Classic House of the Week: Let’s Take a Road Trip to Glencoe Mill Village This Saturday

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2440 Glencoe Street, $278,000: An elegantly restored Glencoe mill house

Glencoe Mill Village is a little gem on the Haw River just north of Burlington. Built in the 1880s, it has been beautifully restored to life. Its 30-some houses comprise one of the most intact mill villages still standing in North Carolina. The houses themselves have been renovated and in many cases sensitively expanded.

Saturday will be a good day to visit Glencoe: Four homes are currently on the market, and three will have open houses. Realtors with listings in the village join together to hold open houses one Saturday per month. Take N.C. 62 north from downtown Burlington, and Glencoe is about three miles up the road at the Haw River.

2440 Glencoe Street, which will be open Saturday, is a excellent example of the village’s restored homes. For sale at $278,000 ($133/square foot), it has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and 2,090 square feet. The original mill house was typical — two rooms downstairs and two upstairs. A kitchen was added about 30 years later as a rear ell; it has been brilliantly redesigned. The home’s features include its original heart-pine flooring, exposed-beam ceilings, track lighting and wide-plank walls and ceilings.

A porch along the kitchen has been turned into a bright hallway that connects back to the original detached kitchen (one of the few still existing in Glencoe). The kitchen has been renovated to serve as a bedroom or den; the current owner has her loom there. The washer and dryer are tucked away in the hallway. A screened-in porch at the side leads to an additional bedroom at the back. The lot is a spacious 0.31 acre.

It’s hard to imagine a more elegantly restored mill house.

About 250 people lived in Glencoe at its peak. After the mill closed in 1954, the village’s population dwindled, and it deteriorated badly. In 1997 Preservation North Carolina bought it with a gift from Sarah Rhyne, a part-owner of the property. The organization joined with Burlington and Alamance County to restore Glencoe. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places; it’s also an Alamance County historic landmark and a Burlington historic district (it’s not actually in the city, but it is within Burlington’s zoning jurisdiction).

The beautiful Haw River Trail runs along the south side of the village and includes a paddle access point at the mill. Glencoe has a peaceful, isolated feel to it, but it’s only 15 minutes to downtown Burlington.

Like any distinctive, historic neighborhood, Glencoe isn’t for everyone. Its quiet and character are far from typical. Consistent with the history of the village, there are no garages or fences, sidewalks or curbs. Ownership of a historic home is really stewardship in a way; it carries responsibilities. The houses themselves tend to have quirks. Their original stairs up to the second floor are almost comically steep.

The owner of 2440 Glencoe Street, along with her late husband, was one of Glencoe’s pioneers in the late ’90s. Twenty years later, like some of the other residents who did such remarkable work restoring the mill houses, she’s ready to leave for a smaller home. There’s room for a new generation in Glencoe.

Real estate listing: 2440 Glencoe Street
Preservation North Carolina for-sale listings for Glencoe

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Housing Summit 2018: Housing Builds Our Economy

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From the Greensboro Housing Coalition:

Deteriorating neighborhoods and lack of affordable stable housing negatively impact education, economic development, and the quality of life we all want. About one in every four Greensboro households is struggling to have a place to live. Some are on the streets, some in homeless shelters. More are “staying” in crowded spaces with friends or relatives. Most of those struggling households that do have homes are paying more than a third of their meager incomes to rent places that sometimes make them sick.

Our annual housing summit builds momentum around the vision of safe affordable housing. We come together annually to educate and inspire. And we challenge each other to substantially increase housing options (policy changes and increased resources for repairing and building different kinds of apartments and houses), to support people accessing and maintaining housing (such as tenant education and rental assistance), and to promote collaboration among leadership. We all come together to transform community knowledge and attitudes to support affordable housing.

This year’s speakers:

  • Gov. Parris Glendening, president of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute and the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, and former governor of Maryland;
  • Hershel Lipow, community relations expert in the Compliance and Community Affairs Department of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; and
  • Dr. Jeremy Bray, chair of the Department of Economics at the UNCG Bryan School of Business and Economics.
  • The moderator will be Jeff Thigpen, Guilford County register of deeds.

The summit brings together the Greensboro Housing Coalition, City of Greensboro, HUD, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and other organizations.

Click here for more information or to register.

On March 1, Come Meet the Designers Who Will Give Hillside Mansion Its Ultimate Makeover

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Twenty-five designers will converge on Hillside, the Julian Price House, in March to turn it into a designer showhouse.

Meet the Designers
Hillside Mansion, 301 Fisher Park Circle
Thursday, March 1, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Tickets, $50

The Julian Price House is almost all the way home on its long journey from being featured on “Hoarders” to becoming a Designer Showhouse for three weeks in April.  Once threatened with destruction, historic Hillside will receive a luxurious makeover in March by 25 designers from New York, Dallas and other cities, including Greensboro.

You’re invited to celebrate this milestone, meet some of the designers and hear first-hand about their plans. The home will host a “Meet the Designers” event Thursday March 1, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Ticket sales will benefit Preservation Greensboro.

Tickets are $50. A limited number are still available. Click here to buy tickets and for more information.

Classic House of the Week: ‘One of Greensboro’s Most Elegant’ Homes In College Park, $749,000

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The Fowler House, 1604 N. College Park Drive, sits well above the street atop a large terraced yard. The Mediterranean villa may be the grandest of the relatively few such homes in Greensboro. It would be striking anywhere, but on its lofty perch among the fine neighboring homes, it’s a real standout.

1604 n. park drive map.jpg“The Fowler House is one of Greensboro’s most elegant,” Marvin Brown wrote in Greensboro: An Architectural Record. He describes it as a mix of Mediterranean and Spanish Revival styles, “shaded by an arcade of fluted Doric columns that is topped by a green-tiled pent roof, brackets and a ballustrade.” It was built in 1926.

The unusually large lot is 0.61 acres. and most of it is in front and to the left of the house. It includes driveways from both College Park Drive and Mayflower Drive to the rear. A separate lot directly behind the house on Mayflower is included in the sale. Its tax value is $58,000.

The house is on the market at $749,000. With 3,372 square feet (a lofty $222 per square foot), the house has five bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms. It has a towering porte-cochère  on the right side and a sunroom on the left. The sunroom is the kind of room that closes home sales, bright and uncommonly elegant.

College Park is a small 1920’s neighborhood tucked in between Sunset Hills and UNCG, bounded by West Market Street to the north, Aycock Street to the east, Wright Avenue to the south and perhaps Mayflower Drive on the west (it’s hard to say just where College Park ends and Sunset Hills begins). It has an interesting mix of mansions and modest homes, Mediterranean, Tudor and traditional. Like the Fowler House, many of the houses on College Park Drive sit well above the street. A small park separates the north and south branches of the street. Even though it’s bordered by two major thoroughfares, the whole little area is easy to miss, a hidden gem.

Agency listing

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711 Sunset Drive: The Joseph & Kathleen Bryan House Is For Sale for the First Time Since It Was New in 1935

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Update March 12, 2018: The house was on the market for four days before an offer of $1.655 million was accepted. The sale closed March 12, 2018. 

Joseph and Kathleen Bryan bought a brand-new home in Irving Park in 1935, and now it’s on the market for the first time in 83 years. The 6,000 square-foot house was listed today at $1.675 million.

Bryan left the home to the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation when he died in 1995. The foundation leased it to UNCG for use as the chancellor’s residence until the university recently bought the new guy a McMansion at 15 Clubview Court near the Starmount Forest Country Club.

The Bryan home sits on almost an acre of prime Irving Park real estate (the tax value of the land alone is $650,000).  It has four bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms. To serve as the chancellor’s residence, the kitchen was renovated with entertaining in mind. A 20-by-27 foot great room and a 16-by-28 living room can hold quite a crowd, as can the large backyard patio. The wine cellar is pretty spacious as well. The property also includes a three-car garage.

The house was designed by Charles C. Hartmann, whose many Greensboro projects include about 20 homes, the Jefferson-Standard Building, the F.W. Woolworth store that now houses the International Civil Rights Museum and Dudley High School.

Agency listing

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Following up on 111 Arden Place: BB&T Has Bought the Property at Auction

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Photo courtesy of Preservation Greensboro

BB&T has bought Edgewood, the mansion and 2.26-acre property at 111 Arden Place. It paid $770,000 in an auction at the Guilford County Courthouse on Tuesday. Their plans for the property are unknown; their representative at the auction works for a law firm and didn’t know. I’ve asked the bank and hope to hear back soon.

Sunset Hills neighbors have said online that they believe restoring the house and property would require an immense investment beyond the purchase price. One neighbor expressed the opinion that the swimming pool is too deteriorated to be saved.

In any case, it seems unlikely that BB&T will do anything other than sell Edgewood again.

BB&T first became involved with the property nine years ago. According to the latest deed on the property, BB&T Collateral Services provided a loan to the owners in July 2008. In 2015, it sold the debt to SummitBridge National Investments IV of New York.  SummitBridge foreclosed on the property and then bought it in February 2017. It paid $175,000. And now it has sold it to BB&T for $770,000. If anyone can make sense of all that, please leave a comment below.

On Wednesday, the bidding started at $460,765 and shot up quickly from there. Another bidder, an individual who wanted to renovate the house and either live there or sell it, stayed with BB&T as far as he could go but had to stop at $750,000. An unusually large crowd of about 25 people attended the auction.

Minimum Upset Bid: $808,500

Under North Carolina law, the sale remains open for 10 days to allow upset bids to be placed with the Clerk of Superior Court. Such bids must be at least five percent higher than the winning bid. In this case, that would total $808,500. An upset bid would trigger another 10-day upset period, allowing the auction to continue in slow motion.

No Rezoning Required for Redevelopment

Contrary to some neighbors’ expectations, a buyer who wants to redevelop the property wouldn’t necessarily need to get it rezoned. Its old RS-9 zoning is reclassified as R-5 in the new Land Development Ordinance. That zoning allows up to five single-family units per acre; in this case, that would mean theoretically up to 11 homes. The actual number allowed might well be less because any subdivision of the property would have to meet city requirements on minimum lot size and street frontage (and possibly more; those were two points mentioned by zoning director Mike Kirkman when I asked him about it today).

111 Arden Place: A Million-Dollar Sunset Hills Mansion on the Auction Block

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The view from the street offers just a glimpse of the G. Simpson Boren House, aka the Thomas Shaw House, aka Edgewood.

Note, January 11, 2018: This post has been revised with comments and an additional photo from Benjamin Briggs, executive director of Preservation Greensboro.

When you look at, you can expect most of the listings to be foreclosed subdivision homes, condos and townhouses. Pretty mundane places. The last thing you might expect would be a house like 111 Arden Place, a 5,200 square-foot stone mansion on 2.26 acres in Sunset Hills. The tax value of the property is just over $1 million. In 1999, the last time it was sold before foreclosure last year, the price was $845,000. This could be an interesting auction.

Known variously as the Thomas J. Shaw House, the G. Simpson Boren House and Edgewood, it may be the largest stone residence in the city, according to Greensboro: An Architectural Record.

“It was most likely built for Judge Thomas J. Shaw, a Superior Court Judge appointed by North Carolina Governor Craig,” Benjamin Briggs wrote in Preservation Greensboro’s 2017 Watch List. “The house was apparently built in 1914-15 by Shaw, and as such it is one of the earliest estates in Greensboro, predating both the nearby Sunset Hills and the College Park neighborhoods. The structure is composed of stone in a Colonial Revival composition featuring shed dormers and a service wing.”

It has six bedrooms and four bathrooms. The property includes a swimming pool, garage, gated driveway and many trees. The online listing includes no interior photos, and if there are any elsewhere online, they’re well hidden.

“The Shaw House is not the first estate to fall into bank ownership,” Briggs wrote. “The Hillside estate of Ethel and Julian Price in Fisher Park fell into ownership by the Bank of America before being sold to purchasers with preservation-oriented plans. The Shaw House could see a similar sale, with hopes that a preservation-minded buyer would see fit to complete a considerate restoration of the house.”

Interesting detail about this auction: Prospective bidders have no opportunity to go into the house and actually see what they would be buying. All you can know about it is what you can see from the street (and that’s not much). This may be typical of courthouse auctions; this or similar wording is on all of the current listings I’ve read:

“Occupancy Status is Unknown
“Do Not Disturb Occupant.
“It is a criminal offense to trespass on this property.”

So, here’s a million-dollar house (per the county tax department), and the winning bidder can go inside and see its condition right after closing. OK, then! Bring a certified check for 5 percent of your winning bid and hope for the best.

The lender bought the house for $175,000 last February. It’s scheduled to be auctioned Wednesday, January 24, 10:45 a.m., at the Guilford County Courthouse, Eugene Street lobby. (Enter through the main entrance, go downstairs and through the building to the former entrance on Eugene Street. You’ll have to go through security screening when you enter the building, which can take a few minutes. Wireless phones, cameras, laptops, etc., are prohibited in the building.)

Note: Online listings show the house as 5,693 square feet; the county property record shows 5,209.

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Photo courtesy of Preservation Greensboro
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One next-door neighbor is the First Church of Christ, Scientist.
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2010 photo from Guilford County property records

Classic House of the Week: A 1936 Mini-Mansion in Irving Park

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Have you ever said to yourself, “I’d like to buy a million-dollar mansion in Irving Park, but what would I do with 8,000 square feet?” Who has enough furniture for a place that big?

Maybe the house you’re looking for is 1915 Granville Road, a 1936 Georgian that has the luxury of an Irving Park mansion wrapped up in a tidy 2,600 square feet. The price is $839,900, which works out to $321 per square foot, right up there with the neighborhood’s finest mansions.

The property is .41 acre and includes a guest house (with a living room-bedroom and kitchen) and garage.

Those are imported Italian shutters on either side of the front door. And antique Chinese wallpaper in the dining room. The kitchen has two murals, and the den has a built-in seat in its bay window (three bay windows total). There’s also a very striking mural on the garage door.

On the other hand, if you’re OK with 8,000 square feet, you have enough furniture, and the heating and air-conditioning bills don’t scare you to death, 1001 Country Club Drive is still on the market, and the price has just been cut to just $1.59 million. And there’s still a small but elegant collection of other classic million-dollar mansions in and around Greensboro waiting for the right buyer to come along. Happy new year.

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Antique Chinese wallpaper

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Garage (right) and guesthouse
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Guesthouse living room/bedroom
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A playhouse sits in the backyard behind the guesthouse.

415 Sunset Drive: A 1930s ‘Dream Castle’ Is Rescued in Irving Park

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OK, it turns out there has been one classic million-dollar mansion sold in Greensboro this year, after all. And it’s a landmark. 415 Sunset Drive was apparently unlisted before it was sold last month.

The Thornton Brooks House comprises 6,800 square feet on 1.5-plus acres in the heart of Irving Park. Six bedrooms, six bathrooms and two half baths. It was built in the mid-1930s for the son of a founder of the Brooks, Humphrey, etc., etc., law firm. Brooks and his wife owned the house for 51 years. Recently, it has fallen upon hard times. It has been listed for sale eight times since 2008 at prices ranging from $4.3 million down to $2.3 million. It finally sold for $1.5 million.

Benjamin Briggs of Preservation Greensboro reports that Sam and Ashley Simpson have bought house and will restore it for family use. Benjamin says:

“The Greensboro Daily News profiled the house in 1941, stating, ‘At 415 Sunset Drive, Irving Park, is a real dream castle. From its circular driveway which lies behind an impressive, yet simple, entranceway, to the pond and formal garden on the opposite side, there’s more than one point of interest.’ More recently, the house was featured in local press for its abandoned state, including transient squatters. Its poor condition led to interest in demolition. The Simpson family is planning a complete restoration of the Irving Park landmark.”

Some photos from better days, via

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Good News! Your Million-Dollar Mansion Is (Still) Waiting for You!

Here’s a segment of the market for classic homes in Greensboro that’s doing just about nothing this year: $1 million and up. Not a single classic home in that price range has sold (as far as my records show). Where did all the millionaires go?

Very Close!

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The most expensive classic house sold in Greensboro this year is 607 Woodland Drive in Irving Park, which went for $999,000 in May. The bigger-than-it-looks, 3,400 square-foot home sold for a stately $312 per square foot. It was on the market three days before the owners accepted the buyer’s offer. Your results may vary.

Honorable Mention

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A 1965 Edward Lowenstein classic, 210 Kemp Road in Starmount Forest is listed at $975,000 and is now under contract. The owners are probably smart enough not to be counting their chickens or money until the sale closes, but the indoor swimming pool alone makes it worth mentioning. It may be the bargain of the year: At 7,200 square feet on just under an acre, the price works out to just $135 per square foot, a fraction of what you’ll usually pay in Greensboro’s high-end neighborhoods.

Let’s Get That Checkbook Out

Those are spoken for, but you still have seven classic homes to choose from at $1 million and up in Greensboro and Guilford County. Take your time; buyers aren’t falling all over each other to grab them. Most have been on the market for a while. Realtors say it takes longer to sell houses in this price range, and the market seems intent on proving them right.

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Ayrshire, 3215 Rockingham Road

What millionaire wouldn’t want an English manor house on Sedgefield’s Donald Ross course? For $2.9 million you get a 1935 Cotswold Tudor, 10,000-plus square foot home with four bedrooms, four full baths and three half baths, plus dining room, den, library, sunroom with a bar, stone terraces, etc. The lot is 2.88 acres. It’s been on the market for almost two years.

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Hillsdale Farm, 6043 Lake Brandt Road

I tend to avoid calling houses “historic” just because they’re old. Hillsdale Farm does have some local history attached to it, though: It was built in 1929 by Lunsford Richardson III (a son of the Vicks VapoRub inventor) and his wife, Margaret, on what was then a 2,800-acre site. Now it’s just a 13,500 square-foot home with eight bedrooms, six bathrooms and 27 acres of wooded land overlooking Lake Brandt. It’s been for sale at $2.875 million for just two months.

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815 Woodland Drive

The most expensive classic home in Greensboro proper is an Irving Park brick Georgian with five bedrooms, five and a half baths and a five-car garage. It has been for sale at an uncompromising $1.79 million since March, the sixth time since 2011 that its current owners have put it on the market. It comes with a smaller piece of Greensboro’s entrepreneurial history: It’s owned by Martin Sprock, founder of Moe’s Southwest Grill (who now lives in Charlotte).

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701 Sunset Drive

This 1937 house has been for sale since April at $1.785 million. At 4,600 square feet, it isn’t the biggest mansion you can find, but it’s not without distinction: With an opulent $388 per square foot price, it’s the most expensive classic home in Greensboro on that basis. The newly renovated home has a den/study with a wet bar, gourmet kitchen with a butler’s pantry, a master suite with a balcony and guest quarters above the garage. That’s where your chauffeur could live.

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1001 Country Club Drive

After Ayrshire, this 1928 gem is the most extravagantly designed among this bunch, a “massive Elizabethan-style dwelling with steeply pitched gables, stuccoed walls patterned in diamonds and squares at gables, all topped with distinctive tile roof,” the listing says. Its $1.69 million price is reduced from the original $1.899 million, making it the one of the few on this list that have been marked down.

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The Douglas-Ravenel House, 106 Fisher Park Circle

For $1.295 million, a great example of how Greensboro’s elite lived 100 years ago: twin living rooms, a library, an English garden with patio and pergola, towering front columns and a neoclassical facade. Thoroughly renovated, beautifully landscaped, 5,200 square feet. Built in 1912.

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804 Sunset Drive

For sale only since August, this 1925 Tudor classic overlooks the Greensboro Country Club golf course. For $1.295 million, you get 4,200 recently renovated square feet on a half acre, plus a two-bedroom, two-bath guest house attached to the garage (chauffeur). Powerball winners and other millionaires wouldn’t even blink at the $307 per square foot price.

Another $999,000 honorable mention

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200 Irving Place

As long as we’re in the neighborhood, let’s at least drive by this 1948 Irving Park classic. It’s $999,000, reduced from its original $1.075 million. Formal rooms, a study, bonus room, front and back stairs, 4,200 square feet, large corner lot, attached two-car garage, etc. “Meticulously maintained for the discriminating buyer,” the listing says. But we would expect no less, wouldn’t we?