- 6,226 square feet
- Lot Size: 200 acres / Zoning: Residential/Agricultural
North Carolina Estates, www.ncestates.com
It is a rare and happy occasion when an endangered historic property meets a talented and capable owner who comes to its rescue. But for such a property to encounter two such owners in its lifetime is exceptionally fortunate. So the preservation, restoration and enhancement of the historic Moore-Gwyn-Ewalt House outside the small North Carolina town of Yanceyville in Caswell County is the Cinderella story of preservation. The house was first rescued by local resident and WWI Red Cross nurse Annie Yancey Gwyn. She restored it, maintaining all existing original materials, including door locks with the British Coat of Arms and other hardware, and the surviving outbuildings.
The Moore-Gwyn-Ewalt House, listed on The National Register of Historic Places, was then purchased in 1994 from the estate of Annie Yancey Gwyn by Wally and Pat Ewalt. The Ewalts have devoted their time and energy to restoring the house, which had begun to decline, renovating it for modern living and creating an historically appropriate setting for the home. The Ewalts have called upon the skill and craftsmanship of the historic minded Caswell County community as well as their own ingenuity to accomplish this tour de force. To the home’s original three levels − with parlor, dining room, two upper level bedrooms, and a basement level canning kitchen, library and den − the Ewalts have added two flanking wings housing two additional master bedrooms, a kitchen, family room and two offices.
Constructed around 1790 for Samuel Moore, a successful tobacco planter, the Moore-Gwyn-Ewalt House exemplifies a classic Federal style attributed locally to a design by Thomas Jefferson. It is a two-story colonial structure with raised basement and externally finished with brick laid in one-to-three and one-to four common bond with glazed headers in a striped pattern. The main entrance is a three-bay pedimented porch, featuring slender Doric columns and a simple balustrade. In the center bay of the façade on both levels is an identical double door, each leaf of which has three flat panels set within an arched opening and surmounted by a twelve-light fanlight.
The house is described by architectural historian Ruth Little as “one of the most handsome Federal style houses in the northern piedmont of North Carolina.” The interior is equally impressive and features elaborately detailed woodwork, including exceptional high-style Federal mantels with paired colonnettes with sunburst capitals, molded baseboards, architraves with block capitals, nine fireplaces, a staircase featuring tulip brackets above a guilloche stringer and cable molding, and porches on every level.
Of considerable importance to the historic character of the home is its very private setting. It is sited on a knoll at the end of a cedar-lined lane 0.2 miles from US Highway 158 and framed by huge boxwoods, magnolias and oaks. The rear elevation affords a sweeping vista of terraced grounds, a spring-fed pond with fountain, and a swimming pool with pool house. A row of restored farm buildings to the left (East) elevation of the house shows a traditionally arranged complement of adaptively used working structures, including a tobacco barn restored as an artist’s studio, a log saddlebag cabin now a guest cottage with kitchen, bath and two fireplaces, a two- story tobacco barn and packing house now an equipment garage, and another restored tobacco barn currently used as a workshop. A screened summer house has been constructed to incorporate two two-story tall chimneys, all that remained of an early kitchen building.
The surrounding two hundred acres of fields and managed forestland give the Moore-Gwyn-Ewalt House the appropriate landscape for its period and history, including formal boxwood gardens and a fenced garden, all with accessible water.
The Moore-Gwyn-Ewalt House is protected by covenants held by Preservation North Carolina, the statewide preservation organization and revolving fund. To view these covenants, please contact Dawn Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-832-3652 ext. 221. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is featured in An Inventory of Historic Architecture: Caswell County, North Carolina by Ruth Little-Stokes.