- 1,643 square feet
- Lot Size: 10 acres / Zoning: Residential
, Regional Director
Preservation NC, Piedmont Office
Early log house with large stone chimneys, exposed beaded ceiling joists, wide wall planks, hand-forged door hardware, and a rear wing, once an early separate kitchen. Family cemetery with ancient soapstone markers nearby all situated on a bucolic ridge between Wentworth and Reidsville. Only 30 minutes to Piedmont-Triad International Airport and 39 minutes to Greensboro. Additional acreage available.
Architectural and Historical Information
A remarkably intact and early example of one of the most substantial and carefully crafted log houses in the Piedmont and mountain regions of North Carolina and neighboring states, the picturesquely sited King House is believed to have been built shortly after 1800 for farmer William King, whose family has continued to farm the place for more than two centuries.
Built of timber felled at the site and stones gathered from nearby fields, the compact dwelling represents many aspects of Piedmont building traditions that reflect the originally remote site, the wealth of natural resources, and the skills of regional artisans. It stands one story high with an attic half-story and has thick log walls (now covered with wooden and asphalt siding). The builders, possibly including King family members, collected fieldstones to build the foundation and the large, well-crafted stacked-stone chimney. The stone foundation and chimney will need repair. The interior follows a widely used and functional three-room plan, with one large main room heated by the chimney and two smaller chambers beside it. An enclosed stair rises to a single large room above.
In contrast to the plainer finish of many log houses, the care devoted to building the King House appears in such hallmarks of “neat and workmanlike” craftsmanship as the beaded ceiling joists, heart pine floors, batten doors hung with hand-wrought HL hinges, and beaded tongue-and-groove sheathing of the walls, made of hand-hewn boards over 20 inches wide, which recall the massive trees of the old forests in the area.
Over the years, an originally detached kitchen with stacked-stone chimney was linked to the house by a small “connector” room, and a rear side porch was enclosed. In the twentieth century, the family added the asphalt siding.
The King House has survived because of its long and uninterrupted family history and stewardship. Its precise construction date is uncertain because traditional building techniques changed slowly over the years, but it is believed to have been built early in the nineteenth century on land farmed by the family since Thomas King (ca. 1740-1817) moved here from Maryland and bought 150 acres in 1785. Raising diverse crops and livestock to feed his family and make a modest profit, Thomas expanded his holdings over the years and in 1802 deeded land to his son William, for whom the present log house was probably built. Nearby is a family cemetery where the earliest dated stone marks the grave of William’s daughter, Martha, who died on February 14, 1818 at age 12.
After King family members resided here until 1918, for several years thereafter the house was the home of tenants who farmed the land; in recent decades it has been vacant but protected by the family. Although William King’s farmstead was divided among family members over the years, much of it is the core of the present 240-acre farm continuously owned and operated by the family. This heritage has been recognized by designation as a North Carolina Century Farm in 1986 and a Bicentennial Farm by the N.C. Dept. of Agriculture in 2017.
The house will require a complete rehabilitation including repair of the roof and the log walls as well as installation of new systems including electrical, plumbing and HVAC, and a new kitchen and bathrooms. The King House and cemetery are being sold on ten acres.
The quiet rural nature and charming small towns of Rockingham County belie its dynamic cultural, historic and recreational opportunities. From rolling agricultural landscapes, quaint historic villages and museums to music festivals, shopping, and exciting water sports on any one of four rivers, the area has something to offer everyone. Just a couple miles south of the King House is the site of the Colonial-era Ironworks, visited by George Washington during his 1791 Southern Tour. The King House is located between the towns of Reidsville to the east (just off US-29) and the county seat of Wentworth to the west. Only 30 minutes to Piedmont-Triad International Airport and 39 minutes to Greensboro.