renderings of the hospital from the perspective of former patients.

One patient humorously documents his progress at the hospital. He quips that his hallucinations of “large birds” are now almost gone. Instead, he writes, he only sees visions of “small birds.”

This drawing and other artifacts like it are scattered throughout “From Plantation to Park.” However, very few tangible visuals are included in the exhibit “We Built This.”

Citizens encounter artifacts from Black builders and architects in every corner of North Carolina. However, the history of those structures eludes us, which exemplifies the issue of accessibility to local history. Dix Park’s pop-up exhibits show us the extraordinary that was already here.


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Preservation NC (PNC) has launched a new traveling exhibit and education program, We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina. “The project is actually a follow-up to an earlier exhibit that PNC released in 1998 that is still traveling around the state today,” says Julianne Patterson, outreach manager for Preservation NC. “The original exhibit covered material from the inception of the colony up until the Civil War. There was always a plan for an expanded project that would go beyond the Civil War, but the real impetus for this reboot is all the new research and information about specific individuals that has been discovered in the last 20 years.”

Through the exhibit, a docuseries and a published book, We Built This profiles more than two dozen individuals who constructed and designed many of North Carolina’s most treasured historic sites over more than three centuries. “The sooner people start to learn more about the skilled enslaved and free Black builders that may have been involved in constructing the buildings they live in, work in, learn in or walk by every day, the better,” says Patterson.

In conjunction with We Built This, PNC has created a new African American Building Preservation Fund. These funds will be used specifically for preserving threatened landmarks of African American heritage, such as schools, churches, lodges, businesses or homes of prominent Black leaders. “Historically African American neighborhoods, such as those built for middle-class Blacks between WWII and the passage of the Fair Housing Act, as well as Mid-century Modern homes and other landmarks of the state’s first generation of registered Black architects, are now particularly vulnerable to new development in North Carolina’s larger cities,” says Patterson. “PNC has recognized and preserved sites of Black history for decades, so this isn’t a new initiative as much as it’s establishing that this is a priority for us. This targeted funding will enable PNC to proactively seek out opportunities, as well as act quickly in case of emergency. The need is immediate, as both urban development and rural disinvestment threaten many buildings with African American associations.”

By Emma Castleberry – The Laurel of Asheville

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Enslaved plasterer William Benjamin Gould didn’t know whether anyone would see his initials at Wilmington’s Bellamy Mansion, but he carved them anyways in the decorative plaster, silently signing his work sometime before 1862.

The scrawled and artful “WBG” screamed out through history when it was discovered more than a century later during a 1993 restoration of the historic home.

That piece of history is revealed in two exhibitions — “From Plantation to Park” and “We Built This” — on the physical history of North Carolina. They’re in a new pop-up museum at Dorothea Dix Park that was unveiled Saturday.

“From Plantation to Park” examines the history of Dix Park, from its time as a Native American hunting ground, its 150 years as the Spring Hill Plantation and later the founding of North Carolina’s first hospital treating mental illness. It leads up to its current use as Raleigh’s largest public park.

“We Built This” tells the stories of North Carolina’s Black architects and designers, many who were enslaved and previously had their contributions diminished or erased from history.

The exhibitions, a partnership between the Dix Park Conservancy, Preservation NC and the City of Raleigh museum, are on display in All Faiths Chapel at Dix Park until Feb. 27.


With the Raleigh skyline peeking through the bare January trees, Preservation NC president Myrick Howard said buildings keep the past alive in ways other histories can’t, connecting the thread of generations through the spaces we inhabit. While made of bricks and stone, Howard said it’s a precious history.

“When our buildings are preserved, they can tell us stories,” Howard said. “Some of those stories are awful. Some of those stories are inspiring. But when the buildings go away, the stories tend to go away, too.”

Nearly 25 years ago, Preservation NC curated an exhibition on the state’s Black architects and builders, taking the show to around 20 venues in North Carolina. Howard said the moment had arrived to refresh the exhibit and launch it in a new context.

“There’s a lot more information now than there was 15, 20 years ago,” Howard said. “Our hope is there will be that much more new information 15 years from now and that the next round of this exhibit will be even greater.”

The opening ceremony Saturday on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend featured a performance by Grammy-nominated artist Pierce Freelon. His late father, Phil Freelon, was one of the state’s most renowned architects who designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He died in 2019 from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and is featured in the pop-up museum at Dix Park.

Pierce Freelon said sharing the stories of Black architects throughout history will inspire the next generation of builders. “Growing up, my father didn’t know of many Black architects,” Freelon said. “But he knew of Julian Abele, who built the Duke Chapel.”


Raleigh mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said the pop-up museum builds on momentum around Dix Park, a site she believes can serve people from all over the city.

“I’m really excited about this pop-up event because it’s one of the firsts,” Baldwin said. “And there are going to be a lot of firsts at Dix Park, bringing us together as a community… It’s really about connection and how all of us are connected. When we realize that we’re all in this together and all connected, that’s how we get things done.”

In recent years, Dix Park has hosted some of Raleigh’s biggest events, and even on a cold Saturday on the eve of an ice storm, the park was busy with visitors. Museum organizers said the exhibitions are part of an effort to build greater awareness of the park’s history as it continues to attract more people.

Orage Quarles, chairman of the Dix Park Conservancy and former publisher of The News & Observer, cited Frederick Douglass’ founding of a newspaper, The North Star, which was a reference to the North Star as a celestial guide for enslaved people seeking freedom in the north.

“What we’re building here in Dix Park, I hope will be the North Star,” Quarles said. “It will be the star where you can go to get your mental recovery, it will be the star where you can go to get your physical recovery and it will be be a star where you can go to get your emotional recovery… We’re building a park for the future, for everyone.”

The pop-up museum is at the Chapel Event Center, 1030 Richardson Drive, Raleigh. It will be open Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays, 12 noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

By: Drew Jackson, The News & Observer

Read the article here.

It’s a jigsaw puzzle on a colossal scale. Neatly stacked mounds of enameled steel are separated into piles: Roofing panels here, doors and cabinets there, and rows of exterior wall pieces make up the largest stacks in this Carthage warehouse.

“There are all these pieces of metal. But they are more than just metal,” said Virginia Faust, NC Modernist’s chief Lustron archivist.

During a public event held in early December, Faust played tour guide through the maze of stacks that are what remains of three Lustron homes that had been disassembled and stored for decades.

Considered the “home of the future” in the late 1940s, Lustrons were designed to provide affordable housing for soldiers returning from World War II. The enameled steel structures cost less than $10,000 new, had an open floor plan, built-in cabinetry and appliances, and were virtually maintenance free. Constructed more like a model kit than traditional stick-built housing, they could be shipped anywhere in the U.S. and built on-site in about two weeks.

However, fewer than 3,000 were created before the Lustron company filed for bankruptcy. Of those, fewer than 40 were sold in North Carolina.

As of 2020, there were at least four known Lustrons in Moore County. Two have since been demolished, including one in Southern Pines and another in Carthage, within the last 18 months. The other two Lustron homes still standing are located in Pinehurst and Aberdeen.

Years ago, there was also a small encampment of eight Lustrons in Hoke County, located near Aberdeen Road and old N.C. 211, that were used to house McCain Sanitarium workers.

When that community was going to be razed back in the 1980s, local businessman D.P. Black acquired three of the houses. Black and his wife, Mary Lou, were killed at their Aberdeen home in July 2020. Two suspects arrested in connection await trial.

The Black family worked with Preservation NC, NC Modernist and the Pines Preservation Guild to save the Lustron parts and move them into temporary storage in Carthage. O’Malley Investments donated the space where Faust and a small team of volunteers have been sorting, cleaning and taking inventory of the collection.

“The obtaining of the D.P. Black structures has been a wonderful development for all three of our organizations, and we can hopefully provide an interested Moore County resident with the opportunity to obtain one of these rare structures,” said Leslie Brians, Pines Preservation Guild’s executive director.

Some of the primary structural components, such as roof trusses, of the three houses had deteriorated while they were in storage. The collection is also missing a few signature Lustron pieces, such as bathtubs.

Nonetheless, the thousands of individual pieces that remain are in high demand for other Lustron restoration or maintenance projects, and can also be repurposed for smaller concept projects, such as a Lustron-inspired barn or outbuilding.

Faust, a statewide expert on Lustrons, is overseeing the initial thrust to clean or inventory the materials. Once that job is completed, the Guild will assume ownership of the collection. Sales of the Lustron panels and other components will create an ongoing revenue source for the organization moving forward.

“What was really cool about the event in December was we were able to recruit a volunteer to help Virginia. We also had some great interest from the community. We want to build our base of people interested in historic preservation to create networking opportunities,” said Brians.

Brians has a professional background in historic preservation and architecture. However, as a military spouse, she had found it difficult to put down roots until her active duty husband was assigned to Fort Bragg.

“We have lived all over the world. Some places, like New Orleans, have a strong preservation focus. Other places, like where I grew up in Virginia, have rampant overdevelopment.”

The couple settled in More County in 2015, purchasing a historic home. She said she was surprised by the lack of a local, historic preservation advocacy group.

“We got together with a few other like-minded people and decided we wanted to fill that void. We feel there is a real need for advocacy for these heritage buildings and also the communities those structures represent,” Brians said. “The Guild is about advocating for and educating people about what makes this area special.”

Brians and Emily Yopp, who is restoring the circa 1880 Waddell-Larking House in Carthage, co-founded Pines Preservation Guild. Additional board members are Corey Moore, Cara Mathis and Kristen Moracco.

“Our organization is not only historic preservation people. It is real estate agents, planners, and people who simply are interested in historic buildings. It is a great cornucopia of people. We try to give a voice and empower people who feel the same way about historic preservation. That is what we advocate for.”

Brians added they are not opposed to development. “It just needs to be done in a holistic, sustainable way that integrates existing properties with future development.”

Upcoming events include a trades skills education series geared towards traditional craftsmen and laymen who are interested in historic home maintenance. The Guild is also coordinating with the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Boyd House with an event called Bikes, Boyds and Brews on Aug. 21. Activities include a bicycle tour of historic houses in Southern Pines associated with the Boyd family.

To stay up-to-date on Pines Preservation Guild events, follow them on Instagram, Facebook or online at

By: Laura Douglass

Click here to view the article.

‘Most prestigious’ distinction awarded to Clinton native
By Emily M. Williams

CLINTON — A prestigious preservation award has been presented to Anne Faircloth for her diligent work on maintaining the City of Clinton, work that supporters say has been though commitment, generosity, and discretion.

Faircloth has been named the 2021 winner of the Ruth Coltrane Cannon Award, presented annually by Preservation North Carolina. This year the awards ceremony was recently held in a virtual conference.

J. Myrick Howard, president, said that the award committee helps to honor those who have a key role in projects that benefit their communities, bringing further light to those endeavors.

“We are here to recognize and celebrate individuals and organizations, and projects that have made a difference,” said Howard.

The Ruth Coltrane Cannon Award is considered to be North Carolina’s most prestigious preservation award. To receive the award, the organization or individual must have “made contributions of statewide significance to historic preservation in North Carolina.”

The award is named after Ruth Coltrane Cannon of Concord, who served as president of the North Carolina Society for the Preservation of Antiquities and herself made “outstanding contributions to preservation.”

Bill Cannon, grandson of Ruth Coltrane Cannon, presented the award to Faircloth. He looked up previous winners, and one of which was Cecil B. DeMille, a renown film director, producer and actor deemed a founding father of American cinema.

“I’m absolutely floored to be in the same company of Cecil B. DeMille,” said Faircloth. “It’s a beautiful cup and I am honored to receive this.”

In addition to receiving the engraved pewter cup, the winner’s name is also added to a master Cannon Cup, which now includes a long list of North Carolina notables. Only one Cannon Award is presented each year.

Mary Rose, planning director for the City of Clinton, has known Faircloth for 25 years stating that “she does not seek a lot of attention for her efforts, preferring to remain anonymous.”

Rose said that Faircloth encourages communities to move forward with revitalization efforts, focusing on collaboration and teamwork. Often discrete with her preservation work, Faircloth works behind the scenes, and with supporters saying that this recognition has been long overdue.

“I am really humbled and moved by this award,” said Faircloth, who describes working on these projects as being “really fun.”

“Anne Faircloth of Clinton is the epitome of a generous and selfless leader in the preservation community,” the award release stated.

“She is dedicated to the state’s rich cultural history, having served numerous statewide and local initiatives including Preservation North Carolina’s board for over six years. Faircloth typically operates under the radar, but has undoubtedly left her mark on her hometown of Clinton and across the state.”

After graduating from Duke University and Hollins University, Faircloth worked as a journalist in Paris and New York. In 2001, she returned to Sampson County where she owns and manages agricultural and real estate businesses, as well as a philanthropic foundation that began with her father, Lauch Faircloth. Anne has had a hand in shaping the arc of preservation efforts for multiple buildings and homes in downtown Clinton. Among them, she was involved in the renovations of the Victor Small House, which is now the home of the Sampson Arts Council.

She was instrumental in saving three houses in the historic district that are now permanently protected by Preservation North Carolina: the Amma F. Johnson House, the Rackley-Herring-Holland House, and 307 Giddens St.

She has been engaged in the renovation of the old Sampson High School, a former Rosenwald School established in the early 1920s. The school was purchased by the Sampson High School Alumni Association Inc. in 1986 from the county.

In 1999, Phase One of the school’s revitalization was completed with the renovation of one of the buildings into eight apartments to provide housing to low-income individuals. Phase Two will include renovating and rehabilitating the school into a community resource center.

“Through her work with the Anonymous Trust, which focuses its support to serve rural and underserved communities in eastern North Carolina, Anne has helped encourage preservation efforts in many communities,” the press release stated. “She has often connected historic building owners to preservation organizations and tradespeople who can assist in revitalizing these buildings for new community use. The foundation encourages challenge grants to ensure broad community support for preservation projects, and has made transformative gifts that have helped ensure successful preservation outcomes that might not otherwise have been possible.”

Three properties in particular would have been lost without the foundation’s support: Branch Grove in Halifax County, and the Paul Borden Headquarters House and Best House in Goldsboro.

Organizers said Faircloth’s “quiet encouragement for the preservation of these properties was critical.

Read the full article here.

A quiet drive a few miles north of downtown Burlington and a quick turn off N.C. Hwy. 62 will leave you feeling like you’ve drifted back in time.

As Glencoe Street twists right, you’re greeted by the former Glencoe cotton mill, a looming brick building on your left, the Textile Heritage Museum directly ahead of you and then rows of simple homes.

The neighborhood is quiet and quaint, with residents meandering along the narrow roads. Porch swings and American flags hang from the small front porches and a quick peek into many of the backyards will reveal old outhouses, chicken coops and workshops.

Loop around onto Hodges Street and you’ll find more of the same. As you circle back toward the mill, you’ll find a variety of brick buildings that were once filled with workers toiling away 11 hours a day, six days a week in the mill complex.

While the Glencoe mill village still appears to hold remnants of the textile boom in Alamance County in the late 1800s, there are now modern families here. Parents leave the village for work, students attend county schools and residents lead a 21st century life inside the façade of local history.

Some, like the Geise family, spend their evenings on renovation projects, still working to bring their 19th century home back to life. Their story is not unique in this area.

After the Glencoe cotton mill closed its doors in 1954, the nearby mill village started to empty. Houses were abandoned and left to deteriorate until, about 30 years ago, preservationists stepped in to bring vibrancy back to the Glencoe Historic Mill Village.

History of Glencoe Mill Village

The Glencoe Mill and mill village were constructed between 1880 and 1882.

The cotton mill was one of several established by the Holt family in Alamance County. They produced cotton cloth, flannels and woven plaids. At the height of its success, the mill supported about 500 people, about half of which lived in the mill village.

“Glencoe was one of the 17 cotton mills which, by 1890, made Alamance County the leading cotton manufacturing center in the state in terms of cotton looms and spindles,” documentation leading up to the mill village’s local historical designation noted.

Because of its isolated location and poor transportation systems at the time, the Holt family built the mill village on a portion of the property which gave employees easier access to and from the worksite.

According to John Guss, supervisor of the Textile Heritage Museum that now occupies the former company shop in the village, the first mill home built was the supervisor’s house in 1880. The house still stands directly across from the mill on Glencoe Street.

In the two years between when construction started and the mill opened in 1882, 48 houses were built in the village as well as a number of additional structures like a company shop, a church and a schoolhouse.

These buildings joined the mill, warehouses, dye house, and several other buildings that make up the mill complex. Additional structures like the Quonset hut, the water tower and more were added many years, some even decades, later.

“They built these communities because down here in the South people had lived on farms. If they had to wait for people to come into work every day, there’s a tendency of people being late because of weather and so on and so on. The idea was to create this mill village and bring them from the outside countryside into a community where they can be here (at) the mill,” Guss explained.

Mill village homes were reserved for employees at the Glencoe mill, so when the mill shut down in 1954, the living situation of the families housed here came into question.

Guss said he’d estimated that occupancy in the village declined in the years following the mill closure, but the area never became a ghost town. Part of what kept residents in the mill village, he said, was the reuse of the mill by Bud Sheppard, who opened a rug and remnant retail store on the site.

In the decades after, occupancy in the Glencoe mill village fluctuated. Some abandoned houses were used for training by local fire departments and were burned to the ground, Guss said. Others fell into disrepair.

As the mill village started to wither, the area became the focus of ghost stories and folklore. One of the most prominent rumors about the mill village was the tale that angry munchkins lived in the abandoned home and would yell, throw things or even shake cars that drove through the village at night. Thus, the mill village earned the nicknames Munchkinville or Munchkinland.

It wasn’t until the late 1970s that the village started to take a turn for the better when preservationists began noticing the luxury of having such a well-preserved mill village in Alamance County.

The Glencoe Mill Village was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and was designated as a historic landmark by Alamance County in 1997. Also that year, Preservation North Carolina began taking an interest in the mill village, which set the area on its track to rehabilitation.

Preservation work

In 1997, Preservation North Carolina purchased the Glencoe mill village in a bargain sale. After the sale, the preservation-minded nonprofit held an event in the village, inviting architects, designers, landscapers and interested buyers to visit and brainstorm what could become of the area.

At the time, 41 of the original houses still stood and the character of the mill village was still very much intact.

“Preservation North Carolina recognized that this is such a special condition.” said Cathleen Turner, a representative of the nonprofit. “(The mill village) had been recognized as a very intact architecturally and historically significant mill site and mill village. We knew that this was something special, so (we didn’t want) someone going in there just willy nilly redeveloping it. It needed to be something that was more thoughtfully done with respect to how it was.”

The goal was to make the mill village livable for the 21st century, but to preserve the character and turn the village into an Old Salem-style outdoor attraction where visitors can stroll through a piece of history.

The first step was updating the infrastructure of the area, Turner said. Streets were paved, street lights were added, and the nonprofit made sure each property got access to water, sewer, electric and gas connections.

In 2000, the mill village was divided into plots so that individual homes could be purchased and restored and lots where previous homes had been destroyed were also sold for new construction, Turner explained. An HOA was established for the mill village and a set of design guidelines were created to ensure that any new construction or future renovation would preserve the historical character and integrity of the village.

“What these people did and committed to do is nothing short of heroic. We have, fast forward, this beautiful village that is filled with life and vibrancy,” Turner said.

“Creating a space that respects the intact, historic, original character of these buildings and the landscape, as well as allowing for modern living, is very important,” she added.

While Preservation North Carolina worked on selling lots to preservation-minded buyers, Hedgehog Holdings, a Raleigh-based company, purchased the mill complex in the mid-2000s and began restoring it bit by bit.

The warehouses, the dye house and some of the other outlying structures have been restored, Turner said, and the mill building itself is the final step.

Other parcels of land and buildings were sold to the City of Burlington or Alamance County Recreation and Parks to develop parks, trails and the museum.

In 1999, the Burlington officials recognized the mill village as an historic district.

“Much of the mill housing is deteriorating and one or two of the houses are beyond saving. Most of the houses have rotted sills. Many of the unoccupied houses are missing porches and are plagued by water damage. Few houses … with the exception of the mill superintendent’s house have indoor plumbing. Many houses, particularly on the back street, may never have had electricity. However, even though there is deterioration, almost all of the mill houses can be rehabilitated,” noted a report from the local historical designation process in 1999.

A drive through the Glencoe mill village today tells a very different story, largely in part to the homeowners who have worked tirelessly to revive their homes and the overall neighborhood.

“It’d be very interesting to see what would have happened to Glencoe if Preservation North Carolina hadn’t come in and grabbed it up,” Guss said.

To date, 46 houses stand in the mill village, 39 of which are restored original structures and seven of which were new construction in-fill, Turner said. Thirty-seven of the original homes have been rehabilitated by the owners, according to Lynn Cowan, a Preservation Burlington member and Glencoe resident. One building lot is still for sale.

Glencoe renovation and rehabilitation

One of those restored homes belongs to Wendy Geise and her family. The Geise family moved into their 1880 Glencoe Street home in May 2021. It had been partially restored in 2004.

The home includes a kitchen, dining area, spare room and an open porch on the first floor as well as a bedroom, bathroom and living space on the second floor. The previous owners added on to the home during their renovation, creating another bedroom, bathroom, porch and a den at the rear of the house. The family has also built a chicken coop in the backyard, which joins the garage built by previous owners in 2006.

“This is our fourth historic home,” Geise said. “They’re so well built unlike newer construction.”

The family has previously restored a 1920s bungalow in Asheville, a 1918 four square also in Asheville, a 1892 Victorian in Burlington and now the 1880 mill home in Glencoe.

When asked what excites her about historic home renovations, Geise said “imagining all the families that have lived in the house” was a major draw.

“(We are) trying to have modern conveniences but still have that character of an old home, blending the two,” she said. “I want (the renovations) to reflect the character of this particular house.”

When the family was looking to downsize, they were determined to stick with historic homes. When they saw that the Glencoe Street home was for sale, they knew immediately that was the house they wanted.

“There’s so much character and it’s nice because everything is smaller and easier to manage. I’m glad we did it,” she said.

“We’d been here walking, hiking and (for) different events that were happening,” she added. “We saw that this house was available first and the decided to sell our West Front Street house. … The vibe (here) feels a little more like us.”

Despite the previous repairs, the Geise family still has more work ahead of them to restore the mill home to its former glory.

Their Glencoe home had been on the market for about nine months before their purchase, likely due to the 75-page document of repairs needed, Geise believes.

“When we move into a new house like this, we take out a brand new notebook and we start (listing) … what needs to be done. We kind of triage (and decide) what is most urgent,” she said.

So far, the family has replaced the HVAC system, painted rooms, refurnished with period-appropriate pieces, yard work and pest control. Future renovation plans include restoring the outhouse in the backyard, repairing some water damage to the structure, exterior painting, replacing rotted boards on the exterior and addressing drainage issues.

“I would much rather be spending my money on kitchen cabinets or things that are more exciting but unfortunately this is what we always seem to have to do. I call it the unfun but necessary,” Geise explained.

“You want to preserve the house. We know that in these old houses we are just the caretakers. These houses are going to be around a lot longer than we are so we want to take care of it so future families can enjoy it as well,” she added.

While Geise’s husband Evan has been able to do a lot of the work himself, the family has had to consult with the preservation commission, arborists, engineers, plumbers, and many other experts along the process.

This kind of renovation work has become a staple for the family.

“We kind of joke that this is just what we do. Old houses is just kind of our thing,” Geise said.

Their oldest son Ian even bought a historic home nearby for himself.

“It’s fun to find out the stories that your house has to tell,” Geise said.

Value in Preservation

As the renovation work continues for the Geise family and their neighbors, the value of preserving the Glencoe mill village only continues to grow.

“It really is a unique historic landmark for this community and even for North Carolina because so much of this stuff is eroding away or just being ripped out of the ground,” Guss said.

For Cowan and her peers with Preservation Burlington, preservation work adds immense value to a community. Among the highlights are economic impact through increasing home values on renovated properties driving up tax revenue, stability and longevity of neighborhood community building, better constructed homes, sustainability and preservation of local history.

Turner added that the adaptability of a historic community to be made livable in the 21st century further strengthens the argument for preservation.

“It’s a very livable, beautiful place and there’s value in that,” she said. “Every way you slice it, it is a positive for Alamance County and our region. It’s been held up as an example of how you can use and appreciate the places of the past, give it a new life and continue to create a new history there.”

Click here to read the original article in The Times-News.

HENDERSON — Warrenton’s and Oxford’s Orpheum Theater were among 12 recipients of Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit that were announced on Oct. 22 at Preservation North Carolina’s virtual Annual Conference.

The group recognized Warrenton for the renovation of the Warrenton Town Hall.

And Stuart Paynter, an attorney from Hillsborough, won the award for his leadership in turning the former Orpheum Theater into an event destination in downtown Oxford.

Commissioned in 1907, the Warrenton Town Hall originally housed offices and the Plummer Hook and Ladder Company, an African American run fire company organized in 1868. The building’s second floor was designed as an event space and used as a theater and opera house.

Over the years, as the town government and the fire company grew, the space the building provides did not meet the town’s needs. Plummer Hook and Ladder moved out and merged with the Warrenton Rural Fire Department. The building fell into a state of disrepair and languished for a period of years.

In 2015, the town secured a U.S. Department of Agriculture public facilities grant, and selected Joe Fitzsimons of Belk Architecture in Durham to design a renovation that would meet current needs and retain elements that reflect Warren County’s rich history.

The first floor in the renovated building has offices for water-bill collection and spaces that highlight and display fire-fighting equipment and memorabilia once utilized by the Plummer Hook and Ladder Company.

The second floor houses a meeting chamber for the town board, as well as office space for the town administration, finance and support staff. The Police Department occupies a newly created third floor.

In a news release announcing the award, Preservation N.C. said it “proudly recognizes the town of Warrenton’s commitment to renovating and preserving this historic municipal building for continued public use.”

Oxford’s Orpheum Theater survived a near-death experience once before. Originally built in 1912, it was the victim of a devastating fire in 1941. But within two years, it had been rebuilt in Art Deco style.

Over the years, generations of Oxford residents enjoyed movies, stage shows and concerts in the Orpheum until it closed in the 1980s. It was sold to a local law firm, but was eventually vacated.

Paynter, recognizing the potential of the building, bought it in 2017. He joined forces with Britnye and Cody Shore, who had a burgeoning wedding planning business and saw the former theater as a perfect venue for the kinds of events they hosted.

Working with Reid Highley of CH Architects in Hillsborough, Paynter and the Shores developed a plan to return the Orpheum to its roots as a community gathering space.

Partitions and ceilings were peeled away to reveal the theater’s soaring volume and beautifully sculpted plaster surfaces. Designers and contractors took care that the new plumbing, mechanical, electrical and sprinkler systems did not disrupt the original structure and finishes. A bar, bridal suite, groom’s suite, public restrooms and catering kitchen were integrated into the building.

On the outside, the stucco was repaired and the roof was replaced. Most significantly, the marquee’s neon lights were restored.

Today, the Orpheum plays host to weddings, community events, yoga classes, happy hours and more.

Preservation N.C. press release said “Paynter’s commitment to the theater’s revitalization demonstrates his support for historic preservation as a vital tool for investment in the main streets and downtowns of North Carolina’s smaller communities.”

The Carraway Awards of Merit are named in honor of the late Dr. Gertrude S. Carraway, a New Bern historian and preservationist. Presented since 1974, a maximum of 12 awards are given each year, to recognize people or organizations that have demonstrated a genuine commitment to historic preservation through extraordinary leadership, research, philanthropy, promotion or significant participation in preservation.

Founded in 1939, Preservation N.C. is a private nonprofit historic preservation organization devoted to protecting and promoting buildings, landscapes and sites important to the people of North Carolina.

Click here to view the article in the Daily Dispatch

By: David Irvine; 252-425-6472

Ingleside sits as if on an oasis with suburban development almost completely surrounding it. The historic house almost got demolished to make way for new housing, however, at the request of the Lincoln County Historical Association, county commissioners, and the owners, Preservation North Carolina was brought in to help find a preservation solution for this important house.

Ingleside’s former owners, Caroline Clark and her family, who acquired Ingleside in 1951 agreed to donate the house and 5.75 acres to Preservation North Carolina in the summer of 2018, according to a press release from Preservation North Carolina, to ensure its permanent protection while allowing for new development around the house. This donation is one of the largest gifts of property the statewide nonprofit has ever received.

It took a while, but the house was sold to a family from New Orleans and will be protected in perpetuity under PNC’s protective covenants. It will continue to stand as an important part of Lincoln County history.

Darryl Saunders and his wife, Jie Zhu purchased the property on Aug. 9. Before relocating to Iron Station, Saunders and his family lived in New Orleans. His parents are living at Ingleside as well now.

“A hobby of mine is to get online and look at historic properties that are for sale across the country,” Saunders said. “It’s purely out of curiosity as opposed to constantly being on the lookout for something to live in. When we saw this property, it jumped out to us. Basically, because of the significance of the property architecturally, and because my parents lived in South Charlotte and then Lake Wylie for about 20 years. We were familiar with the area and intrigued that we’d never seen or heard of Ingleside.”

Ingleside had been kept in very good condition by the Clark family, Saunders added.

“My family and I had spent the last five or six months in quarantine in a city so something with a little bit of land intrigued us,” he said. “It’d been sitting on the market, I think, for about a year and a half and there hadn’t been a lot of serious interest.”

Ingleside was purchased as a residence for Saunders and his family to live in. He’s restored other historic properties in the past and converted them into apartments, all while maintaining the architectural integrity of the property.

“I like working with historic houses and I care about preserving them,” he said. “I think it’s important for us as Americans to preserve these sites and structures in order for us to understand our history.”

Saunders is starting to add his own improvements to Ingleside, many of which are being done to the exterior of the property. As an example, the massive boxwoods that were formerly in front of the house and blocking the view of it, have all been removed.

At one time, Ingleside sat on thousands of acres and was a self-sustaining plantation. Saunders is interested in the agricultural history of the property and is starting to plant fruit trees that may have been grown at one time at Ingleside. He’s put in a small apple orchard with apples that may be like what the Forneys grew to make cider.

“I think there’s a lot of research that can be done, that hasn’t been,” he said. “I’ve done some preliminary research on Daniel Forney and there were a lot of things that came to light that were easy to find, but no one has taken the time to do it yet. There are some great local organizations like the Lincoln County Historical Association, so it’d be nice to work with them. I think a lot could be achieved in telling the story of Ingleside.”

Prior to moving into Ingleside, while walking behind the property, Saunders found archeological artifacts like shards of pottery sticking out of the ground. When he came back a few months later, that entire area had been bulldozed. All the history associated with Ingleside, including the house, could have been completely lost to development if the property hadn’t been purchased.

Click here to continue reading the full article on the Lincoln Times

Nov. 5—LENOIR — Allison Gray and David Maurer of Raleigh have been named a 2021 recipient of the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit presented annually by Preservation North Carolina. The award was presented to Allison and David for the restoration of the Stine’s Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Lenoir at Preservation North Carolina’s virtual annual conference on Oct. 22nd. The recorded awards ceremony can be viewed at

The Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit are named in honor of the late Dr. Gertrude S. Carraway, a noted New Bern historian and preservationist. Presented since 1974, a maximum of 12 awards are given each year. The Awards of Merit give deserved recognition to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated a genuine commitment to historic preservation through extraordinary leadership, research, philanthropy, promotion, and/or significant participation in preservation.

Built in 1935, Stine’s Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Lenoir was one of the few buildings constructed during the immediate post-Depression era in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It retains architectural and historic integrity and is representative of a typical 1930s downtown retail building. Stine’s closed in the 1950s and the building was home to a variety of businesses over the decades.

By 2019, the building had been vacant for at least 15 years. The roof had fallen in and the interior was rapidly deteriorating. The distressed condition of this corner building was beginning to affect neighboring properties when the city’s planning director, code enforcement officer, and Main Street director stepped in to help. After months of discussions, the Brakefield family who owned the building decided that the best way to save it would be to sell to buyers who had the skills and the enthusiasm to take on the project and bring the building back to life. The Brakefields had fond memories of growing up in their father’s ice cream shop. They didn’t want to see the building go, but they weren’t sure how to resolve the code issues.

Fortunately, Maurer, a preservation architect, had been participating in downtown revitalization discussions and was looking for a new project. David and his wife, Allison Gray, purchased the property and began renovations in 2019. The second-floor residential unit is already occupied and a millennial veteran opened a modern barber shop in the first-floor retail space.

The project was the second property in Lenoir’s Historic District to utilize both State and Federal Historic Preservation tax credits, and spurred a snowball effect of downtown reinvestment in four neighboring buildings. David and Allison’s renovation leveraged $228,000 in private investment, a new business, and a new apartment for the historic district. Private investment in the rehabilitation of the adjacent properties is anticipated to exceed $1 million.

Click here to view the full article on yahoo!news

The Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit gives deserved recognition to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated a genuine commitment to historic preservation through extraordinary leadership, research, philanthropy, promotion, and/or significant participation in preservation.

The renovation of the building located at 1 S. Front St. in downtown Wilmington recently earned that award. It was presented to James Goodnight, of Raleigh, at Preservation North Carolina’s virtual annual conference on Oct. 22.

The award is named in honor of the late Gertrude S. Carraway, a noted New Bern historian and preservationist.

Seabird restaurant now occupies the first-floor of the building. Original details such as hardwood flooring and a tin ceiling have been preserved.

The recorded awards ceremony can be viewed at

By: Cheryl M. Whitaker | Wilmington StarNews
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Jennifer Cathey of Asheville has been named the 2021 winner of the Robert E. Stipe Professional Award presented annually by Preservation North Carolina.  The award was presented to Jennifer at Preservation North Carolina’s virtual Annual Conference on Friday, October 22nd.  The recording of the awards ceremony can be viewed at

The Robert E. Stipe Professional Award is the highest honor presented to working professionals who demonstrate exceptional leadership and outstanding commitment to preservation as part of their job responsibilities.  The award was established in 1983 to honor the contributions of Robert E. Stipe of Chapel Hill, an educator in the field of historic preservation and a mentor to a generation of preservation professionals.

Jennifer Cathey, architectural historian and Restoration Specialist of the western State Historic Preservation Office, is remarkably committed to preserving North Carolina’s history and heritage.  Numerous colleagues have expressed the utmost respect and admiration for Jennifer’s work ethic and passion for preservation.

Jennifer graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in History and Art History from Virginia Tech and studied Historic Preservation, Museum Studies and Urban Affairs at University of Delaware’s Master’s program.  A true public servant, she is active in the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, and chairs several committees focused on historic preservation.  She has developed a network of preservation professionals that have followed her natural lead in restoration efforts.  In the preservation world, Jennifer is considered a savvy team player that utilizes resources to get the job done.  It’s been said that she epitomizes strategic historic preservation for western North Carolina.

Jennifer has been involved in the preservation of countless historic buildings by providing research, technical advice, connecting community leaders or building owners with preservation organizations and more.  Particular projects she has provided assistance with include the Oteen VA Hospital Administration Building in Asheville; the Elizur Patton House in Pisgah Forest; Jones Gap Baptist Church in Hendersonville; historic City Hall in Saluda; and the Anderson Rosenwald School in the Long Ridge community of Mars Hill.

Often the only woman in many construction situations, she works with integrity and holds her own.  Whether it’s volunteer work or on the job, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty.  On top of that, Jennifer is a mentor and educator to other colleagues that work for the State Historic Preservation Office.  Reid Thomas, of the eastern SHPO office, has stated that Jennifer puts her heart and soul into her work and exudes purpose and passion for preservation projects.

Excellent at collaborating and communicating with the public, Jennifer’s ability to translate historic preservation guidelines to the layman is an incredibly important skill.  She applies kindness and thoroughness, with attention to detail when describing the complexities of historic tax credits to homeowners.  Jennifer’s ability to convey the intricacies and jargon of preservation has been of immeasurable benefit to the public.

Incredibly giving of her time and energy for moving preservation projects forward, an immense respect surrounds Jennifer in the preservation community for the level of positivity and professionalism that she brings to the table.  Her colleagues have stated that she constantly gives back to the region by volunteering her guidance outside of the workplace.

Jennifer’s thoroughness and dedication to serving the public through preservation has established her as the deserving recipient of Preservation North Carolina’s 2021 Robert E. Stipe Professional award.

Click here to view the full article on Mountain Xpress

LINCOLN AND MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. – This time, the historic house didn’t get demolished to make way for suburban development. In 2016, development plans in Lincoln County put the iconic and historic Ingleside (1817) – located in Iron Station in eastern Lincoln County – at risk as the preservation of the exceptionally fine Federal-style house was not part of the original plan. At the request of the Lincoln County Historical Association, local county commissioners, and the owners, Preservation North Carolina (PNC) was brought in to help find a preservation solution for this important house.

Working with Ingleside’s owners (Caroline Clark and her family, who acquired Ingleside in 1951), and representatives of the developers, a solution was found. The Clarks agreed to donate the house and 5.75 acres to Preservation North Carolina in the summer of 2018 to ensure its permanent protection while allowing for new development around the house. This most generous donation is one of the largest gifts of property the statewide nonprofit has ever received.

Ingleside has been sold to a preservation-minded family from New Orleans and will be protected in perpetuity under PNC’s protective covenants. The historic property will coexist with the new development as Lincoln County continues to grow, and Ingleside will be able tell its fascinating and important story for generations to come.

Darryl Saunders and Jie Zhu purchased the property on August 9, 2021. Darryl grew up in Charlotte. His parents relocated to Ingleside earlier this year from New Orleans, while the children finished the school year. The Saunders have worked with several notable historic houses in New Orleans. PNC is pleased to welcome them into their preservation family. They have been thoughtful, genuine, easy to work with, and have taken on Ingleside with a lot of grace already!

INGLESIDE HISTORY – Ingleside was built in 1817 to impress and capture the heart of a woman, so the story goes. Harriet Brevard, whose father Captain Alexander Brevard had made a fortune in the manufacture of iron ore in Lincoln County, was being courted by more than one suitor. To help her decide and settle the matter, she announced that she would marry the man who built her the finest house.

Daniel Forney decided to accept that challenge. Although he was in Washington serving in Congress (in the seat that his father had previously held), he built Ingleside by utilizing the finest materials and craftsmen available. No one was surprised that Forney’s new house helped him win the heart and the hand of Miss Brevard. She married him that same year.

Family legend says that the elegant brick house was designed (at least in part) by Benjamin Latrobe, architect of the United States Capitol. The capitol, badly damaged during the War of 1812, was being rebuilt while Forney was a congressman. Further, Forney, his wife, and Latrobe were all of Huguenot descent, so it’s likely that they were social friends in the burgeoning new town of Washington.

Latrobe was an advocate for the Classical Revival style, and Forney’s house is one of the earliest and finest examples of Classical Revival architecture in the state. The house’s elegant staircase was modeled after Owen Biddle’s Young Carpenter’s Assistant pattern book. The main parlor is a remarkable showpiece of Federal style, especially in light of its rural setting. The woodwork may have been built by Jacob Steigerwalt of Cabarrus County, a talented cabinetmaker and builder of early pipe organs.

In 1834, the Forneys moved to Alabama where their descendants achieved major prominence, both politically and in business. The property was then sold to Alexander Gaston, the only son of Judge William Gaston, for whom Gaston County and Gastonia were named. Only a handful of other families owned the property until it was acquired by the Clarks in 1951.

Nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 as having statewide significance, this fine example of a Federal-style house has been featured in every major book about North Carolina’s historic architecture published since 1933. The tall imposing two-story brick house, beautifully laid in Flemish bond, was described by Catherine Bishir in North Carolina Architecture as “the grandest expression of the county’s 19th century planters and ironmasters,” and as one of the state’s finest antebellum Federal-style houses.

For more information about Preservation North Carolina and its efforts to save significant and endangered properties across North Carolina, contact:

Click here to view the full article in the Lincoln Herald!

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a slice of North Carolina history, a tavern and home preserved from the early 1800s is for sale for only $16,500.

From a distance, the Thomas Reynolds House, known locally as Reynolds Tavern, looks like an abandoned home. With orange ‘No trespassing’ signs and fading external features, it might be hard to guess this treasure harkens back to an era when Warrenton was one of the wealthiest towns in North Carolina.

Established in 1779, Warrenton was a town of artisans, artists and builders, many who traveled into the area from Virginia after hearing about the wealthy class of people living there. Those were the exact people, new settlers guessed, who could afford their handcrafted furniture and crafts.

Even today, the town has retained much of its historic character, with “impressive high-style town houses” built alongside “modest-scale dwellings and shops” – showing the defining line between the social classes that lived there: The wealthy planter class and the artisan class of merchants that moved to Warrenton to cater to them.

Other historic structures have been preserved throughout the town. Old school buildings, churches and even the original prison can be still be seen on main roads. An old cotton gin has been converted into a B&B. In one grassy lot, two tall stone chimneys with a vacant space in between begs the question of the ‘hidden history’ in the area.

Non-profits like Preservation NC or Preservation Warrenton often swoop in at the last moment to rescue centuries-old historic treasures before they are torn down for new developments – or simply fall apart after being left vacant or abandoned, sometimes for decades.

After being vacant for many years, the Reynolds Tavern is one of the rescued pieces of local history. It’s now on sale for $16,500, as the organization hopes to find a preservation-minded individual to purchase and restore the historic structure.

Vacant for decades: A peek inside Reynolds Tavern

Thomas Reynolds moved to Warrenton in 1804 to practice his craft.

“His location on Bragg Street near Market Street would have put him right next to the bustling activity of Main Street on busy postal routes from Petersburg and the Halifax and Salisbury train lines,” according to Preservation NC.

As late as 1833, he was running successful business advertisements, even searching for apprentices.

“In recent years research indicated that the structure may have served as a tavern; however, it appears as a residential dwelling in the 1896 Sanborn Map,” says information on Preservation NC’s posting about the centuries-old structure.

Inside, where very few people are allowed to see, much of the 1800s history remains intact – a dusty time capsule to another era.

Early 19th century features include the stone foundation, which has a name etched into it from the 1950s. Upstairs, the wide wood floors are quintessential of the time period’s architecture.

The home also features roof dormers, winder stairs, 9-over-9 sash windows, boxed eaves and a large stuccoed center chimney with fireplaces in each central room – an 1800s version of ‘central heating.’

“It would be a great little B&B,” said Richard Hunter, a lifelong Warrenton resident, who sits on the board for Preservation Warrenton.

“The building offers lots of good evidence of what it originally looked like — and how it wants to look again,” said Cathleen Turner with Preservation NC.

The group hopes to find a history-lover who isn’t afraid of a good restoration project.

“Peeling back the onion layers and getting to the important bits of this building,” said Turner.

Anyone restoring the home would also be eligible for tax credits that come along with historic restoration projects.

In a quaint downtown with so many other historic buildings that have been given new life, they believe this 1800s home or tavern could be another addition that helps keep the history of Warrenton – and North Carolina itself – vibrant and alive.

By Heather Leah, WRAL multiplatform producer

Click here to view the full article, video, and images.

Both potential investors and history buffs will have the opportunity to check out two historic properties in downtown Dallas on from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 10.

The Historic Dallas Jail and the Smyre-Pasour House will be open for viewing during an open house sponsored by Preservation North Carolina, the Gaston Museum of Art and History, and Gilleland Realty.

Both buildings are for sale and both are adjacent to the Court Square in downtown Dallas, home to the former Gaston County Courthouse which now serves as a community gathering place.

Preservation North Carolina is seeking preservation-minded buyers who will rehabilitate the properties. Both properties will be placed under protective covenants with Preservation North Carolina to ensure their continued historical integrity.

The Historic Dallas Jail is a contributing structure in the Dallas National Register Historic District and is eligible for state and federal rehabilitation tax credits, according to Annie Jernigan, a spokeswoman for Preservation North Carolina.

Built in 1846 and renovated in 1904 after a fire, the jail, where people were once punished and even hanged for crimes committed, has served in a number of roles over the past 100 years.

Since the county seat officially moved to Gastonia in 1911, the historic trademark on East Trade Street has been a private residence, a western clothing store, a restaurant, and headquarters for a local civic club.

The Gaston County Museum of Art and History took over ownership of the jail in 1990 with the intention of restoring it and making it available to visitors.

Those plans never came to fruition and the museum decided to put the jail on the market about a year ago with an asking price of $125,000.

“The jail is ideal for adaptive reuse and for those looking for an urban feel with the charm of a small southern town,” said Jernigan.

Built in 1847, the Smyre-Pasour House on Holland Street is one of the few remaining antebellum Greek Revival-style houses in Gaston County, Jernigan said.

The house and accompanying well house are contributing structures in the Dallas National Register Historic District and are also eligible for state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.

The one-story, five-bay frame house has a three-bay wide addition to the north side with identical finish. The eaves are boxed and at either end of the original block is a brick exterior end chimney.

“The house would make a great retail or office space,” said Jernigan, “or a fine residence.”

The house is owned by Preservation North Carolina.

Dallas Mayor Rick Coleman said he is hopeful the open house will bring a positive response.

“It would be great to get something going with those properties,” he said. “A lot of positive things are happening in Dallas and that would simply add to the energy we have there now.”

Coleman noted that the town is nearing completion of a new municipal parking lot adjacent to the jail property, with space for 45 vehicles, with two spaces reserved as electrical charging stations.

“We’re getting a lot more foot traffic downtown,” said Coleman, noting the opening of new bars and restaurants. “It speaks well for where our town is going.”

In addition to the open house for the two historic properties, the museum will host a presentation and book signing at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on the museum’s third floor featuring local authors Beth Yarbrough and Ashley Oliphant on their new book, “Jean Laffite Revealed.”

Bill Poteat |The Gaston Gazette
Click here to view the article online.

Exterior view of the Nina Simone Childhood Home. | Credit:  Nancy Pierce/National Trust for Historic Preservation

In 2018, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund designated the Nina Simone Childhood Home as a National Treasure. The three-room, 660 square foot home is significant for its association with Nina Simone and as the house where she started playing piano at the age of 3.

After previous unsuccessful attempts at rehabilitation, the home was left vacant and at risk for demolition. Four Black visual artists—Adam Pendleton, Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher, and Julie Mehretu—stepped forward, purchased the property in 2016, and partnered with the National Trust to guide development of a preservation strategy for the home. To ensure a viable future for the site that would honor the legacy of Nina Simone, a strategy was developed to focus on four areas: rehabilitation, protection, reuse, and long-term stewardship.

To support this work, the National Trust partnered nationally with World Monuments Fund and state and local organizations, including the Nina Simone Project, the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the North Carolina Arts Council, and Preservation North Carolina. These partnerships were essential in envisioning and achieving the desired preservation outcome for the historic site.

As a part of the overall preservation strategy, the Nina Simone Childhood Home is now protected with a preservation easement held by Preservation North Carolina. The Nina Simone Childhood Home, simplistic in its architecture and design, contrasts with the high-style or architecturally distinct properties traditionally associated with preservation easements.

Developing a Preservation Easement

A preservation easement, also known as a conservation easement, is a voluntary legal agreement in which a property owner agrees to permanently protect a historic building’s character-defining features. The restrictions will not impede ongoing rehabilitation of the home but will ensure its exterior and interior historic character is maintained in the future. Certain easements are tax motivated, meaning the donor can claim a charitable contribution based upon the reduced property value for donating the easement to a qualified easement-holding organization.

While easements are typically associated with high-style buildings, they can be a valuable preservation tool for culturally significant vernacular architecture as well. Easements typically protect the exterior of a property, taking into consideration portions visible from the public right-of-way. However, easements can also protect significant interior features. An example is Villa Lewaro, the historic home of Madame C.J. Walker, on which the National Trust holds an easement protecting both the interior and exterior of the property.

“Today, Nina Simone’s legacy is as important as ever. This preservation easement is another step towards ensuring that her childhood home, and the history it embodies, persists long into the future,” said Adam Pendleton. “We’re delighted to be working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation North Carolina alongside many other partners to make this continuous stewardship a reality.”

The easement, which will carry forward to any future property owner, was made possible due to funding support from a National Trust partner, World Monuments Fund. Given the perpetual nature of easements, funding is crucial to ensure they can be monitored by a qualified preservation organization. As a cash contribution to cover easement stewardship fees is typically required for an organization to accept a new easement, a lack of funding can be an impediment to securing easements on properties associated with underrepresented histories.

“The easement was one of the least expensive aspects of the overall project, yet it provides the most protection for the home. The collaboration of so many parties on the Nina Simone Childhood Home speaks to the value of partnerships, community engagement, the effectiveness of easements as a preservation tool, and the important role of state and local preservation organizations in the stewardship of an historic site,” said Frank Emile Sanchis, Regional Director for North America at World Monuments Fund (WMF).

What’s Protected

Multiple protection options were assessed while determining the best approach for the home, including local historic designation, a covenant, and an easement. A historic property can be protected from incompatible exterior alterations by local designation in localities where a historic preservation ordinance and zoning allows such protections.

As local designation is not currently available in Tryon, an easement was determined as the best tool to ensure long term protection. Additionally, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (SHPO) is leading efforts to list the home on the National Register of Historic Places.

Easements are individually crafted to protect a property’s unique features. One step in crafting easement terms for a property of any type or style is determining which significant features must be protected. Consultations between the partner entities involved with the project aimed to identify the historic features in need of protection, while allowing for flexibility that would promote viable future uses.

The removal of character-defining features is less common with high-style buildings, which are more likely to retain their historic use. As the vernacular home was not characterized by ornate architectural features, the goal of the easement terms was to maintain the remaining historic fabric and protect against changes that would fundamentally alter the property’s historic character. The property sat vacant at the time of sale and needed significant rehabilitation, including electricity and plumbing. Although the house was a single-family home historically, viable future uses would likely be non-residential. This meant that the terms of the easement had to be flexible enough to accommodate a range of potential new uses.

The Nina Simone Childhood Home easement protects the exterior of the home from physical changes without review, protects the remaining interior character-defining features of the home, such as the beadboard ceiling and walls, ceiling heights, and wood flooring, and prevents demolition in perpetuity.

In addition to protecting architectural features, the easement protects the property’s setting by placing restrictions on the removal of large trees, requiring review of new construction, prohibiting subdivision, and preserving the viewshed of the property from the public right-of-way. Proposed alterations to the property are reviewed by the staff of Preservation North Carolina for compliance with the terms of the easement and the organization conducts cyclical monitoring visits to the property to ensure its continued maintenance. Additionally, the easement ensures future access to the property by special appointment for members of the public once rehabilitation is complete.

“Preservation works best when protections are layered. Easements are the most protective tool for individual properties. They can be used to protect high-style architectural properties as well as those that are ordinary architecturally but hold great cultural significance, like the Nina Simone Childhood Home. The easement terms allow for flexibility that respects the character of the home while allowing it to remain viable for future uses” said Ted Alexander, regional director of Preservation North Carolina.

And while many of the terms are similar to a traditional preservation easement, certain portions were amended to fit the context of the site. Tiffany Tolbert, the assistant director of the Action Fund says “Above all, the goal of the easement terms was to prevent the demolition of the property. Demolition would not only remove the culturally significant property, but also its context within a historically African American neighborhood of Tryon. Protection of the property’s remaining character-defining features allows the site to continue to convey the life of Nina Simone and the Waymon family during the early twentieth century, an experience that was likely similar to those of many Black Americans in the Jim Crow south.”

What’s Next for the Nina Simone Home

With protection secured, the National Trust is continuing its work to preserve the Nina Simone Childhood Home. Stabilization of the property’s exterior started in 2019, with a HOPE Crew project supported by Fund II Foundation, which repaired and painted the exterior siding of the home. Subsequently, a national crowdfunding campaign was launched to support complete rehabilitation of the home’s exterior.

Funding from World Monuments Fund allowed the creation of a full exterior rehabilitation plan by Asheville-based Mathews Architects. The rehabilitation work will resume in summer 2021 and will focus on the home’s pressed-tin roof. Lastly, the National Trust and partners are completing community and stakeholder engagement sessions as a clearer vision for future use and stewardship of the home continues to evolve. In summer 2021, with support from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, the National Trust will launch a virtual report detailing the community-based vision for the Nina Simone Childhood Home and site.

When considering an easement as a protection tool, it is important to look beyond the immediate goal of the protection of specific features and consider what that protection will mean in the future. In the case of the Nina Simone Childhood Home, its preservation and protection will not reveal more than what is already known about vernacular architecture in North Carolina. However, it will provide the opportunity for future generations to learn about its cultural significance and connection to the history and experiences of African Americans in western North Carolina; a history that is worthy of preservation and recognition. Additionally, its protection serves as an example of the growing use of easements to protect historic properties significant to underrepresented communities.

Although there are many advantages to preservation easements, impediments exist to expanding their use to a wider variety of historic properties. Among these challenges is a lack of funding to contribute to easement stewardship fees. As funding is crucial to the stewardship of perpetual easements, easement-holding organizations should embrace partnerships to look to alternative fundraising methods beyond traditional endowment models to protect sites like the Nina Simone Childhood Home.

Additionally, many easement state enabling laws require that a property be listed or determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in order to meet the criteria for an easement. Due to the deficit of properties representing underrepresented groups on the National Register and the rigid nature of National Register criteria, this requirement can be another impediment to placing easements on sites significant to Black history and underrepresented histories in general. Reconsidering easement funding models and reexamining designation criteria in state enabling laws are steps towards making this valuable preservation tool more accessible to all.

Preservation easements are an effective tool to provide permanent protection to historically and culturally significant properties. The inclusion of a preservation easement in the rehabilitation of the Nina Simone Childhood Home assists in ensuring that the former home of legendary musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone remains a valuable resource to the surrounding neighborhood and the local Black community.

“So many historic places important in American history have been lost, destroyed, and erased from our collective memory and landscape,” said Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. “Therefore, it’s critically important that preservationists begin to revere historic African American places and work to protect our nation’s diverse cultural monuments that still exist. Whether it’s Madam C.J. Walker’s Villa Lewaro or Nina Simone’s Childhood Home, our professional responsibility is to protect the physical evidence of our past so that present and future generations honor the Black American experience.”

By Kelli Gibson

Kelli Gibson is the manager of the Easement Program at the National Trust. Her interests include new uses for historic institutional buildings and the preservation of sites significant to Black American culture.

Click here to view the article and additional images.


Homeowner Mary Dalton receives her congratulatory Grant Award sign at her intact 1928 1-1/2 story classic bungalow with tapered porch posts and handsome entrance sidelights.

Local nonprofit organization Preservation Burlington, Inc. has awarded its first Homeowner Grant of $5,000 toward restoration work on the home of Mary Dalton at 420 Tarpley Street, Burlington. Mary’s project will repair damage to her exterior siding, gables, and porch, restore the full function and seal of her original s ash windows, and give the house a quality paint job. To ensure the work will maintain the historic character of the home and be a credit to the future of the neighborhood, all work will conform to the City of Burlington Design Review Guidelines and to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Buildings.

The long term goal of the ongoing grant program is to enhance neighborhood integrity and pride of place while magnifying neighborhood real estate values in the various historic districts of the City of Burlington.


Additional grants will become available, and more information may be obtained from and

For three weeks in May, a group of eight UNC Greensboro students forged metals, split shingles, conducted paint analysis, and learned all things historic preservation.

The annual historic preservation field school, led by Professor Emerita Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll, provides students the opportunity to learn the fundamental principles of historic preservation and architectural conservation.

The course is designed for master’s students in history and interior architecture, as well as students completing the post-baccalaureate certificate program in historic preservation.

A key characteristic of the field school is hands-on learning. Students learn the basics of woodworking, masonry, building, etc. through workshops with some of the best in the business. A grant from the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation helped fund the three-week experience.

“The field school allows students the opportunity to apply what they’ve been learning in their seminars and classes,” said Leimenstoll. “The hands-on experience is key. It’s so hard to be a preservationist and not know how to talk to a craftsman or a contractor about what needs to happen.”

The first week was spent at Old Salem. Students participated in a workshop at the Gunsmith Shop, forging and casting metals with Blake Stevenson and Ben Masterson. There was an all-day session on wood joinery at the Blum House. Students participated in a walking tour of brickwork throughout Old Salem, and then tried their hand at repointing brick mortar joints.

During the second week, students worked in the East Wilson Historic District in Wilson, North Carolina. MFA student Monica T. Davis has been working to restore five homes in the district, once home to the largest population of working-class African Americans in the state. Under the guidance of restoration specialists from the State Preservation Office, the field school students worked on two of Davis’ homes throughout the week. They repaired windows, patched flooring, and replaced deteriorated clapboards.

“There used to be 300 shotgun houses in the East Wilson Historic District, and now there are only 90 left,” said Gus Adams, a builder from Asheville, North Carolina, and a student in the certificate program. “Preserving those structures is really important. Without these homes, they may lose that designation.”

The final week of the field school included a gravestone restoration workshop at Second St. Philips Cemetery in Winston-Salem. Many enslaved people were buried at the site, and little is known about these individuals. Some of the graves have markers that simply say “Beloved.”

“There is so much interest in learning the history and telling the story of African American cemeteries. Our students felt really privileged to be a part of this work,” said Leimenstoll.

Students ended their time together with reflections and presentations on lessons learned. For many, the experience was critical to their professional development.

“It’s really important to learn how to think like a preservationist and to understand the mechanics of different parts of a building,” said Katie Lowe, a master’s student in the Museum Studies program. “We’ve been on Zoom this past year, so it’s been so good to actually get inside buildings and put our hands on stuff.”

In addition to hands-on experience, students get exposed to an important network of industry professionals. When they leave UNCG, they will have contacts in preservation across the state. Field school alumni have gone on to work in design firms, preservation consulting firms, local government, nonprofit organizations, and state historic preservation offices.

The field school is also an important community engagement project. Since the field school’s launch in 2001, Leimenstoll has worked with partners across the state to find meaningful, impactful projects that help transform local communities.

“We’ve always picked deserving, worthwhile projects that make the students feel like they are making a difference,” Leimenstoll said. “It’s not just about learning how to do something – it’s about applying that knowledge by working on a project for the good of the community.”

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications

Read the story and view images here!

Pittsboro, NC – Built in 1811 by a free Black man, the Lewis Freeman House was one of the first buildings in the town of Pittsboro, N.C. Still standing today, it witnessed the horrors of the Civil War. During the Great Depression in the 1930’s, its brick fireplace kept its occupants warm. In the 1960’s, the original wood door opened as the Civil Rights Movement spread across the country.

Now, thanks to renovation and preservation work done by current owner and architect Grimsley Hobbs, the house has witnessed the global Covid-19 pandemic.

It is one of only four remaining dwellings from Pittsboro’s initial settlement in the early 19th century and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The man behind it all, Lewis Freeman, was not only memorable because he was a free Black man in a society where slavery was the law, but also because he was a prominent figure in the area and owned a significant amount of land.

Freeman’s exact trade is unknown, but he had money. He bought his wife and children’s freedom, built his house and owned at least 20 acres of land.

Mary Nettles, president of the Chatham County community branch of the NAACP, has been researching Freeman’s past and ties to Chatham County.

Although there were some free Black men living in the area at the time, she said, it would have been rare for a Black man to own that much land and real estate.

Read full story

(Chatham Journal Newspaper, 3/29/21)

WILMINGTON— Preservation North Carolina (PNC) was awarded an Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Funds Grant (ESHPF) of $219,735 to repair damage sustained at the Bellamy Mansion Museum during Hurricane Florence. Bellamy Mansion Museum is one of 22 historic properties receiving federal grant funding as part of the National Park Service Program. The fund, administered locally by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, awarded over $9 million in grants to historic preservation projects in 18 counties across the state.

The grant provides recovery assistance for historic properties damaged by hurricanes Florence and/or Michael that are listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Funding from the congressionally appropriated ESHPF allows the State Historic Preservation Office (HPO) to provide grants to historic properties in counties that FEMA declared eligible for federal disaster funding. The program is designed to address historic property needs unmet through other funding sources (FEMA, insurance, etc.). “This program provides much needed funding to not only help repair irreplaceable historic properties after storm damage, but to help local governments and non-profit organizations better prepare for future disasters,” said Reid Wilson, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “These funds will help to ensure our state’s treasured cultural resources are included in future resiliency planning efforts.”

In 2018 Hurricane Florence battered the Wilmington area including its historic downtown. The Bellamy Mansion Museum was one of the many historical homes in downtown that sustained significant damage. Bellamy’s roof, which had just been through repairs two weeks before the hurricane, suffered the most damage. A large portion of the roof peeled away during the height of the storm, allowing rain to pour into all five levels of the mansion.

Water soaked into the plaster walls and caused extensive damage, softening the plaster and producing conditions ripe for mold growth. The water also soaked into the plaster’s wood lathe structure, causing the wood to swell and the subsequent movement to shift and crack the plaster. Water damage extended through all five floors of the historic home with most of the water ending up pooling on the mansion’s carpets and wooden floors. Other parts of the mansion grounds also sustained some damage, though not as extensive as the main house. The museum was closed for sixteen days after the hurricane, resulting in a large revenue loss in admission fees and event cancellations.

Restoration and repair work began quickly following the hurricane thanks to continued volunteer efforts and the skills of local restoration experts. Due to the museum’s high insurance deductible, most repairs were paid for directly by the museum. The ESHPF grant provides much needed support to cover the overwhelming costs of roofing work, plaster repair, and painting.

“The Bellamy Mansion has made it through a civil war, arson and over fifty named storms. Funding like this will enable us complete the necessary repairs to help it survive whatever challenges lay ahead” said Gareth Evans, Bellamy Mansion Museum Executive Director. “We are beyond thrilled to receive the ESHPF grant to maintain Bellamy’s legacy for generations to come.” For more on PNC’s Bellamy Mansion Museum, please visit:

RALEIGH, N.C. — The owners of Raleigh’s Cameron Village shopping center announced on Thursday that the center would get a new name and brand after 70 years.

Cameron Village was built on land that once held hundreds of enslaved people, and the shopping center, built in 1949, was named for the man who enslaved them.

Prior to the Civil War, Duncan Cameron owned one of the largest holdings of enslaved men and women in the area. Aside from owning the Cameron plantation, which stood on around 10 acres of land in the area near Hillsborough Street, he also married into the Bennehan family, who owned Stagsville Plantation.

After the Civil War, thousands of enslaved men and women were freed from local plantations. In fact, these newly freed men and women made up around 50% of the population of Raleigh in the 1870s. With no money, no houses and no businesses, they worked together to build Freedman’s Villages around the city. There were 13 in all, and Oberlin Village was the largest.

Read full article

(WRAL News, 1/28/21)

Contact: Mary Beth Navarro, 704-576-1858

Online historic preservation seminars set for Oct. 20 – 22

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, Oct. 8, 2020 –The Charlotte Museum of History and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission will host a virtual preservation seminar series during the lunch hour on Oct. 20, 21 and 22. Anyone considering rehabilitation or preservation of a historic property could benefit from attending one or more sessions, including homeowners, business owners and real estate developers.

Seminars will be broadcast live on the museum’s YouTube channel and recordings will be available after each program. Each one-hour program begins at noon and is followed by a 15-minute Q&A session. Registration is free at
“Preserving the past, including the built environment, is essential in a healthy community,” said Adria Focht, president and CEO of The Charlotte Museum History. “Our historic buildings provide so many benefits to our city, including supporting economic development, providing affordable housing, enhancing our quality of life and giving us a tangible connection to the past so that we can learn from it.”
Seminar topics include local historic landmark designation, national register listing and tax incentives. All presenters are preservation experts from the State Historic Preservation Office, Preservation NC, Preserve Mecklenburg, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission and the Charlotte Historic District Commission.

“The Historic Landmarks Commission is honored to partner with The Charlotte Museum of History to bring our community this comprehensive look at the importance and impact of historic preservation,” said Jack Thomson, executive director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. “From neighborhood revitalization to the
adaptive reuse of industrial sites, preservation is the cornerstone of sustainable communities and the bedrock of good, authentic place making.”

Each day’s topics and expert speakers are:

Tuesday, Oct. 20

Noon to 12:30 p.m.
How to identify community character in a neighborhood: What local government organizations can (and cannot) do to protect historic properties. Kristi Harpst, Charlotte Historic District Commission program manager.

12:30-1 p.m.

Overview of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks program. Jack Thomson, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission executive director, and Stewart Gray, preservation planner. A look at the benefits and challenges of designation and the success of the Landmark Commission’s revolving fund in permanently protecting historic properties.

1-1:15 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 21

Noon to 12:30 p.m.
Preservation North Carolina Overview. Ted Alexander, Preservation North Carolina regional director, western North Carolina. This session includes reasons people preserve historic properties, identification of properties for preservation and placement of preservation easements.

12:30-1 p.m.

Preserve Mecklenburg Inc. Overview. Dr. Dan Morrill, Preserve Mecklenburg consultant. Morrill will explain the group’s role as a private, nonprofit agency that cooperates with property owners in finding economically viable ways to preserve historic places.
1-1:15 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 22

Noon-12: 30 p.m.
State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) Overview. Sarah David, SHPO survey and National Register branch supervisor. A look at the National Register designation process, including steps for having a property listed, criteria and definitions of “significance” and “integrity,” as well as what listing on the National Register does – and does not – do.

12:30-1 p.m.
SHPO Economic Incentives Overview, Brett Sturm, SHPO restoration specialist. A review of economic incentives offered by federal and state government and their eligibility requirements, plus recent examples of successful tax credit projects in the region.

1-1:15 p.m.

How to register:

Registration is free. Donations are welcome and will support the museum’s ongoing preservation work, including the Mad About Modern home tour, the Save Siloam School Project and ongoing care for Charlotte’s oldest home, the 1774 Alexander Rock House. Online registration by Oct. 16 is encouraged at

About The Charlotte Museum of History
The Charlotte Museum of History exists to save and share the Charlotte region’s history, helping create a better understanding of the past and inspiring dialogue about the future. The museum is the steward of the 1774 Hezekiah Alexander Rock House and homesite, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the oldest home in Mecklenburg County. Visit and follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The museum is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

About The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission The Historic Landmarks Commission protects properties in four fundamental ways. First, it recommends the designation of individually significant properties as historic landmarks. Second, it buys and sells endangered historic landmarks through its revolving fund and places preservation covenants in the deeds when the properties are sold. Third, it administers design review over intended material alterations of historic landmarks. Fourth, it educates the general public about the significance of historic landmarks.

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The Elion-Hitchings Building, an architectural landmark that helped cement Research Triangle Park’s reputation for being on the cutting edge, is largely obscured by trees these days.

Soon it may disappear altogether.

United Therapeutics plans to demolish the building it acquired eight years ago when it bought 132 acres off Cornwallis Road along the Durham Freeway from GlaxoSmithKline. The pharmaceutical company says the 48-year-old building is beyond restoration and clearing the site will allow it to build something it can use.

That has alarmed fans of modern architecture and of the building’s designer, Paul Rudolph, a noted 20th century architect and one-time head of the architecture department at Yale University. They’ve gathered 2,500 signatures on an online petition urging the United Therapeutics’ board of trustees to save the building.

“This building was celebrated worldwide when it was built,” said Kelvin Dickinson, president of the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation, which works to preserve and protect the architect’s work. “You would expect this to be designated a landmark.”

The pharmaceutical company Burroughs Wellcome hired Rudolph to design the building when it decided to move its headquarters from suburban New York to RTP in 1969. Rudolph was known for a style of architecture called Brutalism, which produced spare, sometimes hulking, structures often made of concrete.

For Burroughs Wellcome, Rudolph designed an A-frame with terraced floors and angled walls and windows that would appear to extend from the hill on which it was built. As people struggle to describe the building, they’ve used words like “spaceship,” “beehive,” “honeycomb” and “horrible postmodern Mayan temple.”

That last phrase comes from an article written by Alex Sayf Cummings, a history professor at Georgia State University and author of the book “Brain Magnet: Research Triangle Park and the Idea of the Idea Economy.” Cummings had just toured the building as part of an architectural conference held in Durham in 2016 and wrote that Burroughs Wellcome and its iconic building helped define the image of RTP.

“Love it or hate it, Rudolph’s design remains an impressively audacious creative gesture and an important part of the history of both architecture and Research Triangle Park,” she wrote.

Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina, was in college when the building opened and remembers it being a milestone for the Triangle.

“The futuristic architecture conveyed such confidence that it confirmed for skeptics that RTP was really going to be a big deal,” Howard wrote in an email. “The building didn’t quietly sit back in the piney woods like the other buildings in the park. It was perched on a knoll overlooking the new highway. There was a real sense that ‘we have arrived.’”

Writing in the 1990s, News & Observer architecture writer Chuck Twardy acknowledged that some people didn’t care for the “aggressively modular” building, but said he did.

“The innovative building set the design standard for RTP and remains the park’s most remarkable structure,” Twardy wrote in 1996.


Burroughs Wellcome built several additions to the original structure in the 1970s and early 1980s and used it for research that included the development of antiviral drug AZT to treat HIV/AIDS. In 1988, the building was named for Gertrude Elion and George Hitchings, research chemists with the company who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine that year.

The building’s futuristic look attracted Hollywood producers who used the interior and exterior in the 1983 sci-fi movie “Brainstorm,” staring Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood.

Burroughs Wellcome merged with Glaxo and later with SmithKline Beecham to become GlaxoSmithKline. GSK built other buildings at RTP and put the Rudolph building on the market in 2010. Still seeking a buyer, the company moved out the last employees still working in the building in 2011.

United Therapeutics, which already had a building and 55 acres next door, agreed to buy the Elion-Hitchings Building and two others from GSK in 2012. The company, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, wanted space for a planned major expansion in RTP.

United Therapeutics demolished the later additions. But Dickinson said the company had indicated that it planned to preserve Rudolph’s original building.

“We understood the building was going to be renovated,” he said.

But Dewey Steadman, head of investor relations for United Therapeutics, said the company has determined that renovation wasn’t possible. The company, which has 430 employees at RTP, wants to create a “sustainable, modern and buildable campus” on the site, Steadman wrote in an email, and the Elion-Hitchings Building won’t be part of it.

“We looked for ways to incorporate the building into our plans,” he wrote. “After conducting exhaustive studies, we have concluded that the building is unsafe, not environmentally sound, and functionally obsolete.”


Dickinson and others who want to see the building preserved are skeptical. The petition asks that the building be made accessible for independent studies of what it would cost to rehab the building and preserve its “architectural, historical, cultural, and functional value.”

Steadman said the company understands the feelings people have for the Elion-Hitchings Building but sees a different way to preserve it.

“We have a tremendous appreciation for this building’s history and have offered to share our vast archive of materials related to the building with architectural and preservation groups,” he wrote. “To us, what it so special about this site is the groundbreaking research and life-saving medicines that were developed here. That is a legacy that United Therapeutics looks forward to carrying on in the years to come.”

After her tour in 2016, Cummings, the history professor, posted photos of the Elion-Hitchings Building, stripped of carpet and furniture and darkened by a lack of power. The chipping paint and vines growing over windows and across walkways gave the building “a distinctly postapocalyptic vibe,” she wrote.

“One could imagine aliens coming to Earth and finding the structure well after humans have succeeded in wiping themselves out as a species,” she wrote.

The aliens better hurry. Steadman said United Therapeutics has received a demolition permit, and the building will be removed in “the near future.”

Read full article

(News and Observer, 9/18/20)

Singer’s childhood home protected indefinitely by preservation easement

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, in partnership with World Monuments Fund (WMF) and Preservation North Carolina, recently secured protection of Nina Simone’s childhood home. The home, located in Tryon, North Carolina is now protected with a preservation easement held by Preservation North Carolina, a statewide historic preservation advocacy organization. A preservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement where a property owner agrees to permanently protect a historic building’s authentic character. With the easement in place, the home is now protected indefinitely, with the agreement carrying forward to all future owners. While protecting the home, the easement will not impede rehabilitation of the home, but ensure its historic character is maintained and prevent demolition.

“Preservation NC has long been in the business of saving the places that matter to the diverse communities of North Carolina—and equally important, we are committed to telling the stories of those places,” said Preservation NC President, Myrick Howard. “When the place disappears, frequently, the story does too. Easements are one of the most important tools we have to save places and their stories. We are beyond delighted and honored to be a part of preserving not just Nina Simone’s childhood home, but the powerful story of her roots in North Carolina.”

Born Eunice Waymon in 1933, the home is where Simone taught herself the piano at age 3. In recent years, the three-room, 660-square foot clapboard house had fallen in disrepair. Alarmed by the condition of the home and the risk of losing this connection to Nina Simone entirely, four African American visual artists—Adam Pendleton, Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher, Julie Mehretu—purchased the property in 2017. “Today, Nina Simone’s legacy is as important as ever. This preservation easement is another step towards ensuring that her childhood home, and the history it embodies, persists long into the future,” said Adam Pendleton. “We’re delighted to be working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation North Carolina alongside many other partners to make this continuous stewardship a reality.”

In 2018, the National Trust, as a part of its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, designated Nina Simone’s Childhood Home as a National Treasure and joined with its owners and partners – World Monuments Fund, The Nina Simone Project, and the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission – to preserve the home. The National Treasure campaign seeks to develop and implement a preservation strategy for the home in the areas of rehabilitation, protection and future uses that ensure that the symbol of Simone’s early life and legacy will endure for generations to come. National Trust Chief Preservation Officer, Katherine Malone-France, stated, “Nina Simone – legendary musician, social justice champion, and global inspiration – defied constraints placed on Black female performers in the mid-twentieth century to become the voice of civil rights. In order to honor and carry forward her extraordinary legacy, a group of visionary artists and preservationists have collaborated to demonstrate our commitment to equity and racial justice by protecting an American landmark in perpetuity and ensuring that Simone’s unique voice continues to inspire and empower people through her childhood home.”

Preservation North Carolina currently holds over 800 easements across the state, including: Loray Mill in Gastonia, Grove Arcade in Asheville and Blackberry Hill in Tryon. The Nina Simone Childhood Home easement was made possible, due to funding support from World Monuments Fund.

“World Monuments Fund is thrilled to be a part of this important project to protect Nina Simone’s childhood home, providing the opportunity for future generations to engage with her legacy,” said Bénédicte de Montlaur, President and CEO, World Monuments Fund. “Since 2018, we have worked hand-in-hand with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and through them, local partners on the ground, to protect the site, and to develop a plan for its sustainable new use. This is a model project that underscores the importance of preserving the cultural heritage of underrepresented groups, to ensure that these narratives and collective memories are not marginalized.”

Preservation of the home, which started last year, is scheduled to continue this fall, guided by the exterior rehabilitation plan developed by Asheville-based architects Mathews Architecture. Rehabilitation on the home is supported by proceeds from a national crowdfunding campaign launched by the National Trust in summer 2019. The National Trust is also wrapping up a series of community engagement sessions, working with local organizations in Tryon, to inform the future use of the home and ensure benefit to the neighborhood and African American community.

For more information on the Nina Simone Childhood Home and campaign updates visit

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Preservation North Carolina and the Bellamy Mansion Museum recently received a $7,500 grant the NC Humanities Council.

Funding for NC CARES has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act economic stabilization plan.

The grant will help the Bellamy Mansion Museum support expenses such as staff salaries and general operating costs which support humanities programming, and the digitization of collections and resources to make them available online.

“After four months of closure this kind of targeted support for museums is particularly appreciated,” Gareth Evans, Bellamy Mansion Museum executive director, said. “The NC Humanities Council is ensuring we all remain viable when COVID passes.”

The Bellamy Mansion Museum, located at 503 Market Street in Wilmington, is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to interpreting the social and architectural history of the Bellamy Mansion and promoting a greater understanding of historic preservation, architectural history, and restoration methods in North Carolina.

Read full story…

(WWAY News, 7/22/20)

Local historian and anti-racist educator Lettie Shumate remembers seventh-grade social studies well. Specifically, she was learning about continents worldwide, and each time Africa was discussed, overtones of poverty, mistreatment and heartache seemed to be prevalent. When it came time to choose a country for her class project, she landed on Botswana. Independent research taught her that Botswana was a flourishing country—a Mecca of resources for other African countries, even.

“It was far more than what the white-washed history books had described,” she says.

It was Shumate’s first encounter with history in a way that piqued her interest. She couldn’t predict at the time she would have a career as an historian; back then the subject matter bored her. The very abridged information coming out of the McGraw-Hill textbooks in primary school felt like a hoodwink — perpetuating false narratives, like soft-shoeing slavery by indicating Africans “migrated” to America.

“Aside from the fact those textbooks are just wrong a lot, they also teach timelines and sub-timelines with only a few talking points,” Shumate says. “They never go deep into the context of an event, person or place. Black history during the Civil War was just Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation. We don’t learn that after enslavement, slaves are in fact not free. Black people couldn’t move about how they wanted; black men were seen as rapists and women as jezebels and prostitutes, which were perpetuated by laws like vagrancy, Black codes and Jim Crow — all made to protect white society.”

When Shumate got to Brunswick Community College, where she received her associate’s degree, her passion for history gained footing. A professor who didn’t use textbooks or PowerPoint approached it as storytelling instead. “He brought it to life for me and I just soaked in everything,” she says. Shumate transferred to UNCW in 2008, and an inspiring department of history professors helped her thrive: Dr. Harris, Dr. Pollard, Dr. Fonvielle and Dr. Townend, among others. She minored in political science and, with Dr. Harris as her mentor in history, landed on a concentration that excited her: Black American history.

“Dr. Harris taught all-things Black history,” Shumate praises. “He taught the bigger picture — not just dates and times because history’s not in a vacuum; it’s not linear. Historians don’t just study or write about one event without looking at everything before and after it. Take the Black Panther party, for instance: It requires primary research, which means research from the actual time, but it doesn’t just start with the party in 1966. It would also point back to Nat Turner’s slave rebellion in the mid-1800s and Marcus Garvey in the 1930s. . . . My professors would teach us to learn everything between the lines, not just in the books but reading the footnotes and all the research the writers did, and everything else that connected, to always go deeper. It’s a neverending hole, really.”

Shumate eventually graduated with her masters in history from UNCW in 2015. She intended to teach in a school setting; however, the lack of jobs in Wilmington didn’t help her pursuits, so she ended up working at an eye doctor’s office and then at PPD as a project assistant. While at PPD, she took her lunch breaks at Cape Fear Community College to teach world history as an adjunct professor. It was a rigorous schedule she kept up with for over a year.

Then UNCW began a new program in conflict management and resolution, which delves into therapeutic ways to help people talk about grievances and trauma. Shumate decided learning how to unload the aftereffects left on American systems and its citizens from racism would complement her knowledge as an historian. She decided to return to school for her second masters, quit PPD and took a part-time position at Wilmington Center for Innovation, Recreation and Education (WIRE) afterschool program.

“It was a lot of hard work that almost broke me,” she admits. Yet, in May 2020 Shumate graduated with her fourth degree.

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(Encore, 7/8/20)

To the City Council of Fayetteville and other local governmental bodies:

We, the members of the Cape Fear Committee on African American Heritage (CFCAAH), have as our primary purpose “to collect, preserve and interpret the history and heritage of African Americans in the Cape Fear Region.” As it relates to the current climate in our nation, the CFCAAH not only condemns and stands against violence directed at African Americans, but also our mandate requires that we stand for a widespread awareness about such violence and suffering in our shared past.

The CFCAAH realizes that the truth of our past often involves deep pain and discomfort. Yet, if we keep our attention on how we treat each other today, disturbing abuses from the past can be discussed openly and truthfully with the lessons we learn becoming a foundation for a more inclusive and authentic future.

That said, in the light of recent events at the Market House, our city council desires to get input from citizens. We have decided to weigh in on this matter. The CFCAAH stands committed to educating the public on African American heritage so we offer the following about the Market House:

1. It is true that enslaved African Americans were auctioned (sold and bought) at the Market House. The Fayetteville Observer produced several articles verifying this truth that can be easily accessed. This history is not hidden, and it is not merely local. It is national and international. As it relates to it being a historical point of auction for the enslaved, we desire to preserve this site as a warning for future generations to “never forget.”

2. Expanding the idea of “never forget,” the Market House is a physical site that represents part of the enslaved experience. With a deep respect for the strength and ingenuity of African American enslaved ancestors, we desire to document and preserve the full range of the enslavement experience with the auctions at the Market House being one experience among many.

3. Records show that a free Black man named Thomas Grimes and a free Black brick-mason and carpenter named John Patterson, in addition to other free and enslaved Black tradesmen, were the likely builders of the Market House. This fact needs to be documented and we desire to preserve the structure which represents the craftsmanship of those Black artisans.

4. Another atrocity occurred at the Market House in 1867 with the assassination of Archibald Bebee, a local African American drayman. This event is the “only recorded outrage” against African Americans in Fayetteville during the Congressional investigation after the Civil War. This history needs to be thoroughly documented and preserved for all to understand.

5. Considering the recent surge of interest in Juneteenth, it is important to note that the Market House was part of the route for “Emancipation Day” parades in Fayetteville celebrating the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. This history needs to be better documented and shared with the whole community and beyond.

6. After the “Civil War,” there were mixed local governments with Blacks like Matthew N. Leary and Andrew J. Chesnutt holding public office. We still know very little about this history. The Market House as a historic site is part of the narrative about this omitted part of our past.

7. During the 1789 Constitutional Convention, several more significant points for the State of North Carolina can be identified, yet less reverence is given to them by some African Americans due to how shamefully the group has been treated in this state throughout our shared past.

As it currently stands, the Market House is on the National Register of Historic Places because of the significant events that occurred there. It is already an attraction for tourists. With this fact in mind, the CFCAAH makes the following recommendations:

I. We recommend transforming the Market House into an interactive platform for Historical Truth that is maintained like each “Door of No Return” and each “Enslavement Fortress/Slave Castle” along the West Coast of Africa. To give increased dimension to the enslavement experience and the “African Holocaust,” we can share the details of individuals auctioned at the site so that we can truly grapple with the reality as a community and state today. All of America is in the process of reclaiming our truth, our humanity, and our respect for every contributor of our Nation’s construction which includes the often minimized or omitted African American experience. Instead of removing physical evidence of the past, we suggest telling a more complete history instead.

II. We recommend resurrecting Emancipation Day celebrations on January 1st of each year as it is already an observed national holiday. This practice will allow for a community and state conversation about emancipation, constitutional equality before the law, birthright citizenship and the right to vote, battles still being fought today. We want our schools and the community at large involved by submitting videos to be selectively shown to visitors to the new facility.

III. We recommend that the City, County and other local governments show their commitment to healing, truth, and equality for our whole community during this key movement for change. As we work to reclaim our collective humanity, we visibly see that all lives do not matter unless and until the African American community is safe and protected equally under the law. Our local governments’ unwavering support for the African American community is most easily shown at this time by each contributing to a fund to repurpose the Market House as indicated.

IV. We recommend discontinuing the use of the Market House on the City Seal and other official representations of the City of Fayetteville immediately. Due to the despicable nature of chattel slavery, the Market House as a symbol is tainted by human trafficking. Thus, it must not be celebrated or honored as an official symbol of our city.

V. We recommend removing and preserving the current plaque at the Market House and mounting a new one that restates its 30 year old message by replacing “sold as slaves” with “enslaved and sold,” the word “shame” with the word “strength,” and the word “responsible” with “recognized as.” The words “slaves” and “shame” support a false narrative about African American ancestors which must not be perpetuated forward.


In closing, this committee is about preserving the past to promote understanding. While the Market House is a symbol of our racial division, the building itself is not what divided us in the past or what continues to divide us in the present. False narratives about each other and our past are what weaken our capacity to live and work together. The lack of honest and accurate portrayals of the social dynamics of the past leave us vulnerable to all sorts of distortions that jeopardize the current and future state of race relations and community cohesiveness. Tell the truth and most people will respect it.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration.

Through the years, preservationists have worked to repurpose scores of buildings – and to share their full histories.

The Fayetteville Market House is an important building with a varied and complex history. We recognize its painful connection to slavery and condemn the white supremacists who labeled it the ‘old slave market’ for the purpose of threatening and demeaning the African-American community. At the same time, we also recognize the free and enslaved Black builders and artisans who built it. And, as a municipal building with a merchant market below, we celebrate its role for many decades as a place of community gathering by people of all races, including African American merchants and festival goers.

As preservationists and proponents of using the power of place to find common ground and reconciliation, we believe the Fayetteville Market House is in need of extreme repurposing. Its new use needs to advance the cause of social justice for future generations.

Former school buildings have become affordable senior housing or community centers. Decrepit textile mills have been converted into centers for high-tech jobs or craft breweries. Vacant churches have been transformed into community arts centers. The examples of repurposed buildings across North Carolina are widespread and diverse.

What might be some good new uses for the Market House?

What about creating the NC Center for Racial Reconciliation?

An African-American cultural center for Fayetteville?

How about an education center about the history of slavery in North Carolina? The painful fact that slaves were sold on the site would make that museum especially powerful.

A place that celebrates Black builders and architects in North Carolina? There are truly inspiring stories to be told.

Or some use by Fayetteville State University?

Perhaps its new use could be dedicated to the memory of Fayetteville native George Floyd?

As preservationists, we ask for a conversation about these ideas and many others. Let’s come to the table to find a solution. With a few months of community input and fundraising, the market house could be transformed into a proud asset for all the citizens of Fayetteville for the 21st century. A great outcome would be for the whole community to reclaim it for community use once again. What a model this could be for so many communities across America who are struggling with similar buildings.

When a building is lost, its history is lost, too. To destroy the physical evidence of slavery eliminates the opportunities for future generations to learn about how slavery has continued to impact people of color to this day – psychologically, financially, emotionally, etc. Places such as the market house where that shared history can be discussed are so needed to overcome the racial barriers which haunt us now.

It’s especially inspiring when a building can be repurposed from being hated to being celebrated. The Fayetteville Market House needs that now. Imagine the city’s most prominent building, one of North Carolina’s few National Historic Landmarks, becoming a place where the cause of social justice is enhanced – and a place where visitors to our state stop and learn about North Carolina’s African-American Heritage.

Wouldn’t it be sweet justice to overthrow the Market House’s White Supremacist past and make it a building that serves the cause of racial and social justice for the future?

Valerie Ann Johnson
Chair, North Carolina African-American Heritage Commission
Dean, Arts, Sciences and Humanities, Shaw University

Myrick Howard
President, Preservation North Carolina
July 2, 2020

Recently, we shared with you Preservation NC’s statement affirming that Black Lives Matter. Indeed, the stories of African Americans “past and present, matter to today’s world.” We are committed to stand against racism and white supremacy, and to amplify the voices of communities that have been silenced for too long.

Today, we find ourselves at another inflection point in this historic movement, as community attention turns to Confederate monuments. As preservationists and story-tellers, we believe it is necessary for us to reinforce our stand against white supremacy and racism by supporting the removal of Confederate monuments. We echo the statements made by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which also supports the removal of Confederate monuments and the provision of historical context:

“Although some [Confederate monuments] were erected—like other monuments to war dead—for reasons of memorialization, most Confederate monuments were intended to serve as a celebration of Lost Cause mythology and to advance the ideas of white supremacy. Many of them still stand as symbols of those ideologies and sometimes serve as rallying points for bigotry and hate today. To many African Americans, they continue to serve as constant and painful reminders that racism is embedded in American society. We believe it is past time for us, as a nation, to acknowledge that these symbols do not reflect, and are in fact abhorrent to, our values and to our foundational obligation to continue building a more perfect union that embodies equality and justice for all.”

Our preservation work regularly connects us to the often inspiring, frequently distressing, and always complicated nature of history. This is a complex issue, and we believe that communities have a duty to address it head-on, centering on the voices of those negatively impacted by the monuments’ public display and prominence. We believe that monuments that are not and cannot be appropriately contextualized—and which do not acknowledge the painful realities of white supremacy—should be removed from public display.

Our hearts are heavy and our brains are a jumble of thoughts over the murder, verily the lynching, of George Floyd (a native of Fayetteville). Lynching is a historically accurate term for what happened to him and far too many others.

Black Lives Matter. Their stories, past and present, matter to today’s world. By telling those stories, we can acknowledge the many ways that centuries of oppression have systematically robbed black people in America — financially, socially and as fellow human beings.

As historic preservationists, we are tangibly connected to history on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s inspiring, sometimes dismal, and it’s almost always complex.

For more than a quarter century, Preservation North Carolina has worked hard to tell the whole story at the Bellamy Mansion Museum in Wilmington. The story is indeed complicated, including slavery, the 1898 Wilmington Massacre, and even the Wilmington Ten. Each of those events are relevant to where our nation stands today regarding social inequality and racial discrimination.

About thirty years ago, in the tiny town of Milton, Preservation North Carolina bought the burned-out shell of the home and workshop of Thomas Day. It was then North Carolina’s only National Historic Landmark that had been designated solely for African-American history. A free black cabinet maker, Thomas Day made creative furniture and architectural pieces for the white elite of antebellum North Carolina. His house, once nearly a complete loss, may soon become a State Historic Site, open to the people of North Carolina.

The complexity of Thomas Day’s life as a black man will open the door for candid discussions about the role of race in North Carolina history. The more that we can have those discussions across racial lines, the more likely that we can bridge the racial divide that is now weighing so heavily on our country.

Preservation North Carolina recently moved its Headquarters Office into two homes built by persons born into slavery in the historic black community of Oberlin Village in Raleigh. The story of Oberlin Village is inspirational but tragic. Where there were hundreds of homes and a tight social network, there are now only a few dozen houses left amidst commercial development, large apartment complexes, and teardowns.

The story is also typical. The recent book, The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein, describes how the United States systematically segregated neighborhoods and stole black wealth in the process. Oberlin is a textbook example.

History guides us, informs us, shapes us, if we are honest about telling the full story. Our shared history, made tangible through place, bears witness to centuries of continuous discrimination and violence. When we listen, our historic places can tell rich and diverse stories, now and in the future – and help us build a more just and equitable future. We pledge to share these stories, including the voices of the unheard and marginalized.

In this historical moment, Preservation North Carolina is committed to standing against racism and white supremacy and amplifying the voices of communities that have been silenced for too long.

Myrick Howard

President, Preservation North Carolina

BEAUFORT — The Beaufort Board of Commissioners stayed an order of demolition Monday for the historic Godette Hotel on Pollock Street, allowing 90 days for Preservation North Carolina to buy the structure in an attempt to save it.

“We will go as fast as we can to a contract and then as fast (as we can to closing) … we will need a little time to make sure that we can work out the finances that are necessary here,” PNC President Myrick Howard told the board at an April 23 virtual special meeting.

PNC is a nonprofit organization that seeks to protect significant and endangered historic structures across the state.

Under unanimous action from the town board at its Monday work session, also held virtually, the family that owns the property has 30 days to temporarily secure the structure. Under the same motion, PNC has 90 days for the purchase, a timeline the board said can be extended for the sale, if needed.

“It would be a great opportunity missed if we don’t give them the opportunity to try and save this building,” Commissioner Sharon Harker told fellow board members at the April 23 special meeting.

The structure at 400 Pollock St., known as the Godette Hotel, was built from 1946 and 1947 by Henderson Godette Sr. and his sons, according to a March 23 article by renowned historian David Cecelski. The hotel was known for providing food, lodging and community to African American travelers who would otherwise be turned away from segregated accommodations.

It is this history PNC officials said they hope to help safeguard by saving the building.

“These buildings tell an interesting story because even people who are 20 and 30 years old do not realize how extensive segregation was in the United States and how it’s only one long generation back that, for example, African Americans could not probably go to most Holiday Inns in the United States,” Mr. Howard said.

The Godette family still owns the property, which has fallen into disrepair, leading town officials to order its demolition. Asbestos abatement on the second floor of the building has already taken place.

At the commission’s April 23 special meeting, Stephanie Dauway, Henderson Godette Jr.’s granddaughter, told officials the family is in agreement to work with the nonprofit to save the structure.

“There is so much history there, I am proud to be a member of the Godette family … I really learned to appreciate what that building not only means to the family, but to the community and to the town of Beaufort and to the state of North Carolina. And to this country, quite honestly,” she said. “And I have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received from the community wanting to see this building preserved and saved. I think this is the best possible solution.”

If PNC is able to complete the sale, it will put the property back on the market, seeking a buyer to help restore the building in tandem with the organization, which would use covenants to protect historic aspects.

“We’re going to have to find somebody who will think about how this might adapt for mixed use, for example. We’re going to think about how this might be interpreted,” Mr. Howard told commissioners. “I mean, this is not going to be for museum use but you still want, in a case like this, to make sure that there is a raising of consciousness about what this building was and who owned it and who stayed there.”

In April discussions, commissioners were primarily concerned with ensuring the building is safe, both immediately and while it is on the market.

“It does have to be stabilized. It is not going to last, and if we have another hurricane like Florence, it will not survive in its present condition unless it is very strongly stabilized,” Commissioner Ann Carter said at the April 23 special meeting.

The board delayed action at that time for input from the town’s building code administrator, Tobbie Bowden, who advised along with other town staff April 27 that immediate fixes could include wrapping the second story in Tyvek and ensuring all doors and windows on the ground floor are secured.

Under the adopted motion, the family has 30 days to complete the initial fixes.

“The family has already raised funds and has even received donations to help shore that up, if we need to,” Ms. Dauway told the board April 23. “…We have never been this close to really making change, making progress on the building.”

The town has also requested updates from PNC on the sale.

As part of the motion to stay demolition, the town set a deadline of Thursday, Dec. 31 to collect payment for the asbestos abatement already conducted.

Commissioner Charles McDonald recused himself from proceedings involving 400 Pollock St. due to family connections to the property.

Other commissioners voiced their support for ongoing efforts to preserve it.

“It’s a little anchored piece of African American history in our town,” Ms. Harker said.

Read full story…

(Carteret County News-Times, 5/1/20)

Wilmington, NC – The Bellamy Mansion Museum will close to the public starting Tuesday, March 17 through Sunday, March 29. After March 29, the museum will assess the situation and put out new information. “For the safety of our staff, volunteers, guests and the wider community, we need to close. While this will impact the museum financially, it’s the right thing to do.” said Executive Director Gareth Evans.

The following museum events have been postponed due to the closure.

LECTURE: What Happened to the Lost Colony? – March 19
EVENT: Bellamy Neighborhood Yard Sale – March 28
ART EXHIBIT: Outer Limits – March 25 to May, reception March 27
LECTURE: Wilmington’s Lie – April 14
EVENT: Family Fun Day – April 19

New dates are to be determined. Please check the Bellamy Museum website or the museum’s Facebook for updates.

The Bellamy Museum, located at 503 Market Street in Wilmington, is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to interpreting the social and architectural history of the site and promoting a greater understanding of historic preservation, architectural history and restoration methods in North Carolina.

For more information contact Carolyn Gonzalez at 910-251-3700 x306 or

With its new headquarters on Oberlin Road, made from the Graves-Fields and Rev. Plummer T. Hall homes, Preservation N.C. puts mission into practice.

Andria Fields can still smell Sunday mornings at 802 Oberlin Road, the table brimming with plates of steak, fatback, country ham, grits and her grandmother’s famous pearl biscuits. “It was a beehive,” she says, of the Victorian-era house where she grew up, a social and political center of the thriving African-American community in Oberlin Village. “People would come to sit on the porch in the chair—and on the coveted swing—to talk about the current events of the day. They would pass by the house just to look at my grandfather’s flowers.”

But as Raleigh expanded through the 20th century, commercialization threatened the legacy of her family’s home and of the surrounding freedman’s community, one that had flourished after the Civil War. In the early 1950s, as Cameron Village Shopping Center took shape and Oberlin Road became a major thoroughfare, what remained of the neighborhood diminished block-by-block, until only five remaining landmark homes stood against new development. This home, the Graves-Fields house, was one, along with its neighbor, the Rev. Plummer T. Hall house. Both stood in disrepair with extensive deferred maintenance.

They dodged the wrecking ball thanks to Preservation North Carolina (PNC). It’s our only state-wide historic preservation organization, and it works to protect the diverse heritage of North Carolina by caring for the properties that have written our state’s history.

Preservation N.C. rescues old houses —and also factory mills, churches, general stores, schools and all manner of historic properties. “We jokingly refer to ourselves as the animal shelter for endangered historic buildings,” says PNC President Myrick Howard. Supported by a membership of 4,500, with an operating budget from private sources, the organization works to find buyers who will protect these endangered historic locales and landscapes. They also host an annual conference, in addition to preservation celebrations, tours and happy hours. Their work recognizes the value of history, the importance of preserving both the endangered properties and the stories they hold.

Since its inception in 1939, PNC has worked directly with more than 900 properties, most of which would have otherwise been lost, with a current total market value of more than half a billion dollars. “Saving buildings is all about solving real estate issues,” says Howard. Buyers have reconfigured properties for a vast array of new uses, creating a multitude of jobs and adding millions of dollars to local tax rolls. Take the recently redeveloped Loray Cotton Mill in Gastonia, which was the largest textile mill in the South under a single roof. As the backdrop of the infamous Communist Textile Workers Union strike in 1929, the mill plays prominently in the history of Southern labor and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It closed in the 1990s and sat deteriorating for years before Firestone donated the mill to Preservation N.C. After a lengthy effort, PNC sold it to developers in 2012. Now, they’re rejuvenating Loray Mill with almost 300 residential units and around 100,000 square feet of retail space, including a history center, plans for a brewery, restaurants, fitness center, and neighborhood market. And property values are rising all around the mill.

PNC’s restorative work has provided momentum for these types of turn-arounds across the state. In Edenton, a cotton mill has been converted into condos, with four previously demolished mill houses rebuilt and preserved. In Goldsboro, over the last decade, PNC has helped save twenty vacant historic houses on the edge of the commercial downtown. In Rockingham County, the 165,000 square-foot dilapidated Spray Cotton Mills building will be converted into a mixed-use space with outdoor amenities along the Smith River. From Pittsboro to Shelby, projects continue, transforming old schools and hospitals into affordable housing, protecting thousands of acres of open space under restricted development.

PNC, which the National Park Service cited as “the premier state-wide preservation organization of the South, if not the nation,” also helped pioneer the surge in downtown Raleigh’s rejuvenation. They renovated the Briggs Hardware Building on Fayetteville Street in partnership with the AJ Fletcher Foundation, as well as the Bretsch House on the corner of Morgan and Blount Streets, which became their office in 1982. “Folks thought we were crazy,” recalls Howard. “We are unusual among preservation organizations because of our work with endangered historic buildings: We don’t just talk about preservation, we do it.”

In November, PNC moved into its new Oberlin Road headquarters: the Graves-Fields and Hall houses, which were moved (fifty yards and thirty feet, respectively), renovated, and connected by a basement. Using these restored homes as the organization’s headquarters under-scores PNC’s commitment to diversity preservation: they’re two of Raleigh’s most important surviving African-American landmarks.

Both built in the 1880s, these homes were pinnacles of a thriving Oberlin Village, where freedmen used hard work and education to create better futures for their families. In its prime, Historic Oberlin Village, which was not part of Raleigh, ran about 12 blocks from Hillsborough Street to what is now Wade Avenue and had more than 1,000 residents. This community of former slaves and their descendants prospered through the establishment of schools, churches and fashionably-painted Victorian-style homes with rose-filled front yards.

Willis and Eleanor Graves, active leaders in Oberlin, built their ambitious house while still in their 20s. Both had been born into slavery and freed soon after, the husband working as a brick mason. (He used the framing of an older home to build his house’s second story, including a hodgepodge of materials— mismatched baseboards doors, and hardware—which would later present a challenge to preservationists.) The Graves’ children attended Ivy League colleges, became renowned defense lawyers and acclaimed organists. A Graves grandson became one of the first black journalists to travel with a U.S. President (Truman) on an official state visit abroad. On and on, the Graves legacy of talent and achievement goes, as eventually each of the descendants moved North to escape racial oppression.

“Our research on the Graves Family blew us away,” says Howard. Susan Mask, a great-granddaughter of Willis and Eleanor Graves, has been moved by the experience of reclaiming her family’s history through the preservation of the home. “Preservation NC has done an amazing job uncovering facts, deeds and documents that tell the wider story and provide a greater context,” Mask says. An attorney and artist, she recently exhibited paintings inspired by the former freedman’s village at a gallery in Seattle. She says of her great-grandparents: “While they may not have thought of their efforts this way, our ancestors laid a foundation that we as a family and the wider community can look up to. It’s the kind of history that helps fortify you in these fraught times,” she says, “We’ve been challenged before and we have risen.”

Fields hopes that people will drive by and take notice of the rejuvenated historic homes. She hopes they’ll wonder why they are there, and that it will lead to curiosity about where they came from and what stories they have to tell. “Preserving a legacy is and should be of the utmost importance for any culture or heritage,” Fields says. “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, how do you proceed?”

Read full article

(Walter Magazine, 3/1/20)

The community of Historic Oberlin Village in Raleigh, North Carolina has a story to tell: one of accomplishment, pride, and overcoming incredible obstacles. Founded by African American freedmen around 1870, they created an independent town that consisted of twelve blocks with almost 1,000 residents who were carpenters, brick masons, and seamstresses once enslaved by some of Raleigh’s most prominent families. Due to the effects of the Great Depression, urban renewal, and now development and gentrification, Oberlin Village is disappearing. Out of several hundred structures, fewer than 90 remain. “These homes are highly visible and symbolic,” said Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina (PNC). “Hardly a day goes by where you are not losing another one or another one.”

Over the past 35 years, PNC has moved its headquarters offices four times in order to save highly endangered landmarks in Raleigh. PNC saw an opportunity to not only tell the community’s story, but to engage with and invest in it by moving their headquarters to two Oberlin Village houses prominently located on one of Raleigh’s busiest streets .
The houses—the Rev. Plummer T. Hall House (built in 1877) and the Graves-Fields House (built in 1885)—are two of only five Oberlin structures listed in the National Register. Threatened by development, PNC purchased them from the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. They also made the decision to move the Hall House back on its lot and relocate the Graves-Fields House altogether, situating them about 200 feet apart on opposite sides of Oberlin Baptist Church, who they would like to include in programming related to the houses and community.

Restoring the houses and preparing for the move had its challenges and surprises. They discovered the Graves-Fields House was built in two phases, with the newer front section built on top of the earlier framing. Both parts had to be separated for the move and new front and back walls had to be constructed. They also had numerous cases where the houses were not constructed to code as they were built with whatever materials were on hand, such as porch posts, chair rails, and floor boards. “This is a project that has broken all of the rules. The many peculiarities of the original construction will now be part of the story,” said Howard. “Without the buildings, the history goes away. These buildings open doors about history that no one would know.”

PNC wants to honor the houses’ owners and the community by working with their Oberlin Village neighbors to tell their story through programming and collaborations. PNC would also like to create an exhibit about African American builders and architects in North Carolina, inspired by Willis Graves, who was a brick mason. “It adds a tremendous amount of pride and value when we talk about who built these buildings,” said Howard. “It brings pride and engagement where there is a connection.” A symposium was held this Fall at Shaw University—where all of the Graves children attended—and PNC would like to make a continuing effort to have programming dealing with race, class and gender. Local groups, such as Friends of Oberlin Village, Shaw University, Oberlin Baptist Church, and an Oberlin Village initiative group have been involved, as well as descendants of the Graves, Fields and Hall families.

The Graves, Fields, and Hall families were well-regarded members of the community, counting among them educators, ministers, civil rights attorneys, businesspersons, journalists and philanthropists. For many of the Graves family descendants, it was the first time that they had seen the house since the family left it in the 1930s when the Graves’ children migrated North .

“We’ve been powerfully moved by the discovery of our great-grandparents’ home and its relevance to the history of African Americans and to North Carolina. PNC has done an amazing job uncovering facts, deeds and documents that tell the wider story and provide a greater context,” said Susan Mask, an artist and Graves family descendant. “My family and I have enjoyed learning details about the lives our ancestors lived. There is indeed something powerful about discovering a document that reveals a powerful connection to a historical fact or figure. It’s the kind of history that helps fortify you in these fraught times. We’ve been challenged before and have risen.”

Howard sees the preservation movement as very well-placed to be supportive players in the quest for social justice and equity, and hopes that other preservation organizations will look at similar opportunities and follow PNC’s example.

“Through the buildings you can tell a lot of stories and make that happen,” Howard said. “Our work complements that and we have great opportunities to bridge that gap. There is importance in telling the stories and being stewards of those stories.”

For more information about Preservation North Carolina, please visit their website at

Lawana Holland-Moore is the program assistant for the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. She is also the 2014 National Trust Mildred Colodny Scholar.

Read full story…

(National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2/12/20)

No one knows what happened to Gabriel’s body. Born into slavery the year his country declared its freedom, he trained as a plantation blacksmith and was hired out to foundries in Richmond, Virginia, where he befriended other enslaved people. Together, they absorbed, from the revolutionary spirit of the era, ideas of independence that were never meant for them. Gabriel kept hammering out whatever his masters demanded, but in secret he began to forge a network of thousands of enslaved and free blacks who planned to rally under a flag stitched with borrowed words: “Death or Liberty.” But a terrible thunderstorm flooded the roads on what was to be the day of their revolt, in August, 1800, and during the delay two of the conspirators betrayed the rest. Within a few weeks, twenty-six of them were hanged. Gabriel was executed less than a mile from the church where Patrick Henry spoke the words that inspired what would have been their battle cry. Some historians believe that Gabriel’s body was left in the burial ground beside the gallows, where it would have joined thousands of other black bodies that, consigned to the bottomland of the city, washed into Shockoe Creek whenever it rained.

Shockoe Bottom, as that valley is known, was the center of Richmond’s slave district. In the three decades before the Civil War, more than three hundred thousand men, women, and children were sold in Richmond, the second-largest slave market in the United States. Not every enslaved person who passed through left the city; many were made to work in its tobacco warehouses, ironworks, and flour mills. Between 1750 and 1816, most of the African-Americans who died in Richmond were interred in what was known as the Burial Ground for Negroes. After that, the graves at Shockoe Bottom were abandoned, and residents claimed more and more of the land for themselves, ignoring the coffins and bones. The city turned what was left into a jail, and then a dog pound; later, state and federal officials carved I-95 through its center.

“I remember thinking there was nothing left,” Brent Leggs told me recently, of his first encounter with Shockoe Bottom. Leggs, the director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is typically contacted to help preserve something, even if it is only a crumbling foundation. But in Richmond he was called on to help save what no longer exists.

Read full story…

(The New Yorker, 1/27/20)

Raleigh, N.C. — If you’ve driven down Oberlin Road near Cameron Village in the past few months, you may have noticed a strange sight: An enormous pink, polka-dotted dog peeking out from behind a pair of historic homes.
This 12-foot pup is a decades-old remnant from an eccentric wonderland that once stood in Raleigh, tucked away on a whimsical piece of land by Buffaloe Rd. called Gotno Farm.

In fact, this large plaster pup is the biggest of three identical versions once created by George Morris.
To Becky Harris, he was ”Uncle George,” and she remembers spending a wondrous childhood on the Gotno Farm.

“Everybody in the community loved the place. You went there, and it was like you were in a whole different world. It was so peaceful and so relaxing,” she said.

The dog’s name, she said, was Snoopy — Snoopy the dog!

She remembered Gotno Farm as having many unique, other-worldly statues just like Snoopy.

“Uncle George built a ten-foot-tall frog who sat on the edge of the pond,” she recalled. “He built an igloo dog house made out of plaster; his Dalmatian dog named Deacon stayed in there.”

There was a curious sculpture called ‘Old Holy’ that stood as tall as Morris himself, an enormous plaster urn, a green statue with twisty-turning tendrils. He even built a concrete shuffleboard to entertain guests, according to Harris.

But by far, Harris’ favorite structure was the Round House. She described it as a shelter made out of concrete and plaster, with a big round top and a table underneath. Around the edges was a brick wall, and he had carved out an area where people could walk around.

“The family had yearly reunions at Uncle George and Aunt Jessie’s place,” Harris said. “Many times we’d hang out around the Round House.”

She said Uncle George’s was one of her favorite places to go as a child.

Raleigh’s last known Lustron house

Gotno Farm was more than an eccentric safari of strange plaster creatures. Morris also owned a historically-significant house.

The idea behind Lustron houses was developed in 1946 , during the immediate aftermath of WWII, when Carl Strandland requested emergency loans to build small houses for veterans returning from war. His vision of “metal, pre-frabricated neighborhoods” successfully won the loan from President Truman’s Reconstruction Finance Community, according to North Carolina Modernist Houses’ description of the history of Lustron.

Lustron homes were so tied into WWII that the factories producing their steel were used in WWII to build fighter planes.

The research showed that as of 1949, only 39 Lustron Homes sold in North Carolina. By 1950, the company that built Lustron was bankrupt.

These enameled steel homes were designed with efficiency and cost-effectiveness in mind. To many historians and collectors, Lustron houses represent a unique and nostalgic connection to the post WWII era.

They might be compared to the iconic “Sears Homes,” kit homes that could be ordered by mail in the early to mid- 1900s.

“I remember them building the house. It was a big deal. No one had ever heard of it,” said Harris.
The rarity of the Lustron house made it an ideal target to be rescued by Preservation NC and the Raleigh Historic Development Commission (RHDC).

Myrick Howard, President of Preservation NC, said, “We see ourselves as an ‘animal shelter for historic preservation.’ We rescue a troubled building, and we find someone who can take care of it. Then we let them take over.”

Read full story…

(WRAL, 1/31/20)

Check out our own Bellamy Mansion in Wilmington featured on NC Weekend! Click HERE to watch the episode (or tune into UNC-TV NC Weekend to watch the replay).

WILSON, N.C. (WTVD) — Wilson natives Monica Therisa Davis and Antonio Jenkins bought historic shotgun houses in the East Wilson Historic District with plans to restore them and turn them into trendy tiny houses.

“I hope it’s pretty modern but also keep the historic features,” said Jenkins, who owns the construction company, Tee O’s Luxury Renovations LLC.

Davis, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, studied the shotgun houses as part of her thesis. She partnered with her friend Jenkins to purchase five shotgun houses and two lots.

“We want to make sure that these homes are available for home ownership for these people that can own shotgun houses in the future,” Jenkins said. “We want to also uplift the community of East Wilson and also the African Americans that live in the area.”

Jenkins said her research showed there were 301 shotgun homes in the East Wilson Historic District in 1988, when they started being counted. Now, there are only 88.

“They were built for the African Americans who worked in the tobacco industry in this area so they’re small shotgun houses built compactly on the lots to best serve the working class of their time,” Davis said.

“A lot of people from where we are from around here don’t know about our history and the main thing about this area over here,” Jenkins said. “This is our history.”

Davis and Jenkins walked ABC11 through one of the shotgun houses they own on Ash Street. It’s less than 700 square feet and has one bedroom and one bathroom.

They plan to keep the original floors, brick fireplace and windows.

But they’ll add contemporary touches to the homes built between 1890 and 1940, Davis said.

The houses will be rentals for five years, then they hope community members will have the opportunity to buy them through the nonprofit they founded, Rebirthing our Cultural Kingdom Foundation. The plan is to teach African Americans in Wilson about homeownership and the cultural significance of East Wilson.

Built out of necessity, these shotgun houses have the potential to be trendy, thanks to the tiny house popularity.

“I think they are appealing to the millennials or empty nesters of this time period now,” Davis said.

Read full story…

(WTVD, 12/9/19)

Oberlin Village is an important part of Raleigh’s history — but there is not much of the historic African American community left.

It was founded by former slaves around 1870 as one of the first freedmen communities in the city. In just a decade, Oberlin Village had grown to up to 1,000 residents. For years it was a thriving community made up of carpenters, brick masons and seamstresses. Since the 1940s, Increased development in Raleigh has razed over most of the landscape of Oberlin Village. Preservation North Carolina has rescued two homes from the community and preserved them. They commissioned playwright Howard Craft to create a new production to celebrate the community. It is called “Bending the Arc: Willis Graves Jr. and the Pursuit of Justice.”

Host Frank Stasio talks to Craft about the play and the role that Oberlin Village played in shaping civil rights leaders. Then Brandi Neuwirth joins the conversation to share the history of Latta University, a school and orphanage based in Oberlin Village. Neuwirth is the great-great-granddaughter of the founder of Latta University and the chair of the Latta House Foundation, working with Friends of Oberlin and others to preserve history. Craft’s play will be read as part of a two-day symposium hosted by Preservation North Carolina, on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 2:30 p.m. at Shaw University in Raleigh.

Listen to broadcast here:

(WUNC Radio: State of Things, 11/7/19)

State prisoners began building the Executive Mansion in 1883. Eight years later, Governor Daniel Fowle moved in (and died shortly thereafter). Since then, the building has not only housed thirty governors and countless events and meetings, but it’s also served as an architectural anchor of Blount Street, a foremost exemplar of a Queen Anne Victorian mansion that earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Around the same time a few miles away, a former slave named Willis Graves built his own two-story Victorian home with an ornate Queen Anne exterior in Oberlin Village, a bustling freedman’s community of about one thousand residents who were once enslaved by Raleigh’s most prominent families. Graves painted his home in the same color scheme as the Executive Mansion: three shades of green—dark, medium, and a yellow wash, with black window sashes.

That home is still standing, and it, too, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Three years ago, officials from the nonprofit Preservation NC, the city of Raleigh, and a private developer began efforts to save what’s now called the Graves-Fields home and another historic structure, the residence of the Reverend Plummer T. Hall—the first minister of the First Baptist Church of Oberlin—from the wrecking ball. And those two buildings, constructed a generation after slavery ended, now share a legacy in the modern era.

The Graves-Fields house was moved about fifty yards from where it once stood on Oberlin Road—a street now lined with office buildings and condos—to a lot adjacent to the Hall house, with which it now shares a basement and a water and sewage system.

This month, those houses will become Preservation NC’s new headquarters.

To mark the occasion, the nonprofit, founded in 1939, is hosting a two-day symposium at Shaw University starting on Thursday, which will include lectures, panel discussions, a documentary about the preservation of the homes, and a reading of a play by Durham’s Howard Craft about the life of Willis Graves Jr., who became a civil rights attorney in Detroit and was involved in a landmark case that led the Supreme Court to rule that racially restrictive housing covenants are unconstitutional. The symposium also features a walking tour of the Prince Hall District—Raleigh’s first African American mixed-used neighborhood, with a commercial district that sprang up during segregation, along with turn-of-the-century homes in a community anchored by Shaw, the historically black college that attracted newly freed slaves during Reconstruction.

The elder Graves was born around 1856, and by 1883, he’d worked as a brick mason and a justice of the peace. He ran for state House of Representatives in 1898—the year of the Wilmington race massacre, which led to the legal disenfranchisement of the state’s African Americans for nearly seventy years.

His house was purchased by Spurgeon Fields in 1945. Fields had worked at The News & Observer for four decades and was a loyal companion to publisher Josephus Daniels. Ironically, Daniels was a virulent white supremacist and a mastermind of the Wilmington massacre.

Graves used the framing of an older home, built before the Civil War, to construct his house’s second story. Preservation NC officials say they had to separate the two structures before moving the house to the vacate lot they’d purchased next to the Hall house.

“It was much more complicated than if it had been built at one time,” says Myrick Howard, president of Preservation NC.

Read full story:

(Indy Week, 11/5/19)

Historic properties tell their stories, and we are richer when we learn from them.

Preservation North Carolina has almost finished the renovation of two freedmen’s houses on Oberlin Road in Raleigh for its new headquarters. Both were nearly victims of soaring land values.

The original goal was simply saving two of the five National Register structures in Oberlin. Both had architectural appeal, and Raleigh didn’t need to lose any more historic properties of African-American heritage. So many had already been destroyed.

But these houses had rich stories to tell, and their preservation compelled us to learn more.

The Hall House was built in 1880s by Plummer and Delia Hall, both born into slavery. Hall was the founding pastor of one of the churches that merged to form Oberlin Baptist.

Also in the 1880s, Willis and Eleanor Graves built their home while they were still in their 20s. Both were born into slavery, and Graves was a brickmason. The ambitious new house must have been impressive, fashionably painted in the same colors as the brand-new Executive Mansion. The Graves even named their home Oakcrest.

The Graves were active leaders in Oberlin, as well as the larger black community of Raleigh.

Oberlin was not part of Raleigh. It was a proud freestanding, self-sufficient community of former slaves, free blacks, and their descendants, founded after the Civil War. In 1914, a New York newspaper described Oberlin as “a unique little village of nearly twelve hundred inhabitants. The neat-looking buildings are artistically painted, and the front yards are planted with rose bushes and other shrubberies.” Oberlin actually surpassed Raleigh on some measures of homeownership and education.

The Graves sent their children to college. Son Lemuel went to Cornell University, an Ivy League college, where he was the first initiate in Alpha Phi Alpha, a prominent black fraternity. He had a successful career in education and business. Lemuel’s brother, Bill, went to Howard University School of Law and became a civil rights attorney in Detroit. Bill worked with Thurgood Marshall on Shelly vs. Kramer, the landmark US Supreme Court case that invalidated racially restrictive covenants. He also assisted the world-famous defense lawyer, Clarence Darrow, in the landmark Ossian Sweet trials.

The Graves’ daughters were each school teachers and church organists, highly respected professions for women, black or white.
Lemuel’s son, Gene, was one of the first three black journalists to travel with a US President (Truman) on an official state visit abroad. After spending twenty years in Paris working for the State Department, he was appointed by President Kennedy to run Voice of America for Latin America.

Around 1931, Lemuel moved to Harlem, taking his widowed father with him and leaving behind eleven properties in tax foreclosure. He probably figured they were worthless. Black people couldn’t get a loan, and white folks weren’t going to buy a home in a black community. In Harlem, Lemuel attended St. Philips Episcopal Church, along with many notables of the Harlem Renaissance.

The members of the Graves family were ambitious, accomplished, politically active, and highly regarded. However, one after another, they left Raleigh to go North, and after a while Raleigh forgot them.  They had to go elsewhere to thrive without the heavy yoke of racism. And thrive, they did – and still do!

Through the 20th century, Raleigh systematically broke the back of proud Oberlin. Wade Avenue cut right through the neighborhood. White neighborhoods were built on land acquired from struggling blacks and resold with racially restrictive covenants. Oberlin School was closed. Oberlin Road was rezoned commercial, and house-by-house, block-by-block, Oberlin disappeared.

Raleigh wasn’t alone. Cities all over the nation (not just the South) have similar stories. You can’t help but wonder how things would have been different if Raleigh had embraced the Graves (and others) and turned that remarkable talent to work here. The preservation of these two houses will remind us to ponder that question for benefit of future generations.

Read more here:

(News and Observer, 11/9/19)

To dedicate its new headquarters on Oberlin Road next month, Preservation North Carolina could have simply planned a ribbon-cutting ceremony, with speeches and a photo op with an oversize pair of scissors.

Instead, the statewide historic preservation group is using the occasion to highlight the two restored houses it will occupy and their importance to the fast-disappearing Oberlin Village community that was founded by former slaves after the Civil War.

The group is holding a two-day symposium based at Shaw University that will include lectures and panel discussions and the premiere of a documentary about the preservation of the two houses. There will also be a stage reading from a work that Durham playwright Howard Craft is writing about a civil rights attorney who grew up in one of the houses.

“We were just looking for ways to celebrate these houses,” says Myrick Howard, Preservation N.C.’s president. “And have a good time doing it.”

The two houses have survived more than a century on a stretch of Oberlin Road now mostly lined with office buildings and a new condo complex. The home that the Rev. Plummer T. Hall built in the 1880s was saved by the city, while the larger, two-story Graves-Fields House, built around the same time about 50 yards away, was bought by a developer who planned to put an office building on the site.

Preservation North Carolina had the Graves-Fields House moved next to the Hall House, where the two buildings could be connected by a new basement and an outside deck and serve as the organization’s headquarters. The two houses are among five properties in Oberlin Village on the National Register of Historic Places.

Craft’s play, “Bending the Arc: Willis Graves Jr. and the Pursuit of Justice,” will tell the story of a man who grew up in Oberlin Village and went on to graduate from Shaw and Howard University’s law school before practicing law in Detroit.

Graves was on a team of lawyers who defended Ossian Sweet, a doctor who, along with his wife and several others, was charged with murder in 1925 after a white crowd threw rocks at the couple’s new home in a white neighborhood. The case ended in a mistrial, and only Sweet’s brother, Henry, was tried again. When an all-white jury acquitted him, the prosecutor dropped the charges against the others.

Craft says the 20-minute stage reading will draw on Graves’ experience with the Sweet case, which was followed by other cases Graves handled with the NAACP fighting covenants that restricted where African Americans could live in Detroit.

“I’m taking a moment from his life that I thought was very foundational to the things he would do later,” Craft said in an interview. “Telling that story gives people an idea of what the times were like and what African Americans were dealing with.”

Though the story takes place 700 miles away, the Graves house and Oberlin Village play an important role, Craft said. These carpenters and craftspeople living on the edge of a southern capital city had the audacity to name their community after a northern college and center of abolitionism while the memories of the Civil War were still fresh.

“The tradition of being able to survive and move forward in a very oppressive and restrictive time is what he drew inspiration from, to think that he could go to college and become a lawyer,” Craft said.

This is the first time Preservation North Carolina has ever commissioned a play, said Howard, its president.

“I hope it’s the beginning of more,” he said. “This will be so much more interesting than a traditional PowerPoint presentation.”

Preservation North Carolina’s fall symposium will take place Nov. 7 and 8 and include panel discussions on affordable housing in changing neighborhoods and when it’s appropriate to move historic houses. It is open to the public, but not free. A ticket for all the events, including an evening tour of historic houses along Raleigh’s Blount Street, costs $215, but tickets to individual events are available for $40 to $45.

For more information or to register, go to

Read full story…

(News and Observer, 10/13/19)

Steve Schuster, an architect who first helped revitalize downtown Raleigh by giving new life to old buildings, then had a hand in remaking the city with signature works such as the Marbles Kids Museum and Raleigh Union Station, has died. He was 68.

Schuster had been battling cancer for three years and died in his home on West Martin Street downtown. He was surrounded by family and friends and the hubbub of urban life that to most seemed unimaginable when he and his longtime friend and business partner, artist Thomas Sayre, and their wives moved to adjoining apartments they carved out of an old plumbing supply warehouse in 1989.

Sayre, who joined with Schuster to create the design firm Clearscapes in 1981, said summing up his partner’s legacy is difficult.

“It’s best to walk around downtown Raleigh or go to any one of dozens of small North Carolina towns, where often old and decrepit historic theaters and other kinds of buildings were revitalized, often into art centers, that were transformative to those towns,” Sayre said Saturday in an interview with The News & Observer. “The word transformative comes to mind about Steve’s work.”

Schuster was not an architect with a signature style, creating buildings that were recognizably his. Instead, he sought out projects that he thought could help bring life to a town or neighborhood, then crafted designs that fit the context of a place’s surroundings and history.

“I think that speaks a lot about Steve,” Sayre said. “He was not the facile designer who would come out with an ascot on and expect people to just take his word for why this design was worth doing.”


Schuster’s first impressions of city life came as a young boy visiting Chicago from his home in suburban Lansing, Ill., in the 1950s and early 1960s. Going to museums and Bears games and visiting the brownstones where his aunts and uncles lived provided a lasting vision for what a city could be.

He spent the second half of his childhood in Chattanooga, Tenn., then came to Raleigh in 1969 to study architecture at N.C. State. He went to Colorado to earn a master’s in architecture, but returned to North Carolina, where he eventually met Sayre.

The central part of Raleigh was on the decline in the 1980s, as businesses moved to the shopping centers and office parks on the periphery. Interest in downtown was so low that Clearscapes struggled to find any clients that wanted to work there.

But Schuster and Sayre, a sculptor and painter, had a long-term vision for downtown and knew that it would return to prominence again.

They believed that architects could play a leading role in redefining how cities look, feel and operate, by breathing new life into spaces that had fallen into decay.

“Design is critical to help cities become something different,” Schuster told The News & Observer in 2002.

Read full story…

(Raleigh News and Observer, 8/17/19)

The landmark Jones-Lee House on Evans Street has been carefully packed up, securely loaded and is ready to be moved to Greene Street on Sunday.

If only helium balloons worked like they do in the animated movie “Up,” the house could be transferred in a jiffy.

Candace Pearce, chairwoman of the Greenville Historic Preservation Commission, said she has all the confidence in the world the house is in good hands.

The official movers, Landen Moving Contractors, a Greenville company, subcontracted Rodney Turner House Moving Service from Pink Hill. Rodney Turner Sr., has been moving houses for almost six decades.

He and his two sons have moved hundreds of houses off their foundations to other locations.

“It takes a special kind of person to have the guts to pick up and move a house like this,” Pearce said.

Turner said Thursday the two-story house will be a challenge to move, but no more than any of the other houses he has moved over the years. He did acknowledge the Jones-Lee House was especially heavy.

The picturesque Victorian house has remained at 802 S. Evans St. for nearly 124 years. Built in 1895, the house is made of solid wood beams that not even a nail gun can penetrate, according to Pearce, a retired contractor, who remodeled the house to use as her office in 2001.

“It is extremely well-built,” she said.

The recent rains have not made moving the house off its foundation any easier.

Plans are to move the house to 302 S. Greene St. next to a “sister” house, the James L. Fleming House, Pearce said.

The Chamber of Commerce leases the Fleming House from the City of Greenville. Both houses are listed on the U.S National Register of Historic Places and both are listed as having the same architect.

The Jones-Lee House has been saved from destruction because efforts by concerned citizens, the City Council, Preservation North Carolina and the Greenville Historic Preservation Commission.

“It was a huge group effort by the community,” said Pearce.

“For those of us who are involved, this is an exciting day. There are people who have driven by the house their whole lives and never thought about it. But when they heard the house was possibly going to fall down, or be torn down, we received lots of phone calls, emails and letters,” she said. “It is a wonderful thing the community is doing. It is saving a part of the character and history of Greenville.”

The previous owners, Taft Ward Assemblage, wanted the house moved in order to develop the property for other uses, as downtown Greenville continues to expand.

Don Edwards of Uptown Properties is listed as the current owner of the Jones-Lee House. Edwards could not be reached for comment late Thursday.

Pearce believes the house will be used for commercial purposes.

Rodney Turner Sr. spoke with Pearce today as he was securing the house.

“He said the best time to move wood houses is in the heat. Wood has water in it and allows the house to shift without breaking” he told her.

“He is used to working when it is hot,” she added.

Pearce was impressed with his confident demeanor, especially when drive-by, concerned citizens were worriedly texting her throughout the day on the progress of the Turner’s work.

“He was very confident. He was not worried at all about moving this house,” she said.

Read full story…

(The Reflector, 7/26/19)

PSABC has partnered with the UNCA History Department to offer an annual award from $500-$1000 to a student furthering the study of African American contributions in Asheville and Buncombe County.

This award was developed to honor Johnny Baxter, a native Asheville preservationist, historian and founding Board member of PSABC. Johnny led the efforts to have the YMI Cultural Center listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Johnny Baxter was born in Chunn’s Cove and in a 1975 oral history he recounts his family’s long connection to the cove:

“Well, the grandparents on my father’s side, I have studied them back to 1790; I have a record of them back to 1790, and they were born in and around Chunn’s Cove. They were held by slaveholders in Chunn’s Cove, namely Chunn. The cove was named after Chunn. He owned most of the property there, and then there was the Baxters, who were the last ones to hold my parents. That’s where we get our name.”

This fall, we will be awarding the first Johnny Baxter Award of $1000, to Brook Mundy who will be conducting a survey of archival and historical repositories in Buncombe County, to gather information on collections that relate to the history and contributions of African American women in Asheville and Buncombe County.

Laura “Brooke” Mundy is a lifelong resident of Black Mountain, North Carolina and is currently a senior at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She is a History major and Political Science minor and will graduate in December 2019 with her Bachelor’s degree. Brooke plans on attending graduate school the following spring, where she will pursue a Master’s degree in American History. She is specifically interested in North Carolina and Southern Appalachian history, with a focus on Western North Carolina.


The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to sustain the heritage and sense of place that is Asheville and Buncombe County through preservation and promotion of the unique historic resources of the region.

The Ivy Building auditorium on the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College campus is the last remaining structure from St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines, a school for girls started in1908 by nuns from a French order known as “The Religious of Christian Education.”

Gibbons Hall, a school for boys, opened in 1949. The Gothic Revival auditorium also served as the campus gymnasium where dances were held as nuns supervised from the bleachers above.

AB Tech’s history notes that the Ivy Building witnessed graduations until the schools closed in 1987 due to declining enrollment and rising costs. The building was also home to an inspirational lineup of speakers.

“Helen Keller shared her story of courage and determination. Basque separatists made the students aware of the struggles for freedom in Franco’s Spain. Missionaries continuing the work of Father Damien came from Molokai, Hawaii came to teach the students about his work with lepers. Also, the students had a chance to meet Dr. Tom Dooley, the humanitarian doctor whose work in Southeast Asia became the model for President Kennedy’s Peace Corps.”

When plans to demolish the Ivy Building for a parking lot were announced by AB Tech in 2010, Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County executive director Jack Thomson initiated the “Save the Ivy” project.

Biltmore Forest resident Stuart Camblos and Keita Osteen-Cochran co-chaired the steering committee to restore the Ivy Building under Thomson’s guidance.

“Once AB Tech realized its importance, it was not only removed from demolition, but is now a priority to renovate and bring up to code,” Thomson said.

“This building is the last remnant of a bygone era, not to mention that it’s a beautiful building. I think it represents both the past of education here, and the future,” Osteen-Cochran said. “We refer to it as the jewel on the hill.”

Camblos was a student at St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines, and Willis Irvin, her great uncle, was the architect of the Ivy Building. Irvin, a noted architect out of Aiken, South Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia, was a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was known regionally as the designer of elegant early to mid-twentieth century low country rural estates for wealthy northern clients.

“He designed homes all around North and South Carolina,” Camblos said. She remembers visiting Irvin Court, now known as the Chancellor James P. Carroll House, on Gregg Avenue in Aiken, South Carolina when Irvin still lived there. “I have an album with a picture of his daughter getting married in the courtyard. I was the flower girl.”

The Ivy Building exterior and main level will be restored to Irvin’s original 1936 design. The main level will be an event and teaching site for meetings, music, lectures, plays, and AB Tech Continuing Education classes. The lower level will be the new permanent location for the college’s Foundation Offices.

Worked into the pattern of the forged iron strap hinges on the Ivy Building’s enormous Victorian styled oak doors are the initials of Camblos’ grandmother and great aunt, HS for Helen Stuart (Hensley) and WS for Willye Stuart (Irvin), respectively. Clark Nexsen architects are restoring the doors’ ironwork and refinishing the wood, which will be stained in its original rich, dark mahogany color.

AB Tech’s webpage about the “Ivy Restoration Project” promises the restored and renovated Ivy Building will allow it to be alive once again and relive it’s past as an intimate space for lectures, choral productions, and pop-up art classes, as well as film, theater, and other Continuing Education Community Enrichment classes. “It can even host dances once again as Continuing Education dance classes practice their moves with evening ‘dress up’ soirees. Ivy will bring to the AB Tech campus, and the community as a whole, much needed multi-use space to energize, rejuvenate and stimulate both body and spirit.”

For details on restoration plans and funding opportunities, visit or contact Amanda Edwards at

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(The Biltmore Beacon, 7/11/19)

Deidre Barnes knows her great-grandfather is buried somewhere in Geer Cemetery, but she does not know where. There is no headstone to tell her where the grave is, no marker. There is only the certainty, she said, that “he’s in there,” resting in the shadows of tall trees, beneath several feet of earth and layers of debris.

Barnes was one of about two dozen people who arrived on Saturday morning at the cemetery, where a small volunteer group called the Friends of Geer Cemetery hosted what they described as “a reclamation celebration.” The group, of which Barnes is a part, has for years hoped to undo more than a half-century’s worth of neglect.

The Geer Cemetery, established in the late 1870s, is the final resting place for 1,500 people, including some of Durham’s prominent African-American citizens. Among them were those born into slavery and others who established churches. Now, almost 60 years after the cemetery’s final burial, parts of it are in danger of being lost to both time and nature.

Throughout the cemetery, countless headstones have gone missing. Others poke out of the ground at sharp angles. Some have eroded to the point of illegibility. Tree branches, leaves and weeds cover much of the land. Depressions in the ground, otherwise unmarked, reveal a final resting place. There’s a sense, among the people who are trying to preserve the cemetery, that history has been lost, and that even more of it stands to disappear unless something is done.

“My hope,” said Andre Carl Whisenton, who has an ancestor buried in Geer, “is that we can get enough financial support and human capital that we can bring this cemetery back. … It’s so historical, and there are so many prominent people that were buried here that were movers and shakers.”

Whisenton, a retired librarian who worked for the Library of Congress, walked slowly through the cemetery Saturday afternoon. He carefully made his way to a commemorative marker, a new one, for Margaret Faucette, a relative who founded the White Rock Baptist Church in 1877. The church is among the oldest in Durham, and Faucette is buried here, amid the decaying leaves and poison ivy.

Even this is an improvement over what the cemetery looked like about five years ago, Whisenton said. Then, he said, walking through the grounds was not possible, due to the overgrowth. In the years since, the members of the Friends of Geer Cemetery have worked to clear some of the property, which borders the Duke Park neighborhood, near the corner of Camden and Colonial Avenues.


One challenge in restoring the cemetery, said Tom Miller, a member of the Friends of Geer, is the lack of clarity about who owns the land. The Geer family owned the land when the cemetery was established in 1876. The family later sold the property to three men. Now, said James Stewart, another volunteer, the county lists the property’s owner as “unknown.”

“Technically, we’re trespassing,” Miller said to a small group of people who listened as he recounted the cemetery’s history.

Regular burials at the cemetery ceased in the 1940s, but continued sporadically into the 1960s. In the decades after, the land fell into disrepair. It became so unrecognizable over the years, Barnes said, that in her younger days, when she’d ride past the cemetery with her grandfather, she didn’t quite understand when he’d tell her that she had cousins there.

“We would look at the trees and say, ‘Oh, my gosh, we’ve got cousins living up in the woods?’” she said, laughing. “What in the world?”

When she grew a little older she began to learn the history of the place. Her great-grandfather, John W. Geer, died in 1909. His remains are somewhere among the cemetery’s 3.8 acres, but it might never be clear where, exactly. Nonetheless, now Barnes is hoping that his final resting place becomes more dignified.

“If we could just restore that and get some of the dead trees down and all of the poison ivy,” Barnes said. “If we could just get it cleaned up and restore some of the headstones that are there, so that people would know about the history … it’s a big foundation of Durham, now.

The Friends of Geer Cemetery are hoping that the city of Durham, which does not maintain the land, might get involved to help preserve it. Otherwise, the project is mostly up to volunteers, like the two men who on Saturday worked together to repair a broken headstone for a father and son, buried side by side, who died five years apart in 1925 and 1930.

Their headstone had fallen off its base and was discovered under four inches of dirt and debris. When cleaned, it revealed the name PUREFOY engraved on the bottom. Haywood Purefoy was born in the middle of the Civil War, in 1863, and his son Rufus Baxter was born in 1905. They both worked at American Tobacco, Miller said, near where the Durham Bulls Athletic Park now stands.

For years, nobody can be sure how long, their headstone was covered, hidden, after it broke off. Two volunteers, one of whom made a mixture of lime mortar, placed it back upright again Saturday. They lifted the marble stone together and placed it with care onto the pedestal, its rightful place.

“It ought to be pretty stable,” said Ron Bartholomew, a volunteer from Durham Marble Works.

About two dozen people stood around the grave and watched. Moments later everyone prayed together, and sang Amazing Grace.

Read full story…

(The Herald Sun, 6/22/19)

A North Carolina centenarian saves a singular set of historic tobacco-country structures

Mary Lib Winstead sits in the living room of the Merritt-Winstead House, where she was born in 1918. The windows are cracked against the stifling heat of a Roxboro, North Carolina, summer—the house never had central air installed, but that doesn’t seem to bother Winstead as she describes her lifelong love of restoration. In the carport, her 1980 GMC Caballero even sports a supportive bumper sticker: “Historic Preservation Is the Ultimate Recycling.”

For almost half her life, Winstead has worked to save historic buildings in Person County, just south of the Virginia border—an especially impressive feat considering she is now 101 years old, and just last fall finished her most involved project yet: an early-nineteenth-century farmhouse that looks as though it were plucked from the streets of colonial Williamsburg.

Winstead’s mission to preserve the Roxboro area’s architectural history began with her own family home, a colonial revival that her father, the town doctor, built in 1915. She and her late husband, Wharton, raised their four children there, making careful updates and cultivating lush gardens that landed the estate on the National Register of Historic Places. She began renovating in earnest, though, in the early 1970s, when she fixed up a log cabin for her oldest son to live in. There were many such structures on her family’s tobacco farms—cabins, clapboard homes, barns abandoned when the industry waned.

“It’s about the history of our area,” Winstead says of her ardor for reviving them. “It’s fascinating to hear the stories that come with the homes.” The oldest one, for instance, an early-1800s weatherboard house, belonged to a tobacco factory owner—she also won it a National Register spot. “They built them so well back then,” she says. “They did it right.” Winstead wanted to do it right, too: She did much of the work herself over the years, faux-wood-graining doors, marbleizing mantels, and hunting period furniture.

Her latest project came from a tobacco farm her father purchased when she was in high school. In 2015, she moved the dilapidated farmhouse onto her property, and eventually teamed with Barry Thompson, a Virginia-based antique furniture consultant, conservator, and restoration specialist, to do the heavy lifting.

As soon as Thompson began to explore the home, he knew it was a gem of American history. “I found some molding hidden underneath boards and traces of original vivid paint colors,” he says. “When decorations of this magnitude end up inside such a simple structure, you have to wonder what’s going on. That’s when I knew it was special.” Through research, Thompson discovered that the original owner was a wealthy farmer named William Warren, who affectionately called his house Warrenby. The curious blue front door, Thompson learned, meant that in the early 1800s, Warren most likely offered up the home as a boardinghouse.

With the help of other specialists, Thompson faithfully restored every inch of the house, down to its authentic door hinges with rosehead nails and leather washers. When finished, last October, Thompson and Winstead dressed in colonial garb and offered tours of the home to community members.

“This most recent restoration is the best one,” says Jean Newell, who sat on the Person County Museum of History’s board of directors for years. “I have a notion it’s one of the earliest homes still standing in the county.” And while interest in preserving historic homes has the phone “ringing off the hook” at Preservation North Carolina’s Piedmont office, says its regional director, Cathleen Turner, Winstead’s restorations beyond residences mean just as much. “It’s wonderful when you find these extant buildings,” Turner says, “and you’re able to piece together the history of that property and of that area and of that particular agricultural practice. They’re treasures.”

Read full story…

(Garden and Gun, June/July 2019)

Center of infamous 1929 strike now a symbol of Gastonia revitalization

Loray Mill legacy

This is the fifth and final entry in a Gazette series marking 90 years since the 1929 Loray Mill strike in Gastonia.

It took a long time for the dust to settle in Gastonia after the events of 1929.

Even 90 years later, the dark episode of that year is a stain on Gaston County’s history — a black mark on a community uplifted for the better part of a century by the economic engine of the textile industry. But they’re also events that are crucial to understanding the story of this county — and they’re events that have come into focus in recent years amid several efforts to make sure that story is preserved.

On April 1, 1929, more than 1,000 workers struck at Loray Mill. It was the largest textile mill in Gaston County, which was the heart of the Southeast’s textile industry. Workers were tired of what they called “the stretch out” — management’s policy of making people work more for less pay after layoffs.

The strike — which was organized by the American Communist party-led National Textile Workers Union — quickly became notorious. Local workers who joined the strike didn’t necessarily want a communist overhaul of the government, just better working conditions. Back then, it wasn’t uncommon to work 12-hour shifts in the mills in unsafe environments. And many mill workers lived in villages owned by their employers, meaning they could be evicted without much notice.

The strike — and reaction to it — spun out of control. Police and protesters violently clashed in the street at one point. Gastonia Police Chief Orville Aderholt was shot and killed in June of that year as he responded to a call at headquarters and tent colony for strikers. A few months later, in September, union member and balladeer Ella May Wiggins was gunned down on her way from Bessemer City to attend a rally in Gastonia.

The events of 1929 in Gaston County were world news. And in the end, the strike itself was a failure.

Jason Luker, the director of the Gaston County Museum of Art & History who spent the last few years working on an exhibit about the events of 1929, says there’s plenty that folks today can learn from 1929.

“The things we argue about today, in a way, they were arguing about those same things,” Luker said. “Who has the right to protest? Is it un-American to protest? You can still see those arguments taking place today. It may be in a little different way, but the core of it is still the same.”

Another strike

Those arguments started up again soon after the events of 1929.

In September 1934, another strike brought the local textile industry to a brief standstill.

“The scope is much larger than the 1929 strike,” said Jason Luker, the director of the Gaston County Museum of Art & History. “It incorporated the entire Southeast and pretty much shut Gaston County down, including Loray.”

This time, the strike was led by the United Textile Workers Union, and it didn’t carry with it the spectre of communism that inspired much of the local animosity toward the 1929 strike. All told, nearly half a million workers across the country went on strike in 1934 — the midst of the Great Depression.

A striker in the eastern part of the county, Earnest Riley, was even killed in a confrontation with the National Guard, according to Luker.

Even then, some of the issues that drove workers to strike weren’t fully addressed until 1938 when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act into law.

The 1938 laws also established tougher fines and legal consequences for companies that broke labor laws. While child labor was largely illegal by then, plenty of cases slipped through the cracks.

“That was a big changing point for all of the mills in the South and throughout the nation,” Luker said. “Mills had to operate in a way that looks more similar to the U.S. today.”

A new dawn

Not long after the strike ended, Manville-Jenks, the Rhode Island company that owned Loray, left town. In 1935, Firestone Rubber and Tire Co. bought and moved into the old mill, and manufacturing began anew. With the car industry spreading like wildfire, there was plenty of work, and Firestone employees at the old Loray site made tire cord.

But something else happened when Firestone came in, too: The new company ushered in happier times.

“It seems from the word go, they were already trying to implement a lot of new policies and procedures,” Luker said.

Those included some of the policies workers had been striking for in 1929 and 1934 — and some of the protections that Roosevelt would sign into law in 1938. And, importantly, they included perks for employees that made for a better sense of community — and with it company loyalty.

“There were things at Manville-Jenks, but it never developed the community that Firestone was able to cultivate,” Luker said. “All of the employees would say it was less of a community and more of a spy agency (at Manville-Jenks), where at Firestone, you don’t see that belief.”

In fact, Luker said, when people talk fondly of textile mills in the Gaston County of yesteryear, they’re usually talking about the time after the mid-1930s. The height of the new industrial boom – and at Firestone in particular — came after World War II when the economy was growing. That’s when Firestone started letting employees buy houses in the mill village.

“When GIs started coming back, Firestone had already started working on community engagement initiatives with employees,” Luker said. “They had this booming economy, they saw this as a good opportunity to liquidate their housing and sell it to their employees, and this was a monumental change for the mill village. You had employees coming home after the war, and they could buy their own houses. This was the first time they’d been able to buy their own houses.”

Memories like those — rather than the one of the dark events of 1929 — that stuck with many in Gaston County for years.

“When Firestone was there, it was an economic hub,” said former Gastonia Mayor Jennie Stultz, who was heavily involved in the effort to revitalize the building. “It was a good place to work. It was a community that consisted of everything to a swimming pool to a club house to camp for the children to picnic to a very cohesive neighborhood environment, and we need to celebrate that, too.”

Growing cobwebs

The building’s new golden age of renewed prosperity, however, came to an end after more than half a century of flourishing production. In 1993, Firestone left the old Loray site for a brand new plant in Kings Mountain.

After more than 90 years, the ceaseless din of people and machinery stopped cold. The mightiest symbol of Gaston County’s textile might turned into a defacto mausoleum of industry past — decades of memories left to echo in more than 600,000 square feet of darkened, empty hallways.

And for about 20 years, it stayed that way.

In 1998, Firestone signed the property over to the nonprofit Preservation North Carolina. From there, a new future began to grow.

“Preservation North Carolina said we needed to save that mill,” said Lucy Penegar, a giant of historic preservation in Gaston County and one of the driving forces behind the effort to restore Loray. “It was so significant to the history of labor and it was a really good structure. It did not need to be demolished.”

Breath of fresh air

There was pushback, even then, on saving the structure.

“We were encouraged by a number of people just to demolish the building,” Stultz said. “The response was, if we demolish a 600,000-squarefoot building in the middle of a blighted neighborhood, what does that accomplish?”

In the end, restoration efforts prevailed. The nonprofit worked with developers to make sure the mill building was saved in a way that both honored its past and allowed for a lucrative future. The city and county governments even gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for various aspects of redevelopment. In 2014, the first phase of a residential project — one that cost nearly $40 million — opened to the public. The six-story building would soon be home to loft apartments, a restaurant and other businesses, and even history exhibits. The Loray name was returned to the site, and a historical marker was added to pay homage to Gaston’s textile history and the 1929 strike.

Stultz says the revitalization effort was worthwhile in terms of both economic development and historic preservation.

“There were some people who just wanted it to disappear — a lot of people thought it was a black eye because of the history of the mill and because of the strike,” Stultz said. “But when you look at the entire history of the mill, from the time it was built in the 1900s to the time Firestone bequeathed it to Preservation North Carolina was a blip on the screen. That was just the most notorious part.”

‘The story continues’

Today, more than 90 years after the Loray Mill stood at the center of Gaston County’s most defining moment, it’s still a symbol. Nowadays, though, it’s an emblem of revitalization, of progress, of a city looking toward its future with an eye on its past.

The cavernous structure once again teems with life. Weddings are held there. People work out or sunbathe by a pool. Nearly 200 trendy apartments line its upper floors. And Loray’s old mill village is bouncing back, too — part of an ongoing reclamation effort to provide more affordable housing in the historic area.

Black and white photographs of children hang on the walls of the building’s public access area — children who toiled at textile mills in practices that are outlawed today.

“If those people were here today,” Penegar said, “they’d be absolutely bowled over.”

The building is a busy place these days, but there’s even more life on the horizon. More than 100 new loft apartments are planned for Loray’s 150,000-square-foot west wing. There’s still plenty of commercial space at the site to fill, though a new tenant, Cross Co., is moving its Automation Group to the site with a focus on technological innovation for machine and manufacturing performance.

The Cross Co. space is 16,000 square feet — a fraction of the massive structure — but manufacturing has been at the old Loray building in a quarter century.

“The story continues,” Stultz said. “The story of that mill and what has happened there and what will keep happening there is a continuing story.”

Read full story…

(Gaston Gazette, 6/2/19)


Though steeped in history as a flagship of the bygone textile industry, the Loray Mill in Gastonia hasn’t hosted any manufacturing operations in a quarter century.

But that will change soon when the redeveloped building welcomes a new commercial tenant into a sizeable portion of space on its east end. Cross Co. announced Monday that it will bring up to 50 employees while moving its Automation Group into the mill, where it will focus on providing technologies to improve machine and manufacturing process performance.

The firm has signed a 15-year lease for a total of 16,000 square feet on the mill’s first and second floors, on the side facing Dalton Street. The Automation Group is made up of three business units, including electro-mechanical motion, pneumatic motion and robotics. Each team has engineers, customer service representatives and administrative workers that will move to the new facility.

“This is the type of thing we’ve wanted here,” said Joe Lenihan, the majority owner of the Loray Mill. “It’s not just for us. It’s about bringing jobs to Gastonia.”

Greensboro-based Cross Company was founded in 1954 and is 100 percent employee-owned. It previously had a local presence in The Oaks business park in north Belmont. But when it outgrew that space, it turned to Colliers International to help find a new home.

Expanding in Gaston

Don Moss and Chris Neal of Colliers International eventually made contact with Bob Clay of Coldwell Banker Commercial MECA in Belmont, who represents the mill and has been actively marketing its commercial space. What resulted was a perfect fit, said Cross Company Director of Operations Dan Hines.

“The Loray Mill is an excellent venue to grow and nurture our Automation Group,” Hines said via a press release. “It was a priority to remain in Gaston County and quite simply, the Loray Mill was the best choice for our unique needs.”

Spanning 600,000 square feet, the 116-year-old Loray Mill was known as the Firestone Mill when it shut down as a textile center for good in 1993. A long, arduous effort to transform the space paid off when Loray Redevelopment LLC carried out a massive redevelopment project there from 2013-2015, creating 189 loft apartments that have maintained a 94 percent or better occupancy rate for the last two years. Lenihan and his team plan to begin construction on another 105 apartments on the west side of the building later this year.

Along with the residential overhaul five years ago, a total of 85,000 square feet of commercial retail space was created on the bottom two floors of the mill. A gym and a brewpub have been among the tenants to move in there, but efforts to fill the remaining space have proceeded slowly.

Cross Company’s announcement represents a significant achievement in filling another huge 16,000-square-foot chunk of the commercial block. In addition to its Automation Group, the firm’s five other divisions include Mobile Hydraulics, Instrumentation, Process Control Integration, Hose & Fittings, and Precision Measurement & Calibration. Beyond its headquarters in Greensboro, the company has major divisional offices in Whitsett, Asheville, and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Continued progress

As part of the mill’s redevelopment, Gastonia and Gaston County each committed to conceptually lease 20,000 square feet of the commercial space in the mill for 10 years, through independently structured deals. Cross Company will occupy a unique wing where the Gastonia Police Department at one time considered opening a new headquarters for its Western District, before abandoning that plan.

“They’re taking about 5,000 square feet downstairs in the first floor on the east end of the building,” said Lenihan. “And on the second floor toward Dalton Street, there’s a whole open space we call the ‘U’ where they’re taking the entire second floor, including everything behind our management office and pretty much all around to the history center.”

Lenihan said the continued progress in gradually finding new commercial tenants is proving the doubters wrong.

“What I’m proud of is that when we went out and tried to borrow money against this property, HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) and the bank wouldn’t give us any money for redeveloping the commercial space,” he said. “They said no one would ever lease that space.”

Cross Company’s relocation and expansion into the mill is expected to move fairly quickly over the coming weeks.

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(Gaston Gazette, 5/20/19)

The beige-brick building at 515 S. Blount St. has sat boarded up for years, one of a couple such empty buildings on that block.

But soon, its new tenant hopes, it will be part of a reactivation of a block in a part of town known as the Prince Hall Historic District, a historically African American community that grew up around Shaw University southeast of downtown.

The area has seen millions of dollars in investments in recent years — geared toward both residential homes and commercial space — fueling claims of gentrification and displacement in the area, most notably in a recent New York Times article.

But Valerie Fields, the owner of Raleigh-based public relations agency VK Fields & Co., is hoping her investment can highlight the history of the neighborhood.

Fields, who is black, is planning to put $100,000 worth of repairs and renovations into the South Blount Street building when she moves her firm’s office from West Hargett Street to the area just north of Shaw University.

“Here is another story,” she said referencing the New York Times article about white homebuyers flocking to the historically black neighborhood. “It’s important just to know something else is going on here, even if it looks like there is an overwhelming trend one way.”

It’s not a simple renovation. The building, once a photography studio, needs a lot of work to accommodate her full-time team of four professionals and about a dozen subcontractors that sometime use the space.

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(Raleigh News and Observer, 5/14/19)

The owners of a row of historic buildings in downtown Raleigh are asking the city for the ability to build up to 40 stories — a large increase from the current restrictions that cap most of the buildings at five stories.

The rezoning request encompasses much of the 200 block of Fayetteville Street in downtown, home to properties such as the Briggs Hardware building, the Boylan-Pearce building and the Kimbrell’s Furniture building.

The block — with many properties on the National Register of Historic Places — has been the focus of a rezoning battle just a few years back.

In 2015, Raleigh leaders questioned how high to set building heights along Fayetteville Street, some concerned about the historic character of the buildings, including the Briggs Hardware Building. The four-story building was built in 1874.

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(Raleigh News and Observer, 5/9/19)

A former high school building in Harnett County was destroyed by a huge fire overnight Saturday and Sunday morning.

The fire was reported shortly after 9:30 p.m. at the former Boone Trail High School on U.S. 421 in the Mamers area between Lillington and Broadway. Firefighters found heavy fire conditions when they arrived, said Thomas Honeycutt, a news photographer.

Harnett County assistant manager Brian Haney said Sunday afternoon that officials are asking the public to stay away from the area because the remaining structure is at risk of collapsing. Firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to the neighboring Boone Trail Community Center and Library, he said, but activities in those buildings have been suspended until further.

“The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time,” Haney said. “The Harnett County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.”

Fire departments from five counties fought the blaze, Honeycutt said.

State Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County said on Facebook the building was an important community landmark.

A video made by Harnett County Schools Superintendent Aaron L. Fleming, shared to Facebook by Lewis, shows massive flames on the roof and a wall and coming from the windows. Firefighters were pouring water onto the roof to try to knock it down.

The firefighters had trouble with the water supply in the fire hydrants at the school and close by, Honeycutt said, so tanker trucks were requested to haul water to the site.

Haney said the building was built in 1928 and vacated in 2010 when the new Boone Trail Elementary School opened. “In 2017, the County opened the Boone Trail Community Center & Library in the media center and gymnasium,” Haney said. “The County was in the process of engaging Preservation NC to market the vacant portions of the property for redevelopment.”

Preservation North Carolina is a private nonprofit historic preservation organization that seeks to protect historic properties, it says on its website.

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(Fayetteville Observer, 5/5/19)

The years leading up to and following the 1993 closure of the Firestone Mill in west Gastonia were not kind to the community that was bound to it.

Drug activity, prostitution and other crime sullied the reputation of the roughly 500-home, 30-block neighborhood surrounding what was originally known as the Loray Mill. More and more owner-occupied residences gave way to rental properties, and real estate values sank. Short-term residents there had less reason to care about where they lived, and those who were still vested in the area struggled to fight the onslaught of apathy.

But as the multi-million-dollar redevelopment of the mill into upscale loft apartments was taking shape several years ago, a nonprofit began working to extend that revitalization farther out into the Loray Mill Historic District. Preservation North Carolina’s goal has been to kindle a fire that can be fanned in the future by the private, for-profit sector. And officials say that work is finally producing tangible results in the form of climbing property values, elevated prices on home sales, and even new construction.

On what was formerly a vacant lot at 705 W. 2nd Ave., six blocks east of the Loray Mill, a new home was recently built and sold for $200,000 in December.

“If three years ago we’d asked a builder if they had ever thought of building a home in the mill village for a $200,000 price point, we’d have been laughed at,” said Jack Kiser, a project manager for Preservation North Carolina. “The real estate market in the neighborhood is entirely different now.”

Eric Layne, a local real estate agent and investor, has acquired several houses in the village in the past year and a half that he is now pumping money into and reselling. He said it’s not something he would have dreamed of doing until fairly recently.

“This little square is just primed for opportunity and development that’s been ignored for so many years,” he said. “I’m getting a lot of activity and buyers from people who are priced out of Charlotte. You can buy just as nice a home here for $200,000 to $300,000 less.”

Reversing a slow decline

Preservation North Carolina had a heavy role in coaxing along the mill’s rebirth, and then saw a golden opportunity to springboard off that progress.

Since 2015, the nonprofit has used low-interest loans to acquire more than a dozen different homes within the Loray village. It has already sold more than half of them to owners who agreed to restrictive covenants on the properties, such as assuring they will live in and not rent out the houses, and that they will preserve certain architectural features.

Residences that in many cases had come under the watch of slumlords, and seen their values dwindle to next to nothing, are now being revitalized. For example, Preservation N.C. bought a property at 906 W. Second Ave. in 2015 for $12,000, then set about restoring it as a model home to represent its vision for the village.

Exterior historic features were preserved. But the home received modern amenities, including classic tile bathroom floors, a contemporary kitchen with high-end appliances, hard-surface countertops, original siding and restored windows. A front deck and back patio provide ample opportunity for relaxing outdoors, and the interior has high ceilings that make it feel roomy.

Angela Starnes, a Gastonia native and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer, bought the home last summer for $115,000 — a dramatic increase from the $12,000 Preservation N.C. had paid for it. Almost a year later, she said she still views it as a place where she’ll live for a very long time. And she has been blown away by how much construction activity has cranked up in the neighborhood even since she moved in.

“I was confident in Preservation North Carolina’s vision for this area and knew they would get there eventually,” she said. “But I’m actually very surprised at how fast their progress has been. Things are definitely moving along pretty rapidly.”

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(Gaston Gazette, 5/5/19)

ROCKY MOUNT – For years, the 19th century cotton mill and its surrounding village on the Tar River sat abandoned and locked up, a vestige of a bygone era.

“There was a huge chain-linked fence around the campus,” recalls David Joyner, 34, who grew up less than a mile from the mill on Nash Street. “The houses were falling down. It was just an eyesore.”

For many, Rocky Mount Mills, once a major hub for the South’s textile industry, had become a symbol for the town itself.

Located 60 miles east of Raleigh and exactly half way between New York and Florida, Rocky Mount got hit hard by Hurricane Floyd two decades earlier. Coupled with the loss of the textile industry, it was struggling to survive like many rural towns across the country.

But some say that’s all about to change.

On the heels of its 200th anniversary, the mill is getting a new lease of life. After more than a decade in the making, restoration on the main mill building is finally complete.

The result: 67 apartments available to occupy, and 120,000 square-feet of office space ready for upfit. Come spring, the mill also expects to have open for business a 20-unit tiny-home hotel, River & Twine; its former boiler room, will now be a 4,000-square-foot multi-level event space dubbed The Power House.

It’s the largest overhaul yet for this 150-acre mixed-use development spearheaded by Capitol Broadcasting Company (CBC), the parent company of WRAL TechWire.

For the Goodmon family, CBC’s long-time owners, it’s a developer’s dream to convert this once-forgotten mill into a live-work-play complex. But for many locals, it’s more than that. It’s a chance to put Rocky Mount back on the map – and possibly rival Raleigh as an alternative for doing business.

“It’s been a shot in the arm of positivity for the whole region,” says Joyner, a local business owner who lives on campus in a restored mill home, and runs his media company from an office space in the old Battle House. “It’s a lot bigger than just a Rocky Mount development. It will be looked at as a catalyst for an entire region. People are really excited.”

Already, a number of other big projects are in the pipeline. The Chinese tiremaker Triangle Tire is planning to build two manufacturing sites between Rocky Mount and Tarboro, bringing 800 jobs and nearly $580 million in investment. Corning Inc. is also investing $86 million to build a warehouse facility, creating 111 jobs.

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(WRAL TechWire, 4/22/19)

The city of Charlotte is giving $50,000 toward relocating the Siloam School.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission began exploring methods of preservation in 2016, a decade after Charlotte City Council deemed the building a historic landmark.

“Projects like Save Siloam School are important investments for our city to make,” Mayor Vi Lyles said. “Preserving our historic buildings contributes to Charlotte’s character and culture and helps drive economic growth through history tourism.”

In 2016, the landmarks commission estimated it would cost $50,000 to relocate the structure located in the University City area, and $150,000 to restore it. The Charlotte Museum of History took the point on the project in 2017 to give the schoolhouse a new home on its property. They intended to raise $600,000 under former museum president Kay Peninger ahead of the 100-year anniversary of the Rosenwald Foundation. While the schoolhouse was not built with Rosewald funds, it was constructed in a similar style and served the same purpose. Rosenwald Schools emerged in response to segregation in the early part of the 20th century, as a means of educating African American children.

“The story of the Siloam School gives us a window into the lives of Charlotte’s African-American families in the early 20th century,” said Charlotte City Council member Greg Phipps, who represents District 4, which includes the schoolhouse’s current location. “By preserving this historic structure, we allow future generations to connect with that history.”

Peninger has since been succeeded as museum president by Adria Focht, but the goal to restore the Siloam building for public use remains the same. It would be included in museum tours, where they also intend to have conversations surrounding race.

“The Siloam School provided educational opportunity that was denied to black children in the South,” Focht said. “It represents an important moment in the history of our nation and of the African-American community.”

Restoration includes bringing the building up to 21st century standards. Fundraising efforts would be allocated for future maintenance of the schoolhouse. A historic marker will be placed on Mallard Highlands Drive, its original location.

Siloam School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and considered endangered based on its current state.

“Adaptive reuse of our city’s wonderful historic buildings helps Charlotte tell our collective story,” said District 1 council member Larken Egleston. “This relatively small investment in preservation will yield benefits for years to come as the Siloam School becomes a place for the community to learn and connect.”

For more information, or to contribute to the project: gofundme/savesiloamschool

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(The Charlotte Post, 2/5/19)

Work on the house scheduled to begin this spring

TRYON — The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently completed a report on the current condition of Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon. The new owners, who purchased the house in March 2017, were given options for stabilizing and rehabilitating the home. The owners of the Nina Simone childhood home are African-American artists Adam Pendleton, Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher and Julie Mehretu. The owners chose to make repairs to weather proof the house, including repairing siding, windows and the roof, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Work to stabilize the house will begin in the spring following the owners choosing an architect. Original materials will be preserved to keep with the home’s historic integrity. The National Trust for Historic Preservation said a preservation easement, a voluntary legal agreement where the
owner will agree to permanently protect a property’s historic character will also be placed on the home. That easement will carry forward to any future owners. Nina Simone’s childhood home is located at 30 East Livingston Street, just outside downtown Tryon.

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(Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/1/19)

There are mixed feelings in Leasburg about the possibility of a new Dollar General location coming to the area. Dollar General is currently considering a couple potential locations in Leasburg, and plan on making their decision final sometime later this year.

The proposed lots under consideration are located along U.S. Highway 158 East. They are adjacent to not only the Old Leasburg Cemetery, but also the historic Hambrick House, a Federal-style building that dates back almost two centuries. There was also a historic post office in the area in the 1700s. Leasburg, as an unincorporated community, dates all the way back to 1750.

According to a local website (, the Hambrick House was built around 1820. It is a federal-style one-and-one-half-story frame structure with replacement chimneys, unusual Flemish bond brick foundation, and an entrance with delicate reeded pilasters and transom surround. The interior has flat-paneled wainscot and a sunburst mantel. There have been some Greek Revival and later Victorian alterations. Although the building is currently uninhabited and the exterior looks to be in disrepair, many longtime Leasburg residents are disappointed at the possibility that such a historic old dwelling could soon be gone forever.

Some residents in Leasburg and surrounding communities are concerned not only about the potential property devaluation that a Dollar General would bring to nearby homes, but also the increased congestion that such a facility would bring. There are currently eight to ten homes in the immediate area, which would all be affected. U.S. Highway 158 is a busy thoroughfare that connects Yanceyville to Roxboro, and often is crammed with logging trucks and other tractor-trailers.

Another local neighbor, Amar Patel of Leasburg Grocery, is concerned that a new Dollar General less than a mile from his convenience store and service station could put him out of business.

Due to zoning currently in place in the unincorporated Leasburg community, the area near the proposed Dollar General sites are declared “rural residential.” Despite the historic nature of the Hambrick House, it is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Therefore, the nearly 200-year-old building would be subject to demolition if the lot sale goes through to Dollar General.

While many in the nearby area are upset at such a prospect, other Leasburg neighbors express happiness that a Dollar General could be coming. Residents currently have to make their way into Person County to Roxboro’s Dollar General, or make their way down to Prospect Hill or Semora in order to get what they need from the popular low-price chain.

Some of the logistical/environmental concerns arising from the current potential sites is that the Dollar General would have to be on well water and a septic tank. There are also questions as to whether or not that area might potentially be in a flood plane. In addition, locals are concerned about how a new Dollar General in the area might affect the small one-lane road that currently allows guests to access the Old Leasburg Cemetery from U.S. Highway 158.

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(The Caswell Messenger, 1/29/19)

Oberlin Village, the community formed by former slaves after the Civil War that once stretched two miles along its namesake road, has been shrinking for decades, enveloped by a growing city and muscled under by office buildings, apartments and stores.

But two houses that have managed to survive are being saved and restored, thanks to Preservation North Carolina. The statewide organization that protects and celebrates old buildings is acquiring homes built by two of Oberlin Village’s most prominent families and turning them into its new headquarters.

To save the houses, Preservation North Carolina had to move them. The home built by Rev. Plummer T. Hall along an unpaved road in the 1880s was only a few feet from busy Oberlin Road and had to be pushed back from the street. The larger, two-story Graves-Fields House, built around the same time about 50 yards down the street, was bought by a developer who plans to put an office building on the site.

So Preservation North Carolina had the Graves-Fields House moved next to the Hall House, where the two historic buildings will be connected by a new basement and an outside deck. Movers rolled the Graves-Fields House through the back parking lot of Oberlin Baptist Church this week, then eased over its new foundation facing Oberlin Road.

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(Raleigh News and Observer, 1/11/19)

RALEIGH, N.C. — Renovations are finally underway at a historic home in downtown Raleigh that was once owned by the state.

Vacant for decades, the state sold the Heck-Andrews House, at 309 N. Blount St., in early 2016 to the North Carolina Association of Realtors for $1.5 million.

“It’s a wonderful house,” architect Jim Grady said Thursday.

Grady, who specializes in historic preservation, is overseeing the effort to transform the mansion back to how it looked shortly after Confederate veteran Jonathan McGee Heck and his wife, Mattie, built their home in 1870 on what was then the north edge of Raleigh.

“This was all pasture. There were cows and farms out here at that time,” Grady said of the surrounding area.

The home has a French-inspired Second Empire design and includes a grand tower with a widow’s walk and ornamental windows in every direction.

“It’s so iconic and part of Raleigh, it was just a natural fit,” said Mark Zimmerman, senior vice president of external affairs for the Realtors Association. “We can now be part of what we’re trying to help communities do by preserving their past.”

The association recently completed all of the historical permitting hurdles to renovate the home.

That includes restoring the pine and oak flooring and all of the decorative mouldings.

“The fancy ceiling rosettes,” Grady said, “they’re protected and will be preserved.”

While sticking to historic standards, the renovation will include modern touches like an elevator and a kitchen in the back, as well as a geothermal well heating and cooling system.

The house has some of Raleigh’s first plumbing, Grady said, noting that its pipes were only for cold water, so hot water piping will have to be added.

The Realtors Association plans to use the upper floors for offices, while the first floor is seen as space that people can reserve for public events, parties and weddings.

“One of the things we want to do is share this beautiful property with the people of Raleigh,” Zimmerman said, adding that the group hopes to finish the project by the end of next year.

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(WRAL, 12/27/18)

The little house at 814 Oberlin Road is just that, a little house. It is not unlike many more in the area, with wood siding, narrow windows, a steep, pitched roof and a perfect little porch on the front. But Myrick Howard believes the house is more than the sum of its parts. “It’s the tangible remains of something that happened here a century and a half ago,” he says.

Howard is the president of Preservation North Carolina, the organization saving this old home. The group has been planning and working on permits for more than two years. He’s watching as crews move the Reverend Plummer T. Hall House, built in 1877.

“When you have places like this, it continues to tell a story, and makes the story tangible,” he says.

Preservation North Carolina believes this house and others like it tell the story Oberlin Village, a “freedman’s community,” a place where former slaves lived and worked. In the late 1800s, the community thrived well outside the center of Raleigh.

“Most people don’t know that there was this African-American community here with 1,400 people,” Howard said.

He has spent quite a bit of time studying the community. “It was African-Americans building their homes, their businesses, their schools, all of that, taking place here,” he says.

Clarissa Goodlett also works for Preservation North Carolina. Along with a handful of others she watches as the Hall house is moved slowly to its new location.

“I grew up in Raleigh, and I didn’t know about Oberlin village,” Goodlett confesses. She went to school just a few blocks away at Broughton High School and is relatively new to the preservation group.

“It’s super-exciting,” she said of the Hall House move. “We’ve been talking about this forever.”

The Hall House is not moving far, just about 30 feet to a new foundation. It currently sits in the Oberlin Road right-of-way. In a few more weeks, the Graves House will be moved and join the Hall House. The pair of historic homes will share a new basement and form the office of Preservation North Carolina.

“So much of preservation is about the structures,” Goodlett says looking over the lot where the historic homes will stand. “But a lot of it is about the stories. When you lose houses and lose landmarks, you tend to lose the stories with them.”

Howard agrees with her, saying the stories should never be lost. “The stories are astonishing,” he adds.

Howard is passionate when he tells the story of the Graves family, who once owned the next house his organization will move.

“Willis and Eleanor Graves are born into slavery,” he begins, before telling of how the pair worked to make a better life.

He caps it with a happy ending. “They sent all six of their children college,” he says.

It’s stories like that which make Goodlett believe saving part of the past is the right thing to do.

“If we’re able to tell and share the story right, I’m hoping people will get it, get what these houses represent. It just makes a difference,” she says.

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(WRAL News, 12/20/18)

Two Raleigh landmarks in Oberlin finally will be moved and renovated to preserve their histories.

Preservation North Carolina acquired the Rev. Plummer T. Hall House and the Graves-Fields House over two years ago to renovate the historic buildings from Oberlin’s freedman community after slavery.

The organization plans to use both buildings as its headquarters and join the two by a basement that will be added on.

After numerous delays, the Plummer T. Hall House was moved this week to its new location.

Preservation North Carolina already has raised $1.2 million of its $1.25 million fundraising goal, including a $500,000 challenge grant from an anonymous donor.

Built by former slaves, both buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Oberlin Village was a predominately black community of 1,000 residents in the late 1800s. It ran 12 blocks from Hillsborough Street to what is now Wade Avenue.

The village consisted of churches, schools, businesses and residences until Cameron Village Shopping Center was built in the 1950s and Oberlin Road was widened which destroyed many of the structures. Only five of the remaining buildings are listed on the National Register.

Oberlin Cemetery, a black historic cemetery that houses many of the families that lived in Oberlin Village, was recently added to the National Register. Hall founded Oberlin Baptist Church, which has resided on Oberlin Road for over 100 years.

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(Triangle Tribune, 12/20/18)

The iconic symbol of Wilmington’s past

By William Irvine • Photographs by Rick Ricozzi

The Bellamy Mansion is a stately survivor. Since its completion in 1861 it has endured occupation by Union officers during the Civil War, arsonists’ attempts to burn it to the ground in 1972, and most recently the ravages of Hurricane Florence. And yet it remains the crown jewel of domestic architecture in Wilmington, a considerable feat in a city that boasts eight historic districts and more than 6,000 properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wilmington in the mid-19th century had seen better days. A series of major fires in 1840, 1843 and 1845 left much of its Colonial past in ruins. But with the newly empty lots came a building boom. “Formerly the town had a rather shabby appearance, and reminded one of a certain Yankee town, in which it was said the people built old homes,” reported a Rhode Island journalist in an 1846 Wilmington newspaper. “But it has been almost destroyed by the numerous fires . . . and the buildings erected . . . especially of the last seven years, are of much better character than those that have passed away; and many of them are elegant.”

And elegant they were. Wilmington was importing architects from New York and Philadelphia to design some of the city’s most impressive structures. Philadelphian Thomas Walter was hired to build the stunning Gothic Revival St. James Episcopal Church in 1840. Fellow Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan was working on plans for the First Baptist Church on Market Street. And New York architect John M. Trimble was at work on the neoclassical Thalian Hall, which upon its completion in 1858 was the largest theater south of Richmond.

It was in this heady mix of public projects that Dr. John D. Bellamy envisioned his own house at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Market Street. The scion of a prosperous family in the South Carolina low country and a Secessionist, he came to Wilmington in 1835 to begin his medical training with Dr. William James Harriss, and soon fell in love with his daughter, Eliza, whom he married after his medical training in Philadelphia. By the late 1850s Bellamy was a prosperous Wilmington merchant as well, with two properties out of town — the 10,000-acre Grovely Plantation in Brunswick County, and Grist, a large pine forest in Columbus County, where he ran a successful turpentine distillery. He was also a director of the Bank of Cape Fear and the largest stockholder in the new Wilmington and Weldon Railroad. But after several years in a residence on Dock Street, the family was in need of a large house. The 1860 census reveals that in addition to Eliza and John and their eight children — ages 1 to 19 years old — the household also included nine slaves: a man, three women and five children.

It was the Bellamys’ eldest daughter, Belle, who is credited with the design of the mansion’s flamboyant colonnade — inspired by a house she saw in Columbia, South Carolina — which she sketched on a napkin for her father, who shared it with the architect-builder James F. Post and his associate Rufus Bunnell. The resulting house is an eclectic combination of Greek Revival, Italianate and Neoclassical styles, a 22-room, four-story frame house on a raised basement topped with a belvedere, which was used as a lookout in 1864-65 during the battles at Fort Fisher.

The construction of the house was entirely due to Dr. Bellamy’s employment of enslaved craftsmen — brick masons, carpenters and plasterers, as well as several freed black artisans, self-trained skilled workers who created the ornate plaster moldings of the interior and the woodwork throughout the house. Architectural historian Catherine Bishir, the author of the definitive history of the house, The Bellamy Mansion, describes the recently finished interiors: “The main rooms glowed with color — flowered carpets in the parlors, mahogany furniture “done up in red silk damask,” and at the immense windows, brass cornices, lace curtains and heavy silk draperies of red, green, or gold. White marble and black slate mantels framed the fireplaces, and mirrors in gilded frames reflected the gas light of brass chandeliers. In the wide center hall, the mahogany-railed stair was quieted by a ‘beautiful velvet carpet’ held in place by silvery rods.”

Despite the ravages of Florence — the belvedere roof was partially torn off, sending water cascading through all five floors of the core of the house — the house survives, and will celebrate its 157th Christmas this year. “The site is iconic to Wilmington’s past,” says Gareth Evans, the Bellamy Mansion’s director since 2010. “It has played a role in the Civil War, 1898, and many pivotal moments in regional history. The prominence of its position and appearance makes the mansion a symbol of Wilmington.”

William Irvine is the senior editor of Salt.

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(Salt Magazine, December 2018)

A volunteer effort Saturday, Nov. 17 at historic Jones Gap Baptist Church resulted in the emergency stabilization of the vintage 1913 structure on Hebron Road, which has an open hole in the sanctuary roof.

The volunteer day was a coordinated effort between Jamie Wood, a descendant of Hicks Jones (1841-1922), and the nonprofit Preservation North Carolina.

“We’re trying to stabilize the building from any more weather deterioration,” said Wood, who is hoping to get the attention of more descendants of Hicks Jones concerning the church property and ultimately “inspire some positive action.”

Ted Alexander, western regional director of Preservation NC, was on hand throughout the day to guide work crews.

“It’s a great property and it deserves to be preserved, both architecturally and in terms of the religious culture in this area,” said Alexander, who works in the Preservation NC office in Shelby.

After Wood reached out to Preservation NC last year, she and Alexander have been in communication over the last 12 months about the church building, which has been unused since a new church building was constructed across Hebron Road in the late 1990s.

“I knew we had a very wet summer and shared my concerns with (him),” Wood said. “I didn’t think it was going to get through the winter.”

Wood and her mother, Myrtle McCarson Marshall, are fifth- and fourth-generation descendants of Jones, who donated the land at the top of Jones Gap where the red neo-gothic church was built over a century ago. Hicks Jones was the son of road builder Solomon Jones (1802-1899).

Starting around 9 a.m., workers patched the roof with a large piece of plastic sheeting — the same kind used in billboard advertising, according to Aleaxander. A large hole in the northeast corner has let in rain and snow over the past few years.

Along with about 10 other volunteers — many with day jobs as carpenters and in construction-related industries — Alexander pitched in to help shovel debris from the church interior and assist in the installation of plastic sheeting over the roof, among other tasks. He said the sheeting should act as a barrier to the elements for around one or two years, adding that the condition of the church building is comparable to other properties Preservation NC works with.

“It’s in relatively good shape,” he said.

Jennifer Cathey, a restoration specialist with the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, was also at the site to help shovel debris from the building’s interior.

“We would love to see the property get some attention toward preservation and getting back into use,” she said. Wood had initially contacted the State Historic Preservation Office to get advice on the best route for preservation.

“We felt it certainly has lots of historic character, and referred them to Preservation North Carolina,” said Cathey, who thinks the elements of the structure, from its “picturesque” stained glass window and shingle, are worth preserving.

Wood, who lives in Waxhaw, appreciated the fact that the congregation of Jones Gap Baptist Church supported the workday by letting them hook up to electricity, use their bathrooms and park in the new church lot. She said the work day cost nothing as materials and labor, as well as pizzas for the crew’s lunch, were donated.

Read full story…

(Hendersonville Times-News/,  11/25/18)

The event is cooperative effort of Preservation North Carolina (PNC) and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission (CMHLC), with help from the Lincoln County Historical Association (LCHA) and the Olde Huntersville Historical Society.

Ingleside I in Iron Station was built in 1817 by Daniel Forney, a planter, congressman and Major in the War of 1812. The Forney family was prominent in Lincoln County’s iron industry, building the Madison-Derr iron furnace in 1809.

The future of Ingleside I was uncertain earlier this year as the surrounding land was approved for development as the Ingleside Farm subdivision. Then owner, Caroline Clark, worked with developers, county officials and the LCHA on a plan for the home’s preservation. Ultimately, the Clark family donated the house and about six surrounding acres to PNC. Ingleside I, to date, was the highest-value property donation the organization has ever received.

PNC Director of Resource Development Shannon Phillips said donations are an important source of revenue, allowing the organization to continue preservation efforts across the state. The properties are sold with protective covenants. The organization works with new buyers who are sensitive to the property’s historic character.

PNC’s Western Regional Director, Ted Alexander, calls Ingleside I stand-out property in all of North Carolina architecture and credits the Clark family in their efforts to have it preserved in perpetuity. Alexander said Ingleside I is a “truly and outstanding and astounding house.”

Suburban development in Huntersville was the main concern for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmark Commission to preserve one of the county’s largest surviving Antebellum structures. Built in 1850 and at almost 6,000 square feet, Ingleside II is an early example of the Italianate style of architecture. The commission works similarly to PNC in looking for new uses and owners for historic structures. The commission’s senior preservation planner, Stewart Gray, said the organization doesn’t want to keep it.

“We want to find a good adaptive reuse for the property,” Gray said. “If they’re not used they’re very hard to save.”

Ingleside in Lincoln County is located at 214 S. Ingleside Farm Road in Iron Station.

Ingleside in Mecklenburg County is located at 7225 Bud Henderson Road in Huntersville.

Read full story…

(Lincoln Times-News, 11/30/18)

SALISBURY — The Empire Hotel redevelopment project is moving forward, as developer Black Point Investment continues to meet goals and work on proposed financing, according to the city of Salisbury.

The project recently was approved for North Carolina Historic Tax Credit and Landmark status.

Black Point Investments partner Britt Weaver said the process took longer than expected for “several reasons.”

He said the project is actually three separate buildings that make up the “Empire block,” thus requiring three separate historic preservation applications.

Second, he said historic preservation tax credits typically address exterior property features such as facades and windows, while the Empire project also has interior historic preservation constraints.

“These include preserving the mezzanine and staircase in the former Montgomery Ward department store and maintaining the former hotel hallways,” he said. “These design constraints required project concept redesigns resulting in added time to the project.”

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(Salisbury Post, 12/1/18)

Two prized and preserved pieces of the region’s past will be prominently featured in fundraising and public feedback projects the first week of December.

Through a partnership between agencies dedicated to protecting and promoting treasured structures, two identically-named historic houses in Huntersville and Iron Station – 10 miles apart on opposite sides of the river that fed their pre-Civil War plantations – will be the star attractions of A Tour of Two Inglesides on Sunday, Dec. 2.

And two days later at an open house and charrette, the public will have a chance to share ideas concerning the future of the Huntersville estate.

The tour is a collaborative effort between the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) and Preservation North Carolina (PNC), with support from the Olde Huntersville Historic Society and the Lincoln County Historical Association.

The HLC and PNC nonprofits each own an Ingleside – Scottish for “fireside” – and are hosting the event to celebrate the preservation of history, raise money for ongoing programs and increase awareness about the importance of recognizing and restoring reminders of the region’s heritage.

“It’s unique to have two of these magnificent, historic structures so close to each other,” Ted Alexander, director of PNC’s western regional office, said. “And a great opportunity to showcase the structures and efforts to preserve them.”

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(Lake Norman Herald Citizen, 11/14/18)

WASHINGTON– The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced one year after the launch of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund the organization has hit a funding milestone, raising more than $10M dollars for this $25M initiative. The Action Fund aims to uplift stories of African American achievement, activism, and community, crafting a narrative that expands our view of history, and helps to reconstruct our national identity while inspiring a new generation of activists to advocate for diverse historic places.

“We are proud of how over this past year we’ve helped to broaden the conversation about the places that matter,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Since the launch of the Action Fund, we have seen overwhelming support across the country in saving spaces that tell the full American story.”

Launched in partnership with national foundations, and with support from a National Advisory Council, including co-chairs Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, and actress and director Phylicia Rashad, the Action Fund has changed the landscape of African American preservation. In year one, the Action Fund empowered youth through a hands-on preservation experience, modeled innovative approaches to interpreting and preserving African American cultural heritage at historic sites, continued on-the-ground work protecting significant historic places, and launched a national grant program.

“The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has seen remarkable grassroots engagement, in the more than 800 grant applications asking for help protecting African American historic places, and in the tremendous community support at newly-launched National Treasures like the John and Alice Coltrane Home,” said Brent Leggs, director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. “As we embark on year two of the Action Fund, we will continue working to foster a national landscape where every person can see themselves, their history, and their potential in our collective story.”

This year the Action Fund awarded 16 grants, totaling $1.1M, to preservation organizations across the country, to support the preservation of sites and stories of black history. Grants covered work in communities from Birmingham to Chicago, including sites of struggle and strength.

In addition to grant funding, four new National Treasure designations were supported through the Action Fund, including the childhood home of singer Nina Simone, and Memphis-based Clayborn Temple, famed for its role in the Sanitation Workers’ Strike.

Work will continue in the coming year on key preservation efforts, including conducting research exploring the impact that preservation has on contemporary urban issues that disproportionately affect communities of color — equity, displacement and affordability. Additionally, support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities will continue, from celebrating their history to advocating for the reauthorization of the HBCU Historic Preservation Program which ensures that their histories and legacies are preserved.

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(Longview News-Journal, 11/15/18)


In 2016, Hurricane Matthew, a category 5 storm, brought strong winds, rain, and catastrophic flooding to North Carolina. Princeville, a town about 65 miles east of Raleigh, was inundated after the adjacent Tar River crested. Over 700 people were evacuated.

While Princeville’s proximity to the river is threatening its existence today, it’s also what helped it come into existence: It’s believed to be the first town chartered by formerly enslaved black Americans. Historians speculate that they were able to settle here because white landowners didn’t want this swath of flood plain.

Despite surviving multiple floods and Jim Crow-era racial terror (including a campaign to get the town charter revoked), Princeville may soon disappear. This was the second time in 17 years that Princeville experienced a 100-year flood. In 1999, eight feet of water submerged the town as a result of Hurricane Floyd. Today, residents are debating if they should keep rebuilding or retreat; landscape architects are exploring new infrastructure to gird against the next flood. Financing these resiliency and reconstruction efforts is still a question mark.

Princeville is one of 10 sites named in “Landslide,” an annual watchlist from The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) of historically and culturally significant landscapes at risk of loss and erasure. This year’s list, called “Grounds for Democracy,” focuses on sites that are crucial for “remembering, contextualizing, and interpreting the struggles for civil and human rights in the United States” and that teach “lessons from a past in which the basic rights we now take for granted were publicly tested and contested.”

Inspired by the 50-year anniversary of 1968—a turbulent year filled with protest, political unrest, and social revolution—TCLF picked sites are significant to labor rights, democracy, civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTQ rights.

“What many of the cultural landscapes in this year’s report have in common is the ‘power of place’—a unique quality that accrues when a site is witness to historical events of particular importance,” Charles A. Birnbaum, president and founder of TCLF, tells Curbed.

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(Curbed, 11/12/18)

Two years ago, an old house in downtown Raleigh was slated for demolition, with a big development planned to go in its place. But with the help of a historical commission, a remote control, and long nights and weekends filled with blood, sweat, and tears, that old house got a second chance. Moved a few blocks down and transformed into a boutique hotel, Guest House Raleigh now offers visitors a unique experience, blending history with bright, minimalist rooms, a downtown view, and distinctive Raleigh accents.

Guest House is the project of local husband-and-wife team Matt Tomasulo and Nicole Alvarez, who wanted to give back to the city that brought them together and gave them a community. The eight-room home is Raleigh’s first boutique hotel, but as Alvarez puts it, “it’s not your grandma’s bed and breakfast.” With a big porch and charming exterior, the house fits right in on S. Bloodworth Street, which is largely residential, though it’s just a five-minute walk from downtown’s Moore Square and City Market.

As visitors enter, they first walk into the 1,218-square-foot historic home, which has been lovingly restored and furnished while retaining its original structure, wood floors (preserved for more than a century beneath carpet, linoleum, and layers of newspaper!), windows, now-exposed ceiling joists, and fireplace. The first floor is common space, and the entire second floor of the historic house is a two-room guest suite. The original back door now leads into the Guest House’s 2,775-square-foot modern addition, which Alvarez, an architect at Clearscapes, designed herself in collaboration with the firm. The place is flooded with natural light, and the clean white lines, ubiquitous green plants, and thoughtful decor make it soothing and welcoming, not to mention Instagram-ready. The first floor of the addition has three guest rooms and a large, open kitchen. The second floor has four more rooms, including another large suite with a balcony, double shower, and skyline view. A garden out back features outdoor furniture, an imposing 125-year-old pecan tree, and a patio made of bricks repurposed from a chimney that collapsed in the house’s move.

The Guest House opened its doors in September, and it’s clear that the hotel has been a labor of love for Tomasulo and Alvarez—love for the project, for each other, for Raleigh, and for the guests they get to share it with. “The idea of being hosts really excited us,” Tomasulo says. “We want to share Raleigh with people who aren’t from here.” Alvarez agrees. “We want to be able to give personal recommendations on how to have a unique experience when you come. It really is a guest house for Raleigh residents, whose guests are in good hands if they come and stay here.”

Read full story…

(Walter Magazine, 10/1/18)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A new historic marker was dedicated in downtown Wilmington Tuesday morning.

Several people gathered to honor the late William B. Gould I, an enslaved plasterer at the Bellamy Mansion who escaped by water in 1862.

Gould and some other slaves found a boat and rowed it down the Cape Fear River, then boarded the U.S.S. Cambridge. The officer recorded the vessel picked up a “boat with eight contrabands from Wilmington,” according to the NC Architects & Builders biographical dictionary at the NCSU library.

The escaped slaves joined the Union navy. Gould kept a detailed diary of his experiences during the war.

“Here was a man of great strength and independence who could act under the most difficult of circumstances and forged his own destiny,” said Gould’s great-grandson William B. Gould IV. “And I think this has been a inspiration to my own children and to my grandchildren who are appearing on the scene, and at the point we’re at they can get the beginning of comprehending this man William B. Gould.”

The historical marker sits on the corner of Market Street and Fifth Avenues, just two block south of where Gould lived.

“This recognition of William B. Gould will be the first of many such throughout the country and throughout the South in particular to recognize these men who were so important to the liberty and quality which we call our own here in the United States – it’s a call that’s not finished, but he helped to begin,” Gould IV said.

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(WECT News, 11/13/18)

Click here to view more images from the marker dedication

Nine World War II veterans from Gaston County took a sentimental journey back to their service days in the 1940s.

Held Saturday at the Loray Mill’s Penegar Event Hall, the “Sentimental Journey: A Salute to the ’40s” cocktail party and dance honored the greatest generation’s service to the United States.

Organized by the mill’s Kessel History Center and Preservation North Carolina, the celebration also paid homage to the nearly three-quarters of a century that have passed since the then-Firestone mill earned the Army-Navy E Award for excellence in war production.

The award was presented to the mill’s workers in a ceremony at the plant on March 27, 1944, which was attended by North Carolina Gov. J. Melville Broughton. The prestigious honor was earned by fewer than 5 percent of the more than 85,000 companies involved in producing materials for the American war effort.

Dressed in 1940s-era attire, advisory members of the Kessel History Center welcomed each of the veterans to the event, many of whom were escorted by their wives, caretakers or children.

“I’m excited about it, tonight’s event,” said Willie Rhyne, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. “I’m happy to be recognized along with my other comrades who served. It’s always nice.”

Rhyne is one of several veterans who attended that are members of the World War II Last Man Club of Gaston County. Formed in May 1994, the Last Man Club is a community service organization that provides fellowship for members to reminisce about and share their wartime experiences.

Their wartime stories are recounted by Gaston native and author Martha Cloninger in a 2001 publication about the Last Man Club.

Rhyne was working at the Riverbend Steam Station in Mount Holly when word came through the switchboard about the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941. He joined the U.S. Navy several days later, and soon sailed all over the Pacific aboard the DD 450 O’Bannon.

He told of a surface battle with which he was involved in 1942 between 13 U.S. ships and 26 Japanese ships.

“Shells were flying all over, ships being blown out of the water, going down in front of us,” he told author Cloninger. “Their depth charges detonating felt like we were being blown out of the water. We were passing over sinking ships. That was one of my scariest times.”

After his discharge, Rhyne returned to the Duke Power Company and retired after 43 years.

On Saturday, the World War II veterans were each recognized before the Gastonia Fire Department Honor Guard held a flag ceremony, which was followed by the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The veterans and their guests then danced to Doris Day’s “Sentimental Journey” and other nostalgic music performed by a live band.

Military artifacts were placed on the tables and a mannequin dressed as a World War II combat infantry soldier was displayed courtesy of the American Military Museum in Gastonia.

Though the war ended more than 70 years ago, many recounted their experiences.

“All I did was do what they told us to do,” said Tete Pearson, of his service in Europe with the U.S. Army in World War II, during which he was wounded in the arm at age 19. “We were the guys that lived in the foxholes. It’s a pretty tough life when you get overseas and you don’t have any hot meals and you don’t have any inside housing, you live outdoors.”

Joseph Tedder enlisted and was called up to the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 18 in March 1943. Eight months later with the 5th Amphibious Corps, he arrived in Guadalcanal in the Pacific theater. Battling oppressive heat and risk of malaria, his main duty there was to install and maintain telephone wire. He would tour the Pacific supporting the war effort in many locations before landing in Iwo Jimo, Japan five days after D-Day in February 1945.

Ray Stewart was 19 when drafted and assigned to the U.S. Army’s 2nd Armored “Hell on Wheels” Division, of which he is one of few surviving members. He took part in numerous battles during his service, including the Battle of the Bulge, during which he helped to fight the German 2nd Panzer Division. Two of the tanks he was on were destroyed along the way.

Stewart served as a consultant to producers and actors of the 2014 film “Fury.” He met with actors Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf, who star in the fictional story of a tank crew making a final push into Nazi Germany during the end of World War II.

Fred Goodson grew up in Gaston County and served in the U.S. Army beginning in 1944. He had some laughs with fellow World War II veteran Archie Rawlings, as they both shared their appreciation for the celebration on Saturday.

“This is great,” said Rawlings. “We’re going to enjoy this being with a lot of friends we know. That’s important to me.”

Read full story…

(Gaston Gazette, 11/11/18)

Historic Salisbury Foundation seeks an Executive Director to help usher in a new era of preservation in Salisbury, North Carolina.

The Executive Director will be responsible for administration and management according to the strategic direction set by the Board of Trustees. The organization has a small staff, energetic volunteers and an active board. The Executive Director will be expected to build upon past achievements while growing the foundation to tackle the unique challenges of 21st century preservation.

Historic Salisbury Foundation, founded in 1972, has been described as “a model of a historic preservation organization” by Donovan Rypkema of Place Economics and a national expert in historic preservation. Salisbury was one of America’s first National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Programs and it continues to boast of a strong vibrant downtown with a mix of retail and residential usage.
Historic Salisbury Foundation operates an Endangered Properties Program (Revolving Fund) which has saved and protected over 120 properties. The Foundation advocates for, defends, protects and promotes the extensive historic architectural resources of one of America’s most desirable small cities. The Foundation owns and operates three historic properties: the meticulously-restored 1908 Salisbury Southern Railroad Passenger Station featured both at the Smithsonian and in Hollywood films and currently is used as offices, an event center and AMTRAK station with eight daily passenger trains; the 1820 Dr. Josephus Hall House (a period house museum); and the former Salisbury Ice and Fuel building, now functioning as an architectural salvage warehouse open to the public.
In Salisbury and throughout Rowan County, the influences of heritage and history are observable at every turn. Historic Salisbury Foundation brings the community together for its annual OctoberTour, which draws nationwide visitors to view highlighted historic homes and properties and the preservation successes of the community.

The city and county boast 11 National Register Historic districts, five local historic districts, a history museum, the NC Transportation Museum, three house museums, two nationally-recognized historic cemeteries and a Confederate Prison site.

In addition to its history, Salisbury has a vibrant arts and entertainment scene with a culture that celebrates individualism and the creative spirit. Salisbury has three nationally-recognized theaters, art galleries, a professional symphony, breweries and wineries. The thriving downtown has local one-of-a-kind retail businesses, bars, restaurants and festivals.

Salisbury has two four-year colleges, one of the most advanced and successful community colleges in the state, and numerous other specialized masters and other educational programs involving entrepreneurship, arts, music, theater, and theology. The region continues to grow and thrive with history and heritage at its center.

Executive Director

Professional Opportunity

Salisbury, NC, US


The successful candidate will have a passionate preservation ethic, and background, interest, experience and ability that enables them to perform a wide range of demanding tasks, including fundraising, public advocacy, historic property management, organizational and events management and successful grant writing. The executive director is the spokesperson and main public advocate for preservation in this historic city. Relocation to historic Salisbury, NC is required.

The Executive Director works with a small permanent staff, an active and dedicated board, several committees and volunteers, neighborhood groups, other affinity organizations, the municipality managers and a broad public preservation program. The person chosen must be able to work well with a wide range of individuals and groups, but also have new ideas and enthusiasm.

Must Haves:
• BA/BS degree expected
• Management experience
• Substantial experience in historic preservation or related field
• Knowledge of nonprofit fiscal management, including budgeting
• Fundraising and development experience, including grant writing
• Strong relationship skills, tact, and professionalism
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills
• Knowledge of IT, Microsoft Office products and social media platforms

Preferred Additional Qualifications:

• Familiar with property management and real estate transactions
• Advanced degree in historic preservation, public administration or business administration
• Revolving Fund experience
• Event management

Salary commensurate with experience
Closing Date: December 15, 2018

Apply in confidence: Send cover letter, resume, salary requirement, and names of 3 references with contact information by December 15, 2018. References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant. EOE

Diane Hooper, Chair, Search Committee

Search Committee
1314 Overhill Road
Salisbury, NC 28144


SALISBURY — After two-and-a-half years on the job, Karen L. Hobson has resigned as executive director of Historic Salisbury Foundation. She turned in her resignation last week.

“She has been a tremendous asset for the foundation,” board President Susan G. Sides said Tuesday. “She will be missed.”

Sides said Hobson brought a high level of energy and professionalism to the executive director’s job and sacrificed her other career pursuits to step in after the foundation lost Brian M. Davis in the fall of 2015.

Davis, who like Hobson is an architect by training, left Salisbury to take a preservation job in Louisiana.

When Hobson took the HSF job in March 2016, Sides said, she intended to be executive director for only a year to a year-and-a-half.

“We were lucky to have her as long as we could,” Sides said.

Hobson brought extensive real estate and redevelopment experience to the job.

A search committee is being formed to fill the position, Sides said.

A Salisbury native, Hobson returned to her hometown from New York in 2012 to restore the historic Wright-Hobson House that has been in her family for a half century. She served on HSF’s board of trustees from 2013 until accepting the executive director’s job.

In New York, Hobson founded Hobson Associates Limited in 1989 to further her interests in complex real estate deals. Over the years, her wide variety of clients included Miami Beach Redevelopment Agency, Yale University, Australian City Properties and the tourism ministry of Ghana, among others.

Read full story…

(The Salisbury Post, 9/8/18)

Although nearly three-quarters of a century has passed since the guns of World War II fell silent, the veterans of that conflict and the work of those on the home front will be honored on Saturday, Nov. 10, with a special event at the Penegar Event Hall in Loray Mill.

“Sentimental Journey: A Salute to the 1940s,” a cocktail party and dance, will also serve as a fundraiser for the Kessell History Center, located on the first floor of the restored Loray Mill.

“We seldom have an opportunity to honor our World War II veterans, whom we are losing steadily,” said former Gastonia Mayor Jennie Stultz, who serves on the planning committee for the event.

“Sentimental Journey will celebrate our local industry, our veterans, and our rich textile history in a most unique way,” Stultz continued. “We encourage folks to dress in 1940s attire, enjoy the wonderful music of that era, and step back in time to benefit one of the great treasures of our city.”

The event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. with Spindle City Cafe offering up heavy hors d’oeuvres with a 1940s theme throughout the evening.

The Stardusters Big Band will be playing tunes from the 1940s throughout the event and two instructors from GottaSwing Charlotte professional dance studio will be on hand to help keep the dancing going.

“This event has been really fun to plan,” said Kessell History Center Director Amanda Edwards. “It’s highlighting a little known aspect of our community’s history (the honoring of the Firestone plant). We want to celebrate that effort with the community, and also use it as a chance to honor the veterans. It’s going to be a really fun evening, complete with a 15-piece big band and 1940s food.”

Ginger Penegar Rowe, another member of the event’s planning committee added, “I am very much looking forward to travelling back in time and celebrating such a unique chapter in our country’s history, especially as it relates to our home town, our own amazing and famous Loray Mill, and our veterans. I can’t wait.”

Tickets for “Sentimental Journey” are $75 per person and may be reserved by calling 980-266-9923 or online at

Read full story…

(Gaston Gazette, 10/16/18)

Wilmington, NC – On October 12, the Bellamy Mansion Museum received a $24,000 grant from the Women’s Impact Network of New Hanover County at a ceremony held at the Country Club of Landfall. The grant will help the Bellamy Mansion Museum revise and update the museum’s introductory video and audio tour specific to the enslaved workers of the Bellamy Mansion. The money will also help the museum design and print a free informational publication on the lives of the enslaved workers who lived on the Bellamy site before and during the Civil War. Three outdoor educational panels will be designed, fabricated and installed and the funds will also be used to have a free community gathering to celebrate the projects and to honor the lives of the enslaved workers.

“The local focus of the Women’s Impact Network of Wilmington is impressive. These women are investing directly into their communities, and their generosity makes it possible for non-profits in New Hanover County to accomplish projects that would not be feasible without the grant money,” says Leslie Morton, Bellamy Mansion Museum operations manager. “For us at the Bellamy Mansion Museum, it means enhancing the interpretation of the enslaved women and men who lived on site prior to the Civil War. The grant will bring newly researched information about Sarah, Mary Ann, Rosella, Joan, Guy, Tony and the other enslaved young girls to our visitors and brings us closer to a more complete interpretation of what life was like at 503 Market Street in the antebellum period.”

The Bellamy Mansion Museum, located at 503 Market Street in Wilmington, is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to interpreting the social and architectural history of the Bellamy Mansion and promoting a greater understanding of historic preservation, architectural history and restoration methods in North Carolina. For more information about the lecture, contact Carolyn Gonzalez at 910-251-3700 x306 or

Wilmington, North Carolina – October 9, 2018 In response to the hurricane, the nonprofit Historic Wilmington Foundation (HWF) is pleased to announce the Florence Fix-It Grant Program. This limited, small grant fund is specifically for owners of old houses and can be used toward their insurance deductibles or to repair storm-related property damage.

“Our mission is to preserve and protect the irreplaceable,” says Beth Rutledge, Executive Director of HWF. “Right now we can do that by helping people mend the older homes that comprise our unique neighborhoods here in Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear.”

Florence Fix-It grants are available to homeowners with houses 75 years or older in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties. Applicants may request up to $5,000. In addition to income guidelines, other stipulations of the grant include a post-repair inspection and use of historically appropriate materials.

Grant funds can only be used for a primary residence, and applicants awarded a grant will also be given a free membership to Historic Wilmington Foundation. Says Rutledge, “The character of the houses here is matched by those who live in them. HWF is so proud to support this community, and be part of it.”

Full details and the grant application are at; HWF will accept applications through November 16, 2018.

Founded in 1966, the Historic Wilmington Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the irreplaceable historic resources of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear Region.

Lucy Pittman, Engagement Manager
Historic Wilmington Foundation

The L.L. Polk House preservation volunteer cleanup event was hosted by Preservation North Carolina with help from the town of Polkton and South Piedmont Community College on Oct. 13.

The historic birthplace of Polkton founder Leonidas Lafayette Polk, a 19th century champion of North Carolina farmers, holds a great deal of history. Polk was president of the National Farmers Alliance, founder of “Progressive Farmer” and a founder of Raleigh universities N.C. State and Meredith.

“Preservation North Carolina was first contacted about the property by a member of the Polkton Town Council, who expressed the community’s interest in seeing the house preserved, and later by members of the Anson County Historical Society,” said Cathleen Turner, regional director for Preservation North Carolina. “We had an excellent turnout at our cleanup event on Saturday and accomplished so much.”

The State Historic Preservation Office provided information and photographs that supported their determination of the importance of the home.

“We contacted the owners and worked out an agreement to allow us to purchase the house if we can find a buyer who will commit to restoring and preserving it,” she added.

Since the house had been vacant for several years, there was much to be done to prepare it to be marketed to preservation-minded buyers.

They cleaned up the lot of overgrown vegetation and cleaned out the house of debris, old carpeting and non-historic wall paneling that covered up beautiful wood floors, hand-planed wall and ceiling boards, and other woodwork that give the house so much character. They also repaired the front porch steps and secured doors to protect the interior from the weather.

Preservation North Carolina will market and sell the house subject to protective covenants that will ensure that the house is rehabilitated in a way that preserves its historic and architectural character. The electrical, plumbing and heating and air systems will be updated. Kitchen and bath improvements will be made. This will ensure that the house is restored with high priority repairs being completed within a reasonable timeframe and that the house will be maintained and preserved for years to come.

Read full story…

(The Anson Record, 10/23/18)

How these historic sites can cope with costs, challenges, and societal changes in an Instagram era

A corkscrewing creation in the Arizona desert, the David and Gladys Wright House boasts an impressive pedigree. Built in 1952, this three-bedroom nautilus of a home, designed by architecture icon Frank Lloyd Wright for his son, is one of a handful of rounded designs that foreshadows the contours of the Guggenheim Museum.

It seemed like a shoo-in for preservation, especially after local lawyer Zach Rawling purchased the home for $2.4 million in 2012, saving it from the wrecking ball. Rawling had grand plans to create a museum and wedding venue, and despite neighborhood resistance to having a new cultural institution down the block, he seemed on the verge of success.

There were even plans announced last summer to donate the home to the School of Architecture at Taliesin, which Wright founded, turning the residence into a “living laboratory” and reconnecting it with the architect’s legacy.

That plan fell through last month. Rawling and Taliesin struggled with fundraising—Rawling needed to raise $7 million by 2020 for the agreement to work—and without financial support, the home again returned to the open market, asking $12.9 million.

“I think it’s highly emblematic of the challenges any historic house faces,” says Liz Waytkus, executive director of Docomomo, a preservation organization focused on modern architecture. “The suggestion that a nonprofit would be able to come up with $7 million dollars … it’s incredibly difficult, especially in the U.S., where nonprofits receive very little, if any government support.”

According to Waytkus, the David Wright house saga highlights many issues that make preserving historic homes—especially those of recent architectural vintage—a costly and challenging endeavor. Many of the modernist homes considered pilgrimage spots for architecture buffs, such as Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House or the Glass House by Philip Johnson, face extensive maintenance costs and the continued challenge of convincing visitors to come—or fans to come back.

“You have to continue to inspire people to visit and spend their money,” says Waytkus. “People view these places as buildings to see once in a lifetime.”

A nation of home museums

Whether preserved for architectural merit or historic importance, home museums have spread to every corner of the country—and tend to do so without much support.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation estimates that there are more than 15,000 house museums across the country, more than the number of McDonald’s restaurants. According to the American Association for State and Local History, half of the 18,000 history museums in the U.S., many of which are also house museums, have budgets of less than $250,000 a year (half of those have budgets under $50,000).

One reason for the proliferation of historic sites is that the definition of such places continues to expand, says Katherine Malone-France, Senior Vice President of Historic Sites for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit.

“We now don’t just think of historic sites as being very iconic properties,” she says. “They can also be very vernacular buildings that have extraordinary stories associated with them. The Nina Simone home in Tryon, North Carolina, it’s one of our national treasures. It’s a house that tells the extraordinary story of a boundary-breaking, world-changing artist. It’s just a small house, but the story is extraordinary, as is the desire of those who want Simone to continue to be relevant in the world of art.”

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(Curbed, 10/12/18)

For more than 40 years, Myrick Howard has dedicated his life to the preservation of North Carolina’s architectural heritage.

It’s an exceptional cultural contribution to the state, matched probably only by curator and historian Catherine Bishir, the author of North Carolina Architecture, her encyclopedic catalog of design. Between the two of them, Howard and Bishir have created an elevated atmosphere for appreciating the role architecture plays in the lives of all North Carolinians.

Howard has done that by placing himself squarely on the front lines of historic preservation. He prepped himself for his career by attending UNC-Chapel Hill, with a double major in law and urban planning. When he graduated in 1978, he headed straight for the organization now known as Preservation North Carolina. “I took a part-time job first, and within another month or so, I was executive director,” the Durham native says.

It’s the only job he’s ever had. When he arrived, PNC was a one-person shop in Raleigh. Today it stretches across the state, with 12 full-time employees in offices in Raleigh, Greenville, Durham and Shelby, and a number of part-time employees in Wilmington.

All the while, PNC has earned consistently high marks on the national stage. “Preservation North Carolina is the envy of the country,” says Raleigh architect Frank Harmon. “Even Virginia doesn’t have anything like it. He’s extraordinary.”

Howard is also modest as he goes about the business of saving our historic buildings. “It’s a matter of principle that the organization is not about him, but about the preservation of North Carolina,” Harmon says. “There’s this incredibly valuable history of his work, and this very creative genius about it.”

His background in law provides dual benefits. Clearly it’s influenced his organizational abilities. But it also informs his contention that preservation is mostly about real estate. “Not a day goes by without my looking at a contract,” says Howard. “It’s a way to get to the point — a way of thinking, where you get rid of the extraneous thoughts.”

PNC — he calls the organization an “animal shelter for historic buildings” — favors action over talk. “We try to find people to take over these buildings,” says Howard. “We’ve done over 800 with direct connections, and there are hundreds of others that we’ve helped out over the years.”

Howard was instrumental in developing PNC’s formula for success. He inherited a revolving fund for the acquisition of properties from an earlier organization, then expanded its use. He matches up potential owners or developers with projects, and motivates them with the application of state and federal historic tax credits. Uses of the renovated buildings often create jobs, while enhancing tax bases with historic properties used in new ways.

It’s a process that requires vision, patience and expertise in connecting the dots of who should be involved with each project. “His mental Rolodex is very deep,” says landscape architect Rodney Swink, a senior associate at PlaceEconomics who’s known Howard for more than 30 years. “And he has the ability to suggest a number of possibilities for a building.”

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(Salt Magazine, September 2018 issue)

It has been a decade-long process to save, relocate and renovate the birthplace of BB&T founder Alpheus Branch.

Branch Grove, in Enfield, has been transformed and renovated by Andrus & Company and is now for sale. The tripartite dwelling was built in 1848 by Samuel Warren Branch; father of the founder of BB&T bank.

Preservation N.C. President Myrick Howard said the organization has been working with the property forever.

“Over the years, we had it under contract several different times to someone planning to move and renovate it,” he said. “We were dealing with this during the recession, which is not a good time to be marketing a property that is complicated and will take at the end of the day, hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

“It is a very important house,” he said. “We knew it had to be moved. “

The house was on a farm owned by a trust, whose owners had no interest in renovating the house, Howard said. The house had been vacant for decades, and in 2016, an ultimatum was given.

“Basically, folks with the trust basically said, ‘move it or we need to get rid of it,’” he said. “I did what you might call a ‘hail Mary pass’ and contacted an anonymous donor I knew was interested in this kind of house in Eastern North Carolina. She gave us a very generous gift to allow us to move it and stabilize it.”

A site had to be found to move the property to, which was hard to find and took a lot of time, Howard said. Preservation purchased the 40-acre Enfield property for more than $100,000.

“The folks who owned the land agreed to finance the sale of the land to us, which was a really important part of the process,” he said.

After it was moved and stabilized, extensive work was done on the structure, such as the creation of a new foundation and new chimneys, which cost Preservation about $300,000, Howard said.

“We were committed to more than $400,000, knowing full well we would not get anything remotely close to that in the condition we were selling it in,” he said.

Despite the challenges, the house was sold.

“The person who bought it from us is a contractor who does renovation work, and it is fully renovated and is drop dead gorgeous,” Howard said. “They are looking for a buyer.”

Preservation North Carolina partnered with preservation construction company, Andrus & Company, owned by Julia and James Andrus, to complete the renovation. They also purchased the 2,677 square feet home, with three bedrooms, 2-­1/2 baths, an eat-in kitchen, formal dining room, and a separate master suite. Interior features of the house include a two-­story central foyer, six working fireplaces, a front porch, a true standing-seam metal roof, and original wood floors, mantels, moldings, flat-panel wainscoting, windows and doors throughout. The downstairs master suite has a large porch, en­suite bathroom and private sitting area.

Julia and James Andrus live in Enfield, which is one reason they purchased the house, Julia said.

“Enfield has a lot of exciting things going on, and we were really excited about the possibilities going on here,” she said. “We thought renovating the house would be a great project to take on. This was a really fun project and we enjoyed working with it. We are looking forward to seeing the family move in there, bringing life back to Branch Grove.”

In addition to its original owner and other prominent guests he had, Howard said a few factors make the house important, such as the architecture. The house is a tripartite house, meaning the center is the main house with a gable front. The main house runs back from that and it has two wings on the sides. In addition, the hallway runs perpendicular to the front of the house, so walking in the front door leads folks left to right, rather than front to back, he said.

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(The Daily Herald, 9/9/18)


HILLSBOROUGH — The Town Board cleared the way Monday night for guests to once again dine and stay at the historic Colonial Inn in downtown Hillsborough, leaving just a few sticking points to hammer out later.

The board unanimously approved a rezoning request and a special use permit for Allied DevCorp LLC to turn the nearly two centuries old property at 153 W. King St. into a restaurant with a private dining room, a bar and a conference room on the ground floor. A larger event center and four guest rooms will be on the second floor.

A new, two-story wing will provide another 18 guest rooms at the rear of the lot and connect to the main building, a patio and landscaped wedding lawn via brick pathways.

Allied representative Justin Fejfar estimated up to 100 people could occupy the second-floor event center and at least 96 could be seated in the main dining room.

Construction could start by the end of the year.

The inn was built in 1838 and long served as a hotel and later as a popular restaurant. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Allied bought the half-acre property in January for $800,000 – $75,000 less than the list price, according to county documents.

Previous owner Francis Henry bought the inn at auction in 2001 for $440,000. It fell into disrepair as he wrestled with the town over renovations and how he could use the property. The town filed an eminent-domain action in 2014 but agreed in 2017 to gave Henry a year to sell the inn.

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(The Herald Sun, 9/11/18)

The food hall war is heating up in downtown Raleigh.
Transfer Co. Food Hall announced Monday a half-dozen new vendors and restaurants to join the project at 500 E. Davie St. The food hall, one of four opening in the Triangle over the span of a year, has redeveloped the 50,000-square-feet of the former Stone’s Warehouse and Carolina Coach maintenance shop.

Owners also announced the food hall will open in early 2019, a delay from a previously projected opening this summer or fall. Owner Jason Queen said the renovation ran into construction setbacks.

Transfer Co. has been in the works for five years, winning development and purchasing rights from the city in 2014.
When it opens, it will include one of the state’s best breweries, also announced earlier Monday, and several new restaurant concepts.

Previously, Locals Oyster Bar, Videri Chocoate, Che Empanadas were confirmed vendors in Transfer Co. Locals Seafood is opening a bar with the folks from Person Street Bar, and Videri is moving its wholesale chocolate-making to a new factory in Transfer, keeping the original Warehouse District spot for retail.

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(News & Observer, 8/27/18)


Could Dix Park have a boutique hotel?

That’s one of the more intriguing ideas raised by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the firm picked by Raleigh to design a revamped Dix Park southwest of downtown.

It would be housed in the 1856 hospital designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, on the brow of the park’s highest hill.

It’s not a new idea. Myrick Howard, Preservation North Carolina’s president, has been enamored with the concept for years.

When looking for inspiration, there are at least two recent examples of 19th-century-mental institutions successfully converted into boutique hotels.

One is the Hotel Henry in Buffalo, N.Y., where an 1870s insane asylum designed by Henry Hobson Richardson was recently redesigned and converted into a hotel by architect Deborah Berke. She’s the dean of the Yale School of Architecture who redesigned the 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Durham.

The other is the Blackburn Inn in Staunton, Va. It was designed in 1828 by architect Thomas Blackburn, who worked under Thomas Jefferson on the Grounds at the University of Virginia. Not surprisingly, the material palette for the Western State Lunatic Asylum in Staunton was red brick with white columns, similar to U.Va’s. That redesigned mental hospital opened up as a 49-room boutique hotel in June.

But could a boutique hotel make sense for Dix Park? Yes – but physical, financial, emotional and political hurdles remain.

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(News and Observer, 8/25/18)

If you own a house built before 1960 that has its original windows, be grateful. Nothing will ever look as good. And, contrary to what you may have heard from the building and remodeling industries, new windows will not function better. They will not save you buckets of money in energy costs. They may not even last until you have finished paying for them.

Mathew Cummings, AIA, an architect based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, has worked on some of this country’s oldest houses. He is unequivocal on the subject.

“Never, never, never throw away old windows,” he says. “People replace 200-year-old windows with new vinyl ones that are guaranteed for five years. They are made of oil products and evil gases and soon their useful life is over and they end up in the landfill. Old windows are made of clean wood and glass, and, once rebuilt, are good for another 200 years.”

That’s the beauty of it: Old-house windows were built of higher-grade wood than what is available today, and were designed to be endlessly rebuilt. That’s also the downside: most aren’t.

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(Forbes, 7/17/18)

For an unassuming municipal building, Town Hall has been at the center of Clayton’s history both physically and figuratively in its 90-some years. It has served as a council chambers, police station, fire station, courtroom, jail, staff offices and library — mostly all at once.

Largely abandoned since 2002, the red brick landmark has been pressed back into service, this time to help shepherd a downtown revitalization in a fast-growing town. Its latest incarnation? Apartments for millennials.

Millennial is a convenient marketing label, but developers throughout the region have been selling smaller houses and apartments as ideal for first-time buyers or renters and for the retired who don’t have to make room for families. In this case, the one-bedroom and loft units will range from about 500 to 800 square feet.

Designed by Raleigh firm Maurer Architecture, the plan is for exposed brick interiors, refinished hardwood floors, high ceilings and the latest appliances. The two-story building is just one block from Main Street.

“I think old-school development in Clayton is going to have to step up,” said Reid Smith, who runs the largest single-family detached home building company in Johnston County. “Things are changing. We’re trying to do our best to change with it.”

Clayton’s downtown has been growing steadily. Town planners and developers say modest financial incentives started a decade ago gradually gained momentum and helped create an inviting atmosphere to draw businesses downtown and to retain a small-town charm that has made Clayton more than just a bedroom community for commuters to Raleigh.

“That’s what a lot of people think,” Smith said. “We’re very blessed to have jobs being created in Clayton with Caterpillar, Novo Nordisk, an industrial district, downtown. We have 120 employees on Main Street. There are a lot of jobs in Clayton. We’ve explained that a piece of real estate is only where a job goes to sleep. Real estate and homes follow jobs.”

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(News & Observer, 7/18/18)


The recent demolition of an old water tower is creating division in one small town in central North Carolina.

The Town Commission of Mount Gilead voted unanimously to tear down the structure on May 1 and had it removed on June 27. Town leaders say the tower was going to cost more money to tear down the longer they waited, giving them few options.

A group of residents who were trying to save the historic structure thought they had received the town’s promise to give them six months to come up with alternatives. The historic preservation advocates said they had worked for months to come up with funds to save the tower.

But they say the town acted while the clock was still ticking when commissioners voted in May and residents had no advance knowledge that the board would be asked to decide at that time.

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(Carolina Public Press, 7/23/18)

Stephanie Meeks is stepping down as president and CEO of the D.C.-based National Trust for Historic Preservation at the end of the year.

Meeks is the eighth president and first woman to serve as chief executive officer of the National Trust and has been in her role since 2010. She oversaw the largest fundraising campaign in the history of the organization, raising $305 million to surpass the organization’s goal by $105 million.

“It has been a privilege to lead an incredible organization of talented and committed individuals dedicated to preserving and honoring the places that tell our full American story,” Meeks said in a statement. “As I reflect on the results we have achieved together, I am deeply moved and grateful for the opportunity to contribute to an organization whose important work will continue to shape the cultural landscape of our nation.”

The National Trust is the leading nonprofit for the preservation of the most historic places in America.

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(Washington Business Journal, 7/23/18)

HILLSBOROUGH, NC (WTVD) — Hidden in the forest in Hillsborough is an iconic piece of North Carolina’s auto racing history.

The Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail was once home to roaring crowds and even louder engines as a dirt track in the early days of NASCAR.

Now it’s a quiet walking trail along the Eno River where people walk dogs, run, and take photos of nature.

The speedway began operation 70 years ago this month (1948) and continued through 1968.

The first race at the track was a modified stock race and nearly 20,000 fans came out to watch the 100-mile race.

As for the final race at the track — not surprisingly, it was won by Richard Petty.

If you visit, you can still see the original grandstand, the ticket booth and the concession stand.

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(WTVD, 7/11/18)

Singer, pianist, songwriter, and civil rights activist Nina Simone, who died in 2003, made a lasting impact on the U.S., and now four artists are working to make sure her legacy lives on by saving her childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. The home, a three-room, 660-square-foot clapboard pier and beam house, is where Simone—born Eunice Waymon—taught herself to play piano by ear at the age of three. It had been vacant for 20 years, until going on the market in December 2016. That’s when artist Adam Pendleton received an email from Laura Hoptman, a curator of contemporary art at The Museum of Modern Art, letting him know that Simone’s childhood home was for sale. “Laura and her husband, Verne Dawson, are connected to that part of western North Carolina,” says Pendleton. “She asked if I knew anyone who might be interested in purchasing the home. My initial reaction was to brainstorm and think of people who might have an interest in saving this historical site.” When Hoptman mentioned that she had also emailed artist Rashid Johnson, Pendleton had an epiphany. “I had an aha moment and said, ‘Wait a minute, we could purchase this house together. It could be a collective act, a collective gesture.’” With Johnson on board, they recruited artists Ellen Gallagher and Julie Mehretu. “We both agreed that it would be a more meaningful gesture if other artists were involved,” he says. Together the artists purchased the home for $95,000 in March 2017.

Pendleton says the timing of the sale played a role in his desire to help save the house. “At that particular moment, which was right after the election, I was asking myself very critical questions about American culture and what it is,” he says. “I think Nina Simone is an integral part of American culture and how complicated and rich it is. I really wanted to do something to keep alive her music and also the ideas that she represents.”

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(Architectural Digest, 7/17/18)

There have been many efforts lately to conserve historic Black sites across the country and in a push to keep them going, a new initiative has been launched to diversify the architectural and preservation industry, the Washington Post reported.

A summer program—dubbed “Preservation in Practice”—was created as an avenue to empower students at historically Black colleges and universities to pursue careers in historic preservation, the news outlet writes. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. During the eight-week program, HBCU students travel to historic sites to learn lessons about architecture and have the opportunity to get hands-on with restoring certain structures. Six students from Morgan State University—who are all architecture majors—were a part of the program’s inaugural class. They’re being mentored by architectural professionals and have visited historic sites in Baltimore and Wyoming; including the Peale Center.

“Historic preservation is important because we’re in an age where things are becoming less permanent,” student Akiel Allen told the news outlet. Dale Green—who serves as an agricultural professor at Morgan State—believes that there is a need for more monuments and spaces that reflect Baltimore’s rich Black history. Morgan State is the first HBCU where the program was implemented but leaders of the initiative hope to introduce it to other institutions.

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(, 7/15/18)

What has twenty-seven historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums, thirty- nine state parks and recreation areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported symphony orchestra, the state library, the state archives, the North Carolina Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship?

That would be SUSI HAMILTON’s office.

The Wilmingtonian has headed up the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources since January 2017. In the job, she oversees a budget of $230 million, nearly 2,000 employees, and more than eighty boards and commissions. Each year, the agency welcomes more than 35 million visitors to its various attractions across the state.

“It’s a big ship, but it works,” says Hamilton, who gave up her legislative seat to take the state cabinet-level post. “We are stewards of our parks, historic sites, the zoo, the aquariums.”

The department, the result of a merger in 2015 of separate entities overseeing natural resources and cultural resources, has authority over a broad range of North Carolina’s treasures and is an advocate for historic preservation, environmental conservation, and recognition of the state’s rich cultural heritage.

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(Wilma Magazine, 7/2/18)

Angela Starnes wasn’t even considering her hometown when she began looking to buy a house earlier this year.

She wanted to move out of her apartment in Fort Mill, South Carolina, while not adding too much to her work commute as a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer. She certainly didn’t anticipate relocating to the same general area where she grew up in Gastonia.

Then her real estate agent clued her in to a model home that had been renovated by a nonprofit, as part of a larger effort to revitalize the Loray Mill village in Gastonia. And once Starnes stepped inside the bungalow, there almost wasn’t enough room to contain her enthusiasm.

“I was super impressed with what they had done on the inside,” she said. “I don’t even think I looked at another house after that.”

A market for success

The residence Starnes has moved into at 906 W. Second Ave. is no mansion. It offers slightly more than 1,000 square feet on a single floor, with one bedroom and one bathroom. It reflects the character of most of the roughly 500 mill homes within the 30-block village, which were built by Loray’s owners between 1900 and the 1930s, and rented to the families that made up its teeming workforce.

But in real estate, size doesn’t always matter. Preservation North Carolina, which works to salvage historic properties across the state, expects Starnes’ new home to serve as a beacon in an emerging success story. The group believes the modestly sized homes and small yards within the village will be popular purchases in a market aimed at millennials and empty nesters.

Over the last three years, the former model’s exterior historic features were preserved. But it also received modern amenities, including classic tile bathroom floors, a contemporary kitchen with high-end appliances, hard-surface countertops, original siding and restored windows. A front deck and back patio provide ample opportunity for relaxing outdoors, and the interior has high ceilings that make it feel more roomy.

“We are close to seeing 70 percent of American households as one- or two-person,” said Preservation North Carolina President Myrick Howard, citing census data and recent trends. “Fairly soon, 50 percent of American households will be one-person. There is a market out there, I think, and we’re one of the ones crazy enough to test it out.”

Sparking revitalization

The recent redevelopment of the Loray Mill itself into an upscale residential and commercial hub triggered an effort to spread that revitalization to the surrounding neighborhood. Preservation North Carolina had a heavy role in coaxing along the mill’s rebirth, and now sees a golden opportunity to springboard off that progress.

Since 2015, the nonprofit has used low-interest loans to acquire 16 different homes within the Loray village. It has already sold six to owners who agreed to restrictive covenants on the properties, such as assuring they will live in and not rent out the houses, and that they will preserve certain architectural features.

A block of Vance Street has received the most attention to date. Preservation N.C. has already acquired and sold three homes there, and is renovating three more.

Residences that in many cases had come under the watch of slumlords, and seen their values dwindle to next to nothing, are now being rekindled. Preservation N.C. bought the property at 906 W. Second Ave. in 2015 for $12,000, and Starnes just purchased it for $115,000.

Howard admitted they were hoping to sell the home for as much as $125,000 or $130,000. But based on their experience successfully restoring mill houses in places such as Edenton and near Burlington, they know this is part of the routine. It’s harder to get a good appraised value on a restored home when there are no higher-priced sales nearby for an appraiser to point to.

“Your first one is the problem when it comes to appraisals,” said Howard. “With that house, we made a conscious effort to put in really nice finishes, because we needed to show what this could all be. It was really an aspirational thing for us.”

‘Long-term deal’

Preservation N.C. is renovating most of the homes it is acquiring to varying degrees. It is selling some as-is, though still attaching covenants to them.

“We’re not trying to have the neighborhood become pricey. We’re trying to have it be stable,” said Howard. “This ought to be a good, stable working-class neighborhood. And when you get down to it, the working class is going to basically be millennials.”

Starnes isn’t in that specific demographic, but she still fits a desired mold as a one-person household. Since her husband’s untimely death several years ago, she has envisioned something small and manageable. And the fact that she grew up just a few blocks away on Third Avenue, before graduating from Ashbrook High School in 1991, made a move to the Loray Mill village all the more fitting.

“I literally walked these streets when I was little, to places like Moss Drug and the YMCA,” she said. “I don’t have any plans for this to be a quick turnaround. This home is a long-term deal for me.”

Starnes is aware of the hesitation some people have with buying a home in a neighborhood that’s still in recovery. But she points to success stories such as the formerly downtrodden NoDa community in Charlotte.

“The only way to get there is to put money into an area,” she said.

Howard said as downtown Gastonia continues to become more of a destination, it will help make the nearby housing market more desirable. The city’s development of the Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment District will only help to connect downtown with the Loray Mill village, he said.

“We’re still a long way from where we want to be,” he said. “But I’m very encouraged about the way things are going.”

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(The Gaston Gazette, 7/8/18)

For more than a century that the Loray Mill has stood in Gastonia, the elevated windows on its far west side have offered the most striking glimpses of the surrounding landscape, with unobscured views of Crowders Mountain and Kings Pinnacle.

When the historic textile landmark was renovated in 2014, the residential overhaul focused on the building’s original core to the east, as 190 upscale loft apartments were carved out of the rugged brick and hardwood. But the mill’s owners say the long-awaited second phase of construction on the newer west wing will start later this year, finally making use of the vistas it provides.

The new 150,000-square-foot section will include 105 loft apartments that will mimic the 190 units already in place, renting above the market rate for the area. The success of the first phase has prompted the owners to stick with the proven mold, said Joe Lenihan, a managing partner with Loray Mill Redevelopment LLC.

Construction on the new units will get underway by the start of 2019 and, in all, take about 15 months to complete. Tenants will move in on a level-by-level basis, as each of the four topmost floors is finished.

“We already have the (architectural) drawings done, the mechanical and planning work done,” said Lenihan. “I will go right into raising the debt and getting the permits probably at the end of the summer, and we’ll be ready for construction by Christmas.”

Heavy investment

Lenihan, John Gumpert and Billy Hughes are the three major partners who formed Loray Mill Redevelopment and bought the mill for $660,000 in 2013, after working for years to secure financing to close the redevelopment the deal. Berkadia served as the lender, providing a $20 million loan that was guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration.

Other investors in the project included Chevron, through federal preservation tax credits, and the health care provider Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which took advantage of state tax credits that encouraged mill conversions.

The overall redevelopment of the property to date has cost about $45 million. About 85,000 square feet of commercial space was also created on the bottom levels that is now partially filled.

Taxpayers have chipped in, to an extent. Gastonia and Gaston County each committed to conceptually lease 20,000 square feet of the commercial space in the mill for 10 years, through independently structured deals. That has involved the two local governments collectively paying several hundred thousand dollars to date, though officials have embraced the benefits of the property becoming more of a thriving, tax-paying entity. Before its redevelopment, it was lifeless and bleak.

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(Gaston Gazette, 6/16/18)

Restoring gravestones in an old fishing village on the Outer Banks of North Carolina – it’s not your typical classroom experience. But for 10 students in UNC Greensboro’s IAR 555 (Field Methods in Preservation Technology), the three-week field school was transformative.

“The skills gained from field school are immediately applicable to my life, and I have already put some of them to use only four days after leaving,” said Morgan Duhan, who is working on a post-baccalaureate certificate in historic preservation. “This experience has created a solid toolkit of skills that have boosted my confidence in being able to enter the historic preservation field.”

Duhan was one of six graduate and four undergraduate students who traveled with interior architecture (IARc) professor Jo Leimenstoll to the remote Portsmouth Island – part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, just south of Ocracoke Island – to work with restoration craftspeople on restoring historic properties. The project was in partnership with the National Park Service, which covered the cost of building materials, supplies and honorariums.

The course was first offered in 2001 and continues to build on the partnerships it has cultivated with Old Salem Museums and Gardens and Historic Bethabara Park in Winston-Salem, the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office in Raleigh and various local preservation groups.

While each year reflects changes in the specifics of the field school, the core experience remains one of immersion in the craft of preservation as students engage in hewing logs, splitting shingles, planing moldings, repointing brick, plastering walls, cutting slate, installing wood shingle roofs, consolidating deteriorated wood, reglazing windows, forging iron and analyzing paint finishes.

Students spent the first week at Old Salem and Historic Bethabara working with skilled tradesmen to gain a hands-on understanding of traditional technologies for woodworking, blacksmithing, and masonry and plastering techniques. The second and third week built on the first as students moved from traditional technologies to current best practices for restoration work on actual projects in need of stabilization and repair.

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(UNCG Now, 6/19/18)

The house where the singer Nina Simone was born is in bad shape. The ceiling is crumbling, the walls chipping, the floorboards sagging; stray wooden planks are strewn against the walls. Last year, it seemed inevitable that the house would succumb to time.

But, thanks to the teamwork of four artists and a nonprofit, the site has a new lease on life. On Tuesday, the house in Tryon, N.C., was named a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The organization will devise a plan to rehabilitate the house so that it might be used by future artists.

The house, where Simone was born in 1933 as Eunice Kathleen Waymon, has been the subject of failed restoration attempts over the years. Kevin McIntyre, a former economic development director for Polk County, bought the house in 2005 and invested more than $100,000 of his own money before losing the property to money troubles. When the house went on the market in 2016, many assumed it would be knocked down.

Instead, four African-American artists — the conceptualist Adam Pendleton, the sculptor and painter Rashid Johnson, the collagist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher and the abstract painter Julie Mehretu — bought the house together in order to preserve Simone’s legacy. The purchase caught the interest of the National Trust, which had recently started a $25 million campaign to preserve historical sites related to African-American history. Simone died at age 70 in 2003 after a long career that made her a soul legend and civil rights icon.

“African-American women in jazz and in civil rights: their legacy is often undervalued, and there’s an ongoing struggle for recognition,” Brent Leggs, the director of that campaign — called the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund — said in a phone interview.

So, the organization decided to mark the house a National Treasure, a label that has been bestowed fewer than 100 times across the country. The team will begin an 18-month campaign with a $100,000 internal budget, working with the local community, local organizations and the World Monuments Fund to devise a long-term plan for how to preserve the space. Mr. Leggs estimates the full restoration will cost around $250,000.

Mr. Pendleton and the other three artists will be actively involved in shaping the house’s future. One idea is to turn the space into a home for an arts residency program, with hopes that future artists might be inspired by the same surroundings that sparked a young Simone.

“I’m not interested in turning the house into a museum,” Mr. Pendleton said in a phone interview. “I’m much more interested in restoring it so that it reflects what it was like when the Waymons lived there. I think it’s important to note that it looks like a very humble dwelling.”

And while the crumbling house is very much of a different time, Mr. Pendleton says it has strong symbolic power in a fraught modern era. “Nina’s politics challenged what America was at the moment she was alive — and challenged what America could be and what it would become,” he said. “I think those are questions that don’t die.”

Read full story…

(New York Times, 6/18/18)

A day of music and remembrance to celebrate the life and legacy of the legendary Nina Simone is planned for Tuesday in Tryon, N.C.

Presented by The Nina Simone Project, the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, University of North Carolina-Asheville, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the National Trust’s African American Heritage Action Fund, “Celebrating Nina Simone” is a chance to learn more about Simone’s childhood, music and lasting influence.

”Nina Simone’s legacy burns bright today — her songs carrying messages of racial and gender inequality are igniting a new generation of artists, musicians and activists, and she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this spring — yet her childhood home in Tryon, N.C., has not fared so well,” said Erica Stewart, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We know we need to do more to honor her roots and support her legacy, and to uplift the story of African-American activism and achievement in this country. This day a reflection of that commitment.”

The daytime portion of the event includes free, 45-minute public tours of Simone’s childhood home and tribute performances by Lydia Salett Dudley, Lenora Helm, Yolanda Rabun and Mary D. Williams, from 1:30-3 p.m. at St. Luke’s Plaza in downtown Tryon. Tours of the home will take place from 1-4 p.m. and must be registered for in advance on the event website. Shuttles will be provided at St. Luke’s Plaza, 64 N. Trade St., to take visitors to the house.

Evening festivities include a brief program starting at 6:30 p.m. at Tryon’s Rogers Park, where the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Nina Simone Project, and the owners of Simone’s childhood home – Adam Pendleton, Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher and Julie Mehretu – will tell the story of their partnership and announce the next steps in preserving Simone’s legacy.

Read full story…

(, 6/16/18)

The historic Venable Center building in downtown Durham could more than double its current space with the creation of a new building, according to plans submitted to the city this year.

Federal Capital Partners submitted revised plans to the Durham City-County Planning Department in April for a four-story building on what is now a surface parking lot. The plans were designed by Durham-based Duda|Paine Architects.

The proposed building, at 302 E. Pettigrew St., would be 82,170 square feet, according to the plans, and would be accompanied by a parking deck capable of holding 383 vehicles. Currently the Venable Center has more than 52,000 square feet of office space, according to the plans.

Federal Capital, a Maryland real estate company, acquired the Venable Center in 2016 for $18 million from Scientific Properties. Federal Capital has been involved in several projects across the Triangle in recent years, including the development of The Dillon in downtown Raleigh. The company also sold the West Village development in Durham for $187 million in 2016.

Duda|Paine is also the architect behind The Dillon, the new RTI International headquarters building in Research Triangle Park and the Durham Innovation District buildings.

But, it’s unclear what the future of the proposed plans is, as Federal Capital has marked the building for sale — after owning it for a little more than two years — and the company declined to speak about it.

“The project has been marketed for sale through HFF and until that process has concluded, we are unable to comment further,” a spokeswoman for Federal Capital Partners said.

For its part, HFF is advertising the building as having “significant upside potential with future development opportunity,” according to its marketing materials. HFF adds that any redevelopment could be much larger than the 82,000 square feet that is proposed. The property is in a zoning area that has no height restrictions.

Efforts to reach HFF were not immediately successful.

The Venable Center’s buildings, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, include office, retail and lab space. The building’s largest tenant is Precision Biocsciences.

Parts of the building date to 1905, but in its original heyday, the building was the home to the Venable Tobacco Co., whose markings are still on the building. Scientific Properties renovated the building in 2006.

Read full story…

(The News & Observer, 6/15/18)

A cultural survey currently underway that seeks to document the legacy of an overlooked Waynesville community could add to the town’s growing roster of properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“There’s been a lack for a long time, much longer than it should’ve been, of getting details and documentation on the history of the African American community, in Western North Carolina in particular,” said Sybil Argintar, a historic preservation consultant with Southeastern Preservation Services.

The survey had been discussed in the Waynesville Historic Preservation Commission as well as the North Carolina Historic Preservation Office as a way to take the steps needed to gather the data required for applications to the National Register by property owners in the town’s historically African American Pigeon Street district.

Argintar started out in landscape architecture, switched to historic landscape work and then got into historic architecture, earning a master’s degree in historic preservation; she said she works with many private property owners who want to qualify for tax credit programs or apply for National Register listing.

Read full story…

(Smokey Mountain News, 6/13/18)

Local preservationist B. Perry Morrison Jr. was presented with the 2018 Preservation Spirit Award during the recent Preservation of Wilson annual Garden Party and Art Show.

The Preservation Spirit Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to promoting historic preservation in Wilson County.

Morrison has been a part of the Preservation of Wilson leadership since 2006, serving as president, past president and as a member of the finance committee.

“Perry truly cares about eastern North Carolina and Wilson in particular,” said Betty Rae McCain, former N.C Department of Cultural Resources secretary. “He has been a longtime champion for preservation and one of Wilson’s greatest public assets. Perry never loses sight of what makes Wilson special and how important it is to carry that message to our next generation.

“Perry is a great blessing for us, and he justly deserves this award,” she said.

Morrison has served on the N.C. Museum of History Associates’ board of directors, the National Register Advisory Committee, N.C. Historical Commission, N.C. Museum of History’s accessions committee, Wilson County Historical Society, Tryon Palace Foundation, N.C. Society of the Cincinnati, Friends of N.C. Archives’ board of directors and Barton College’s board of advisers and history lectures committee.

He has also been involved with the Wilson County Public Library as a trustee, Barton College as director of international studies, Wilson County Tourism Authority as a board member and Wilson All-American Kiwanis Club as a two-time president.

An attorney with Morrison Law Firm, he is married to the former Nancy Hooper of Wilmington, and they have two children.

Read full story…

(The Wilson Times, 6/10/18)

The Ocracoke Preservation Society (OPS) took a giant leap Thursday night and agreed to buy the Island Inn property to save it for community purposes.

“We will put our name on the deed,” said OPS President Ken DeBarth.

The vision for the renovating the iconic building includes retaining the original two-story, wood-frame structure (the former Odd Fellow’s Lodge), demolishing the two deteriorating wings and creating separate public restrooms, all while retaining some green space.

“This was a time-limited opportunity,” DeBarth said. “If we didn’t take this plunge, the property would have been lost.”

And the OPS board ultimately agreed that this project was in their mission.

“We see this as an opportunity to expand the OPS’s preservation efforts in a big way—to be more than just a museum and a gift shop,” DeBarth said.

“I am in awe of the organization that OPS just became with this decision,” said Tom Pahl, Ocracoke’s county commissioner. “It was tough for them to get to that point, but with this, they are really, truly pursuing their mission of island preservation.”

Read full story…

(Ocracoke Observer, 3/25/18)

LUMBERTON — City officials say a fresh approach is needed to put an old building on North Water Street back to work.

They are trying to write a new chapter for the abandoned water plant, which was built in 1952, occupies prime real estate in the downtown area, and has become an eyesore.

“A re-use (is possible), like the old city hall worked through Preservation North Carolina,” said Wayne Horne, city manager.

The city is employing Retail Strategies to market the building.

The old plant was built during Robeson County’s textile boom. It was shut down and shuttered when Lumberton outgrew the plant’s capacity and the water treatment facility off Lowery Street went into operation.

Now the water facility near Eighth Street is an empty shell waiting for a new purpose.

Connie Russ, Downtown Development coordinator for the city of Lumberton, is working with Rediscover Downtown Lumberton to develop plans for the old water plant.

“We think it would be ideal for us to market the building as a microbrewery, maybe a restaurant, to serve food,” she said. “The Riverwalk as planned will go right behind this building. We need something usable for that space.”

The facility is envisioned as a major anchor point for cafes and entertainment venues, according to the RDL master plan. Reviews of the market and the site will be conducted, and then proposals that meet the city’s needs will be requested from developers. A developer would then be chosen, and an agreement would be made for the purchase and redevelopment of the plant.

“We need things for people to do in order for them to live here,” Russ said.

A variety of ideas for repurposing the water plant have been proposed over the years. One was to use it as an art gallery, but in the end that idea was deemed unfeasible.

“One possibility is to turn it over to N.C. Preservation to market it for some purpose, just as they sold the old fire station,” Russ said. “We would like to see something done by someone with wider stretching arms than us.”

Read full story here…

(The Robesonian, 6/1/8)

Visitors from the Triangle eastward learned about the restoration of historic structures during the Preservation Trades Fair on April 28 at Edgecombe Community College.

Experts from Eastern North Carolina led demonstrations on various preservation-related topics and building trades, including roofing, window repair and historic carpentry.

Presenters included:

■ Reid Thomas, restoration specialist with the Eastern Office of the State Historic Preservation Office, who spoke on tax credits.

■ Rob Sands, CEO of the Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities, who talked about his program to renovate houses for veterans.

■ Amber Kidd, local preservation commission/CLG coordinator with the State Historic Preservation Office, who focused on historic commissions.

■ Kevin Wilson, who gave a talk on timberframe construction

(Read full story…)

Rocky Mount Telegram, 5/16/18

Ever thought about what it would be like to own a historic Bladen County home? If so, now is your chance.

Preservation North Carolina has put the Purdie House in Tarheel, on the market at a list price of $239,000.

Built between 1803 and 1809, the Purdie House has 2,798 square feet and is situated on just over 47 acres of land.

The home was built by James S. Purdie, who had significant land holdings in the area as early as 1788 — at which time he was recorded as owning 1,920 acres and 28 slaves by the 1790 census. Purdie inherited the family plantation after the death of his father in 1818. He served as sheriff of Bladen County in the 1780s and was a private in the Continental Line during the American Revolution.

Prior to beginning construction of the present house, Purdie lived in an earlier house on the north side of the Cape Fear River.

A chapel was also built as part of the larger complex as early as 1800, but the first chapel was destroyed by fire and replaced by the present chapel in 1845, which is located across the road from the present house.

The estate was deeded to Jame’s wife Anna Maria following his death in 1834, and under her management, the plantation grew substantially — with holdings of more than 1,300 acres and 60 slaves by the 1850 census. The Purdies continued ownership of the estate until 1946. It has been owned by the Mitchell family since their purchase in 1972, under whose careful restoration and stewardship resulted in its listing in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

(Read full story…)

The Bladen Journal, 5/11/18

Preservation North Carolina would like to express our deepest condolences on the passing of North Carolina native and renowned preservationist, Richard Jenrette.  We had the pleasure of working with Mr. Jenrette through our stewardship at Historic Ayr Mount in Hillsborough for over a decade. His commitment to historic preservation is inspirational and his legacy will amplify the cause of historic preservation in North Carolina and across the country.   


Richard H. Jenrette, who was a co-founder of the first Wall Street firm to offer shares to the public and who, after selling it to the giant but ailing Equitable Life Assurance Society, presided as chief executive over the company’s revival, died on Sunday in Charleston, S.C. He was 89.

His death, at Roper House, one of many historical homes he restored in a parallel avocational career, was confirmed by Margize Howell, co-president of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, which Mr. Jenrette founded. She said the cause was complications of lymphoma.

A courtly, soft-spoken North Carolina native whom The New York Times once called the “last gentleman on Wall Street,” Mr. Jenrette (pronounced JEN-reht) enjoyed storybook business success beginning in 1960.

That year, after an early stint at the venerable Wall Street firm Brown Brothers Harriman, he teamed up with two younger Harvard Business School friends, William H. Donaldson and Dan Lufkin, to form Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, the first Wall Street securities firm started from scratch since the early 1930s.

By Mr. Jenrette’s account, it was Mr. Lufkin who first observed that Wall Street research operations of the day were concentrated on big blue-chip companies. Mr. Lufkin proposed that D.L.J., as their firm would be known, focus on small, fast-growing companies, which the partners came to see as the wave of the future.

(Click here to read full obituary)

The New York Times, 4/23/18

The Carter house next to Brown Library is safe from the wrecking ball, for now.

During its meeting Monday, the Washington City Council voted 4-1 for City Manager Bobby Roberson not to issue a purchase order to pay for demolishing the house and to work with Preservation North Carolina to explore options to save the house. That approach has been suggested by several people at council meetings in the past six months.

Council members Virginia Finnerty, Doug Mercer, William Pitt and Roland Wyman voted for Finnerty’s motion to delay demolition, with Councilman Richard Brooks voting against the delay.

John Wood, representing the Greenville office of the State Historic Preservation Office, and Maggie Gregg, with the eastern office of Preservation North Carolina, urged the city to consider working with Preservation North Carolina to explore ways to preserve the house (at 425 W. Second St.) built in the 1930s. One of those options is to allow Preservation North Carolina to market and sell the house on behalf of the city. Preservation North Carolina has a history of helping preserve historic structures by doing that. Revenue generated by the sale of the house would go to the city, which paid $80,000 for it several years ago.

On April 10, 2017, a 3-2 council vote started the 365-day clock toward demolition of the house on West Second Street, built by Henry Clay Carter III and his wife Marjorie in 1930. The city pursued the demolition option to pave the way for library expansion and additional parking.

Don Stroud, a historic district resident and president of the Washington Area Historic Foundation, once again urged the council to not do further damage to the historic district’s character by allowing the house to be demolished. He said there are options when it comes to saving the house. Robert Sands, CEO of the Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities, said demolishing the Carter house would damage the historic district, which draws visitors to Washington, boostinge the city’s economy.

“I don’t think there is anybody in here that would disagree that the historic district is a very important part of the economic engine of Washington. Once you start to dismantle that historic district, you will start to dismantle the economic engine that drives us,” Sands said.

Several speakers who urged saving the Carter house also urged the city to protect the neighboring house at 411 W. Second St.

Read full story…

(The Washington Daily News, 4/10/18)

WASHINGTON, NC (WITN) – A small group of determined advocates are working to make a big difference in the lives of female veterans in Eastern Carolina, particularly, those female veterans who are looking to take the final steps in drug or alcohol abuse recovery and reintegrate with their community.

The Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities is a new non-profit based in Washington, NC. Chief Executive Officer Robert Greene Sands hopes to repurpose old, dilapidated houses starting with 219 West 3rd Street.

“So from two sides of it, right, we have the mission of the historic preservation but on the other hand we have a mission to be able to reintegrate female veterans and this house offers incredible potential for that,” Sands said.

The house there is now being called “Rose Haven.”

“This house has seen African-Americans living here, its seen whites living here, it has been a transitional part of changing neighborhoods and demographics over 135 years,” he said.

Sands’ background is in anthropology. He noticed a gap in recovery programming for female veterans while working at the Department of Defense.

Read full story…

(WITN, 4/10/18)

CHARLOTTE—The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) has joined with Preservation North Carolina (PNC) to save the Charles E. and Edna Barnhardt House in the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte. HLC purchased the home with funds from its historic preservation revolving fund.  Without HLC and Preservation North Carolina’s intervention, the home would have been destroyed.

Protective covenants have been placed on the property to protect it from future demolition. HLC plans to sell the home, and funds received from the sale will be returned to HLC’s revolving fund to be used for future preservation projects.

Charles E. Barnhardt was a prominent business and civic leader in Charlotte. The Barnhart House was completed in 1938 as the centerpiece of a 15-acre estate in Plaza-Midwood, the house is a beautiful, sophisticated example of revivalist design. The home was designed by noted architect was Martin E. Boyer, Jr.  During the 1920s and 1930s Boyer designed many of Charlotte’s most elegant homes— his drawings of the Charles E. and Edna Barnhardt House are on file in the North Carolina State University archives. In 1948, George B. Cramer and Elizabeth Crooks Cramer purchased the house, and members of the Cramer family lived there until 2016. George Cramer was the son of textile engineer and industrialist Stuart Cramer, for whom the Town of Cramerton is named.

A new subdivision is being built at the site of the Barnhardt home, and with a Charlotte ordinance requiring connecting streets between blocks, a connector street was scheduled to go straight through the home. “We worked with the long-time owners of the property to save this important Charlotte landmark, but credit for saving the home also belongs to the subdivision developer” said Dr. Dan Morrill, HLC Director. “The Charles E. and Edna Barnhardt House will become someone’s home, and it will generate property tax revenue for the benefit of the community.”

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmark Commission protects properties by recommending the designation of individually significant properties as historic landmarks; buying and selling endangered historic landmarks through its revolving fund and placing preservation covenants in the deeds on properties; administering design review over intended material alterations of historic landmarks; and educating the general public about the significance of historic landmarks.

Preservation North Carolina (PNC) is North Carolina’s only private nonprofit statewide historic preservation organization. Its mission is to protect and promote buildings, landscapes and sites important to the diverse heritage of North Carolina. Through its award-winning Endangered Properties Program, Preservation North Carolina acquires endangered historic properties and then finds purchasers to rehabilitate them. PNC’s Endangered Properties Program is widely regarded as the nation’s most successful program of its kind.


The future purpose of the ECU chancellor’s residence on East Fifth Street remains unsettled even after those responsible for guiding its historic use received a tour of the property this week led by university trustees and administrators.

On Tuesday, members of the Greenville Historic Preservation Commission took part in a tour and question-answer session hosted by Max Joyner Jr., an ECU trustee, at the Dail House, the former home of ECU chancellors located at 605 E. Fifth St. The Daily Reflector was not notified of the meeting.

William Bagnell, ECU associate vice chancellor for operations, followed the tour with an appearance at the commission’s scheduled meeting to clarify the situation and answer further questions. Bagnell confirmed the stated belief of commission members that the Star Hill Farm house purchased this month by the private nonprofit ECU Foundation will serve only as a transitional home for current chancellor, Cecil Staton and his wife, while the Dail House is being rebuilt for future chancellors’ residential use.

After telling them “that is accurate,” Bagnell seemingly contradicted himself and said a committee of the ECU Board of Trustees is assigned to determine how the Dail House will be used in the long run for the “highest and best use of the institution.”

“Whether that is as a residence, an event location or a combination of both is still undetermined, and it’s going to take a little bit of time to process through” Bagnell said.

Commission chairwoman Candace Pearce then told Bagnell that as the commissioners understood it, the reason the university’s original plans to renovate the Dail House was scrapped is because the “state institution” (the UNC Board of Governors) would not approve the renovation.

Bagnell told Pearce, “We could not get the administrative (Board of Governors) approval we needed to move forward with that renovation and expansion plan.”

Bagnell did not tell the commissioners what his ECU administrative colleagues had previously confirmed: that the ECU trustees removed the proposal from the governors’ table before they considered it, based on the belief it would be rejected because of its $3.5-million price tag.

Bagnell did confirm that fact to The Daily Reflector after he spoke to the commissioners.

One of the historic preservation commissioners asked Bagnell if the Board of Governors gave the university a reason why it rejected the proposal. Once more, Bagnell did not tell the commissioners that ECU pulled the request before the governors could make their decision.

“I don’t know that I could speak for the Board of Governors,” Bagnell told them.

“Don’t they have to give an explanation?” the commissioner asked him.

“I don’t know that I can answer that question, either,” Bagnell said. “We sent them a request for $3.5 million for capital improvement and could not get that approval at that time. It could be the expense; it could be the perception of where we were spending our money when there’s lots of deferred things. …”

Bagnell told Pearce that the university is using operating funds for the renovation project, funds that reset every year.

The commissioners — the group that approved ECU’s initial plan — have been seeking clarification from ECU administrators about the university’s intentions for the future of the residence and four adjoining properties.

On Feb. 27, the commissioners had received a copy of a memo from Jim Hopf, Chancellor Cecil Staton’s chief of staff, to City Manager Ann Wall intended to address any questions the city might have and “allay any concerns expressed about ECU’s commitment to the Dail House property.”

The letter left the commission members still seeking clarification on the matter, so they requested direct consultation with ECU administrators.

(Read full story…)

The Daily Reflector, 3/30/18

From safety and traffic to stormwater runoff and historical integrity, Five Points neighbors aired a number of reasons Monday night why they oppose Hayes Barton Baptist Church’s plan to tear down six historic homes to add a church parking lot.

Yet what bubbled up during the nearly two-hour-long session between the more than 200 neighbors, church supporters and community members were not only concrete concerns but also issues of fairness and sacrifice.

“This has been pretty intense,” said church pastor David Hailey. “We need to regroup and cool down and give some thought to what has been said.”

The church, tucked into the corner of Whitaker Mill Road and Glenwood Avenue, has wanted to add parking for a long time to make it easier to drop off children at the church preschool and to help less-mobile church members reach the sanctuary, Hailey said.

During a long-range capital planning process, the church looked at demolishing six houses it owns along White Oak Road to add more than 70 parking spaces. Five of those homes — 1810, 1812, 1814, 1816 and 1818 White Oak Road — have been rented out by the church, some for decades. The sixth, 1806 White Oak Road, was purchased this month. All of the homes except for the one right behind the church are considered contributing structures to the Bloomsbury Historic District, which was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

Hailey outlined this history, along with Mary Beth Johnston, and talked about the church’s contributions to the greater community during a 20-minute presentation. They came, both Hailey and Johnston said, to listen, understand and better learn about the concerns of the neighborhood.

Read full story…

(The News & Observer, 3/20/18)

A Raleigh church that angered its neighbors with a plan to destroy a half-dozen historic homes to add parking and improve building access wants to talk with its critics, but says it does not expect to change direction.

David Hailey, pastor of Hayes Barton Baptist, said the church has not canceled its plans to raze the six houses it has acquired over the years facing White Oak Road, but it will talk with neighbors who were upset when they learned of the plan last week. The houses are included in the Bloomsbury National Register Historic District off Glenwood Avenue at Five Points.

“Our neighbors have been good to us, and we want to be good to them,” Hailey said.

He and others from the church will be meeting with neighbors and city officials to discuss the proposal.

The plan was crafted by a church committee that searched for a year for solutions to several issues the church has, including a dearth of parking in a neighborhood with narrow streets. During the week, those who live in the area or work, shop or dine at the nearby businesses often use the church’s parking. On Sunday mornings, worshipers who don’t arrive in time to get a space in the church lot may park on the street or in the lots of nearby businesses that aren’t open during worship hours.

To remedy the parking problem, the church plans to level six homes it has bought over the years, including one it closed on just last week. The houses were built between 1920 and 1925.

The church held its first worship service on its property in 1926.

Read full story…

(The News & Observer, 3/13/18)

More than two dozen historic homes have been demolished this year in one of Raleigh’s oldest residential areas, including an entire National Register Historic District just off Hillsborough Street.

The dozen houses that made up the Maiden Lane National Register Historic District were razed in late February to make way for a three-story, 203-unit apartment complex known on planning documents as Hillstone Cameron Village. The others that have been taken down were in neighboring Oberlin Village, a historic African American settlement dating to just after the Civil War, and the nearby West Raleigh Historic District, developed starting in the 1920s.

Collectively, “it’s a huge loss,” said Myrick Howard, president of Preservation NC, which encourages preservation and reuse of historic buildings across the state. “These houses are going down left and right.”

The first houses on Maiden Lane were built in the 1890s, just after R. Stanhope Pullen donated land to create a large park and a state university. What became Pullen Park and the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering, now NCSU, enticed people to move to the area, which was then rural land outside Raleigh’s city limits.

According to a history of the neighborhood, , the first houses on Maiden Lane belonged to families connected to the university. They included D.H. Hill, an English professor who became the college president, and John Allen Arey, who headed the school’s Dairy Extension Service and was known as “the father of the progressive dairy program.”

Read full story…

(News and Observer, 3/9/18)

A rapidly setting sun and a bitterly cold March wind did not deter 15 brave folks from making a walking tour late Thursday afternoon through the historic Loray Mill village in west Gastonia.

The walking tour was led by Jack Kiser, a resident of Gastonia for more than 40 years and a former city planner, who now serves as project manager of the Loray Mill village revitalization initiative.

The mill is one of 800 properties around the state which Preservation North Carolina is working to save and to restore.

Just as the Loray Mill was once the single largest textile mill in the entire Southeast, it now stands as the largest historic preservation property in North Carolina under one roof.

The mill was donated to the preservation group by Firestone until it was purchased by private investors. Built in 1901, the mill was made even larger with an expansion in 1922. The structure is an example, Kiser said, of heavy mill construction, meaning the load-bearing walls grew thinner as the stories climbed. The wooden beams supporting the floors are 12 by 12 hardwood, he added.

(Read full story…)

Gaston Gazette, 3/9/18

Hayes Barton Baptist Church wants to level a half-dozen homes in a National Register historic district in Raleigh to build a parking lot, but critics say the plan doesn’t show much love for the church’s neighbors.

“It sort of makes you think about the Golden Rule,” said Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina. “I would ask the minister if he wants a parking lot across the street from his home, and we know what the answer to that is.”

Pastor David Hailey said a committee has been working on a long-range capital improvement plan for about a year that includes the addition of more than 70 parking spaces for the church, which towers over the Five Points intersection. The church sits between White Oak and Whitaker Mill roads, and currently has parking for about 170 cars.

During the week, Hailey said, people who live, work, dine or shop in tightly-packed Five Points often park in the church’s lot. On Sundays, businesses return the favor, allowing some of the 500 to 600 regular worshipers who attend the 11 a.m. service to park in their lots. Others park on side streets.

The church has wanted to add parking for a long while, Hailey said, to make it easier for the parents of children at the church preschool to drop off and pick up their children, and to shorten the distance that less-mobile church members have to walk to reach the sanctuary. The lot also would benefit the neighborhood, Hailey said, because when services are not being held, the church would continue to allow others to park there.

But to build it, the church plans to demolish a row of six houses that stand along White Oak Road. Five of the houses — 1810, 1812, 1814, 1816 and 1818 White Oak Road — have belonged to the church since 1960, according to Wake County property tax records. The sixth house, at 1806 White Oak Road, directly behind the church, Hayes Barton just closed on on Monday.

All the houses were built between 1920 and 1925 and together occupy less than three-quarters of an acre of land. Their total appraised value is more than $3 million.

(Read full story…)

News and Observer, 3/7/18

When it was built with Rosenwald funding on what was then the campus of the Elizabeth City Colored Normal School in 1921, the “practice school” was the place where African-American college students learned the craft of teaching.

Under the watchful eyes of their instructors, students enrolled at the Normal School would practice their teaching skills on neighborhood children in the large frame building before taking jobs in the state’s then-segregated black schools.

The practice school building has been moved several times and gone on to serve a number of other functions — for a while it housed a cosmetology school before it became host to an ROTC center for student cadets.

Despite its changing uses and sites, however, the practice school has remained a place for education.

And now, thanks to ECSU and group of community and regional partners, the former practice school is being reinvented again — this time as an African-American Heritage Center for northeastern North Carolina.

The goal of the renovation project, say organizers, is to create a resource center for researchers of African-American history as well as an interpretive site for the public, helping connect people to the rich history of black communities in the region.

Russ Haddad, special assistant to ECSU Chancellor Thomas Conway, said ECSU officials believe the center will bring both visitors and prospective students to the ECSU campus.

The center also would help make Elizabeth City itself more of a destination by offering visitors a living history site they can walk through and see up-close. Haddad said Elizabeth City has a historic walking tour that provides views of historic homes from the outside but doesn’t have a good site for seeing the inside of a historic building.

One of the things project organizers are working on is a reliable estimate of the restoration work’s cost. The current estimate — which Haddad acknowledged is basically an educated guess — is at least $650,000.

Restoration of the building and development of the center is expected to be a phased-in, multi-year project, and the timetable is still being worked out.

Although a degree of restoration is required, Charles Reed, an associate professor of history at ECSU, said much of the original structure for the practice school remains “to a degree that it’s really impressive.”

Read full story…

(Daily Advance, 2/18/18)

SALISBURY — The North Main Street Historic District’s continuing efforts at preservation took a hit Saturday afternoon when fire ravaged the C.L. Emerson House at 1008 N. Main St.

“It makes me cry,” said Karen Hobson, executive director of Historic Salisbury Foundation. “Just when we’re making some progress on North Main, something like this happens.”

Salisbury Fire Department responded about 3 p.m. Saturday to the structure fire at North Main and West Miller streets. It proved to be a stubborn fire that prevented firefighters from making entry for a considerable period as flames flared through the second story.

Two ladder trucks were put into action with others on hand.

Smoke cascaded into the neighborhood as many nearby residents took videos of the working fire, whose cause was not immediately known. North Main Street traffic was detoured in this area for several hours.

The house’s new owner, Ricky McSwain of Cherryville, was in Texas on business and learned about the fire by telephone.

Hobson said McSwain had been making good progress on his restoration of the home, which the foundation sold to him last year.

“He’s a craftsman, which is a double loss — to have the perfect person to buy that house,” Hobson said.

The house dates back to 1900, when it was built by C.L. Emerson, considered to be Salisbury’s first oil dealer.

Read full story…

(The Salisbury Post, 2/17/18)

LUMBERTON — For those who have worked for the preservation of historic buildings and the revitalization of Downtown Lumberton, news of the sale of the old fire station at Elm and First streets was met with celebration.

Preservation North Carolina announced this past week the sale of the historic building to the Burgess Group, which plans to renovate it into office and meeting space. The Clinton-based Burgess Group has completed similar restoration projects across the state with investments in excess of $3 million.

“We are thrilled because the preservation of the old fire station was a top priority,” said Richard Monroe, president of Rediscover Downtown Lumberton. “We were really afraid we might lose that building.

“The renovation of the fire station will bring more people to the downtown, not just for entertainment but for business. This building has synergy with the public library, the Robeson County History Museum, the plaza and more.”

The building was constructed in 1917, about the same time as the Carolina Civic Center. It was built as Lumberton central fire station and also served as city hall and a library.

Vince Burgess, owner and manager of the Burgess Group, said the purchase is the “right fit” for his company, which has renovated several historic properties in Clinton.

“It’s a good location, close to our base in Clinton,” Burgess said. “There’s a great workforce here and strong downtown development, and we wanted to engage both those elements.”

Burgess has been active in historic preservation for some time. He is the recipient of the North Carolina Main Street Champion Award, which is part of the Main Street America program sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, for his work to renovate and build projects in downtown areas.

The group plans to restore the fire station’s façade and where possible maintain original historic elements of the building’s interior. Upon completion of the renovation, one of the Burgess offices will locate to a portion of the building, ultimately housing 10 to 20 people. Burgess is also open to other adaptive uses for the space.

The building was constructed during a period of economic expansion in the city. Its location on a prominent corner in downtown Lumberton is just a block-and-a-half from the Lumber River, history museum and historic Carolina Civic Center.

The building is a two-story brick veneered edifice with an ornately designed Palladian front entrance on one side and two garage bay openings for fire trucks on the other side. It was expanded into its current size in the late 1940s with an addition that maintained its stately details and proportions.

After being retired by the city, there were plans to use the building as meeting space and for exhibits by the fire department. Some renovations were initiated and, although new windows were installed, several of the historic windows were kept and stored on-site. The interior is divided into large and small spaces, and has several bathrooms.

The news came on the heels of an announcement by the city of upgrades to an alley from the Civic Center to the Plaza.

“This is good for the city,” Mayor Bruce Davis said. “The future for Downtown Lumberton is looking good, and I am looking for more significant developments in the near future.

“Preserving the integrity of that building will be a good deal for the city. I want people who see that building to be excited about our city.”

Preservation North Carolina is a nonprofit that specializes in historic preservation. The city turned the building over to Preservation North Carolina, which will be paid by the Burgess Group. The city will benefit from getting the building back on the tax rolls.

“We were seeking a buyer who values historic preservation and could also bring the construction infrastructure required to restore this building; we found that in Vince and the Burgess Group,” said Cathleen Turner, regional director for Preservation North Carolina. “They have been responsive to both the community’s needs and vision for this space.”

As a contributing structure in the Lumberton Commercial Historic District, the building is eligible for tax credits.

Read full story…

(Robesonian, 2/17/18)

Deadline for applications is March 15, 2018

Now accepting applications for our summer 2018 field school, the San Gemini Preservation Studies Program

Now in its 20th year, with alumni from over 170 colleges and universities worldwide, SGPS is dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage. We offer students the opportunity to study and travel in Italy where they acquire hands-on experience in preservation and restoration.

Session One (May 28 – June 22)

Building Restoration – Touching the Stones

Restoration of Traditional Masonry Buildings and Sketching & Analyzing Historic Buildings

(Program includes lectures and restoration field projects*)

Archaeological Ceramics Restoration

Analysis and Restoration of Archaeological Ceramics in Italy

(Program includes lectures and restoration workshop)

Book Bindings Restoration

The Craft of Making and Restoring Book Bindings

Introduction to the Conservation of Books and Bindings

(Program includes lectures and practical workshop)

Session Two (July 9 – August 3)

Paper Restoration

Restoration and Conservation of Paper in Books and Archival Documents

(Program includes lectures and restoration workshop)

Traditional Painting Techniques

Traditional Materials, Methods of Painting and Art Restoration Issues

(Program includes lectures and painting workshop)

Preservation Theory and Practice in Italy 

Restoration Theory, Ethics and Issues

(Program includes lectures and discussion)

NEW RESEARCH PROJECT: Carsulae Roman Baths Excavation Project

Architectural & Structural Survey of the Site

(Program includes research and surveying field work*)

*Field Projects:

Restoration of the façade of the medieval church of San Carlo (13th century)

Analysis of medieval buildings in San Gemini as part of an urban study of the city

Architectural and structural survey of the baths in the ancient Roman city of Carsulae

Short Inter-Session Program

Preservation Field Trip – Italy (June 24 – July 3)

A ten-day trip visiting Siena, Florence and Rome: places of cultural interest, the urban and historical development of each town, and specialized visits to places of interest to restorers.

To find out more about our program and review the syllabi, please visit our WEBSITE.

Courses are open to students from various disciplines, both undergraduate and graduate. All lessons are taught in English.



A new owner signed the deed Monday to buy the historic Colonial Inn in downtown Hillsborough.

County documents show Allied DevCorp. LLC paid $800,000 – $75,000 less than the list price – for the 10,000-square-foot inn at 153 W. King St.

The company is managed by Justin Fejfar, a principal and co-founder of FDR Engineers in Research Triangle Park. Fejfar has more than 20 years of experience in commercial, industrial and residential building design, according to the company’s website.

Hillsborough attorney Sam Coleman, who handled the deal for the buyers, has said the team includes experts in engineering, architecture, construction, and the restaurant and hospitality industry. They have had the inn under contract since November and plan to revive the building as a boutique hotel with a restaurant, bar and small event space.

They also will seek input from the community about the inn’s future, Coleman said. A rezoning and development application could be submitted to the town by spring at the earliest, he said, and will depend on the complexity of the details.

Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens briefly met the buyers when they were considering the deal but said Wednesday he “would be hard-pressed right now to even name which ones I met.”

He’s “very happy” to see them buy the inn, which “is an important landmark, not just historically, but in the life of the town,” Stevens said.

Read Full Story…

(The Herald Sun, 1/10/18)

For 200 years an abandoned cotton mill along the Tar River in Rocky Mount has been a symbol of resilience, burned down by Union troops, rebuilt, accidentally burned again, rebuilt again and then ceasing operations in 1996 with the collapse of the textile industry.

Now the plant is churning back to life as a multimillion-dollar redevelopment project called Rocky Mount Mills, a mix of offices, lofts, cottages, common areas and start-up breweries that could help the economically distressed region an hour’s drive east of Raleigh.

Its 60-some mill houses are being turned into rental dwellings, each with a washer-dryer, charcoal grill, free landscaping, and an American flag on the front porch. There is a waiting list for the next vacancy.

The project will have 300,000 square feet of offices. Another 49 loft apartments renting from $950 to $2,200 a month are on the way. Three restaurants offer wood-fired oven pizzas, chef-inspired tacos and upscale American cuisine.

More is on the way, including a coffee shop, a small outdoor amphitheater and an indoor event space in an old power house. There is plenty of room for expansion, as most of the 160 acres have not been developed.

The idea is to create a district that connects downtown with the mills.

“We are setting our sights on where we want to be in 10 years,” said Evan Covington Chavez, development director for the project, which is owned by Capitol Broadcasting Co

Raleigh-based Capitol, which owns three TV stations including WRAL and five radio stations, is betting that the area’s history and riverside setting – as well as the scale of the project – will allow it to replicate the success it has had in Durham with the American Tobacco campus. With its mix of offices, restaurants, community gathering places and technology start-ups, American – developed out of a sprawling, shuttered tobacco manufacturing complex – has been credited with helping to revitalize downtown Durham.

Rocky Mount Mills, which Capitol bought in 2007, has a few challenges the company didn’t face in Durham: no large university to act as an economic engine, high unemployment, and a dwindling population in Nash and Edgecombe counties, which Rocky Mount straddles. The mill development is in Nash County.

Capitol Broadcasting says it is confident it will fill its residential and office spaces, citing the brisk pace of tenants who have already signed up. Economic development officials like Norris Tolson, executive director of the public-private industry recruiter Carolinas Gateway Partnership, says he sees signs of a turnaround.

Tolson, formerly a top state official and state legislator representing Edgecombe County, points to major manufacturers that have been enticed to the region recently with financial incentives. Tolson says he always shows prospective clients Rocky Mount Mills.

“Many of us, myself included, think it is changing the landscape in Rocky Mount considerably,” he said “I can’t say enough good things about that project.”

Rocky Mount Mills has been partially financed through state and federal tax credits, as have hundreds of preservation projects throughout the state, in places such as Loray Mill in Gastonia, Revolution Mill in Greensboro, Spray Cotton Mill in Eden and American Tobacco. More than $1 billion has been spent on mill preservation since 2006, according to Preservation N.C.

Read Full Story…

(The News & Observer, 1/5/18)

Every company needs a home. Even the towering giants of online commerce desire a cozy place to hang their virtual hats (and sometimes more than one cozy place, as attested by the current bidding war for Amazon’s HQ2). While many a corporate mythology might dwell nostalgically on the “we started in our garage” trope, no startup wants to linger in the carport for very long. Once your business gets sure footing, you’re going to need digs.

Choosing a location for a growing enterprise is no small matter, even in today’s everything-online-all-the-time climate. Factors to consider include foot traffic, accessibility, infrastructure and much more. As the editors of Entrepreneur remind us, your address speaks volumes about your company, declaring loud and clear what matters most to you and your brand.

As you consider where to hang your startup shingle — uptown or down, suburbs or exurbs — let me encourage you to borrow a little wisdom from the playbook of America’s greatest advocate for urban design, Jane Jacobs. In her classic work The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), Jacobs famously wrote, “Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings” (emphasis mine).

Before you think I’m advocating that you build your brand in a chintz-covered B&B or some derelict warehouse without windows or running water, let me clarify what is meant by “old buildings.” For most of the 20th century, historic preservation was associated with ladies-who-lunch and house museums, where the childhood homes of local icons, say, were restored just as they were in the distant past, for tours at $5 a head, to keep the lights on.

I am not talking about those kinds of old buildings.

I’m talking about the newer, more progressive, more sustainable sort of historic preservation — known as “adaptive reuse” or “adaptive new use” — where an organization adapts a beautiful historic property for a contemporary purpose, retaining the most distinctive ornamental elements and the durable bones of the building, while reshaping the interior with surprising art and human-centered design.

Read full story…

(Entrepreneur, 1/3/18)

A prominent home in Chapel Hill, some warehouses that help tell the story of Raleigh and a neighborhood that was one of Durham’s first suburbs have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, according to the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Joining the list in Chapel Hill is the home of Arthur and Mary Nash. Arthur Nash arrived in Chapel Hill in 1922 as the university architect and was an advocate of the Colonial Revival style in Chapel Hill at the time and played a leading role in the design of Wilson Library, the Carolina Inn and Kenan Stadium.

The Nash home, which he designed, was his residence. He died in 1969.

In Raleigh, the Depot Historic District has been expanded to included three warehouses that date to the time of World War I. They had a prime location next to the railroad station, but the district fell from favor later in the 20th century with the rise of trucks and cars. Now, the buildings are right next to the new Union Station and are being redeveloped. One will be developed as a bar by a former brewer at Trophy Brewing.

The three buildings are small-scale, masonry industrial buildings with simple exteriors and open interiors.

Read full story…

(Triangle Business Journal, 12/26/17)

The team which is finalizing details in a bid to buy the historic Colonial Inn brings passion and practical experience to the deal, its attorney said Friday.

The team is local to the Triangle and has several historic preservation projects under its belt, Hillsborough attorney Sam Coleman said. Team members include engineering, architecture and construction professionals, as well as someone with extensive experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

“They understand the enormity of (the project), the complexity of it and how much it means to the town,” Coleman said, “and they will truly educate people at the appropriate time … hopefully in the near future, about what they plan to do with the property.”

That will include seeking input from the community, he said.

“They are passionate about the town of Hillsborough,” Coleman noted. “We think it’s a boon for the town, because it hopefully will be an inn, and a restaurant and a bar, just like it used to be when it first started.”

The prospective owners’ planned boutique hotel also could include a small event space, he said.

Read full story…

(Herald Sun, 12/18/17)

It’s not often that people on both sides of a contentious issue end up coming together, Councilman Brian Miller said at the Salisbury City Council meeting Tuesday night.

He was talking about the pink granite service station at 201 E. Innes St., a contributing historic property downtown that has been a candidate for demolition since September 2016.

The Historic Preservation Commission voted that month to delay the demolition of the building for one year — the maximum amount of time that a demolition can be delayed by the commission.

The one-year delay is intended to give time for stakeholders to consider every preservation option possible.

When the request to demolish the property first came up last year, the Historic Salisbury Foundation and influential historic preservation advocates lobbied strongly to preserve the building.

Architect Pete Bogle of The Bogle Firm wanted to demolish the station so that a mixed-use development could be constructed.

On Tuesday night, the City Council had to decide whether to issue a demolition permit for the building.

The granite service station has been vacant for at least 10 years, according to Bogle.

There were four questions that the historic foundation wanted to address with Bogle, all of which were some form of the question, “Can the building be preserved?”

Bogle said, in every case, it makes more sense for the service station to be demolished and the property repurposed.

Over the course of the year, the foundation and Bogle cooperated and compromised until an agreement was made that both parties could live with.

Read Full Story…

(Salisbury Post, 11/22/17)

Historic Wilmington Foundation (HWF) is pleased to announce Beth Rutledge as the new Executive Director, effective December 18, 2017. Rutledge will succeed George Edwards, who announced his upcoming retirement earlier this year and has led the organization since 2004.

Rutledge was selected after a nationwide search. With a 20-year marketing and copywriting background, she most recently worked on program development at the nonprofit Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, launching their education program and Old Home Certified, a regional REALTOR® designation. Rutledge may already be a familiar face to some, as she is currently a member of the HWF Board of Trustees, chairs HWF’s History’s Future committee, and volunteers at Legacy Architectural Salvage.

“We’re thrilled to have Beth Rutledge as the next Executive Director,” says Walker Abney, President of the Board of Trustees of HWF. “Beth is a long-time preservationist, with both an understanding of HWF’s legacy as well as fresh ideas for the future of the organization. It’s an exciting time for the Foundation.”

Founded in 1966, the Historic Wilmington Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the irreplaceable historic resources of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear Region.


In a former North Carolina mining village, you could get a shave and a haircut for two bits—or, now, a barbershop-turned-tiny house for $72,000.

Known simply as “The Barbershop,” the 345-square-foot home in Burlington has only one bedroom and one bathroom, but oodles of history.

While you won’t find any remnants of its past as a place for a stylish trim, the small space is divided into three main areas. A great room contains the sleeping, living, and dining areas; it leads into the kitchen and a compact bathroom.

The design even allows a stacked washer and dryer. There’s a small porch and, of course, a classic barber pole next to the front door. Cherry-red accents highlight the light-blue color scheme of the home, which has hardwood flooring.

For anything that can’t quite fit inside the small home, a storage shed is available out back. The shed was modeled after the outhouse that used to be there, so it matches the historic design.

The property is located in the Glencoe Mill Village, which was constructed in the 1800s. When the mill was in operation, the employees lived in small houses in a village of about 50 homes. The mill ran until the 1950s, and in the late ’90s the organization Preservation North Carolina started working with individual owners and people to buy and fix up the old homes.

Read Full Story…

(San Francisco Gate, 11/28/17)

You could buy a house for as little as $49,000 in Gastonia’s Loray Mill Village. The homes mostly built in 1901 and 1902 and once housed mill workers. The houses are typically 850-1,000 square feet and have one or two bedrooms.

The entire neighborhood, including the original Loray Mill, are part of a massive rehab and revitalization project.

Non-profit Preservation North Carolina bought the homes and says the quality construction and materials are still apparent. The group imagines these smaller, historic houses will be ideal for “small households” – think tiny house-loving millennials or down-sizing baby boomers who want a walkable community. Apartments are already available in the renovated mill building, the site of the infamous 1929 labor strike.

Preservation North Carolina calls the Loray Mill National Register historic district one of the largest of its kind in the country, with nearly 500 historic mill houses. PNC believes the neighborhood could become a bustling alternative to people priced out of historic hubs in Charlotte.

Jack Miser, the project manager of the Loray Mill Village Revitalization for Preservation NC, told me six other houses similar to the ones now on the market have already sold. About half of those were bought by owner-occupiers, and the other half were bought by people who are fixing the houses up to sell them.

The same deal applies to the six homes now available: You can fix the house up to flip it, but you can’t rent it – all buyers must be owner-occupiers, or reselling to an owner-occupier.

The properties available range from homes needing a total renovation to move-in ready.

Read Full Story…

(Charlotte Agenda, 11/13/17)

A new $25 million fund is being set up through the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help ensure that historical sites important to African-American history are no longer endangered.

The African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, announced Wednesday, will be financed through partnerships with groups like the Ford Foundation and the JPB Foundation, and already has more than $3 million on hand.

“There is an opportunity and an obligation for us to step forward boldly and ensure the preservation of places which tell the often-overlooked stories of African-Americans and their many contributions to our nation,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The money will be used to address critical funding gaps for the preservation of African American historical sites, including memorializing some places already lost to history, like Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, Virginia.

Read Full Story…

(   11/15/17)

While construction inside the Raleigh Beltline is not unusual, a local artist has launched a unique project to honor the history and meaning of the Historic Oberlin Village community.

Thomas Sayre’s project memorializes the community established in the 1870s by 750 freed slaves and their families in the years following the Civil War.

The people tilled their own land and began their free lives just yards away from today’s Cameron Village shopping center.

The park will feature symbolic parts of the community’s beliefs, including a sculpture to commemorate the people and their relationship with nature.

“I knew a little about Oberlin, but learned a lot more and realized this is kind of sacred dirt here,” Sayre said. “We’re making a sculpture that will be surrounded by a little park that is a memorization of Oberlin, a community that still exists.”

Read Full Story…

( 11/17/17)

Without tax breaks, downtown Durham’s renaissance, with its swanky hotels and new skyscrapers, possibly wouldn’t have happened.

Yet, one of the main tax breaks used in Durham’s redevelopment could be facing the chopping block if the U.S. House of Representatives tax reform bill makes it to President Donald Trump’s desk for a signature.

The House GOP’s tax plan would eliminate federal investment tax credits for historic preservation projects as part of the Republican-led attempt to simplify the country’s tax code.

The potential elimination of the the historic tax credit quickly was met with dismay from preservation groups across the country and from some politicians.

“At a time when federal funding for infrastructure and housing is continually squeezed, the last thing Congress should do is push through a flawed tax plan that would hurt working families, hamstring our state and local governments, and destroy our ability to leverage private investment for projects that benefit the public,” said U.S. Rep. David Price, a Democrat from Chapel Hill.

As of the end of 2016, three of the 10 biggest historic tax rehabilitation projects across the state of North Carolina were in downtown Durham, according to Downtown Durham Inc. Others in North Carolina include Asheville’s Grove Arcade and Winston-Salem’s Reynolds Building.

The three largest projects in Durham were the American Tobacco Campus, which cost $167 million, the $81 million redevelopment of the old Liggett & Myers tobacco factory and the $38 million transformation of the Hill building into the 21C Museum Hotel.

Read full story…

(The Herald Sun, 11/14/17)

Rehabilitation and repurposing of the Historic Loray Mill, converting and renewing the abandoned Gaston Memorial Hospital for senior housing, and restoration of the Armstrong Apartments were all made possible by Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits for investment properties. But now, this essential preservation and community reinvestment tool is planned for extinction by the GOP tax bill.

I have firsthand knowledge of the financial structure of these private redevelopment projects and can assure the reader that neither would have happened without multiple sources of financing, including necessary private equity induced by Historic Tax Credits. Each of these heritage buildings would have long ago gone to the landfill in the absence of this reinvestment tool. Instead today, they are preserved for generations to come, serving new community and economic purposes, and are playing a key role in revitalizing areas of our community which have been overlooked by the market.

Historic tax credits are necessary because they mitigate higher costs and greater design challenges, and most importantly, provide equity to help fill the financial gap needed in weaker market locations.

Beyond preserving the historic legacy of our communities, historic preservation projects have a better economic impact than greenfield development. Preservation project costs average about 60 percent labor and 40 percent materials, while new construction averages about 60 percent materials and 40 percent labor. More jobs are generated, plus materials are more likely to be locally sourced, consequently 75 percent of their economic benefits are locally retained. As private developments they contribute significantly to local tax coffers.

But, contrasted with greenfield developments, they demand little in added municipal services because they typically occur where such services and infrastructure are already present. Historic tax credits are not only a winner at the local level, but also at the state and the national level. They return to the U.S. Treasury roughly $1.25 for every tax dollar invested. Results include $131 billion in private capital investment, 2.4 million jobs, and preservation of 42,293 buildings important to local, state and national heritage. If we want to grow our economy through tax reform, eliminating the Historic Preservation Tax Credit is heading the wrong way. We must reinvest in the physical assets of our center cities, our main streets, our small towns and the built heritage embodied on our community landmarks — that which makes each community special and defines its history. This will help grow our economy and return significant dividends to our taxpayers.

Preservation tax credits involve over $100 million in Gaston investment including other projects such as Mayworth School Senior Apartments in Cramerton, Dallas High School Apartments, and buildings in the downtowns of Gastonia and Belmont. Communities across North Carolina have seen over 653 projects, totaling $1.8 billion in investment, producing 31,000 jobs and providing $392 million in taxes. We cannot let this policy so vital to communities be eliminated, for there will be more projects to come, whether it’s repurposing of more old factory buildings, iconic downtown structures, or plans now before our communities.

So, it is no wonder Historic Preservation Tax Credits have enjoyed broad bi-partisan support. When President Regan signed a law making this policy permanent, he put it well, “Our tax credits have made the preservation of our older buildings not only a matter of respect for beauty and history, but of economic good sense.”

If you agree that Historic Preservation Tax Credits are good policy, act today to call or email Congressman Patrick McHenry and Sens. Burr and Tillis.

Jack Kiser is a resident of Gastonia and has long been involved in historic preservation.

Read full story…

(Gaston Gazette, 11/9/17)

Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi Hamilton and others called for defending the federal historic preservation tax credits at a Nov. 8 fundraiser for the Historic Wilmington Foundation.

Guests at the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s 2017 fundraising banquet heard a call to action Wednesday to support federal tax credits for historic preservation.

Susi Hamilton, N.C. secretary for natural and cultural resources, noted that the credits are targeted for repeal in the current tax plan being promoted by congressional Republicans.

Since 1998, Hamilton said, the credits had been used in 158 separate income-producing historic preservation projects in New Hanover County alone, resulting in $36.9 million in private investment.

Historic preservation “is big business,” she said. “It’s big business in North Carolina and our entire region.” The tax credits had been used for projects in 90 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, she added.

“It’s time to reach out,” Hamilton said. “We need to defend our small portion of this much larger (tax) plan.”

The federal credits, she noted, can be used only for work on non-residential properties and are separate from North Carolina’s own state tax credit program.

Enacted in 1976, the federal credits have previously enjoyed bipartisan support, Hamilton said. Former President Ronald Reagan was a major proponent of the program.

George Edwards, the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s outgoing executive director, urged members and guests to write their congressmen in support of the credits.

Read Full Story…

(Star News, 11/8/17)

Has Hillsborough’s Colonial Inn finally found a new owner?

The “Under Contract” sign currently posted above the For Sale sign along the historic property at 153 W. King Street in downtown Hillsborough says so.

So does Seagle & Associates, a real estate brokerage based in Fuquay-Varina that currently holds the Inn’s listing. A representative of the company confirmed Monday morning that the property is under contract.

An online search also confirmed the property is listed “pending” in the Triangle Multiple Listing Service, which handles real property listings in the region. Little else is known at the moment, at least publicly, about the individual or individuals who have gone under contract to purchase the nearly 200 year-old Inn.

Read Full Story…

(The News of Orange 11/6/17)

It took six and a half long years for Cyndi and John Dellinger to bring the Laboratory Mill back from certain collapse due to water and other damage. It was quite by chance that they even discovered the mill, located on Southfork Road in Lincolnton. While on a walk on the Rail Trail, instead of walking back on the trail, they returned via the road and saw the “for sale” sign on the mill.

“I told John we ought to get that,” Cyndi Dellinger said. “He loves history but he told me I was out of my mind.”

Now that it’s fully restored and open for business, the Dellingers have received numerous awards and accolades for both the wedding venue and for preservation of the historic property. Most recently, they received the 2017 L. Vincent Lowe, Jr. Business Award from Preservation North Carolina, the highest preservation award given to a state business for promoting protection of North Carolina’s architectural resources.

The Laboratory Mill has a rich history. It was the Lincoln Cotton Factory, also known as the Lincolnton Factory, from 1819–1863. It served as a Confederate laboratory during the Civil War. After the war, it returned to textile operations until it closed in 1994.

Read full story…

(Lincoln Times-News, 10/25/17)

Preservation North Carolina has announced the sale of Spray Cotton Mill to Pittsboro developer Faisal Khan.

The historic preservation nonprofit group that promotes and protects the buildings and landscapes across the state, announced the sale on Friday.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed for the 5.6 acre property with an asking price of $195,000.

 According to a news release, renovation plans of the mill property will focus on a variety of complimentary uses.

Khan, a managing member of Spray Cotton LLC, has experience renovating historic buildings in neighboring Virginia.

Two of those projects were in Roanoke, where according to the Roanoke Times, Khan turned a 58-year dilapidated YMCA building purchased in 2014, into The Locker Room Lofts – a live/work space complex that still features historic elements of the original YMCA.

Prior to that purchase, he also renovated the former Crystal Tower Building, which reopened in August of 2014 as the Ponce de Leon apartment complex.

Read full story…

(Rockingham Now, 10/27/17)

The moment was sadly ironic.

On Wednesday, as city leaders celebrated the renovation of Revolution Mill — a former Cone Mills textile factory that now houses shops, offices, restaurants and apartments — another Greensboro textile mill was closing its doors.

White Oak was the last Cone textile mill operating in Greensboro, the last to make iconic American denim in the town where it began, the last still serving its original purpose.

Although the timing was purely a coincidence, it served to underscore how important historic preservation and new-market tax credits are in promoting economic development in towns where traditional businesses and industries have withered away.

There are few sights as disheartening as shuttered factories that once provided a livelihood for hundreds of workers. But that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.

Textile manufacturing has moved overseas, but the massive brick structures left behind can become another kind of economic engine — one that attracts entrepreneurs and millenials who want to live, work and play in the same space.

Revolution Mill shows how successful that kind of place can be.

Read full story…

(Greensboro News and Record, 10/19/17)

Charlotte’s NoDa district has its own feel to it. Some say it has character, and that’s why development is booming.

“It’s not polished and it’s very pedestrian oriented,” said one resident.

But off Alexander and 37th St., there’s a growing conflict surrounding the question: what is NoDa?

You know, there’s been so many changes it’s hard to find one word.”

Leigh McDonalds lives in this NoDa home. It’s more than 100 years old and it looked quite different before she fixed it up.

“I just knew immediately that it was the house I wanted,” Leigh said.

There are dozens of old mill houses in NoDa just like hers. With so much new development, there’s now a group effort to label them with this protective covenant from the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina.

“It prevents people from tearing the property, the house down.”

Preservation North Carolina’s Ted Alexander says it’s not just McDonald’s mill house he’s working to preserve, there are several, all along the same street.

Read full story…

(Fox 46 Charlotte, 10/17/18)

Gastonia native Wiley Cash took the title of his first novel, “A Land More Kind Than Home,” from a passage in Asheville native’s Thomas Wolfe’s last novel, “You Can’t Go Home Again.”

Cash certainly came home again Thursday night, however, to a standing-room-only reception at the Penegar Events Hall in Loray Mill, where an excited and appreciative audience, many of whom had just purchased the book, listened to him talk about the background for his just-released third novel, “The Last Ballad,” and to read a brief excerpt from the new work.

“The Last Ballad” presents a fictional narrative tied to the bloody 1929 labor strike at the Loray Mill and the key protagonist behind that strike, Ella May Wiggins, a mill worker won over to the labor union by its promise of a better life for poor workers like her and her family. Wiggins was also known for writing and singing protest songs which fueled the energy of the strikers and won new members to their cause.

Although now considered a pivotal event in the history of the southern labor movement, Cash revealed that he had never heard of the strike, or of Wiggins, until he was a doctoral student on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a professor mentioned it to him.

“I grew up in Gastonia. My mother was from a textile family here. My dad was from a textile family in Shelby, and yet I knew nothing about this key event in the history of the region,” Cash said.

“This was a story,” he added, “of race, and of class, and of gender, and of economics. It was a story that blew this town apart. And yet it was as if history forgot. I never heard this story from my family, or in college, or in church. I wanted to learn as much as I could about Ella May and what happened.”

Read full story…

(Gaston Gazette, 10/6/17)

The Historic Salisbury Foundation has acquired the McCanless-Busby-Thompson House at 128 W. Thomas St.

After a demolition hearing for the house was scheduled for Sept. 28, the foundation reached an agreement to purchase the property from John M. Cheek.

The sale closed Sept. 26, two days before the hearing.

“This amazing last-minute rescue saves an important house and helps protect a vital edge of the West Square Historic District,” said Edward Clement, a trustee for Historic Salisbury Foundation.

Built in 1922 for Charles McCanless, the son of Napoleon Bonaparte McCanless, the two-story brick Colonial Revival house is listed as a “contributing building” by the National Register of Historic Places and is located in the primary Salisbury Historic District.

Read Full Story…

(The Salisbury Post, 10/5/17)

The Carolina Theatre in Greensboro is hoping community support will help boost its chances to receive $150,000 in restoration funding.

Greensboro has been selected as a Partners in Preservation city, making it one of 25 cities eligible to receive a $150,000 grant focused on a historic preservation project.

Downtown Greensboro Incorporated says the theatre’s downtown location combined with its almost 90-year history, made it the ideal project to support.

“We have this historic stock of buildings down here that other cities our size or in North Carolina don’t have,” said Jodee Ruppel, vice president of strategic initiatives at DGI.

People can vote five times a day until Oct. 31st to support Greensboro, the only North Carolina city selected among the 25 cities.

Visit this website and scroll down to the bottom of the page to vote.

Read full story…

(, 10/5/17)

If only the walls, floors, and nearby trees, stones and pathways around Hillsborough’s Colonial Inn could talk. The stories they might tell us.

Might they tell us stories of the fledgling American Revolution, when British General Cornwallis, according to legend, in the midst of his occupation of Hillsborough, had his soldiers pave the muddy street in front of the Inn with flagstone?

Might they tell us what it was like to see William Hooper – later a signer of the Declaration of Independence – dragged through the streets of Hillsborough in 1770 during the height of the War of the Regulation, a precursor to the American Revolution?

Might those antebellum walls, columns, and floors tell us of the day when General Sherman’s Army rolled into Hillsborough, barreling its way south intent on destroying the will and fighting ability of the Confederacy? How a Union commander supposedly convinced Sherman not to burn down the Colonial Inn due to the fact that the owner was a fellow Mason?

Whether or not any of these things actually happened or not at the Colonial Inn, they’re part of the lore of the place. And one of the reasons why the Hillsborough mainstay has been designated a National Historic Place.

Read Full Story…

(The News of Orange,  9/30/17)

You’ve probably driven by the Durham Police Department’s West Chapel Hill Street headquarters plenty of times and not given much thought to it. Or maybe you’ve thought more about what goes on inside it than the building itself.

It’s a largely glass structure with hints of classroom-chair blue, bookended by brown walls that display the police department’s badge. Pretty unremarkable, right? Not so, says Preservation NC.

Read full story…

(IndyWeek, 9/20/17)

Five years ago, novelist Wiley Cash sent 25,000 words of what would become his third novel, “The Last Ballad,” to his editor at William Morrow. On the basis of those words, the editor bought the book. But in an early morning telephone interview, Cash tells me not one of those words appears in the finished version.

The New York Times bestselling novelist (“A Land More Kind than Home,” “This Dark Road to Mercy”), who grew up in Gastonia, says he wrote draft after draft, year after year, until the presidential election of 2016, when things began to crystallize for him. He saw how today’s events are a mirror-sharp reflection of those between the haves and have-nots of the mill society of the South in the 1920s and ’30s.

Read full story…

(Charlotte Observer, 9/24/17)

Often the people excelling at something are those who love what they do and don’t consider it work — and that is the case with a longtime local preservationist.

The name Betty Wright has become synonymous with the protection of historic properties around town, particularly the William Alfred Moore House constructed around 1862, which is considered the oldest-known building in Mount Airy.

Among other historic sites Wright has had a big hand in preserving through her restoration efforts, encouragement or care are the Nita Webb House on West Lebanon Street, now home to Blue Ridge CareNet Counseling Center, and Mount Airy Masonic Lodge on Franklin Street.

Wright also oversaw the rehabilitation and preservation of an old granite home on North Main Street which is now a law office, and championed the Satterfield House becoming a local historic landmark as one of the first African-American homes here.

Read full story…

(The Mount Airy News, 9/16/17)

The Historic Wilmington Foundation’s executive director is retiring after nearly 13 years.

George Edwards submitted his notice to retire effective on Dec. 15, Walker Abney, president of the Board of Trustees of Historic Wilmington Foundation, announced in a news release Tuesday. Edwards has held the position as executive director of the foundation since 2004.

November will mark Edward’s 13th year with the organization. He is the longest-serving executive in the foundation’s 51-year history, officials said in the release. The Historic Wilmington Foundation has been established in the Wilmington region since 1966.

“I feel good about my decision … but I think the next chapter should be fun too,” Edwards said Tuesday.

Read full story…

(Wilmington Biz, 9/19/17)

The City of Durham wants community input on what should happen to a prominent block on the western edge of downtown Durham.

Currently, the four-acre site is being used as the headquarters for the Durham Police Department. However, the site will become vacant in fall 2018, when the department moves to its newly constructed headquarters along East Main Street. When this occurs, the City will no longer have a municipal purpose for the property and is looking for community input as to its future use.

The City’s General Services Department is asking residents, businesses and other stakeholders to share their initial ideas, thoughts and concerns about the future of this property in the following ways:

  • Complete an online survey located on the project website.
  • Drop in on a pop-up workshop hosted at various locations in-and-around downtown:
  • Saturday, September 16 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Durham Farmers Market, 501 Foster Street
  • Monday, September 18 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Durham City Hall, 101 City Hall Plaza
  • Tuesday, September 19 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Durham Station Transportation Center, 515 West Pettigrew Street
  • Wednesday, September 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Durham Co-Op, 1111 West Chapel Hill Street
  • Attend a community workshop on Thursday, September 21 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Durham Armory, 220 Foster Street

Read full release…

(City of Durham Press Release, 9/1/17)

At first glance, the Double Shoals Cotton Mill looks run-down, but a new deck outside of a door, freshly mowed grass and lights hanging from an old cargo bay give hints of what could be.

Remodeled mill houses line Old Mill Road, leading down to the cotton mill located at 110 Moss Road, which is getting some sprucing up too from Michael Faucher and his family. The Fauchers bought the county’s oldest cotton mill at auction in 2015 in hopes of making it a home for artists, musicians and anyone looking for a historic, rustic venue.

Read full story…

(Shelby Star, 8/22/17)

Race relations seem to be a crossroads across the United States in light of recent controversial events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and elsewhere.

But a Tuesday event in Gastonia will shine a light on how city leaders here have worked proactively over the last 50 years to prevent the type of conflict and tragedy that has inflamed many other communities. Organizers of “Shades of Color: A Living History of Race Relations” hope the panel discussion will serve as an inspiring example of the kinds of collaborative benefits that are possible when people of different backgrounds and ethnicities come together.

Read full story…

(Gastonia Gazette, 8/25/17)

Before we moved to Warren County three years ago, both my wife and I found a copy of “Sketches of Old Warrenton” online and promptly printed it and read it cover-to-cover. We wanted to be familiar with the historic properties and the people that made up our new hometown. Then about a year later I was doing some research and pulled out my copy of Lizzie Montgomery’s book, and it was like I had never read it before! It took a little time, but I finally figured out that I hadn’t retained any of the stories or information because these places weren’t part of my daily life when I originally read the book.

Read full story…

(The New York Times, 7/26/17)

Jane and Greg Hills were visiting New York City when they grabbed a drink in the lobby bar of the Dream Downtown, a boutique hotel in Chelsea. As the full room pulsed with music and guests, the couple had an epiphany: Dream should run their new hotel in Durham, N.C.

“We had been talking to all the major brands, but we wanted someone innovative, creative and entrepreneurial,” Ms. Hills said of Dream, a relatively small company that operates 16 hotels. “The banks wanted us to go with someone more well known, but Dream was the right match for us.”

Read full story…

(The New York Times, 6/13/17)

GREENSBORO — A historic farmstead in High Point could be maintained and preserved at no cost to Guilford County under an agreement approved Tuesday.

The Hedgecock farmstead, a conglomeration of 13 buildings, sits on a corner of the county-owned Rich Fork Nature Preserve. Two years of debate over the 120-acre property focused mostly on whether the land should allow mountain biking, but a group of preservationists also sought to find a way to save the structures.

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(Greensboro News & Record, 7/11/2017)

Renovation of the old Pinehurst steam plant into a pub and microbrewery has long been seen as a possible anchor for redevelopment of a somewhat unsightly area on the outskirts of the village’s quaint downtown.

The village itself tried four years ago to attract a tenant with the help of some state grants, but a deal with a local brewery fell through.

Now, Pinehurst Resort, which owns the property, is moving ahead with its own plan for “an adaptive reuse and conversion” of the 7,000-square-foot building constructed in 1895.

Read full story…

(The Pilot, 7/12/17)

RALEIGH—Two pieces of North Carolina’s Reconstruction-era history will remain standing for years to come.

Preservation NC, a nonprofit that works to protect important pieces of the state’s history, is taking over the Rev. Plummer T. Hall and Willis Graves houses in Oberlin Village, a neighborhood west of downtown Raleigh that was established by freed slaves after the Civil War.

The houses are among five buildings in Oberlin Village that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After they are renovated, they will serve as the headquarters of Preservation NC, which is currently based in the Briggs Hardware Building on Fayetteville Street downtown.

Read full story…

(The News & Observer – 7/10/2017)

Business owners in downtown Goldsboro are benefiting from the area’s recent revitalization, and many citizens are enjoying their community more than ever.

It’s not just big cities that are experiencing booming downtown areas. Many smaller cities and towns are jumping on the bandwagon as well, revitalizing old or empty parts of town.

Read full story…

(WRAL – 7/10/2017)

“Progress is not built on forgetting — progress is built on understanding,” said Ting Li, creative director of local creative agency Pixelatoms.

That’s why Li, 32, his volunteer partners and Gallery Twenty-Two are hosting an art event to help the city better understand Charlotte’s history — and raise funds to save a piece of it.

The July 8 art event “Awaken: Saving the Queen City” at Gallery Twenty-Two will feature works by local artists related to Charlotte history, plus illustrations of local historic landmarks by Pixelatoms. It will raise funds to save the 1920s-era Siloam Rosenwald School, which educated African-American children during the Jim Crow era.

Read full story…

(Charlotte Five, 7/3/17)

RALEIGH — Two local downtown areas have received recognition for revitalization efforts that attract visitors and drive tourism.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Main Street and Rural Planning Center recently announced that 39 North Carolina communities, including Morganton and Valdese, have achieved accreditation or reaccreditation from the National Main Street Center for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The North Carolina Main Street communities that have earned accreditation for their 2016 performance are Belmont, Boone, Brevard, Cherryville, Clinton, Concord, Eden, Edenton, Elkin, Garner, Goldsboro, Hendersonville, Hickory, Kings Mountain, Lenoir, Lexington, Lumberton, Marion, Monroe, Morganton, North Wilkesboro, Roanoke Rapids, Rocky Mount, Roxboro, Rutherfordton, Salisbury, Sanford, Shelby, Smithfield, Spruce Pine, Statesville, Sylva, Tryon, Valdese, Wake Forest, Waxhaw, Waynesville, Williamston and Wilson.

Read full story…

(, 7/3/2017)

Oak Ridge’s Historic Preservation Commission has approved its second round of Historic Heritage Grants, designed to strengthen and preserve the Oak Ridge area’s rich historic heritage by providing small-scale, high-impact grants.

This year’s grants total $5,100. Together with required matching funds of $5,500 contributed by property owners, the grants will support $10,600 in exterior improvements to key historic structures in the town.

Read full story…

(News & Record, 7/7/2017)

I trust you are having a good summer. We sure are here on the Roanoke. We have had some beautiful days. And in this, our 20th anniversary year, we are happy to report we are having what promises to be our best year yet! We’d like to share some of the highlights with you.

…And last, but certainly not least, we are gearing up to begin the capital campaign to renovate the Hamilton Rosenwald School – to be repurposed as the Rosenwald River Center. Over the past couple of months we have been meeting with a number of partners to a plan for and complete this project.

We have participated in fundraising training conducted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We have also attended meetings hosted by State Historic Preservation and by Preservation North Carolina. All of these groups are invested in and providing guidance and support for this very special project.

Read full story…

(Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald, 7/5/2017)

There’s no shortage of threats to Asheville’s historic homes, commercial buildings, landscapes and neighborhoods, notes Jack Thomson, executive director of The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County. And while he sees the area’s current real estate boom as the single biggest issue, another key problem is public misconceptions about the different preservation programs — and the widely varying degrees of protection they confer.

“In my experience, a really large segment of the general public knows just enough to be dangerous,” says Thomson. And many owners of historic properties, he continues, don’t understand the benefits these programs provide — or the restrictions that come with them. For these reasons, he believes, outreach and education efforts are essential.

Read full story…

(Mountain Xpress, 6/8/17)

A Call to Artists for Art@Loray: Southern Mills Through Local Eyes

Gastonia, North Carolina-June 22, 2017- With deep Southern roots connected to mills and mill life, the Alfred C. Kessell History Center at Loray Mill wants you to tap into your surroundings to find artistic inspiration! The Kessell History Center is hosting an art show this summer and we want you to contribute.

The show, Southern Mills Through Local Eyes, will feature contributed works inspired by Southern mills and mill life and we would like you to contribute to the show with your work of art! Your piece should be inspired by Southern mills and mill life and there is no entry fee to contribute works.
Eligible works can be paintings, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, mixed media and fiber. Two-dimensional work is restricted to 48”x48”, including frame. Works on paper (including photography) must be protected by glass or Plexiglass and framed. All work must be properly framed or gallery wrapped, and wired for hanging. Fiber art must be ready to hang, with rod supplied by the artist. If needed, please plan to supply an easel or necessary display props.
Art must be delivered to the Kessell History Center on Thursday, June 15 between 11am and 4pm, or Tuesday, June 20 between 11am and 4pm. No late entries will be accepted. The opening reception will be Thursday, June 22 from 6-8pm. The exhibit will run June 22-July 13. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-4pm. Artwork must be picked up on Tuesday, July 18 between 11am and 4pm.

For full prospectus and requirements, please email

‘Loray Talks’ is supported by the Carrie E. and Lena V. Glenn Foundation.

The Alfred C. Kessell History Center is a non-profit dedicated to preserving, interpreting and celebrating the economic and social histories of Gaston County, North Carolina and the South, as well as promoting historic preservation practices and architectural history in the region. The Kessell History Center is an education and outreach program of Preservation North Carolina, a historic preservation nonprofit working to protect and promote the buildings and landscapes of North Carolina’s diverse heritage. The website for the Alfred C. Kessell History Center is; the website for Preservation North Carolina is

Amanda Holland
300 S Firestone Street
Gastonia, NC 28052
Ph: 980-266-9923

A church over 100 years old was destroyed by the storm that came through Haywood County on Saturday evening.

The old Hemphill Methodist Church on Hemphill Road near Jonathan Creek sustained critical damage around 11:30 p.m. when a massive tree was blown over on the other side of Hemphill Creek and landed on the church.

Read full story…

(The Mountaineer, 5/28/17)

SALISBURY — The Andrew Jackson Society dinner Sunday evening was supposed to be “A Supper on the Lawn,” but heavy afternoon showers forced things inside.

Nothing dampened, however, the enthusiasm Susan Kluttz felt in receiving the Clement Cup, Historic Salisbury Foundation’s highest preservation award.

Read full story…

(Salisbury Post, 6/5/17)

Each year in May, during National Preservation Month, the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County holds an awards ceremony to recognize significant local preservation projects and to honor the efforts of property owners, contractors and architects across the community.

Read full story…

(Mountain Xpress, 6/1/17)

The boarded-up townhouse of William Rand Kenan Sr., in the heart of Wilmington’s Historic District, is one of the latest editions to the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s “Most Threatened Endangered Places” list.

Officers of the non-profit foundation announced their 2017 list Wednesday morning, standing in front of the Kenan House at 110 Nun St.

Read full story…

(Star News Online, 5/31/17)

Summerfield, NC, May 15, 2017 – After reviewing proposals from ten architectural firms, the Town of Summerfield has chosen CUBE design + research to renovate the Gordon Hardware building and create a permanent Meeting Hall for the town.

“We’re honored to be part of this seminal project for Summerfield,” says Jason Hart, CUBE cofounder. “As a design firm that applies a research-driven approach to a broad range of projects, we look forward to making this a civic building that tells the story of the town and revitalizes a historic landmark in a way that Summerfield citizens can be proud of.”

Built in 1872 with handmade bricks from the Brittan brickyard, the Gordon Hardware building is just one of Summerfield’s distinguished historical landmarks. Situated on the southeast corner of Summerfield and Oak Ridge, the Gordon building sits opposite the Martin House, the oldest remaining home in town, and cater-corner to the current Town Hall. The project will entail renovating the interior of the building and, most likely, expanding the space in order to create a meeting hall that can accommodate the public.

“This historic building has the power to evoke many memories citizens have of the town,” Hart explains. “So, our approach is to draw relationships between the physical building and the memories in order to create an architectural narrative that is not only useful, but also sparks conversation.”

CUBE design + research provides full architectural services from offices in Boston, MA and Chapel Hill, NC. CUBE’s award-winning research-driven approach helps to identify project threads, both visible and hidden, and then weave them together to create conceptual designs for a broad range of project types and scales, including residential, commercial and adaptive reuse of historic buildings. With a mission to create design that is inspiring, thoughtful and transformative for those who live and work in the buildings and the communities they inhabit, CUBE designs and constructs buildings and spaces that are simultaneously functional and innovative, while also conceptually grounded and personal.

he North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office (HPO) began a comprehensive architectural survey of Whiteville’s historic properties May 1. Elizabeth King, survey specialist in the HPO’s Survey and National Register Branch, is conducting the project, which was endorsed by Whiteville’s City Council April 11. Ms. King will be conducting field work in May and June and will return to Whiteville periodically during the summer to continue her research.

Digital photographs, architectural descriptions and historical backgrounds of approximately 300 buildings constructed prior to 1970 are expected results from the survey. All of the collected information will be entered in the HPO’s survey database. The several-month project also entails identification of individual properties and districts that appear to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and the preparation of a report that analyzes the city’s historic built environment.

Read full press release…

(NCDCR website, 5/12/2018)

The Bethel Rural Community Organization’s Historic Preservation Committee has launched a campaign to fund a historical marker to honor Calvin Filmore Christopher, a prolific inventor from Bethel whose contributions were profound but unknown.

The significance of Christopher’s brilliant inventions lay dormant after his death for almost 80 years, until Carroll Jones with the Bethel Rural Community Organization’s Historic Preservation Committee decided to investigate.

Jones, with five North Carolina Society of Historians award-winning books to his credit, has an aptitude for ferreting out exceptional historical data that deserves acknowledgement.

Read full story…

(The Mountaineer, 4/17/2017)

The Red Oak Town Board of Commissioners voted last week to donate the former Red Oak Teacherage to a the newly-formed Red Oak Area Historic Preservation Society.

In a resolution approved at the last town meeting, Red Oak town commissioners voted to donate the Red Oak Teacherage to the society to aid in the preservation of the only remaining teacherage in Nash County. The 10,000-square-foot building, which is located on Red Oak Road across from the Red Oak Elementary School, was acquired by the town in 2014 as part of a land-swap deal.

Read full story…

(Rocky Mount Telegram, 4/10/2017)

In 1668, four precincts were formed out of the County of Albemarle, the first governmental unit of what would become North Carolina. These four precincts (now counties) – Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimans and Chowan – were later subdivided further, into what is now the northeastern North Carolina. Chowan County is one of at least sixteen counties that will participate in the 350th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of North Carolina’s Albemarle region in 2018. The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources has established a 350th Anniversary Committee with it operations based at the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City.

Read full story…

(Daily Advance, 4/3/2017)

When Gertrude Carraway traveled from her three-story home on Broad Street in New Bern to Tryon Palace on Eden Street, she marched. Her arms fanned out, carrying her forward at a faster pace than many speed walkers. Her heels clicked the pavement with purpose. She stood tall, shoulders back. She stared straight ahead. Her hat stayed pinned to her curls. Her dress never moved. Her pearls never swayed. And when she encountered someone she knew on the street, she said hello. And kept moving. When Carraway was on a mission — and Carraway was always on a mission — she chose her words carefully, briskly. She did not gossip.

Carraway was born in 1896. She lived and died in the same bed. Carraway was not a wife. She was not a mother. She was not a homemaker.

Read full story…

(Our State Magazine, 3/2017)

Historic preservation in North Carolina creates jobs, fortifies the tax base, provides economic boosts to downtowns, and utilizes existing buildings and infrastructure while preserving the state’s priceless historic character. As a national leader among states in historic preservation efforts, North Carolina can boast a top five status in the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit program, bolstered by a robust parallel state tax credit program, both designed to foster investment in and preservation of endangered and underutilized historic properties. Alumnus Tim E. Simmons [BEDA ’81, B.Arch ’83] is key to the implementation and impact of these preservation projects as the Senior Preservation Architect and Income-Producing Tax Credit Coordinator with the NC State Historic Preservation Office. For more than 26 years, Simmons has held this position. “It’s a rewarding job, and I love it,” he states emphatically.

Read full story…

(NCSU Design Life, 12/6/2016)

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources on Thursday announced that six locations across the state have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, including the Kate and Charles Noel Vance House in Black Mountain and a historic district of Winston-Salem.

Read full story…

(Asheville Citizen-Times, 3/23/2017)

Dr. Jackie Eller and Dr. Kelly Earp join the PRISC team as research associates to support the PRISC mission to grow community by preserving history.

Washington, NC – March 17, 2017, Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities, a North Carolina non-profit, announces the addition of both Dr. Jackie Eller and Dr. Kelly Earp as research associates. PRISC is initiating the development of both a historical enclave (small shared community living) and re-integration living home for female veterans. To achieve these goals, PRISC will be rehabilitating endangered properties in the Washington, NC historic district and developing programs to support veterans in positive transition experiences. Dr. Jackie Eller and Dr. Kelly Earp will play significant roles in developing a social resilience program to support veterans residing in the rehabilitated historic homes.

Also, PRISC announces it has been chosen as one of the recipients of a summer intern from the East Carolina University and the State Employees Credit Union Foundation (SECU) Public Intern Fellow program.

“Both Dr. Eller and Dr. Earp bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in community health and sustainability to PRISC which will be critical in making our projects successful. Like the current staff and Board of Directors, they each bring a passion for helping populations such as disabled veterans transitioning into their new communities. We are excited to welcome them aboard,” said CEO Robert Greene Sands. “The addition of a summer intern will provide needed assistance in all facets of our mission.”

Dr. Eller holds a PhD in Sociology and brings more than 30 years of experience to the team, including previous service as Vice-Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Earp holds a PhD in Public Health and an M.A. in medical anthropology. She brings 17 years of experience to PRISC, including efforts across nonprofit, academic, government, and corporate (start-up) sectors. To learn more about PRISC, visit; for more information contact Robert Greene Sands at or 805-320-2967

About PRISC PRISC is a North Carolina 501(c)(3) nonprofit institute, located in Washington, NC whose mission is to grow community by preserving history. PRISC promotes projects and programs and research that feature historical preservation and reutilization as a primary means to help foster community development and sustainability.

(3/17/2017, Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities)

RALEIGH–James Monroe remembers winning second place in a brick-laying contest at Washington Graded and High School, Raleigh’s first public high school for black students.

He also remembers drinking from separate water fountains while growing up in the city during the 1940s and ’50s.

“Anything that was public had a segregated side on it,” said Monroe, 86, who graduated from Washington in 1951. “All the nice things were forbidden to use or participate in (by African-Americans).”

Read full story…

(News & Observer, 3/16/2017)

We got it!

The Town of Clayton and the Clayton Downtown Development Association are excited to announce that we’ve been selected to host the 2018 North Carolina Main Street Conference!

Set to span three days next March, the conference will bring hundreds to Clayton from all over North Carolina – including main street managers, downtown revitalization board members, town planners and elected officials. Joining them will be professionals from fields that affect downtown development, such as design, architecture, historic preservation, landscape architecture and event planning.

Read full press release…

(Town of Clayton Website, 3/16/2017)

When the Swansboro Historical Association – and its efforts to refurbish Swansboro’s historic Emmerton School – were held up as an example of a good thing by the state, the Swansboro Historic Preservation Commission noticed.

The two groups, though different, are in many ways the same. Specifically, they represent efforts to recognize the town’s historical significance, one from the private sector and one from the public sector. So the article, Swansboro’s School of History: A Tradition of Adaptive Reuse at the Emmerton School, was affirmation that preservation is taking place in Swansboro.

Read full story…

(Tideland News, 3/15/2017)

Normally they get all excited down there over some big, new skyscraper going up in Charlotte, the center of Mecklenburg. Or over some big urban-development project.

For instance, right now the hot new item there is a plan to turn 2,000 mostly woodland acres next to the Charlotte airport into their biggest urban community yet with hotels and shopping centers and such.

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(Elkin Tribune, 3/6/2017)

Three Triad projects are among the five winners of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association’s “Great Places in North Carolina” awards program, designed to bring recognition to great places across the state. This is the sixth year the American Planning Association has conducted the program.

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(Triad Business Journal, 3/3/2017)

Outer Banks — At first glance, one immediately senses that this structure has an extraordinary story. Situated just off the oceanfront in North Swan Beach in the 4×4 area, Wash Woods Station looks strikingly different than neighboring modern homes. This historic building and its surrounding outbuildings were purchased by the Twiddys in 1988 and restorations were completed in 1989.

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(, 3/7/2017)


Stuart Mills believes some of the historic homes in Pinehurst have “cool stories” that their owners may not necessarily know about.

Mills chairs the Village Heritage Foundation’s Historic Plaque Committee, which is entering the second year of a program that recognizes the preservation and restoration of historic properties. The committee is now accepting nominations for the awards program through May 15.

The Historic Plaque Committee considers architectural integrity, the home’s role in Pinehurst’s social and cultural development, and connection to village icons in selecting honorees.

“If you have made changes to your home, are they consistent with the original architecture?” Mills said. But he added that “historical aspect might trump architectural.”

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(The Pilot, 3/2/2017)

There’s not a bad seat inside the nearly 80-year-old Tryon Theatre.

Scott and Gayle Lane prefer the seats in the center of the third row, in the middle section on the theater’s ground floor. They say the chairs there recline at the perfect angle and the acoustics are appealing.

In January, the Lanes went from moviegoers to theater owners when they bought the historic North Carolina theater from Barry Flood. A school teacher by day, Flood owned and operated Tryon Theatre for 26 years.

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(Blue Ridge Now, 2/26/2017)

Sarah and Brian Efird and their two daughters already lived in West End when they purchased their home on Brookstown Avenue.

“I remember walking by and thinking, ‘That looks kind of dingy and sad, but it has potential,’” Sarah Efird, 41, said.

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(Winston-Salem Journal, 2/25/2017)

GREENSBORO — Passers-by pause as they pass the rambling brick and half-timbered Fisher Park mansion.

Locals long have known the historic property as the former Julian Price home, built in 1929 for the president of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Co.

Then in January, the home at 301 Fisher Park Circle gained national attention when it became the setting for an episode on the A&E television reality series “Hoarders.”

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(News & Record, 2/21/2017)

The Raleigh City Council today unanimously approved the selection of world-renowned Landscape Architect Michael Van Valkenburgh to lead the creation of a comprehensive master plan for Dorothea Dix Park. The council accepted the recommendation of the Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan Executive Committee (MPEC) to select Mr. Van Valkenburgh’s firm, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA). Chaired by Mayor Nancy McFarlane, MPEC includes representatives of the partnership between the City of Raleigh, the Dix Park Conservancy, and North Carolina State University.

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(City of Raleigh website, 2/21/2017)

One of the most important buildings in Johnston County is a rental house today but was once part of a wounded nation’s first step out of slavery and war.

On Fourth Street, two doors down from First Missionary Baptist Church in Smithfield, a long gray house with a screened-in front porch began its life more than 150 years ago as the first school for freed slaves in Johnston County. That it stands today is a perhaps miracle, as the building is believed to be the only remaining Freedman’s Bureau school in North Carolina.

Smithfield was an occupied town during Reconstruction, Johnston County Heritage Center director Todd Johnson said, and while Union troops were still on the streets, a national effort was under way to educate the free black men and women in the South. The American Missionary Association was one of the groups leading the effort.

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(News & Observer, 2/16/2017)

WILMINGTON — The Wilmington City Council set in stone Tuesday a new policy governing the preservation of brick and stone streets.

The policy, an update to the previous code written in 1987, was approved unanimously by the council.

The new policy aims to identify if a brick street should be preserved based on factors including traffic volume, speed limit, street type and proximity to other bricks streets. It also provides direction when evaluating brick streets disturbed by capital improvement projects, utility cuts and emergency road work.

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(Star News Online, 2/7/2017)

GOLD HILL — The annual meeting of Historic Gold Hill and Mines Foundation Inc. will be at 6:30 Monday night at Russell-Rufty Memorial Shelter at Gold Hill Mines Historic Park.

Doors will open at 6:30. The program will begin at 7.

(Salisbury Post, 2/2/2017)

ZEBULON–There’s something almost poetic about waiting 25 years to join a historic preservation movement.

As most cities and towns signed on to a joint agreement to establish a historic preservation commission in 1992, Zebulon held off.

But last week, commissioners agreed to begin the process of joining other Wake County municipalities in the agreement.

Joining the group gives Zebulon property owners the opportunity to apply for historic designations. Historic districts could be created or single homes could apply for the designation.

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(News & Observer, 1/26/2017)

The Beaufort Woman’s Club recently achieved its 95th year of service to the community, and the public is invited to attend a special birthday celebration from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Beaufort train depot.

“Since 1921, the Woman’s Club has a long and rich history of shaping our community,” Karma Rodholm, 2016-17 Beaufort Woman’s Club President, said. “We would like to invite everyone to drop in to enjoy some birthday cake and hear a fun and interesting program about our club’s history.”

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(Carolina Coast Online, 1/26/2017)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Less than two months after being elected to a fourth term in the N.C. House of Representatives, Susi Hamilton was sworn in to a state cabinet post Thursday during a ceremony on the Battleship North Carolina.

“I really thought I had hit pay dirt when I was first elected to office. But wow, being secretary is something else,” Hamilton, who will oversee the battleship and the rest of the state’s museums, aquariums and tourist attractions as secretary of natural and cultural resources, said during the ceremony.

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(Star News, 1/27/2017)

Raleigh, N.C. — Noting the expanded duties of the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday named two people with different backgrounds and expertise to lead the agency.

Cooper tapped state Rep. Susi Hamilton, D-New Hanover, as secretary of DNCR and Reid Wilson, executive director of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, as chief deputy secretary.

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(WRAL, 1/19/2017)

TRYON, N.C. — The small wooden cottage that was the birthplace of singer, pianist and civil rights activist Nina Simone is for sale in Tryon.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports ( the current owner of the 664-square-foot home has done work to shore up the foundation and restore the interior of the cottage in hopes of it being used as a museum.

The asking price for the home built in 1930 is $95,000 in cash .

Real estate agent Cindy Viehman of Tryon Foothills Realty says some people have discussed moving the house. But Viehman says the neighborhood is essential to understanding how hard Simone worked to become a history-making, Grammy-winning talent.

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(WRAL, 1/16/2017)

DURHAM — The Durham City Council will conduct a public hearing Tuesday, Jan. 17 before considering the adoption of an ordinance to designate the J.A. Whitted School as a local historic landmark.

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(Herald Sun, 1/14/2017)

DURHAM — Pauli Murray’s childhood home in Durham – which became North Carolina’s newest National Historic Landmark on Wednesday – received a second round of support this week through a $237,575 federal grant.

The grant is part of $7.75 million that the National Park Service is giving 39 projects in more than 20 states. The money seeks to preserve and highlight sites and stories associated with the civil rights movement and the African-American experience.

Congress appropriated funding for the National Park Service African American Civil Rights Grant Program in 2016 through the Historic Preservation Fund. The fund uses revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to support preservation projects.

“I am overwhelmed and tearful,” said Barbara Lau, director of the Pauli Murray Project at the Duke Human Rights Center.

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(News & Observer, 1/12/2017)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Let the preservation begin.

Underwater Archaeologists with the state and those at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site are working to restore an 18th-century cannon that was recovered from the Cape Fear River just before Christmas.

The Colonial-era cannon was discovered by a dredging company contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in an area of the river just outside the site on Dec. 21. The old cannon was an “early Christmas gift” for the historic site, Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Site Manager Jim McKee said.

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(Port City Daily, 1/13/2017)

Durham–Her FBI file outlined why Pauli Murray shouldn’t be hired as general counsel for the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

She had been a member of the Communist Party of America in the 1930s. She had worn men’s clothing, claimed she was “homosexual” and tried to become a man.

She’d been arrested twice, once on a picket line and again when she wouldn’t move to a broken seat when a white passenger entered a bus, according to a 1967 memo.

Stephen Shulman, the commission’s chairman, noted that people interviewed commented favorably about her, but in light of the concerns raised by the background check “he stated that his problem was to determine how not to give Murray the job as general counsel.” She had been working as a consultant in the position for eight months, a memo states.

Fifty years later, another agency is honoring the same person that the memo discredited.

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(News & Observer, 1/12/2017)

All the grand old homes have names, and Bellamore is no exception.

The historic home, located at 408 N. Green St. in Morganton, is grand once again due to owners Michael Smith and David Stevenson’s efforts to restore and preserve this important piece of local history, part of which dates back to 1840.

Built by state Senator and Supreme Court Justice Alphonso Calhoun Avery, the house, formerly known as the Avery-Summersette House, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Stevenson said a newer part of the home was added in 1876.

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(The News-Herald, 1/11/2017)

RALEIGH–The Gables Motel Lodge, a vestige of a long-gone era when U.S. 1 passed through the city’s Mordecai neighborhood carrying travelers between New York and Florida, is on the market.

Until last year, the motel’s owner, 93-year-old Charlie Griffin, was still renting out rooms. After he died in August, his great-nephew, Tommy Flynn, put the motel up for sale for $1.5 million in accordance with Griffin’s wishes.

The .51-acre lot includes 19 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and a two-car garage distributed among three buildings. The family thought about keeping it running, Flynn said, but wasn’t able to because of other responsibilities.

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(News & Observer, 1/9/2017)

News of a historic portion of Walnut Street’s inclusion in the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s plan for the widening of Russ Avenue in Waynesville went over with property owners like a ton of the bricks in Charles McDarris’ 90-something year old retaining wall.

McDarris owns the properties at 28 and 52 Walnut Street, both of which feature extensive historic pedigrees, painstaking renovations and restrictive covenants designed to preserve the period character of the structures, which date to the early 1900s.

Like any reasonable property owner, McDarris wants to know how NCDOT’s proposal will affect him, but he says he can’t seem to get a straight answer.

Russ Avenue DOT Project U-5839 mostly addresses projected traffic growth on Russ Avenue through the year 2040 from the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway to the railroad bridge at Walnut Street. Instead of stopping there, however, the project terminates at North Main Street, where traffic growth is projected by DOT to grow little.

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(Smoky Mountain News, 1/4/2016)

Reams have been written about the end of Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration and the legacy he leaves after serving as one of the state’s few Republican governors. Attention also should go to former Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz, a member of the McCrory administration who made a positive impact on the state and the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources she headed.

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(Salisbury Post, 1/4/2016)

BEAUFORT — County officials went head to head with the town’s Historic Preservation Commission Tuesday, saying they would tear down the Beaufort Ice Company building with or without the blessing of the panel, which seeks to preserve old structures in the town’s historic district.

“Each building that we allow to get moved or demolished is one more hole in the historic fabric of this town,” member Vic Fasolino said in opposing the application for demolition.

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(Carteret County News-Times, 1/4/2016)

The threat of a road being put through the middle of the historic Charles E. Barnhardt House in Plaza Midwood has prompted local historians to buy the home for designation as a historic landmark.

Officials with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission say they have signed a contract on the property at 2733 Country Club Lane and expect the deal to close in March, pending due diligence.

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(Charlotte Observer, 1/3/2017)

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) – A hotel in the east that was built in 1964 is being retro-fitted back to it’s former glory.

“It had become the seedy motel, you could rent by the hour, by the day by the week, so you know what was going on here, and it made this end of town just very shady,” says Stephen Hill who is doing the renovations.

The Kinston Motor Lodge will reopen as the Mother Earth Motor Lodge in April with 20 suites and 25 single rooms that will look exactly as they did when the lodge opened in 1964, including the restoration of the kidney-shaped pool.

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(WITN, 12/29/2016)

Located in the historic neighborhood of Trinity Park in Durham, North Carolina, the 1911 King’s Daughter’s Home once served as subsidized housing for aging, single women and later as a retirement home. When the Colonial home became available for sale in 2006, Deanna and Colin Crossman saw an opportunity to combine their passions for historic preservation and sustainability into something that others could enjoy as well. In 2009, the couple converted the property into a luxury bed and breakfast, The King’s Daughters Inn.

Blending the amenities you may expect from a first-class hotel with the intimacy of a bed and breakfast, The King’s Daughters Inn features 17 elegant and unique guest rooms, some including private sun porches. In the morning, a complimentary breakfast, highlighting a home-made signature dish, is served in the main dining room. In the afternoon, guests enjoy a tea service, including a welcoming plate of small bites, offered in the parlor. At day’s end, a glass of tawny port along with artisan chocolates are delivered to your room.

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(Greenville News, 12/29/2016)

Although many property owners and residents have lauded what they call a “much needed” widening project on Waynesville’s most heavily travelled artery, they’ve universally decried the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s plans for Russ Avenue as detrimental to one of the town’s most aesthetically significant corridors.

Walnut Street runs north from North Main Street to the foot of Russ Avenue before snaking eastward, where it rejoins North Main. Along the way, it plays host to historic homes, huge trees and brick walls that confer upon the area a unique character not found in other quarters of town.

“In as much as Waynesville has a historic neighborhood, Walnut Street is it,” said Charles McDarris, owner of two Walnut Street properties.

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(Smoky Mountain News, 12/21/2016)

WAYNESVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — The giving spirit is visible on the roads across Tennessee and North Carolina this holiday season with Friends of the Smokies specialty license plates.

Sales of specialty plates in Tennessee and North Carolina play an essential role in raising funds for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This year, the specialty plates generated nearly $815,000, and, since its launch in 1999, the program has raised more than $13.3 million in support of America’s most-visited national park, a news release from Friends of the Smokies said.

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(WLOS, 12/21/2016)

The myriad traditions and characteristics that make Cherryville stand apart has never been in question.

Now the city’s downtown can hang its hat on another achievement that serves as a further testament to its historic significance.

The Cherryville Downtown Historic District has become the latest area to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The news is being celebrated this month by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, after a state advisory committee and historic preservation authorities approved Cherryville’s application for the designation.

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(Gaston Gazette, 12/21/2016)

Ted Alexander spoke at Cornell University on Oct. 15. The symposium marked the 40th anniversary of the College of Historic Preservation Planning.

He’s a 1982 political science graduate of UNCC and a 1985 graduate of the Historic Preservation master’s degree program at Cornell.

Alexander spoke on the topic of politics and preservation. He’s a former mayor of Shelby. He is currently the western regional director of Preservation North Carolina, based in Shelby and covering 37 counties.

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(Shelby Star, 12/16/2016)

The 1798 Philip and Johanna Hoehns (Hanes) House in Clemmons is one of 16 places in North Carolina added to the National Register of Historic Places, the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources announced last week.

The restored home on Middlebrook Drive is the first property in Clemmons to be added to the register.

Built by Philip and Johanna Hoehns in 1798, the house was restored by Tom Gray and Paul Zickell in 2015.

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(Winston-Salem Journal, 12/14/2016)

A historic home considered “pivotal” to Salisbury’s North Main Street Historic District has been donated to the Historic Salisbury Foundation, reports the Salisbury Post.

The foundation the Victorian C.L. Emerson House at 1008 North Main St. was given to it by descendents of the original builder, James Isaiah “Ike” Emerson and his mother, Bonnie Rufty Emerson. The home has been in the Emerson family since it was built in 1900 by C.L. Emerson, Ike Emerson’s great-grandfather, the Post reports.

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(Charlotte Observer, 12/12/2016)

A historically African-American church west of Mooresville is a step closer to achieving landmark protection, thanks to a decision last week by Mooresville commissioners to recognize the site as a local historical landmark property.

While the Morrows Chapel United Methodist Church property along Brawley School Road is not located within town limits, it was suggested that the town recognize the property as a historical landmark after the Mooresville Architectural Survey, which looked at historically significant properties within the town and the immediate vicinity, was completed, said Rawls Howard, town planning director.

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(Mooresville Tribune, 12/11/2016)

MEBANE — Two years ago, someone could have fallen through the floors of the old White Furniture factory. Now, those floors are perfectly safe polished hardwood, and the building is restored as the upscale Lofts at White Furniture.

“The only thing missing was White Furniture being recognized for its place in our state’s history,” said Stephen Vargha, the White Lofts resident who wrote the application for the building’s historic marker unveiled Thursday morning.

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(Burlington Times-News, 12/10/2016)

An historic schoolhouse is in need of a refresh and maybe a new home.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission is trying to preserve the Siloam (pronounced cy-lome) Rosenwald School on John Adams Road in University City, one of two such buildings designated a historic landmark by the agency. The commission is looking for money to preserve the structure, either on site or at a new place.

“It’s all a matter of money and it’s all a matter of priorities,” said Dan Morrill, director of the commission. “If it’s just left like it is, it is going to lose its integrity and it’s literally going to fall down. The owners do not intend to demolish the building, but they’ve not expressed any interest in spending any money on the building.”

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(The Charlotte Post, 12/10/2016)

The Lexington City Council will hold a public hearing on a proposed amendment to Park Place Historic District rules concerning vinyl and asbestos siding during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

According to Tammy Absher, director of the Lexington Business and Community Development Office, the amendment is to “tighten the language” in the current code of ordinances when it comes to the installation of non-historically relevant building materials.

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(The Dispatch 12/9/2016)

Like a little hops with your history?

How about some ale with your artifacts?

The combinations above may not seem to pair up naturally. But they represent a couple of the most appealing aspects of the recently redeveloped Loray Mill in Gastonia. And they’ll be the featured attractions during a History Happy Hour and Growler Preview Party on Thursday night.

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(Gaston Gazette, 12/5/2016)

RALEIGH–North Carolina’s Council of State will wait and ask more questions before deciding whether to sell two state-owned pieces of land on the northern end of downtown Raleigh.

The council is made up of the 10 top statewide-elected officials, led by the governor.

A group of developers has offered $4.85 million for a roughly 1.8-acre site on West Peace Street across from Seaboard Station that currently houses the state’s Personnel Training Center, and another group offered $1.75 million the .36-acre site of an old steam plant on North Dawson Street near the Days Inn Hotel.

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(News & Observer, 12/6/2016)


Davidson County officials said they believe they have overcome a longstanding hurdle in the development of a 431-acre business park south of Belmont Road near I-85 in Linwood.

Voting unanimously Tuesday, the Davidson County Board of Commissioners agreed to transfer ownership of a historic home on the site of the future business park to the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina. With the home, a 2.584-acre lot on the north side of Belmont Road previously owned by Beallgray Farm will also be turned over to PNC for its preservation and relocation.

The county will also provide PNC with $50,000 for the home’s relocation.

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(The Dispatch, 11/28/2016)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A total of 16 places in North Carolina have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the state announced Monday.

The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources said three districts and thirteen individual properties have been added to the national list.

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(WNCN, 12/5/2016)

RALEIGH–The Nathaniel Jones Jr. House, a Federal-style plantation home built around 1795, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The house, formerly known as the Crabtree Jones House, was built by Raleigh settler Nathaniel “Crabtree” Jones Jr., who was active in local and state politics. It’s thought to be one of Raleigh’s oldest houses, and it was first placed on the National Register in 1973.

A new designation was required, however, after the house was moved a short distance in 2014 from a hill facing Wake Forest Road. Preservation North Carolina, a statewide advocacy group, worked to save the house from demolition after developers announced plans for apartments on the site.

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(News & Observer, 12/5/2016)

RALEIGH–On Tuesday, the Council of State will be asked to approve the sale of three vacant buildings on a third of an acre in downtown Raleigh to a private developer for $1.75 million.

But critics say that financial windfall for the state comes at the price of selling off a piece of its heritage: Part of one of the five squares laid out in the original plan for Raleigh in 1792.

The .36-acre site the state wants sell on the corner of Dawson and Lane streets is on Caswell Square, a companion to Burke Square that contains the Executive Mansion; Union Square, where the State Capitol sits, and Nash and Moore squares, Raleigh’s two oak-shaded downtown parks.

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(News & Observer, 12/2/2016)


DAVIDSON COUNTY – Davidson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously at a meeting last month to transfer ownership of a historic house on the site of the future business park to the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina.

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(Thomasville Times, 12/2/2016)

Tarboro has hired a new Main Street coordinator with a track record of improving North Carolina downtowns.

Brad J. Guth brings a wealth of experience to Main Street Tarboro through his 20 year career in Main Street and community development, said Tarboro’s Planning Director Catherine Grimm.

Most recently Guth was the Business and Community Development Director for the city of Lincolnton.

During his tenure in Lincolnton, the city received more than 20 recognitions including Best Promotion, Best Economic Development Incentive Program, Best Building Rehab, Best Innovation and Best Branding and Image Building Campaign.

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(Rocky Mount Telegram, 11/28/2016)

Although Hendersonville had its first organized baseball team in 1909 — the short-lived Hendersonville Planets of the Western North Carolina Industrial League — the city’s most durable baseball legacy is the Berkeley Spinners, which organized in 1948 and played through 1966.

Now, the home of the Spinners is officially on the National Register of Historic Places, thanks to a successful nomination commissioned by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. Reviewed last June by the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee, the nomination of Berkeley Stadium won the seal approval of the National Register Advisory Committee and the Keeper of the National Register, a part of the National Park Service. The city recently received notification that the ballpark had made the National Register.
Older people who remember the mill village and the Spinners games and younger people who played ball at the stadium all have a connection to the ballpark that’s worth preserving, said Cheryl Jones, a native of Hendersonville who is chair of the Historic Preservation Commission.

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(Hendersonville Lightning, 11/28/2016)

WILMINGTON — The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA-NC) in the State of North Carolina held a dedication ceremony Nov. 17 for a new room devoted to housing the organization’s archives and library.

Located above the detached kitchen of the Burgwin-Wright House, the Nimocks Special Collections room is named in memory of the late Elisabeth Holt Burns Nimocks of Fayetteville. At the time of her death in 2014, Nimocks had been an exemplary member of the NSCDA-NC for more than 60 years. After holding a variety of offices in the state society, Nimocks was named to the national society’s roll of honor in 2011.

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(Star News, 11/27/2016)

Wilmington, N.C. – Celebrating its 50th year, Historic Wilmington Foundation has worked to protect and preserve the irreplaceable architectural and historic resources of the Lower Cape Fear region since 1966.

The Foundation was established by a group of citizens concerned about the destruction of Wilmington’s historic buildings. They established a revolving fund, the first of its kind in NC, to save historic properties by purchasing them, applying protective easements and then selling them under terms requiring the buildings’ rehabilitation and future protection.

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(Port City Daily, 11/23/2016)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) – A traveling exhibit featuring the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Most Threatened Historic Places is on tour throughout various libraries in Brunswick County.

The exhibit is now at the Leland Library until December 8, when it will then move to the Brunswick County Library in Southport until December 29 and then continue on to the G.V. Barbee Sr. Library in Oak Island until January 20.

The Historic Wilmington Foundation says the Most Threatened Historic Places Exhibit highlights the region’s historic buildings and structures that are most vulnerable to demolition, deterioration, or neglect and illustrates the importance of historic preservation within our community.

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(WWAY, 11/22/2016)

WILMINGTON — The Burgwin-Wright House will offer a colorful alternative to Black Friday, that big shopping day after Thanksgiving, which happens to coincide with Fourth Friday Gallery Night. The historic house museum will host an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 25 for local artist Elizabeth Darrow and her show, “Exuberant Graffiti.” On the same night, “Tales of the East” will showcase items from the museum collection that illustrate the Asian influence on the decorative arts of the 18th and 19th century.

All of the pieces in Darrow’s “Exuberant Graffiti” combine oil and collage on canvas to produce vibrant and textural abstracts. Darrow began many of these pieces by writing in cursive on the blank canvas.

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(Star News, 11/22/2016)

Nine properties of historic significance to the North Carolina African American community will soon be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places thanks to a $70,000 Underrepresented Community (URC) Grant from the U. S. National Park Service that was recently awarded to the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office.

The purpose of the URC grant program is to provide funds to state, tribal, and local governments to survey and designate historic properties associated with communities that are currently underrepresented in the National Register of Historic Places. North Carolina’s $70,000 grant will be matched by in-kind services and cash from project partners the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Preservation Durham, and the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.

The state’s URC project will result in National Register of Historic Places nominations for nine historic African American properties, including six Rosenwald schools in the eastern, southeastern, central, and western regions of the state; Oak Grove Cemetery and Oberlin Cemetery in Raleigh; and the College Heights neighborhood near North Carolina Central University in Durham.

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(Mountain Xpress, 11/21/2016)

RALEIGH, N.C. – Nine properties of historic significance to the North Carolina African American community will soon be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.

A $70,000 Underrepresented Community (URC) Grant from the U. S. National Park Service that was recently awarded to the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office has made all of this possible.

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(WWAY, 11/21/2016)

BOONE—Appalachian State University’s Career Development Center facilitated a question-and-answer panel discussion with Secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz in early November, during which the secretary shared her career path and opportunities within her department. Attending were a handful of Appalachian students with a variety of interests and majors including Appalachian studies, non-profit management, global studies, hospitality and tourism management, and history.

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(University News, ASU, 11/18/2016)

The Asheville firm, Samsel Architects, received the prestigious Firm Award, as well as two residential design awards, from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA NC) at a recent ceremony in Winston-Salem. The Firm Award is given every year to one North Carolina practice that has consistently produced quality architecture with a verifiable level of client satisfaction for at least 10 years. This award is the highest honor the Chapter can bestow upon an architecture group.

Since 1985, Samsel Architects has delivered quality design grounded in a keen sense of place and detail, stewardship of the environment, and strong client relationships.

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(Mountain Xpress, 11/18/2016)

For the next 18 months or so, visitors at Wright Brothers National Memorial will have to mostly content themselves with strolling the grounds where flight began while the 56-year-old Visitor Center and its exhibits are being rehabilitated.

After plans to replace the building were unexpectedly scuttled in 2002 and subsequent restoration funds never materialized, the center will now finally be restored to its original condition — orange trim, concrete and all.

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(Outer Banks Voice, 11/14/2016)

Two local writers and Bethel Rural Community Organization’s (BRCO) Historic Preservation Committee were among award winners at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Society of Historians (NCSH) in Wilkesboro on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Historical Book Awards went to Edie Hutchins Burnette for “Mountain Echoes” and to Carroll C. Jones for “Rebel Rousers.” Jones was further recognized when he received the prestigious President’s Award for his historical fiction “Rebel Rousers,” the second novel in his East Fork trilogy.

BRCO received a multimedia award for its DVD “From New College to Springdale.” Doug Chambers, who filmed and edited the video, and Ted Carr, BRCO Historic Preservation Committee member, accepted the award.

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(The Mountaineer, 11/14/2016)

It’s a house that hundreds pass every day on North Fisher Street, perhaps without a second thought as they wait for the stoplight to change. Others argue it is a key visual clue that people have entered the West Burlington Historic District.

Regardless, soon it will be no more.

Tucked in the corner of West Front and North Fisher streets, the historic structure goes by a variety of names: the Roy W. Malone House, the historic Coleman House, and sometimes the hybrid Malone-Coleman home.

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(Burlington Times-News, 11/12/2016)

After months of a contractual reworking and consideration, Davidson County officially finalized its purchase of the Fort York property Wednesday with a deed transfer ceremony between county officials and representatives from the LandTrust of Central North Carolina.

The purchase, part of an overall effort to develop and preserve the Wil-Cox Bridge and its surrounding area, began with an offer in August from The LandTrust, who previously owned the historic site.

After purchasing the 13.82-acre property for $326,000, The LandTrust asked for just $137,500 from the county. The Davidson County Board of Commissioners agreed during their Aug. 23 meeting to commit to the property, pending a 30-day due diligence on the land purchase contract.

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(Lexington Dispatch, 11/12/2016)

SALISBURY — Salisbury’s graffiti wall area will soon get an upgrade.

The Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday approved the creation of a graffiti park at 329 S. Main St.

Right now, there are two temporary graffiti walls on the undeveloped lot. The lot is located in the Downtown Historic District.

Stephen Brown, acting as an agent for the city, said they wanted to expand the concept into a park.

The new park would start with nine 4-by-8 feet wall panels and large rocks for artists to paint. There will also be pit gravel walkways and shade trees added.

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(Salisbury Post, 11/11/2016)

Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc. recently hosted its annual fundraiser, Preservation and Pints, at Cabarrus Brewing Company.

The event featured catering by Jim N’ Nick’s BBQ and Cabarrus Brewing Company will provide local beer and wine. The fundraiser, which also featured local history trivia, helps supports preservation efforts in the community by the Historic Cabarrus Association. Visit for more information or contact Ashley Sedlak-Propst at or call 704-920-2465.

See photos…

(Independent Tribune, 11/10/2016)

Governor Pat McCrory Announced the awarding of $105,000 in Grant Funding for 13 Historic Preservation Projects in the state, including one in Burke County.

The Historic Preservation Fund is a federal matching grant program administered jointly by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the state Historic Preservation Office. Each fall, the HPO announces the availability of competitive HPF grants to the 48 local governments in North Carolina that are designated as CLGs by the National Park Service.

Locally, more than $11,000 has been awarded for a Roof Repair at Quaker Meadows Plantation in Morganton. Working through the City of Morganton, the Historic Burke Foundation was awarded a federal Historic Preservation Fund grant of $11,100 to repair the cedar shingle roof on the McDowell House at Quaker Meadows.

Constructed in 1812 by Captain Charles McDowell, Jr., the McDowell House is believed to be the oldest surviving brick house in Burke County. The house was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and is a designated local landmark. The Historic Burke Foundation, Inc. will provide $3,514 in matching funds for the project.

(WHKY, 10/31/2016)

Raleigh, N.C. Governor Pat McCrory announced today that $105,000 in grant funding has been awarded to 13 historic preservation projects in nine North Carolina counties. These funds will support projects that will help communities restore historic landmarks in small towns and cities throughout North Carolina.

“These grants are important to our local communities to help preserve and maintain some of our state’s most priceless historic properties,” said Governor McCrory. “This is truly a partnership between all levels of government, and I am pleased that we are continuing this effort to promote historic preservation through the Historic Preservation Fund.”

Each year, federal Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grants are awarded by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office (HPO) through the National Park Service’s Certified Local Government Program (CLG). This preservation partnership between local, state, and national governments focuses on promoting historic preservation at the grassroots level. The HPO will both monitor and provide technical assistance for each project.

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(Beaufort County Now, 10/30/2016)

Transylvania County has received a historic preservation grant for repairs at the Allison-Deaver House.

Gov. Pat McCrory announced Friday that $105,000 in grant funding has been awarded to 13 historic preservation projects in nine North Carolina counties. These funds will support projects that will help communities restore historic landmarks in small towns and cities throughout North Carolina.

Working with Transylvania County Joint Historic Preservation Commission, the Transylvania County Historical Society has been awarded a federal Historic Preservation Fund grant of $11,000. Funds will be used to repair recent water damage.

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(Blue Ridge Now, 10/29/2016)

SALISBURY — Charles F. Floyd of Cleveland recently received the Founders Award from Scenic America, a national nonprofit dedicated to protecting the visual environment.

The award was presented at a ceremony during the organization’s annual meeting of its board of directors and affiliates at the Rowan Museum in Salisbury.

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(Salisbury Post, 10/28/2016)

The third annual African Americans in Western North Carolina Conference is scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 27-30 at the YMI Cultural Center downtown and the University of North Carolina Asheville Sherrill Center.

The conference activities are free and open to everyone, and include a reception at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, panel discussions and documentary films on Friday, and a celebration of Buncombe County’s “Unsung Heroes” at 3 p.m. Sunday.

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(Mountain Xpress, 10/22/2016)

Preservation is something of a gamble, a bet that the shapes and tastes of the past will have a place in the future.

Clayton’s track record with preservation includes triumph and woe, buildings that have survived several tests of time and others razed because of neglect, disinterest or for standing in the way of progress. The town’s historical association is lobbying the town council to put some teeth in its historic district, hoping that as town leaders shape the Clayton of the future, they will leave room for the past.

“Right now we have the Clayton Historic District recognized on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Porter Casey, director of the Clayton Historical Association. “But when you have a designation like that, there’s no specific protection. If you’re not careful, over the years the district can slowly kind of diminish.”

Clayton’s historic district runs largely along Front Street and the two or three blocks north, south, east and west of the Clayton Center. Casey envisions a policy aimed at keeping structures within the district upright, rather than quibbling over paint colors and building materials.

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(News & Observer, 10/24/2016)

Some people view an old, ramshackle house as an eyesore in need of the wrecking ball, but John Kidwell often sees possibilities for restoring the beauty of such a structure to its heyday.

The local resident has dedicated his professional life to the preservation of older homes, and those efforts will be rewarded Friday when he is presented with a state honor.

Kidwell, 80, will receive the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from Preservation North Carolina, an organization that promotes and protects the buildings and landscapes of the state’s diverse heritage.

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(Mount Airy News, 9/29/2016)

CAROLINA BEACH — “Remembering Hazel” will be the subject of a lecture at the next meeting of the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A N. Lake Park Blvd., next to the Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Steve Pfaff of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will give an overview of the massive Category 4 hurricane that hit Southeastern North Carolina in 1954. Longtime residents will also share their “Hazel” stories.
The public is invited.

(Star News, 10/17/2016)

Pauli Murray Project advocates could take a significant step forward Tuesday in their quest to gain a National Historic Landmark designation for the childhood home of the attorney, priest and civil-rights activist.

On Tuesday morning, advocates will make their case to the National Parks Service’s Landmarks Committee, which reviews a National Historic Landmark nomination before making a recommendation to the National Park System Advisory Board. The meeting is in Washington, D.C.

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(News & Observer, 10/17/2016)

Historic preservation activists have long struggled against the field’s negative reputation. Some critics say it’s an avenue for gentrification, only focuses on preserving a narrow, elitist slice of history (i.e. that of those who are wealthy, white and male), or is simply a nostalgic grasp on the past that does not allow for needed growth and revitalization.

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(Next City, 10/12/2016)

The snazzy, eye-catching redevelopment of the Loray Mill has grabbed all the headlines in the last three years.

But this weekend, the historic village of homes that serves as the nest for that former foundry will finally get a chance to shine.

“We’ve been working in the Loray Mill village for a long time,” said Lauren Werner, spokeswoman for Preservation North Carolina. “We’re very excited for people to have their first look this weekend at the model houses and other homes that are available there.”

Preservation N.C.’s special Open Village event will celebrate what’s been achieved in restoring residences around the Loray Mill, as well as what’s coming. The two-day celebration and fundraiser will feature a block party Saturday, and a tour of homes both Saturday and Sunday throughout the village.

The gathering will aim to reassert the neighborhood’s reputation during its mid-20th century heyday, when it was filled with hard-working people and a communal spirit that made it a vibrant hub of the city. And it will coincide with the grand opening of the new Alfred Kessell History Center inside the mill.

On 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 to enjoy barbecue, beer and wine while listening to music from local favorites Darin and Brooke Aldridge, speakers and experiencing 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.

Preservation N.C.’s fully renovated and staged model home will be featured during the tour, as will six other houses that are in various stages of being restored and put back on the market.

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. The Sunday tour will also include a visit to the Separk Mansion on Second Avenue, where participants will be treated to a scoop of Tony’s Ice Cream.

In addition, a free program will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Loray Mill Event Hall. 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, whose original members met at the Loray Mill. The overall presentation will be sponsored by the Glenn Foundation.

Unlimited tickets for the Sunday tour will be sold at the door, but seating for the free Loray Talks event will be capped at 350. Ticket sales and will call for those who have pre-registered will be in the main entrance of the mill.

For information on ordering tickets, call 919-832-3652.

Preservation N.C. has been working earnestly since last year 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.

Werner said they expect several hundred people to attend the events over both days, and they hope it will help propel the restoration of the village to another level.

“We’d like this to serve as a springboard for people to learn about all the wonderful rehabs that can happen in a community like the Loray Mill village,” she said. “The trend of people buying smaller houses for smaller households is happening all across America. Housing stock like this provides a great opportunity for first-time homebuyers, as well as empty-nesters.

You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or on Twitter @GazetteMike.

This article ran in the Gaston Gazette, 10/11/2016.

RALEIGH–Matthew Brown steps on the plywood plank lying across his wraparound porch, currently without a floor, and into his Person Street house. He passes the blue tarp covering a keyhole-shaped stained glass window. Inside, stained and faded wallpaper peels from the walls.

Brown, in a 1960s-era wool suit and hat, beams all the while. He points out the intricate woodwork on the staircase and walls – “It’s never even been painted” – and describes the slate roof that drew him to the historic house that he recently bought from the state.

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(News & Observer, 10/8/2016)

Susan Kluttz says that Revolution Mill is an example of everything that’s right about historic preservation.

The secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Kluttz was in Greensboro for a ribbon cutting signifying completion of the 1250 Building at Revolution Mill. It’s the first structure finished in a mammoth undertaking that involves transforming 570,000 square feet of the former textile mill space into artist studios, businesses, restaurants, a brewery, apartments and more.

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(Triad Business Journal, 10/7/2016)

Tryon–Robert Lange of the Melrose Avenue Historic District organization held an information meeting for approximately 20 homeowners along Melrose Avenue and the surrounding area at Lanier Library Tuesday evening in preparation for getting a historic district designation from the National Park Service.

Lange, who lives on Melrose Avenue with his wife Maureen across from the Tryon Fine Arts Center, asked Preservation Specialist Annie McDonald and Restoration Specialist Jennifer Cathey from the State Historic Preservation Office to talk about what a historic district designation would mean for homeowners in the Melrose Avenue area and the tax credits for property owners in the district.

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(Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/3/2016)

On Sept. 6, the Durham City Council voted to approve the Golden Belt Local Historic District with its full recommended boundary. The passage of this new district, the city’s eighth, displays the power of historic preservation’s evolving role in Durham. The designation of Golden Belt also highlights the changing face of historic preservation and the tools that it provides to residents and property owners.

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(Durham Herald-Sun, 10/1/2016)

Why did we move to Salisbury 16 years ago?  It is simple. “Welcome to HISTORIC Salisbury.” Salisbury was a visually charming, affordable historic town near our grandchildren. Although grandchildren were the key, we could have selected any community within a 150-mile radius. But Salisbury was the right size, had the late 19th and early 20th century architectural charm, tree-lined streets, a symphony, colleges, a great library, historic focus, friendly neighborhoods, responsive city services; the quality of life we were looking for.

We volunteered as docents in the Dr. Josephus W. Hall House Museum owned and operated by Historic Salisbury Foundation, Inc., a local but nationally recognized 501.c.3 private non-profit providing preservation leadership and services to the city and county. One thing led to another, and we soon became actively involved in the stabilization and preservation of century old commercial and residential structures across the city.

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(Salisbury Post, 10/2/2016)

Trudy and Wayne Clark’s passion for restoring historic buildings has garnered them the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from Preservation North Carolina.

The couple, who have made Ocracoke their home since the early 1990s, are owners of Edward’s Motel, built in the mid-1930s. They received the award at a luncheon Friday (Sept. 30) at the agency’s annual conference.

According to the agency, the merit awards “give recognition to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated a genuine commitment to historic preservation through extraordinary leadership, research, philanthropy, promotion, and/or significant participation in preservation.”

The Clarks have preserved two houses in Everetts, Martin County, one of which was Wayne’s family home, and these projects led Wayne to fund a National Register nomination for the Everetts Historic District, which allowed them and many others to receive historic rehabilitation tax credits.

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(Ocracoke News, 10/2/2016)

Some people view an old, ramshackle house as an eyesore in need of the wrecking ball, but John Kidwell often sees possibilities for restoring the beauty of such a structure to its heyday.

The local resident has dedicated his professional life to the preservation of older homes, and those efforts will be rewarded Friday when he is presented with a state honor.

Kidwell, 80, will receive the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from Preservation North Carolina, an organization that promotes and protects the buildings and landscapes of the state’s diverse heritage.

Read full story…

(Mount Airy News, 9/29/2016)

If you thought historic preservation was just about saving grand, classic structures from the wrecking ball, you would be wrong. According to The Past and Future City, a new book by Stephanie Meeks (October 4, Island Press), the President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the role of historic preservation is evolving, touching not just the buildings that many consider some of the best parts of their cities, but the cities themselves.

“It’s a manifesto, of sorts,” Meeks says about the book. “It’s my Jerry Maguire Moment.”

Meeks takes full advantage of the platform, outlining the accomplishments of a half-century of work and the opportunities available in the next 50 years. As the nation’s urban renaissance continues, the book argues, preservationists aren’t just saving the stories and structures of the past, but increasingly writing the future, as well. Curbed spoke with Meeks, who outlined the main issues and changes facing the preservation movement, and where focus should be applied.

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(Curbed, 9/28/2016)

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.

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(Courier-Tribune, 9/16/2016)

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.

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(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