You Could Wait Forever for a Chance to Buy Some Historic Houses; Others Are For Sale Every Few Years

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The Harry Barton House in Hamilton Lakes is looking for its fourth owner in 95 years.

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).

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305 S. Mendenhall Street: A 1918 College Hill Classic, $324,900

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There are few houses for sale in Greensboro’s three historic districts this winter. College Hill, Dunleath and Fisher Park have a total of just six houses for sale right now (three others under contract). Still, some of those homes are among the finest historic homes in the city. One of the highlights is 305 S. Mendenhall Street in College Hill, the Stokes-Dees House.

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Classic House of the Week: 1820 Madison Avenue, a Timeless Gem in Sunset Hills, $475,000

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Update: The house was sold for $420,000 on September 12, 2018.

There are grand, beautiful houses that have been sold three or four times in the past 20 years. This kind of turnover typically says nothing about the house; we just live in a restless time. That’s especially true for the upwardly mobile types who can afford to pay, say, $400,000, $500,000 or more for a house. People who are in a position to make big money tend to go where it leads them.

And then there are houses like 1820 Madison Avenue. It went up for sale this week for the first time in 43 years. It’s easy to see why the owner has lived there so long. Continue reading “Classic House of the Week: 1820 Madison Avenue, a Timeless Gem in Sunset Hills, $475,000”

Historic House of the Week: A 1790 Federal-Style Mansion in Caswell County on the National Register

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The Moore-Gwyn-Ewalt House and its 200 acres are now listed for sale at $1.75 million.

The counties surrounding Guilford have seen plenty of history, Caswell in particular. In the early decades of the nation’s history, Caswell was one of the state’s most prosperous and prominent counties, but, long beyond living memory, its fortunes crashed. Now, about all that’s left of its glory years are some truly impressive houses, scattered here and there from Camp Springs and Cherry Grove up to Milton and Semora.

national-register-plaque transparent.fw.pngThe Moore-Gwyn-Ewalt House in the Locust Hill area is a beautiful example of Caswell’s past — 6,226 square feet of Federal-style elegance on 200 unspoiled acres. The house was built in 1790; considerable square footage is in the form of two well-designed wings built in 1995. It was listed June 1 at $1.75 million. The address is 5869 U.S. Highway 158. Situated southwest of Yanceyville and close to N.C. 150, it’s within a relatively easy commute to Greensboro.

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Edgewood: Any Day Now

Edgewood 20180516_153034.jpgBB&T is readying Edgewood for sale. Crews have been trimming shrubs and undergrowth from the property this week, and some trees have been taken down or trimmed. And now a real estate agent’s sign has appeared at the curb of 111 Arden Place.

The stone mansion and 2.5-acre site in Sunset Hills date back to 1915. BB&T, apparently one of multiple lenders with money in the property, bought Edgewood in a foreclosure auction in January. The bank spent $770,000 to get it. Anyone who wants to save it is probably going to have to outbid developers who would tear the house down and squeeze in as many big, expensive new houses as they can. And in one of Greensboro’s most popular neighborhoods, no less. Once “For Sale” replaces “Coming Soon,” the outcome may not be far off.

Classic House of the Week: A Fine Example of 1920s Westerwood Elegance, $339,500

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Update: The house was listed for 30 days and then withdrawn. The owners now have put it up for rent again.

Westerwood is a showcase for the qualities of early 20th-century homes. The neighborhood got started in the 1890s but didn’t take off until the 1920s. Its winding, tree-lined streets are a populated with a variety of beautifully designed Craftsman bungalows, Tudor Revival cottages and Colonial Revivals with the occasional mansion (Double Oaks) and now even a remarkable Mid-Century Modern home mixed in.

401 North Mendenhall Street is an excellent example of the neighborhood’s style. Continue reading “Classic House of the Week: A Fine Example of 1920s Westerwood Elegance, $339,500”

Classic House of the Week: Greensboro’s Historic Garden Estate Miramichi Nears Century Mark

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Photos courtesy of Preservation Greensboro

The 32-acre Miramichi estate in Greensboro sold for $650,000 in November 2019. Benjamin Briggs, executive director of Preservation Greensboro, writes about the history of the property and its creators on the Preservation Greensboro website:

Many of the region’s great gardens began as private rural estates that were away from the distractions and distresses of city life. Reynolda House for the Reynolds family of Winston Salem (1917), Cason and Virginia Callaway’s garden in Pine Mountain, Ga. (1952), and Lewis Ginter’s Botanical Garden in Richmond, Va. (1984), are all examples of early private gardens that grew to become major public destinations.

Located at 1415 Kellenberger Road in southeast Greensboro, Miramichi is an early private botanical garden with charms and character cultivated by a notable North Carolina couple, May and J.A. “Kell” Kellenberger. Begun in 1920, the estate remains a privately owned garden and was never expanded as a public tourist destination. It represents an unusual glimpse into the earliest period of twentieth century botanical gardens of the region. …

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Classic House of the Week: A Distinctive 1927 Mansion in Sedgefield, $684,000

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Update: The house sold for $465,000 on May 29, 2020.

For decades, High Point Road was a primary route between Greensboro and High Point. Anyone paying the least attention as they passed Sedgefield saw 3000 W. Sedgefield Drive, facing the road between streets leading into and out of the area. For many of the tens of thousands of drivers who passed it every day, it was about all they saw of Greensboro’s classic golf-course development.

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Classic Houses of the Week: 3 Very Different Homes in Historic Neighborhoods

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805 Fifth Avenue in Dunleath

Greensboro’s three historic districts are hot properties this spring. If you’re interested in a classic home in College Hill, Dunleath or Fisher Park, you better be ready to move fast. The most recent Dunleath listing, for example, 615 Percy Street, was on the market just two days before the owner accepted an offer. Here are three of the best homes for sale now in Greensboro’s most historic neighborhoods.

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Classic Homes of the Week: 2 Mid-Century Modern Houses at Opposite Ends of the Price Spectrum

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1611 Longfellow Street in O. Henry Oaks, a modest little Mid-Century Modern classic

[Update: 1611 Longfellow sold for $95,000, a $6,000 premium to its asking price, on May 15, 2018. 105 Falkener Drive sold for $312,000 on August 13, 2018.]

Most people tend to think of Mid-Century Modern as a high-end home style with exalted prices, found in exclusive neighborhoods like Irving Park and Hamilton Lakes. That’s often true, but not always. Two mid-century modern homes have come up for sale in Greensboro recently, and one does fit that profile. The other certainly doesn’t.

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Classic House of the Week: A 1946 Bungalow in Dunleath, $119,900, and Other Starter Homes

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818 Fifth Avenue in Dunleath, a 1946 bungalow for $119,900

Update: 818 Fifth Avenue sold for its asking price, $119,900, on May 25, 2018.

Not every classic home is expensive. Older homes that could be considered starter homes come on the market often. The tough part is getting them before Greensboro’s voracious landlords can grab them. Starter homes have been in especially high demand so far this year.

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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.

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307 S. Tremont Drive: A Classic 1930 Spanish Revival in Sunset Hills, $224,900

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Update: The house sold for $215,000 on February 22, 2018.

There aren’t too many Spanish Revival homes in Greensboro, so the few we have tend to stand out. That’s especially true for 307 S. Tremont Drive, a beautifully restored Sunset Hills home that went on the market last week for $224,900. The market is strong for houses in the older neighborhoods west of downtown; I’m a little surprised this house is still for sale after a week. That could change after an open house on Sunday.

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Remaking History: 5 of Greensboro’s Top Renovation Opportunities

If you’ve ever wanted to restore a historic home to its glory, Greensboro and Guilford County are full of opportunities for you. A new page has been added to the website to list homes whose defining characteristic might be described as “needs work … needs TLC … renovation project … rehab project … diamond in the rough … gutted” or the more legalistic “offered with no representations or warranties as to property condition.”

For those with the skills, patience and more money than you think you’ll need, here are five of Greensboro and Guilford’s best renovation opportunities.

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808 S. Elam Avenue: A 1900 Victorian in Lindley Park, $355,000

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Update: The house sold for $335,000 on November 3, 2017.

South Elam Avenue between Walker Avenue and Spring Garden Street has a couple of two-story Victorians standing up among the bungalows that line the street. 808 South Elam is the larger of the two at just under 3,000 square feet, and its $355,000 price tag ($121/square foot) makes it an outstanding value in Lindley Park.

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2412 Sylvan Road: Quite A Bargain in a 1937 Sunset Hills Bungalow

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Update: The house sold for $225,000 in September 2017, and then for $429,000 in July 2018 after it was renovated..

If you want a real steal on a classic home, Sunset Hills isn’t usually the place to look. 2412 Sylvan Road may be an exception. It’s on the market for $249,900; at 2,020 square feet, the price comes to $124 per square foot. That’s the lowest price per square foot among the five vintage houses now for sale in the neighborhood (ranging from $139 to $178) and among the 12 that have sold this year (which have ranged up to $187).

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106 Fisher Park Circle: One of Greensboro’s Grandest Mansions for Sale at $1.35 Million

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The Douglas-Ravenel House (Photo courtesy of Preservation Greensboro Inc.)

Update: The house sold for $1.025 million in September 2018.

There are other mansions in Fisher Park, but perhaps none of them make the statement the Douglas-Ravenel House does. Overlooking over the park with its towering columns and Neoclassical facade, its says prominence and grandeur in a way that can’t be missed.

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409 Westdale Place: A hidden 1939 gem in Lindley Park

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Update: The house sold for $228,000 on November 1, 2017.

409 Westdale Place sits off the beaten track (Walker Avenue) in an unusual little corner of Lindley Park.  The street runs one block from Walker north, ending just before it reaches South Lindell Road, so there’s no through traffic. The owners of 409 Westdale also own the undeveloped lot on Longview Street immediately behind their house, which is included in the sale (several neighbors on Westdale also own the undeveloped Longview lots behind their houses). It’s an interesting little spot.

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1907 Madison Avenue: A Sunset Hills Classic for Sale After 43 Years

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Update: The house sold for its asking price, $429,900, on August 30, 2017. It had been for sale for seven days when the owners accepted the offer.

Owners of classic homes in Lindley Park, Sunset Hills and Westerwood are getting the message that this is a good year to sell their homes. Five have gone up for sale in the three neighborhoods this month, and there have been 11 closings since June 1. Fast deals are common. Offers were accepted in a week or less on five houses currently under contract.

One of the latest to come onto the market is 1907 Madison Avenue in Sunset Hills, a distinctive 1928 brick bungalow. The exterior features arched brickwork over the windows and a low brick wall around a front patio. It’s roomier than it may look from the street — 3,118 square feet with five bedrooms and three full bathrooms. It sits on a quarter-acre lot that easily accommodates the detached two-car garage.

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200 E. Bessemer Avenue: A Grand Fisher Park House That Could Become a Home Again

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Update: The house sold as a commercial property for $330,500 on April 6, 2020.

200 E. Bessemer is an unusual opportunity: Used as offices for the past 20 years or so, it’s being marketed as either a residence or offices. Converting it back to a home would be relatively easy, as it was never divided up or altered significantly from its days as a residence, aside from the back yard being paved. The property is zoned for office use, which allows it to be used as a residence.

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1033 Pearson Street: A Classic 1946 Brick Bungalow in the Asheboro Community

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Update: The house sold for $86,500 on August 15, 2017

1033 Pearson Street may be the most attractive older house for sale now in south Greensboro. It was built in 1946, a little later than most in the Asheboro Community. It features brick arches on the front porch and a nicely renovated interior. The house was one of the many cited in the neighborhood’s successful nomination for the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 (listed under the neighborhood’s previous name, South Greensboro).

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507 Park Avenue: A 1915 fixer-upper in the Dunleath Historic District, open Saturday

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Update: The house sold for $60,000 on July 7, 2017, one month after it went on the market. After a thorough renovation, the house sold for $250,000 on September 11, 2019. It had been listed for $242,000.

507 Park Avenue looks like the best opportunity in Greensboro right now for a buyer who wants to give a historic home a thorough restoration. While the Zillow listing has no interior photos, it includes a quick video walk-through that provides a good idea of its condition (screenshots below).

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603 N. Church Street: A 1914 Craftsman Gem in Fisher Park

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Update: The house sold for $250,000 on July 31, 2017.

603 N. Church is the most intriguing home for sale in Greensboro’s historic districts. It’s a striking house — you don’t often see a granite Craftsman — set well back on its lot, which is not uncommon in Fisher Park.

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OK, it needs some cosmetic work.

It’s on the market for $275,000. Built in 1914, the house has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an attached studio apartment. There’s a deep, tiled front porch. The front door opens into a large living room with a fireplace and exposed-beam ceiling. The door frames and other woodwork are unpainted. The living room and dining room have built-in window seats; there are built-in shelves in the finished attic. The rooms are spacious, particularly on the first floor. The square footage is listed on Zillow and other sites as 1,926, but county property records say 2,696 (the real-estate listings don’t include the finished attic or the apartment). The lot is just under a half acre.

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5 Open Houses at Historic Homes on June 4

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306 South Mendenhall Street, College Hill

A classic historic district Victorian, extensively renovated. Built in 1922. Open Sunday 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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1905 Rolling Road, Sunset Hills

“Lovingly restored Sunset Hills beauty.” Built in 1938. Open Sunday 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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518 Willowbrook Drive, Lindley Park

Overlooking Lindley Park on a lot of just under an acre. Garage includes a two-bedroom apartment. Built in 1946. Open Sunday 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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1606 Independence Road, Kirkwood

Fireplaces, built-ins and a beautiful deck. Built in 1946. Open Sunday 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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508 Piedmont Avenue, Gibsonville

Fully renovated farmhouse in highly affordable Gibsonville. Built in 1926. Open Sunday 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

3215 N. Rockingham Road: A 1935 Cotswold Tudor manor house for $2.9 million

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3215 N. Rockingham Road is an English manor house in Sedgefield. It even has a name, Ayrshire. There probably aren’t many English manor houses built on golf courses, but, still, you could easily see DCI Barnaby or Miss Marple knocking on the door to ask the lord about a mysterious death in the village.

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