Historic home of African American educator sold to couple who promise to revive property

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.

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