“The Kellenberger Estate is significant in the history of Guilford County, North Carolina, as an uncommon and largely intact example of a property transformed from a vernacular nineteenth-century farm into a country estate in the Colonial Revival and relaxed, naturalized style popular in the 1920s.”
Miramichi, the Kellenberger Estate near McLeansville, was put on the market last week at an asking price of $849,000. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 in recognition of both the house and its remarkable 32-acre grounds. Its period of significance was 1921-44.
“It is the landscaping for which Miramichi is best known. The estate is dominated visually by the impressive naturalized landscape of native and exotic trees, shrubs, and flowering plants, many of which remain in remarkably intact condition today,” the property’s nomination states. The landscaping was designed and planted from 1921 through 1944.
Included on the grounds are two stone grottos fed by springs (previously a “hog waller”), a curvilinear pool, a lake and dam dating from 1915 and picnic areas. A boathouse and swimming pool were built around 1930. A small log outbuilding and tenant house date from around 1925 and 1930, respectively.
The house experienced a transformation of its own. “The house was created by the Kellenbergers, beginning about 1921 using an existing vernacular log farmhouse as the focal point, and continuing into the 1940s with a series of alterations and additions,” the nomination states.
“The house was remodeled in two stages, the first beginning in 1922 when the Kellenbergers moved into the farmhouse, still without electricity, running water, or central heat. It appears from oral history, documentary photographs, and architectural evidence that the house, originally one-story-with-loft, was made one-and-one-half stories by the addition in the early 1920s of the two dormers. A rear shed was removed and replaced with an addition containing a library and kitchen. … One-story gable-roofed additions were added to the east side to house kitchen and service areas. A second expansion, this one in the 1930s or 1940, consisted of the current frame two-story addition to the back of the house considerably larger than the log house, with rows of-large windows and glazed double doors so ‘we can have the out-of-doors with us.'”
John Kellenberger (1886-1973) was a businessman who came to Greensboro in 1911 from Pennsylvania. He was a successful furniture, real estate and finance executive. May Latham Kellenberger (1893-1978) was born in New Bern; the family moved to Greensboro in 1904, and both of her parents became prominent in business and civic affairs. Together, the Kellenbergers figured among the city’s leaders for five decades.
“Anyone who considers the development of Greensboro from town to city in this century must reckon with the broad influence of John A. Kellenberger. … His interests ranged over the cultural spectrum and his life expressed an ideal of service to community and church … [He] was prominent in the city’s life for more than 60 busy and fruitful years. His influence extended far beyond the city he adopted as his home in 1911. In partnership with his wife of more than 50 years … Mr. Kellenberger demonstrated in his life and benefactions a love of history, a sense of the beautiful in music and the arts. and a devotion of religion.”
— The Greensboro Record, August 12, 1973