Historic properties in downtown Dallas featured in July 10 open house

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