Prince Taylor bought a piece of land in Browns Summit from Ceasar and Jeannette Cone in 1903. It cost $164. The lot was described as “being lot no 1 Block C Ceasar Cone’s subdivision adjacent to the city of Greensboro.”
Prince built his house there in 1913, according to county records, but it may have been earlier (property records that old aren’t always exactly correct). He was a blacksmith, and he kept working until about 10 days before he died in 1953 at age 87. The home stayed in his family until his last surviving daughter sold it in 1987.
The house, at 4606 N.C. Highway 150 East in Browns Summit, is scheduled to be auctioned Thursday January 7, 2021, at the Guilford County Courthouse. It was last sold for $115,000 in 2005. It has four bedrooms and one bathroom in 2,224 square feet. The lot is 1.15 acres.
The way historic houses are selling these days, it’s no surprise that the Effie M. Anderson House went under contract just three days after it was put on the market. Designed by the esteemed Harry Barton, it has been designated a Guilford County historic landmark. And it has been beautifully restored by the current owners.
Older homes that are stripped of their historic character usually aren’t very interesting. It’s increasingly common for renovators to go the cheap route and drain the character from classic homes — installing vinyl siding, replacing original windows with slickly marketed “maintenance-free” ones, tearing out distinctive moldings, doors and floor plans for homogenized blandness.
From the outside, 803 E. Bragg Street in the Asheboro Community was something else again. And that’s putting it mildly. The house lost its historic character, but, for a while at least, it gained an attention-grabbing new look, one that turned out to be too much for even the owners.
However it got there, the Esther W. Armfield House does look a bit out of place at 1715 Wright Avenue. This is a modest corner of Sunset Hills, down where the neighborhood starts turning into College Park. On a block of mostly bungalows, Mrs. Armfield’s stately Colonial Revival with its towering columns stands a bit apart, like a rich, elderly recluse who turns up unexpectedly at a neighborhood cookout.
Why it is where it is turns out to be a somewhat uncertain story involving First Presbyterian Church, maybe, and one of Greensboro’s more prominent architects of the early 20th century, who neither designed the house nor lived in it.
Update October 13: The price is now $2,500 for the schoolhouse.
Update October 9: The price is now $500 each for the schoolhouse and the smokehouse. The other outbuildings are $100.
Brothers John and James McNairy looked at the schooling available to their children in Guilford County and decided it would be home-schooling for their kids. That term didn’t exist in 1911 when the brothers were thinking about it, and their solution isn’t one that most home-schoolers would consider today: They built their own schoolhouse and hired a teacher for it. They used the building as a school until 1920, when their youngest children completed their education.
The McNairy family schoolhouse still stands on a piece of what used to be the large McNairy farm in north Greensboro, and it can be yours to take home for $100$500 $2,500. The owner is working with the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund to relocate the schoolhouse and the McNairys’ old smokehouse, which also is available for relocation for $100 $500.
The William and Irma Kampschmidt House is an interesting example of the architectural diversity of West Greensboro’s early years. West Market Terrace and adjoining neighborhood Westerwood were built out largely in the 1920s and ’30s, a time when home-buyers valued distinctiveness and style. The Kampschmidt House has both.
A brick, double-gabled bungalow, it sits at 1405 Fairmont Street, two blocks removed from busy West Friendly Avenue and just a couple blocks from Lake Daniel Park. There’s not another house like it in the neighborhood (or probably the rest of Greensboro). West Market Terrace is largely boxed in by the park and Josephine Boyd Street, which eliminates its streets’ use as cut-through drag strips. It’s a quiet corner of Greensboro but still close to UNCG and downtown.
605 N. Church Street is just the kind of place historic districts were created to save, a remarkable example of early 20th-century architecture. The wraparound front porch curving out toward the street, second-story porch above it, leaded-glass windows and cross-gambrell roof all combine for a look that’s as distinctive as it is elegant.
The Dutch Colonial is for sale at $589,900, and even at that price it’s a relative bargain. With 3,735 square feet, the price works out to $158 per square foot. Similarly impressive homes in Fisher Park have been selling for $190 to $250 per square foot.
Greensboro’s most expensive neighborhood just experienced a little jolt of activity. A pair of million-dollar-plus historic homes were sold on consecutive days last week. The prices on both were remarkable, even for Irving Park. And the sales were fast: One house hadn’t been listed for sale; the other had been on the market for a single day before the owners accepted a full-price offer.
Those sellers are making it look easy, but in recent years it hasn’t been unusual for Irving Park’s most expensive classic houses to sit for months or years before they sold. If they sold. In the past three years, five houses priced $700,000 to $1.7 million have been withdrawn without sales, and two others have been sold at a loss. During the same time period, 21 others have sold, generally after being on the market a few weeks to as long as five years.
The Morton House, 1332 W. Friendly Avenue, is older than Friendly Avenue itself. When the house was built in 1918, there must have been a road, but it’s not clear from the City Directory whether it had a name (Gaston Avenue, which later became the downtown part of Friendly, didn’t extend that far). Later, it was called West Market Place and then Madison Avenue before Friendly took its current form. This week, the house went up for sale at $290,000. It’s a gorgeous Craftsman, very well restored.
Lindley Park and Sunset Hills get a lot of attention as beautiful, historic neighborhoods, and rightly so, but there’s a largely overlooked neighborhood right next to them that has some beautiful and vastly more affordable historic homes. The Brice Street neighborhood has been almost overrun by low-end landlords because of its proximity to UNCG, but you can find some fine homes there as well. When they come up for sale, the trick is getting to them before Greensboro’s voracious “real estate investors” do.
If you were looking for Odell Byerly’s house in Sedgefield back in the ’60s, you would have found 5703 Anson Road eventually and maybe would have guessed, correctly, that this must be the place. The one with the big columns, like the big columns that made Byerly’s Antiques an I-85 landmark for 40 years.
The Byerly House is a classic Colonial Revival. It’s gracious, rather formal and big — 4,600 square feet. It’s for sale now for $650,000.
There aren’t usually too many houses for sale in Dunleath. Lately, though, there’s been a little burst of activity, with four houses coming onto the market from late July through late August. All four sellers accepted offers within days. And five other Dunleath homes have sold this summer as well. It’s not so unusual that houses are selling quickly in Dunleath, just that there are so many at once. Has Dunleath ever been a hotter neighborhood?
Some houses seem to have potential buyers just lying in wait, ready to pounce as soon as the for-sale sign goes up. 210 Isabel Street is one. It was for sale for two days before the owners accepted an offer. It was just sold in 2018, and then it took three days.
Buying a house is like finding someone to marry. You only need one, but the possibilities are limited to those available at the moment. And it often seems like all the good ones are taken. You could wait your entire adult life for some to become available. Others are out there again every few years. Here are current examples of each type (houses).
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.
It’s hard to know what to make of the offer that appeared in local real-estate listings on Friday: Three adjoining houses on Spring Garden Street for sale together at $975,000. All are rentals. 704 Spring Garden is a classic 1900 College Hill home, long ago divided into three apartments. 700 and 702 Spring Garden are single-unit houses, relatively new and essentially identical — built on long-vacant lots in 2003, four bedrooms, four bathrooms, 1,736 square feet each.
The $975,000 price comes out to a head-turning $157 per square foot. There are a couple ways to put that into perspective. Twenty-five College Hill rental houses have been sold in the past five years. Only seven have topped $100 per square foot, the highest being $121 (211 S. Tate Street, then a single-unit rental and now owner-occupied). The 15 multi-unit rental properties have ranged from $63 per square foot to $120 per square foot. So the Spring Garden trio’s owner is looking for a premium of more than 25 percent above the priciest College Hill rentals.
Update: The owners accepted an offer eights days after they listed the property for sale. That deal fell through, however, as did a second contract. A third contract resulted in a sale, though at a surprisingly low price: $274,000 (on June 15, 2020).
Southside is a downtown neighborhood of classic old houses and well designed new homes that fit very nicely together into a “traditional neighborhood” redevelopment plan. Houses come onto the market in Southside more rarely than any other neighborhood in Greensboro, so if you’d like to live there, you need to be ready to go when the infrequent opportunities arise.
Update: The house sold for $201,000 on March 10, 2020.
A piece of Guilford County history: From 1869 until 1962, Pleasant Garden Male and Female Academy — later Pleasant Garden Boarding School and even later Pleasant Garden High School — brought secondary education to southern Guilford County. As of 1907, it was one of only two state-certified high schools in the county, and it continued to attract boarding students. Today, about all that’s left of it appears to be 6104 Laurel Knoll Drive.
Update: The listing was withdrawn October 25, 2019.
It’s often hard to know exactly what you’re seeing just from the for-sale listings of houses that need renovation. From the foundation to the roof, there’s no telling what trouble awaits until you get a thorough inspection. With that in mind, take a look at 3311 Oak Ridge Road in Summerfield.
Yikes. Nothing subtle about Issue No. 1. Aside from the nightmarish vegetation, though, this stately old place doesn’t look so bad.
Update: The house sold for $415,000, its full asking price, on November 6, 2019.
The Paisley House, 409 Hillcrest Drive in Westerwood, may be oldest house in Greensboro that’s still a residence. It was listed for sale on October 4; the sellers accepted an offer on October 8. A quick deal like that isn’t uncommon in Westerwood, one of Greensboro’s most attractive neighborhoods, especially now when so few homes are for sale there. What is uncommon is that the house is so much older than the neighborhood. The Paisley House was built in 1820; Westerwood was developed about 100 years later.
Residents of Sedgefield report seeing crews from a demolition company at work in Adamsleigh, the renowned 30,000 square foot mansion in the golf course community. An article this week in the News & Record indicates that time may have run out for the fabulous house. Built in 1930, it stands with Graylyn in Winston-Salem and Hillside in Greensboro as one of the Piedmont’s grandest mansions. But its new owner wants to build a house, and Adamsleigh is in his way.
There’s been a conspicuous shortage of homes for sale in the Dunleath Historic District lately, so 810 Cypress Street is a rare find. It was sold 10 months ago and thoroughly renovated. When it was sold, it looked like this:
Two interesting old houses turned up for sale in the past couple of weeks with a disappointing element in common: Both owners appear more interested in selling to developers than to homeowners. Each of the properties has a bit of acreage, and both are in areas that have been developed with subdivisions in the past few decades. Losing them would eliminate pieces of Greensboro’s historic character from once-outlying neighborhoods where little of that quality remains.