SUMMERFIELD — Two historic properties in the heart of this Guilford County town are for sale, and one is under contract.
History in the remaking: Two ‘iconic’ Summerfield buildings have plenty of suitors
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.
However, town leaders became concerned about the cost of the projects, Whitaker said.
“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.
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.”