New Listing: 214 S. Mendenhall, a Classic and Comfortable Victorian Farmhouse in College Hill

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Update: The house sold for $359,000 on August 1, 2017.

214 S. Mendenhall Street is a good example of what Greensboro’s historic districts strive to be: It’s not a museum piece, but a living piece of history that serves its owner as comfortably today as it did a century ago. It embodies the character and charm of turn-of-the-century architecture with its broad front porch, high ceilings and five fireplaces. And it has been thoughtfully restored and renovated, inside and out, to preserve those qualities in a home as livable as any modern house.

The Victorian farmhouse has four bedrooms and three fully renovated bathrooms in 2,800 square feet. At $359,000, that works out to a relatively modest $128 per square foot. The deep lot is 0.41 acre. It was listed for sale May 20.

One of its most distinctive features is an oversized eat-in kitchen with a brick fireplace. The current owner has finished the attic to create a nicely appointed den or entertainment room. The outdoor spaces, including a large deck and pergola in the unusually deep backyard, give it an additional dimension.

The home was built in 1900. In 1903, John and Laura Sharpe bought it, and it stayed in their family for 73 years. The current seller, Donna Kelly, is a former member of the Historic Preservation Commission. She bought the house in 2003.

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814 Olive Street: A Fisher Park classic, open this weekend during the Historic Homes Tour

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Update: The house sold for $470,000 on June 30, 2017.

814 Olive Street is a Foursquare with a distinctive stone foundation and porch columns. It was built in 1918 and thoroughly renovated over the past two years. It went on the market Friday at $474,900. It will be open on Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. both days, as Preservation Greensboro brings a couple thousand people into the neighborhood to visit eight other houses for its seventh annual Historic Homes Tour.

The renovation of 814 Olive was high end — Thermador appliances, master suite with marble floor and double granite vanities in the bathroom, etc. Also a walk-in closet, something you’re not going to find in many non-renovated Fisher Park homes.

The renovation is not unusual for Olive Street. “Over the past few years, the street has seen a make-over that has seen a much needed re-investment into worn housing stock,” Benjamin Briggs of Preservation Greensboro wrote in 2014. The renovations of 808, 810 and 813 Olive Street all have received preservation awards from the organization.

814 Olive has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. A den could be used a fourth bedroom. The house has a sunroom, spacious eat-in kitchen and deck looking out over the deep backyard.

At 2,504 square feet, the price comes out to $190 per square foot, lofty but about what one would expect for a restored 1920s home in one of Greensboro’s finest early 20th century neighborhoods.

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The house sits on a deep, level 0.33-acre lot.

 

Endangered historic house in Jamestown needs a new owner

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The William G. Wiley House at 4909 Vickrey Chapel Road in Jamestown is a classic example of a mail-order house, dating back to 1908.  It needs a buyer soon or it will be torn down.

The house was bought from Radford American Homes, a mail-order company based in Illinois. The cost was $1,800, plus $1 for the catalog and $5 for the plans. The plans showed a one-and-a-half story clapboarded house with a sweeping pitched cross-gable roof, a dormer window, wrap-around porch with turned posts, and a south-facing bay window. An elaborate lightning grounding system was added around 1913, and pressed metal shingles were added around 1918.

The grounds include many outbuildings, including a smokehouse, garage, shop, horse barn and shed, and two privies. There also is a well house with basement potato cellar.

The well-preserved site maintains an important link to early 20th century rural life in Guilford County, and it illustrates the influence of national catalog and building supply companies. Guilford County has designated it as a landmark property in 1993. That status confers a property tax credit of up to 50 percent.

For more information about buying the Wiley House, contact Benjamin Briggs of Preservation Greensboro, 336-272-5003.  h/t to Benjamin for providing the information on the house.

 

500 S. Mendenhall Street: One of Greensboro’s Best Queen Annes

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Update: The house sold for $274,500 on June 23, 2017.

How can this house be on the market again? In the past six years, 500 S. Mendenhall Street has been put up for sale three times without success. Now it’s available for a fourth try, this time priced at $285,000 ($110/square foot). Which would seem a rock-bottom price for a Queen Anne gem.

The house has been divided into three apartments, but a previous listing noted, “Appraiser suggested if $10K spent could convert back to single family dwelling and per sq ft would increase.” It sits on a prime corner lot in College Hill on Mendenhall at Walker Avenue, directly across from the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. It was built in 1900.

It was clearly a favorite of Marvin Brown, author of Greensboro: An Architectural Record:

“One of the best examples of Queen Anne style in Greensboro, it features a complicated picturesque roofline and wall planes, complete with two full-height cutaway bays and an an angled corner fringed with scrolled brackets. Its wraparound porch is fancifully finished with turned posts, brackets, pendants, balusters and spindles.” (Page 352)

That’s a pretty complete package of Queen Anne detail and whimsy. It appears to be in quite good shape, and it’s priced to move. Perhaps this time it will.

Note: The Zillow listing shows the house as 2,291 square feet, but the county tax record shows it as 2,587, which I suspect is more accurate. That’s the figure I’ve used as the basis of the per-square-foot price.

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The Kellenberger Estate: A National Register property now on the market

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Update, September 29, 2017: Miramichi was taken off the market without a sale.
Update II, April 6, 2018: The property is listed again.

“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.”

National Register nomination

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.

kellenberger 2.jpeg“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 kellenberger 3.jpegremain 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 kellenberger 5.jpegsprings (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

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900 Forest Hill Drive: A rare bit of flair in a ’50s split level

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Update: The house sold for $238,000 on May 12, 2017.

The phrases “split level” and “one of a kind” almost never go together. Creativity and flair were of little interest to the great bulk of homebuyers in the ’50s and ’60s. 900 Forest Hill Drive is an exception.

This 1955 split level offers a break from ’50s conformity. The sloping roof gives it an altogether different profile from typical split levels. Even though the interior displays the familiar smaller windows and lower ceilings of post-war style, the home’s horizontal fireplace and built-ins are a break from split-level blandness as well.

The home’s appeal is enduring. The current sellers bought it in 2000 from a couple who had owned it since 1959. It went on the market Friday with an accepted offer in hand. If that deal should fall through, it probably won’t be long before another is in hand. The $237,900 asking price works out to a modest $117 per square foot.

The details: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2,034 square feet, .71-acre lot, Hamilton Forest neighborhood. Last sale: $179,000, June 2000.

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