History in the remaking: Two ‘iconic’ Summerfield buildings have plenty of suitors

SUMMERFIELD — Two historic properties in the heart of this Guilford County town are for sale, and one is under contract.

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.

Town officials had hoped to renovate the properties, Whitaker said. They wanted to turn the hardware store into a council meeting space and to move a museum currently in Town Hall into the Martin House and have some extra municipal space there.

The town even went so far as to remove some non-historical interior walls in the Martin House — installed when the place was converted into apartments — and demolished a later addition, which included some asbestos removal.

However, town leaders became concerned about the cost of the projects, Whitaker said.

This summer, the town gave Preservation North Carolina an option to buy the properties, and it is marketing them to potential owners.

“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.

“They’re both iconic, prominent structures there on the main intersection of Summerfield,” Turner said.

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.”

Click here to view the article and photographs (including historic photos) on Greensboro News & Record

Mikkel Hansen is on mission to preserve his home.

The home, built in the mid-1950s by architect Clyde Merrill, sits on two lots between Hilltop Road and Fairway Drive in Black Mountain.

Hansen said he believes the home is historic and should be preserved.

He said he began this journey a little more than a year ago because of some changes made by the town.

“I call it irresponsible spot zoning,” Hansen said. “The spot zoning affected property that really ought not to change zoning.”

Hansen said the spot zoning is an effort to add more houses to the area. He said that because his house sits on two separate lots that span nearly an acre, several more homes could be built if his is torn down.

“There isn’t an empty lot around here, so if they can rezone this, somebody can make a lot of money on putting three houses on here instead of one,” Hansen said. “As an architect, I really felt that this ought to be preserved.”

Before Hansen moved in, the house had only two previous owners, the original architect and then a doctor.

Hansen said he bought the house in 1990 and moved in Oct. 1.

Prior to moving to Black Mountain, Hansen and his family lived in Chicago for 35 years. He said he and his wife moved to the South after their children grew up and left home because he wanted to live “where (he) didn’t have to shovel snow.”

Before Chicago, the couple lived in Kentucky, their first stop after moving from their home country of Denmark in 1954.

Hansen said he and his wife, who died of Parkinson’s a few years ago, looked for homes throughout the late 1980s before landing in Black Mountain.

Once they purchased the home, they did some slight remodeling, including adding windows in the dining room and removing carpet in favor of hardwood floors.

Now that he is working to preserve the home, Hansen said he cannot make any changes to the house or landscaping without first contacting the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina as his home is now under their protection.

Hansen said he was moved to work to preserve the home because he, as a former architect, appreciates the design and work that went into creating it.

“As architecture goes, you either appreciate it or you don’t,” Hansen said. “In this case, I obviously appreciated what this guy did for himself and his wife.”

By: Karrigan Monk, Black Mountain News

Click here to view the article and photos on Black Mountain News

RALEIGH, N.C. — A new exhibit in Raleigh opens up a part of our state’s history that may not be well-known. Preservation North Carolina presents “We Built This,” the story of Black Architects and Builders from colonial times to the present.

It begins on land where enslaved people once worked. The historic farm and home of the Benton Williams family still stands today with some structures likely built by those once enslaved.

“We have been able to do some research into their lives and uncover their names and also trace their lives after slavery as well as the steps they took in freedom to create lives for themselves and their families,” said Abby Kellerman, a park manager of education.

She says, after reconstruction many freed individuals stayed on as sharecroppers and tenant farmers. Many others like them set out to make their mark designing and building homes, churches and colleges.

“We can still see the physical legacy of these individuals and the work and the skill that they put into really constructing the state and are some of our most important resources,” Kellerman said,

In the Farm History Center at Historic Oak View County Park, you can learn about James Henry Harris, “who was an upholsterer, so he was a skilled artisan in North Carolina,” said Kellerman, adding that Harris had a second career as a politician.

Harris was one of four delegates chosen from Wake County to participate in the 1868 Constitutional Convention. He served along with Benton Williams, the owner of the Oak View estate, who also sided with the Union’s cause during the Civil War.

Also featured in the exhibit is C.E. (Calvin Esau) Lightner, who attended Shaw University and became one of the leading builders of Raleigh’s Black middle class.

Philip Freelon is one of the most well-known architects in this exhibit. Kellerman said, “he’s actually known for designing the National Museum of African American History and Culture which is the Smithsonian building in D.C.”

She added, “I do appreciate that it highlights Danita Brown who was the first Black American woman licensed to practice architecture in North Carolina.”

Now, on the very ground where enslaved people once toiled the exhibit celebrates progress. “I think it really shines a light on these individuals who perhaps were overlooked in history. It encourages us to learn more about our local history,” said Kellerman.

The Historic Oak View County Park is always open for self-guided tours – Monday through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. – and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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IRON STATION – Nearly 800 Rosenwald Schools were built in North Carolina – more than in any other state. Only two of the original six Rosenwald Schools are still standing in Lincoln County. One is Oaklawn, which was rehabilitated utilizing a Community Development Block Grant and is now being used by Communities in Schools of Lincoln County and the Mount Vernon School in Iron Station. Mount Vernon School was a two-teacher schoolhouse that first welcomed students for the 1925 school year.

“Today the Mount Vernon School’s restoration and preservation are championed by former students, community members, and volunteers,” Mia Canestrari, a volunteer with the project said. “A non-profit was created in 2015 to restore and preserve the school, return it to its 1920s appearance, share its history, and open it to the community for education and fellowship.”

Intrigued by the history of Rosenwald Schools, a University of North Carolina at Charlotte Anthropology Department graduate student, Camille Richardson, has elected to do an archeological dig at the Mount Vernon School as part of her master’s thesis. She’s working under the supervision of Sara Juengst, Ph.D., an associate professor with the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

“We were contacted by Mia Canestrari who’d seen on social media a Rosenwald School archeology project that was running through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” Juengst said. “The idea is to put a few archeological excavation units in the yard of the school to see what the children left behind. If we’re lucky, we’ll find their trash pit. I think most likely, we’ll find things that were lost in the yard. It’s part of an effort to document and investigate the lives of African American children which in terms of historical documents, are often unreported on, particularly in the last 200 years in the American South.”

Richardson has been doing work with other black communities in the Charlotte area on housing issues and is interested in racial justice issues broadly.

“In eighth grade, I was taking a forensics course at a college, and they started talking about forensic anthropology,” she said. “I started to think about how I could turn anthropology into a career and here I am. I was looking for a project to do for my master’s thesis and this seemed amazing. I work with a nonprofit called Rebuilding Together where we do home modifications on low-income housing. Most of our clients are African American people and I get to learn a little bit about their history.”

Some of her clients told Richardson about how education back in the day wasn’t the greatest. When she learned of the Rosenwald Schools, she knew this would be a perfect project for her.

“I’m so excited to get in here and try to tell these children’s stories and interviewing the surviving students,” she said.

Introduced to the Mount Vernon School project by Sen. Ted Alexander (R-Cleveland), Canestrari has been a volunteer with Preservation North Carolina since 2019.

“Ted invited me and another volunteer, current Board Secretary Amanda Finlon, to a Mount Vernon Rosenwald School meeting over a year ago,” she said. “We met Ola Mae (Foster) and she asked if we were interested in helping out. I was and I needed to complete an internship to get my Historic Preservation Certificate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, so I came on as an intern. Once my internship ended, I decided to stay on as a volunteer. I’m scheduled to receive the Historic Preservation certificate from UNCG this spring.”

In the case study that Canestrari did for her certificate, she conducted extensive research on the Mount Vernon school and on Rosenwald Schools in general. Some of her research follows:

The land on which the Mount Vernon Rosenwald School is situated was sold by white businessman and landowner Andrew Link to the Lincoln County School Board for eight dollars in 1902. The deed states the land was “To be used as a schoolhouse site and for the benefit of the free school for Dist. No. (Mt Vernon) colored race.” That year the Mount Vernon Academy was built and stood until the community petitioned for a Rosenwald school.

On Sept. 10, 1924, William F. Credle, the Rosenwald Fund supervisor with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction sent a request to the Rosenwald Fund for help building 22 schools in 10 counties. Mount Vernon was one of three schools in Lincoln County approved for funding at this time. Schools were only approved if the black community demonstrated support for the school by raising money and donating labor or land. The school also had to have the backing and financial support of the white community and school board.

According to information from the Fiske University Rosenwald School database, the total cost to build the school was $2500 with $300 from the black community, $1500 in public funds, and $700 from the Rosenwald Fund.

Once built, the school functioned as an elementary school with one room for first through third grade and the second classroom for grades four through six. In 1960, following desegregation, the school closed, and classes were moved to the Newbold Elementary School. In 1961 the church next door, the Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church, purchased the school and used it as a meeting hall. Historically the church and its members were instrumental in building and supporting the schools built on the site.

The school has been altered and updated over the years. Its historic details have been either hidden or removed. The large, tall bank of 9×9 windows, a defining characteristic of Rosenwald Schools, that stretched along the front and back of the school were replaced with smaller windows. The wood exterior has been covered with vinyl siding. Interior wood paneling and drop ceilings covered the original tongue and groove.

“When evaluated in 2011, the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office found it couldn’t be encouraging about it as a likely candidate for listing on the National Register of Historic Places,” Canestrari said. “It was recommended that the school building be returned to its historic appearance by literally unwrapping it to reveal the historic materials underneath.”

With the help of local Lowe’s store volunteers, the drop ceiling and wood paneling were removed in June. In addition, the board has worked to raise money and apply for available grants. The Mount Vernon Rosenwald School recently received grant funds from the county and the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation which will allow work on the exterior façade to begin this spring.

Once the historical details of the building are more visible, the board plans to have the site re-evaluated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Interviews are planned with surviving students of the Mount Vernon Rosenwald School and will be published at a later date.

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By: Michelle T. Bernard, Senior Staff Writer, Lincoln Times-News

 

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (October 27, 2022)— Reynolda has been selected as a recipient of the 2022 Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from Preservation North Carolina. The awards are presented annually to people and organizations demonstrating genuine commitment through extraordinary leadership, research, philanthropy, promotion and/or personal participation in historic preservation. Reynolda was recognized at an October 26 event in Winston-Salem for two recently completed projects across the estate: the roof rehabilitation and the Formal Gardens renovation.

The Reynolda House roof rehabilitation project was announced in 2018, following receipt of a $420,000 Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities. A ‘Raise the Roof’ campaign followed, to raise funds for the rehabilitation, and work began during the summer of 2021 to replace tiles across the 30,000-square-foot bungalow roof. Partnering with architect Joseph K. Oppermann, the Frank L. Blum Construction Company, and the Baker Roofing Company, the project honored the vision of the home’s original designer, Charles Barton Keen. It was completed in December 2021.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from Preservation North Carolina. We benefited from a meaningful collaboration with our project partners, and the rehabilitation was meticulously executed. The completed roof displays powerful historical integrity and ensures the safety and protection of the home and its collection of American art and fine objects.”

This is the third award bestowed to Reynolda for roof rehabilitation. The project was previously awarded the Robert James Award for Preservation Excellence by the North Carolina Preservation Consortium and the Commercial Historic Renovation Project of the Year Award by Ludowici Roof Tile Company.

Renovation work in Reynolda Gardens is also recognized by Preservation North Carolina. Announced in 2020, the East Garden project focused on a primary visitor entry point to the Formal Gardens and a beloved home to the estate’s weeping cherry trees. The extensive work revived the original cherry tree allée that was designed by Thomas Sears in 1917. An allée is traditionally defined as a feature of the French formal garden that is both a promenade and an extension of a garden view. Forty-four trees were planted to form the allée—six parallel to the greenhouses and 19 along the east and west sides of the greenhouse gardens.

“The full cherry tree allée was not on view as intended for nearly 50 years,” said Jon Roethling, director of Reynolda Gardens. “Visitors this spring were delighted to see the cherries in bloom as they discovered our most recent restoration efforts.”

The project also uncovered an opportunity to complete critical drainage and irrigation work that will help to preserve the Formal Gardens for generations to come. In addition to this work, the tea houses—central focal points and passageways in the Formal Gardens—received new cedar roofs, paint and plantings.

Restoration work is never complete and ever-evolving, and Reynolda is already at work on new projects—a reimagination of the bungalow’s landscaping and a complete renovation of the Gardens’s greenhouses. Visit reynolda.org to plan your visit and to see restoration of the 1917 estate in action.

About Reynolda

Reynolda is set on 170 acres in Winston-Salem, N.C. and comprises Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Reynolda Gardens and Reynolda Village Shops and Restaurants. The Museum presents a renowned art collection in a historic and incomparable setting: the original 1917 interiors of Katharine and R. J. Reynolds’s 34,000-square-foot home. Its collection is a chronology of American art and featured exhibitions are offered in the Museum’s Babcock Wing Gallery and historic house bedrooms. The Gardens serve as a 134-acre outdoor horticultural oasis open to the public year-round, complete with colorful formal gardens, nature trails and a greenhouse. In the Village, the estate’s historic buildings are now home to a vibrant mix of boutiques, restaurants, shops and services. Plan your visit at reynolda.org and use the free mobile app, Reynolda Revealed, to self-tour the estate.

Click here to view the full article on Yes! Weekly

Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, Buncombe County Special Collections, and Pack Memorial Library present We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina Aug. 1-Oct. 10

The history and legacy of Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina comes to life in a new traveling exhibit at Pack Memorial Library. Produced by Preservation North Carolina (PNC), the traveling exhibit, We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina, is on display until Oct. 10.

The exhibit is open to the public during normal library hours Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For questions about the current display, contact Erica LeClaire Director of Preservation – PSABC at erica@psabc.org or (828) 254-2343.

From Preservation North Carolina: We Built This is part of a multi-faceted educational program about the history and legacy of Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina. This traveling exhibit highlights the stories of those who constructed and designed many of North Carolina’s most treasured historic sites. Spanning more than three centuries, We Built This provides more than two dozen personal profiles and historic context on key topics including slavery and Reconstruction; founding of HBCUs and Black churches; Jim Crow and segregation; and the rise of Black civic leaders and professionals. We Built This acknowledges and celebrates the Black builders and architects who constructed or designed many of North Carolina’s most treasured historic places.

For more information about We Built This, including future locations and information about rental, please contact Julianne Patterson at jpatterson@presnc.org or (919) 832-3652 ext. 238.

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Oak Ridge announced today the launch of its new CORE Initiative. CORE—Conserving Oak Ridge through Easements—is an innovative program with two goals: to educate property owners about how easements can preserve open space and historic structures, and to offer grant funds to offset the cost of putting such easements in place.

Oak Ridge’s CORE Initiative has been developed in collaboration with noted preservation organizations Piedmont Land Conservancy (PLC) and Preservation North Carolina (PNC). While both organizations also work directly with individuals, Oak Ridge’s CORE initiative positions the town as an advocate for residents and a unique source of funding not available elsewhere.

CORE Grants can cover up to 100% of the costs for either PLC or PNC to monitor a property, in perpetuity, for compliance with the easement terms. These costs can range from $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the property size and complexity of easement terms. CORE grants can also offset other costs typically borne by the resident for surveys, recording fees, and the like.

Understanding how conservation easements work is the first step for an interested resident. Conservation easements are legal agreements that restrict changes to the future use or appearance of a property. For example, open space easements can allow trails and recreational use, protect landscape features, and limit further development. Historic structure easements can allow interior changes and modern additions, while protecting historic exteriors and prohibiting demolition. Easements are voluntary and can’t be made without the property owner’s active participation and approval; they remain in effect regardless of changes in ownership.

The CORE Initiative grew out of the Town Council’s Strategic Plan (2018), which prioritized preservation of the town’s open spaces and historic structures. The CORE Grants were developed by a working group and are now managed by a standing Conservation Easement Committee comprised of five residents. With $20,000 currently in hand, the committee hopes to have up to $40,000 for future CORE Grants by next year. Grants will be awarded by the town, following recommendations from the committee.

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Information about Oak Ridge’s new CORE Initiative is available online at www.oakridgenc.com (see Boards and Committees/Conservation Easement Committee/Core Initiative). For questions regarding the new initiative, contact Planning Director Sean Taylor or Town Clerk Sandra Smith at 336-644-7009, or email ssmith@oakridgenc.com.

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Despite its modest population of 7,500, Oak Ridge continues to be a leader in developing strategies to preserve its small-town character, natural beauty, and historic resources. The new CORE Grants represent the second of two innovative grant programs developed to serve this small community in northwest Guilford County. Launched in 2016, Oak Ridge’s Historic Heritage Grant program provides grants to preserve the local historic structures; to date, grants totaling $22,800 have leveraged an additional $102,600 in matching funds, for a total of $125,400 invested in 16 local preservation projects. In yet another new initiative, Oak Ridge recently unveiled a new Village Core Design Guidebook designed to attract and direct innovative commercial development that is consistent with the town’s rural and historic character.

Preservation NC (PNC) has launched a new traveling exhibit and education program, We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina. “The project is actually a follow-up to an earlier exhibit that PNC released in 1998 that is still traveling around the state today,” says Julianne Patterson, outreach manager for Preservation NC. “The original exhibit covered material from the inception of the colony up until the Civil War. There was always a plan for an expanded project that would go beyond the Civil War, but the real impetus for this reboot is all the new research and information about specific individuals that has been discovered in the last 20 years.”

Through the exhibit, a docuseries and a published book, We Built This profiles more than two dozen individuals who constructed and designed many of North Carolina’s most treasured historic sites over more than three centuries. “The sooner people start to learn more about the skilled enslaved and free Black builders that may have been involved in constructing the buildings they live in, work in, learn in or walk by every day, the better,” says Patterson.

In conjunction with We Built This, PNC has created a new African American Building Preservation Fund. These funds will be used specifically for preserving threatened landmarks of African American heritage, such as schools, churches, lodges, businesses or homes of prominent Black leaders. “Historically African American neighborhoods, such as those built for middle-class Blacks between WWII and the passage of the Fair Housing Act, as well as Mid-century Modern homes and other landmarks of the state’s first generation of registered Black architects, are now particularly vulnerable to new development in North Carolina’s larger cities,” says Patterson. “PNC has recognized and preserved sites of Black history for decades, so this isn’t a new initiative as much as it’s establishing that this is a priority for us. This targeted funding will enable PNC to proactively seek out opportunities, as well as act quickly in case of emergency. The need is immediate, as both urban development and rural disinvestment threaten many buildings with African American associations.”

By Emma Castleberry – The Laurel of Asheville

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Without tax breaks, downtown Durham’s renaissance, with its swanky hotels and new skyscrapers, possibly wouldn’t have happened.

Yet, one of the main tax breaks used in Durham’s redevelopment could be facing the chopping block if the U.S. House of Representatives tax reform bill makes it to President Donald Trump’s desk for a signature.

The House GOP’s tax plan would eliminate federal investment tax credits for historic preservation projects as part of the Republican-led attempt to simplify the country’s tax code.

The potential elimination of the the historic tax credit quickly was met with dismay from preservation groups across the country and from some politicians.

“At a time when federal funding for infrastructure and housing is continually squeezed, the last thing Congress should do is push through a flawed tax plan that would hurt working families, hamstring our state and local governments, and destroy our ability to leverage private investment for projects that benefit the public,” said U.S. Rep. David Price, a Democrat from Chapel Hill.

As of the end of 2016, three of the 10 biggest historic tax rehabilitation projects across the state of North Carolina were in downtown Durham, according to Downtown Durham Inc. Others in North Carolina include Asheville’s Grove Arcade and Winston-Salem’s Reynolds Building.

The three largest projects in Durham were the American Tobacco Campus, which cost $167 million, the $81 million redevelopment of the old Liggett & Myers tobacco factory and the $38 million transformation of the Hill building into the 21C Museum Hotel.

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(The Herald Sun, 11/14/17)

Rehabilitation and repurposing of the Historic Loray Mill, converting and renewing the abandoned Gaston Memorial Hospital for senior housing, and restoration of the Armstrong Apartments were all made possible by Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits for investment properties. But now, this essential preservation and community reinvestment tool is planned for extinction by the GOP tax bill.

I have firsthand knowledge of the financial structure of these private redevelopment projects and can assure the reader that neither would have happened without multiple sources of financing, including necessary private equity induced by Historic Tax Credits. Each of these heritage buildings would have long ago gone to the landfill in the absence of this reinvestment tool. Instead today, they are preserved for generations to come, serving new community and economic purposes, and are playing a key role in revitalizing areas of our community which have been overlooked by the market.

Historic tax credits are necessary because they mitigate higher costs and greater design challenges, and most importantly, provide equity to help fill the financial gap needed in weaker market locations.

Beyond preserving the historic legacy of our communities, historic preservation projects have a better economic impact than greenfield development. Preservation project costs average about 60 percent labor and 40 percent materials, while new construction averages about 60 percent materials and 40 percent labor. More jobs are generated, plus materials are more likely to be locally sourced, consequently 75 percent of their economic benefits are locally retained. As private developments they contribute significantly to local tax coffers.

But, contrasted with greenfield developments, they demand little in added municipal services because they typically occur where such services and infrastructure are already present. Historic tax credits are not only a winner at the local level, but also at the state and the national level. They return to the U.S. Treasury roughly $1.25 for every tax dollar invested. Results include $131 billion in private capital investment, 2.4 million jobs, and preservation of 42,293 buildings important to local, state and national heritage. If we want to grow our economy through tax reform, eliminating the Historic Preservation Tax Credit is heading the wrong way. We must reinvest in the physical assets of our center cities, our main streets, our small towns and the built heritage embodied on our community landmarks — that which makes each community special and defines its history. This will help grow our economy and return significant dividends to our taxpayers.

Preservation tax credits involve over $100 million in Gaston investment including other projects such as Mayworth School Senior Apartments in Cramerton, Dallas High School Apartments, and buildings in the downtowns of Gastonia and Belmont. Communities across North Carolina have seen over 653 projects, totaling $1.8 billion in investment, producing 31,000 jobs and providing $392 million in taxes. We cannot let this policy so vital to communities be eliminated, for there will be more projects to come, whether it’s repurposing of more old factory buildings, iconic downtown structures, or plans now before our communities.

So, it is no wonder Historic Preservation Tax Credits have enjoyed broad bi-partisan support. When President Regan signed a law making this policy permanent, he put it well, “Our tax credits have made the preservation of our older buildings not only a matter of respect for beauty and history, but of economic good sense.”

If you agree that Historic Preservation Tax Credits are good policy, act today to call or email Congressman Patrick McHenry and Sens. Burr and Tillis.

Jack Kiser is a resident of Gastonia and has long been involved in historic preservation.

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(Gaston Gazette, 11/9/17)

Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi Hamilton and others called for defending the federal historic preservation tax credits at a Nov. 8 fundraiser for the Historic Wilmington Foundation.

Guests at the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s 2017 fundraising banquet heard a call to action Wednesday to support federal tax credits for historic preservation.

Susi Hamilton, N.C. secretary for natural and cultural resources, noted that the credits are targeted for repeal in the current tax plan being promoted by congressional Republicans.

Since 1998, Hamilton said, the credits had been used in 158 separate income-producing historic preservation projects in New Hanover County alone, resulting in $36.9 million in private investment.

Historic preservation “is big business,” she said. “It’s big business in North Carolina and our entire region.” The tax credits had been used for projects in 90 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, she added.

“It’s time to reach out,” Hamilton said. “We need to defend our small portion of this much larger (tax) plan.”

The federal credits, she noted, can be used only for work on non-residential properties and are separate from North Carolina’s own state tax credit program.

Enacted in 1976, the federal credits have previously enjoyed bipartisan support, Hamilton said. Former President Ronald Reagan was a major proponent of the program.

George Edwards, the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s outgoing executive director, urged members and guests to write their congressmen in support of the credits.

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(Star News, 11/8/17)

Has Hillsborough’s Colonial Inn finally found a new owner?

The “Under Contract” sign currently posted above the For Sale sign along the historic property at 153 W. King Street in downtown Hillsborough says so.

So does Seagle & Associates, a real estate brokerage based in Fuquay-Varina that currently holds the Inn’s listing. A representative of the company confirmed Monday morning that the property is under contract.

An online search also confirmed the property is listed “pending” in the Triangle Multiple Listing Service, which handles real property listings in the region. Little else is known at the moment, at least publicly, about the individual or individuals who have gone under contract to purchase the nearly 200 year-old Inn.

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(The News of Orange 11/6/17)