William T. Smith House
- 4,073 square feet
- Lot Size: 2 acres / Zoning: Residential
John Wayne Hudson
, Regional Director
Preservation NC, Piedmont Office
Stately Federal-style house with exquisite woodwork once served as a field hospital during the Civil War! Only 15 miles from Campbell University.
The William T. Smith House was built circa 1835 and served as a field hospital for wounded Union troops during the Civil War’s Battle of Averasboro. Extensive archaeological studies have revealed a rich architectural history. The house is a two-story, single-pile frame house with a side-gable asphalt shingle roof flanked by two Flemish bond chimneys with diamond-pattern brickwork (east chimney collapsed). A two-story pedimented portico dominates the front façade and is accented by a decorative sheaf-of-wheat balustrade. The house will need a complete rehabilitation. Located just inside the southern boundary of the Averasboro Battlefield Historic District, it qualifies for historic preservation tax credits.
Architectural and Historical Information
One of three Smith family plantation houses located just east of the Cape Fear ferry crossing and located on the Old Plank Road, this impressive house was built for William Turner Smith (1810-1855) and his wife Mary Campbell Smith (1814-1886) around 1834 shortly after their marriage.
The floor plan of this impressive Federal-style home retains its two-room-over-two-room hall-and-parlor plan. Two large exterior end chimneys are of Flemish bond. The east chimney, exhibiting diamond-patterned brickwork, sadly collapsed in September 2018 as a result of Hurricane Florence but photos could be utilized to reconstruct it. A two-story pedimented portico dominates the front façade and is accented by a decorative sheaf-of-wheat balustrade. The striking first floor entrance is marked by the unusual two-door configuration, each door capped with a wide two-light transom. A wide fluted pilaster door surround adorns the entrance. The central entrance on the second floor is flanked by sidelights and a transom. Fluted pilasters on either side further accent the porch bay. A substantial Greek Revival-style two-story wing with a two-story porch on the east side was added to the south elevation just prior to Smith’s death in 1855. The interior is notable for its exquisite woodwork including Federal and Greek Revival mantels, extensive paneled wainscot with crotch mahogany faux finish, winder stair with Chinese Chippendale railing, paneled doors with original hardware, bold door and window moldings, and antique built-in cabinets.
Though it retains its historic form and much of its excellent early woodwork, the William T. Smith House has undergone some alterations including the installation of replacement windows (the original windows were 9-over-9 sash), a bathroom addition on the west side covering the west end chimney, and enclosure of the two-story rear wing porch. Some structural work has been performed including restoration of siding, and construction of 22 additional foundation piers.
The house will require a complete rehabilitation including some remaining foundation repairs, restoration of key architectural features and form, installation of mechanical systems, bathrooms, and a kitchen, and restoration of the front porch. Located just inside the southern boundary of the Averasboro Battlefield Historic District, it qualifies for historic preservation tax credits.
Located in Cumberland County in the town of Averasboro, less than two miles from the Harnett County line, and just a short drive from Campbell University, the property is a commutable hour drive to the Research Triangle Park area. Legend has it that this former port town might have become the capital of North Carolina, with the measure failing by just one vote. The historic town’s landscape retains its rural civil-war character: vast fields give way to thick forests, shallow and deep ravines, and meandering creeks. The nearby John C. Smith Plantation House is under restoration by a private property owner. A Civil War museum, graveyard, and several monuments are located within a few miles of the house.