- 1,896 square feet
- Lot Size: 2 acres / Zoning: Residential
, Regional Director
Preservation NC, Piedmont Office
Situated on a small rise overlooking the quaint Town of Polkton, the Polk House is an important early 19th century Federal farmhouse significant for its early architecture and as the birthplace of L.L. Polk. Just 1 hour east of Charlotte!
Architectural and Historical Information
Built around 1830, the two-story frame house was constructed of heavy handhewn, mortise-and-tenon construction set on sturdy locally quarried brownstone foundation piers. The gable roof is covered by a standing seam roof and accentuated by a heavy boxed cornice and flush eaves. At the time of its construction, the house had two large exterior double-shouldered chimneys (now gone). On either side of the chimney ghost marks are small four-lite windows lighting the attic space. Tall nine-over-nine windows on the side and six-over-nine windows on the front and rear elevations let in lots of light. The deep shed roof front porch shelters the flush sheathing and entryway adjacent to an enclosed porch. A similar porch enclosure is located on the rear elevation and is also early to the house judging from the exposed mortise-and-tenon framing near the roof line and sturdy sills and joists underneath. A gabled two-room rear wing (or possibly former detached outbuilding) was added at some point and was originally constructed of board-and-batten but later covered by clapboard siding.
The interior is arranged in a hall and parlor plan with fine interior finishes including an enclosed winder stair, hand-planed plank walls and ceilings, beautiful heart pine floors, and six-paneled doors throughout. The hall features an expansive paneled wainscot with elaborately carved chair rail. A large mantel over a covered fireplace went missing long ago. However, the adjacent parlor features a large stylish Federal mantel with dentil molding beneath the deep shelf supported by reeded pilasters and diagonal reeding across the frieze, quite similar to the chair rail in the hall.
The enclosed winder stair, now located in the parlor but at one time opened into the hall, has a refreshingly gradual rise (normally one has to turn their feet sideways) and features beautiful flush sheathing terminating in an attractive flat wainscot and finely crafted newel post and railing at the top of the stairs. The wood appears to have remnants of faux finish. The room above the parlor has simpler Federal finishes including a flat-panel wainscot, vertical wide board walls, and a smaller version of the stylish mantel in the parlor. The larger adjacent room appears to have remained unfinished until the early 20th century with narrower wood walls and ceilings.
The house is best known as the birthplace and home of Leonidas Lafayette Polk (1837-1892). Polk’s accomplishments are numerous but he is best known as the publisher of Progressive Farmer, founder of North Carolina State University and Meredith College, the first NC Commissioner of Agriculture, and president of the National Farmers Alliance. Born into a prominent farm family, he lost his parents by the age of 15 and inherited the land and homeplace. He was educated just up the road at Davidson College and spent his early years back in Anson County championing the causes of area farmers as publisher of The Ansonian and initiating the Grange system. When the railroad arrived in Anson County in the early 1870s, Polk laid out the Town of Polkton on his acreage to the north of the railroad.
The house was a rental property for many years and has been empty for quite some time. It will require a complete rehabilitation including all new systems, a kitchen, bathrooms, and repair and restoration of the windows, some doors and the porches.
Polkton is seven miles west of Wadesboro via US Hwy 74, and began as the farm of Leonidas Lafayette Polk. Just one hour east of Charlotte, Polkton is also a short 30 minutes from Lake Tillery and Uwharrie National Forest. A treat for any nature lover, Uwharrie National Forest covers 50,000 acres in parts of Montgomery, Davidson, and Randolph counties. This forest has the scenic Uwharrie, Yadkin and Pee Dee rivers, as well as the Uwharrie Mountains. Various outdoor activities are available in the forest, including hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, camping and water activities.