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 In the past three years, five houses priced $700,000 to $1.7 million have been withdrawn without sales, and two others have been sold at a loss.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.
This week’s little burst leaves a nice selection of four classic homes still for sale in the neighborhood, including one that’s been on and off the market for nine years.
904 Country Club Drive, the Ray H. Taylor House
This 1948 mansion sold for $2.625 million last week without being listed. The house has four bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms and 6,252 square feet. The lot is just under an acre on the Greensboro Country Club golf course. The price works out to a very impressive $420 per square foot. Some perspective: Since 2017, the highest price paid I had seen for a historic home in Irving Park had been $320 per square foot.
The house has had an interesting series of owners. Ray H. Taylor built it. He was a vice president of City Industrial and Savings Bank and of Wysong & Miles (“designers of machine tools and woodworking machinery since 1903” and still going). Taylor sold the house in 1954 to Laura Weill Cone and her son, Edward Toner Cone. She was a philanthropist, civic leader and widowed sister-in-law of Moses and Cesar Cone. Edward was a notable pianist, composer and professor at Princeton University. After Laura’s death the house was sold in 1971 to Fred L. Proctor Sr., one of the more prominent businessmen in late 20th-century Greensboro. He was a co-founder of Guilford Mills, Hatteras Yacht Company and Texfi Industries. In his spare time he dabbled in home construction, venture capital and hedge funds. His son, Fred Jr., took ownership of the house in 2005, selling it in 2013 to Maurice Jennings Sr., founder of Biscuitville. William N. Bullock, executive vice-president of Environmental Air Systems, bought the house in 2016 for $1.25 million and sold it last Thursday for $2.625 million.
301 Sunset Drive, the Louis C. Stephens Jr. House
This classic Georgian looks like it has everything you could want in a mansion, but the owners apparently wanted to move up. They’re the buyers of the house above, 904 Country Club Drive. They listed 301 Sunset for $1.6 million on July 22, and they accepted a full-price offer on July 23 (the sale closed last Friday, September 11). It has four bedrooms, five full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms in 4,626 square feet ($346 per square foot). The lot is a half acre overlooking the golf course. The property includes a salt-water pool, pool house, a “Palm Beach loggia” with a fireplace and drop-down TV, and landscaping by Chip Calloway.
The house was built in 1955 by Louis C. Stephens Jr., who was on his way to becoming president and chief executive of Pilot Life Insurance. He sold it in 1960 to William D. Freeze, chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Hosiery Mills in Randleman. Freeze’s heirs sold the house in 1994.
Still Available in Irving Park
- $1.8 million
- 4 bedrooms, 5 1/2 bathrooms, 4,596 square feet (per county records), 1.52 acres
- Price/square foot: $392
- Built in 1954
- Listed August 7, 2020
- Last sale: Total of $1.77 million for two lots, which have since been combined into one.
- Note: The property includes a heated salt-water pool.
- The house was owned from 1978-84 by W. Eugene Johnston III (1936-2018), businessman and member of Congress for the 6th district, 1981-83.
- Johnston sold the house to Steven D. Bell, founder and chairman of Bell Partners of Greensboro, which buys and sells apartment complexes, mostly in the Southeast and western states, and serves as an “investment manager for institutional and high net worth clients.” He sold the house in 1997.
- Online listings show the size of the house at as little as 4,164 square feet and as much as 4,853.
510 Country Club Drive
The Britt and Jane Armfield House
Blog post — 510 Country Club Drive: 82 Years, One Family (August 2, 2020)
Update: The listing was withdrawn September 21, 2020.
- $1.7 million
- 5 bedrooms, 4 1/2 bathrooms, 4,640 square feet (per county property records), 1.39 acres
- Price/square foot: $366
- Built in 1938
- Listed September 18, 2019
- Last sale: $800,000, July 2002
- Note: Britt and Jane Armfield owned the house from 1938 until her death in 2002. It has remained in the family since then.
- Britt was a textile executive who died in 1953 at the age of 52. A bachelors and masters graduate of the Women’s College, Jane was one of Greensboro’s most prominent civic leaders for decades: the first woman moderator of the North Carolina Synod of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.; a founder of the Greensboro Opera; president of the Family Service Agency, UNCG Excellence Foundation, Weatherspoon Art Gallery and other organizations; and a board member of many more, including Davidson, Peace and Salem colleges, Greensboro Preservation Society, Greensboro Symphony and Moses Cone Hospital.
815 Woodland Drive
The Haywood Duke House
Blog post – 815 Woodland Drive: Irving Park’s highest-priced mansion (May 16, 2017 … It was then, anyway)
listing removed May 10, 2011; relisted July 29, 2011
listing removed November 11, 2011; relisted February 22, 2012
listing removed May 24, 2012; relisted October 28, 2013
listing removed October 20, 2014; relisted February 24, 2015
listing removed May 24, 2016; relisted March 24, 2017
- $1.59 million (originally $1.89 million)
- 5 bedrooms, 5 1/2 bathrooms, 5,215 square feet
- Price/square foot: $305
- Built in 1925
- Listed January 8, 2011
- Last sale: $1.7 million, June 2004
- Neighborhood: Irving Park
- Note: Haywood Duke was general manager of the King Cotton Hotel. The grand 13-story hotel stood downtown on Market Street at Davie, where the recently abandoned News & Record building now is, from 1927 to 1971.
- $1.049 million
- 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3,002 square feet, 0.66 acre
- Price/square foot: $349
- Built in 1924
- Listed July 13, 2020
- Last sale: $550,000, March 2003
- Neighborhood: Irving Park
- Listing: The property includes a detached 1,600 square-foot “guest house/garage/rec room/office” with two bathrooms.
- Also “Moss walkways, Blue Stone patios & Koi Pond.”
- The house had four owners in its first four years. It has had three owners in the last 62 years.