Florence and Camille Kivette might have stood out anywhere, but in a small town like Gibsonville there couldn’t have been any way to miss them. For decades. The blue Cadillac and the big parties, the grand house out on the edge of town and Elon College — the sisters loved them, and they weren’t shy about what they loved.
Florence Olga Kivette Childress, born in 1917, and Marjorie Camille Kivette, born in 1920, both were graduates of Elon. They lived together almost their entire lives, even during Florence’s marriage (sadly shortened to just five years by the death of her husband, an Air Force captain). They held huge parties, led the town’s parades and drove their blue Cadillac to Elon for football games, plays and frequent meals in the dining hall.
They’ve been gone for a while now. Florence died in 1999 at age 82; Camille, in 2010 at age 90. But their names are still alive, on Kivette Hall dorm at Elon and on two houses in Gibsonville. Both houses now happen to be for sale.
7075 Kivette House Road, Gibsonville
The sisters’ dad, Pearlee Lassiter Kivette, built what is now the center section of the house in 1934. He sold lumber and coal and is said to have been the first millionaire in town. He also owned land that the sisters eventually sold for the creation of the Rock Creek Industrial Park on I-85. Their mom, Annie, was a milliner.
The house wasn’t built to be the family home. That was on Church Street in town. Mom and Dad liked big parties, and the new house had 13 acres, so there weren’t any close neighbors who might be bothered by them. Camille and Florence loved parties, too, and they later decided to expand the house, adding the two wings to create a 6,300 square-foot mansion. Their Christmas parties, held annually from 1955, drew more than 600 guests, and they entertained throughout the year, including events for fraternities, sororities and other groups from Elon.
Today, the home is a B&B (now closed because of the pandemic) and event venue. It’s for sale for $825,000, a relatively modest $130/square foot. It has seven bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, and a two-story carriage house. A garden has been created on five acres of the property. It has been for sale since 2018.
To see where the Kivettes actually lived, see 524 Church Street below.
524 Church Street, Gibsonville
The family lived in town. 524 Church Street is where Florence and Camille grew up, where P.L. lived the life of Gibsonville’s first millionaire (when he and Annie weren’t having a party). The family owned the house from its construction in 1923 until 2010 (the sale came shortly after Camille died). It has a relatively modest five bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms and 2,048 square feet. It’s for sale at just $150,000, $73 per square foot, reflecting a need for renovations. “2nd Floor waiting for some TLC – 4 Bedrooms and plumbed for potential 2 baths with guest suite,” the listing reads. Nevertheless, the house generated instant interest, and the seller accepted an offer after just three days on the market.
The first floor is renovated.
The second floor isn’t.
The lot is erroneously listed at 0.01 acre, but it’s a pretty standard in-town lot, probably 0.2 acre or so.