- 1,968 square feet
- Lot Size: 1.7 acres / Zoning: Residential
, Regional Director
Preservation NC, Piedmont Office
Raised basement Greek Revival cottage on secluded wooded lot; one block from Milton commercial district and Thomas Day Museum; just minutes from Internationally renowned Virginia International Raceway!
An unusual example of a uniquely Milton house type, the Gordon-Brandon House is a modest-scale raised Greek Revival cottage consisting of a brick lower level and a wood frame upper level containing the main entrance and ornamentation. Located at the end of N. Bridge (“Warehouse”) Street, the house is set near Country Line Creek on a secluded wooded lot in the Town of Milton, famous for its Antelbellum architecture and home to Thomas Day, renowned 19th century cabinetmaker. Nearby is the last remaining tobacco factory in Milton. The house is eligible for tax credits.
Architectural and Historical Information
Today, there are four known cottages in Milton built for local merchants between 1840-1860. During this time, Milton was an early 19th century commercial boomtown with several factories and warehouses, a foundry, cotton gins, a roller mill, along with taverns, hotels, various retail shops, doctors, lawyers, a state bank, and cabinet shops. The most famous was that of Thomas Day, a free Black cabinetmaker renowned for his furniture and interior woodwork.
The Gordon-Brandon House may have been built c.1850 by Field Gordon who owned a local saloon. In 1950 it was purchased by Hunter and Annie Brandon. Mr. Brandon owned the Tire & Grill and Mrs. Brandon was a teacher. It was purchased by an absentee owner in 2000 and suffered several years of neglect. Happily, it was recently purchased by a local preservationist who has enlisted Preservation NC’s assistance to find someone to purchase and restore it to its former elegance.
The raised brick lower level was finely finished with stucco and an application of scored lines emphasized by white penciling to give it an elegant ashlar stone appearance and anchor the house to its site. Although much of this treatment was later covered with paint or new stucco, there are glimpses of the original detail on the rear elevation. The front façade is dominated by a two-story, three bay wide porch supported by four large beaded posts on the lower level and more delicate chamfered posts on the upper level dressed with molded caps, decorative brackets and turned balustrade. The two-paneled, double-leaf doors on the upper level are set within an irregular-glazed transom and sidelights similar to those found in other houses in the area known to be associated with Thomas Day. This is surrounded by a heavily fluted architrave with plain cornerblocks. The entrance of the lower level is comparatively plain with a set of simple double-leaf doors with single flat panels flanked by recessed half-sidelights. A three-sided bay with 4-over-4 windows flanks each side of the entrance. Of special note are the rather large upper level windows consisting of 8-over-12 sash with wide architraves and delicate molding.
The house is capped by a low-pitched standing seam roof and wide eaves typical of Greek Revival houses of the period. Two brick exterior end chimneys have been stuccoed in the last forty years. The main two-story section of the house is arranged in a center hall plan with a large room on either side of the hall on each floor. The interior is simply finished with plaster walls, a staircase with turned newel post, molded railing and plain pickets, symmetrically molded window surrounds with cornerblocks, tall beaded baseboards, and plain Greek Revival mantels. rear ell that was originally two rooms has been opened up in recent years to create a large open kitchen. An enclosed former breezeway, which connects the lower level center hall to the ell serves as an entry hallway and provides space for a bathroom at one end.
The house has suffered neglect for several years and will need a complete rehabilitation. The roof will need to be assessed and repaired accordingly (a tarp has been installed on the roof near the south chimney). Other needed repairs include new electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, removal of recent wood paneling and ceiling tiles, repair/replacement of damaged plaster, some structural repair, masonry work, and new bathrooms and kitchen. The property is located in the Milton National Register Historic District and is eligible for tax credits.
The Gordon-Brandon House is in Milton, NC, a charming village (est. 1796) near the Virginia line that flourished in the early 19th century as a center for Dan River planters, tobacco warehouses, industry and artisans such as famed cabinetmaker Thomas Day. Nearby is Union Tavern (c.1818), Thomas Day’s residence and cabinet workshop from 1848 to 1861 and now open as a museum, Presbyterian Church (1837), Milton State Bank (c.1859), and Milton’s commercial block (c.1880). Milton is located at the intersections of Highways 62 and 57 near the banks of the Dan River on the North Carolina – Virginia border and is 12 miles from Danville, VA, about 2 miles from the world-famous Virginia International Raceway, and only an hour from Raleigh/Durham.