Ingleside Starts A New Life (Again)!

LINCOLN AND MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. – This time, the historic house didn’t get demolished to make way for suburban development. In 2016, development plans in Lincoln County put the iconic and historic Ingleside (1817) – located in Iron Station in eastern Lincoln County – at risk as the preservation of the exceptionally fine Federal-style house was not part of the original plan. At the request of the Lincoln County Historical Association, local county commissioners, and the owners, Preservation North Carolina (PNC) was brought in to help find a preservation solution for this important house.

Working with Ingleside’s owners (Caroline Clark and her family, who acquired Ingleside in 1951), and representatives of the developers, a solution was found. The Clarks agreed to donate the house and 5.75 acres to Preservation North Carolina in the summer of 2018 to ensure its permanent protection while allowing for new development around the house. This most generous donation is one of the largest gifts of property the statewide nonprofit has ever received.

Ingleside has been sold to a preservation-minded family from New Orleans and will be protected in perpetuity under PNC’s protective covenants. The historic property will coexist with the new development as Lincoln County continues to grow, and Ingleside will be able tell its fascinating and important story for generations to come.

Darryl Saunders and Jie Zhu purchased the property on August 9, 2021. Darryl grew up in Charlotte. His parents relocated to Ingleside earlier this year from New Orleans, while the children finished the school year. The Saunders have worked with several notable historic houses in New Orleans. PNC is pleased to welcome them into their preservation family. They have been thoughtful, genuine, easy to work with, and have taken on Ingleside with a lot of grace already!

INGLESIDE HISTORY – Ingleside was built in 1817 to impress and capture the heart of a woman, so the story goes. Harriet Brevard, whose father Captain Alexander Brevard had made a fortune in the manufacture of iron ore in Lincoln County, was being courted by more than one suitor. To help her decide and settle the matter, she announced that she would marry the man who built her the finest house.

Daniel Forney decided to accept that challenge. Although he was in Washington serving in Congress (in the seat that his father had previously held), he built Ingleside by utilizing the finest materials and craftsmen available. No one was surprised that Forney’s new house helped him win the heart and the hand of Miss Brevard. She married him that same year.

Family legend says that the elegant brick house was designed (at least in part) by Benjamin Latrobe, architect of the United States Capitol. The capitol, badly damaged during the War of 1812, was being rebuilt while Forney was a congressman. Further, Forney, his wife, and Latrobe were all of Huguenot descent, so it’s likely that they were social friends in the burgeoning new town of Washington.

Latrobe was an advocate for the Classical Revival style, and Forney’s house is one of the earliest and finest examples of Classical Revival architecture in the state. The house’s elegant staircase was modeled after Owen Biddle’s Young Carpenter’s Assistant pattern book. The main parlor is a remarkable showpiece of Federal style, especially in light of its rural setting. The woodwork may have been built by Jacob Steigerwalt of Cabarrus County, a talented cabinetmaker and builder of early pipe organs.

In 1834, the Forneys moved to Alabama where their descendants achieved major prominence, both politically and in business. The property was then sold to Alexander Gaston, the only son of Judge William Gaston, for whom Gaston County and Gastonia were named. Only a handful of other families owned the property until it was acquired by the Clarks in 1951.

Nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 as having statewide significance, this fine example of a Federal-style house has been featured in every major book about North Carolina’s historic architecture published since 1933. The tall imposing two-story brick house, beautifully laid in Flemish bond, was described by Catherine Bishir in North Carolina Architecture as “the grandest expression of the county’s 19th century planters and ironmasters,” and as one of the state’s finest antebellum Federal-style houses.

For more information about Preservation North Carolina and its efforts to save significant and endangered properties across North Carolina, contact:

Click here to view the full article in the Lincoln Herald!