Celebrating its 50th year of service to the community, members and friends of Preservation Greensboro gathered last night at the O.Henry Hotel for its Golden Jubilee. The keynote speaker for the evening was James Perry, president and CEO of the Winston-Salem Urban League. A Greensboro native, Perry played a key role in the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans where he helped to acquire and renovate vacant blighted historic homes. “Preservationists have the unique ability to address challenging issues of disinvestment in our community,” said Perry in his address, “and our challenge is to constantly remind those around us that change is possible.”
Attendees saw proof of Perry’s words in the nine projects recognized for awards here in Greensboro. Award recipients have recognized that some of our most challenging properties are in fact some of our most treasured places. This has been a prolific year for historic preservation in Greensboro, and we continue our charge of encouraging reinvestment in our built environment and investment in our community’s character.
Construction of the handsome structure at 312 South Elm Street in Center City was announced on April 18, 1900, when Mr N. J. McDuffie announced that he “purchased the one-story frame building on South Elm street formerly occupied by him as a furniture store, will tear away one hundred feet of the building and erect in its place a three-story brick building. It will be built especially for a furniture store…”. For most of the twentieth century it was occupied by Burtner Furniture Company. The three-story Neoclassical Revival brick building may have been designed by Greensboro architect J. H. Hopkins. Its style is closely related to other examples of the Baltimore architect’s work here, including #310 and #325 South Elm Street, each of which share grand arched windows and stylized pilasters. Dawn Chaney and Pam Frye, transformed the building including the restaurant “1618 Downtown” on the main floor and elegant apartments on upper floors. Restoration included care of the façade including the leaded glass window transoms and the sidewalk canopy.
Diane and Will Howard must have been the coolest couple in Greensboro when architect Tommy Hayes designed their residence at on Henderson Road in Hamilton Lakes. Completed in 1955, the home broke from traditional lines and instead featured a flat roofline and solid wood and brick exterior walls that alternated with voids of glass. Interior spaces were austere; featuring areas of terrazzo coupled with masonry and textured walls. Unusual details include clerestory windows located between ceiling joists and a copper hood above the fireplace. In order to restore the home, Liz and Mike Felsen, project architect Martin Felsen and Sarah Dunn of UrbanLab of Chicago, and Gary Jobe Homes were guided by the original plans. Restoration of this home was thorough, with the need to rework structural systems, utilities, and replacement of some mid-century materials. Restoring a mid-century jewel is not easy, but thanks to, this modern gem was rebuilt and restored to the original design scheme, right down to its terrazzo floors.
Popularly known as the Southeastern Building, the (former) American Exchange National Bank Building was constructed in 1920 to designs by Greensboro architect Raleigh James Hughes. The nine-story tower is considered by North Carolina architectural historian Catherine Bishir to be a “crisply detailed…classical skyscraper”. The street elevation originally included an Indiana Limestone neoclassical theme, but around 1940, these features were removed and replaced with sleek streamlined windows in Streamline Moderne style. Barry Siegal of BSC Holding has worked with a team including TFF Architects to return the tower back to productivity with apartments above office and retail uses below. Highlighting their conversion is the restoration of the original street-level Neoclassical Revival façade to Jefferson Square. Once again, massive Doric pilasters anchor the center of Greensboro, and the tower is a hub of activity with stylish residential units.
Thought to be among the older residences in the Summit neighborhood, the Neoclassical Revival-style house is an eye-catching landmark with its two-story Ionic portico. It was built for grading contractor Charles A. Hendrix, a member of an extended family who settled on land around Hendrix Street. Charles lived here with his wife Katy, their three daughters Mae, Clara, and Fannie, and their son Edward for the rest of his lifetime. Featuring a gracious interior floor plan, the house replaced an older structure lost to a 1913 fire, and was designed by Greensboro architect G. Will Armfield. The house remains in the family, owned by Anne Finn, the builder’s great-granddaughter. In addition to restoring the two-story Ionic columns, she reconstructed a bathroom that had years of water damage, and returned the interior to functional space.
The charming Charles C. Hartmann House features an Arts and Crafts-theme with unusual details for North Carolina, including a linear floor plan, stucco covered second floor walls, and charming shed wall-dormers that punctuate the eavesline. The design drawn by New York architect Charles C. Hartmann in 1923, who lived in the house briefly. Although the house is celebrated as an interesting exception in Greensboro, it was in need of investment and updates when Melissa and Jordan Martin stepped up to the task at hand. With much needed upgrades to the kitchen and bathrooms, and a handsome new paint scheme, the restoration has respected the unique design of the house. Architect Jim Collins and Classic Construction have worked to restore the house that will be showcased through a Patron’s Package ticket on the Tour of Historic Homes in May.
The Carrie and Charles Angle House in College Hill suffered a June 2011 fire and was under threat of demolition when it was purchased by Susan and Rick Stone. Rick Stone grew up in College Hill, and he saw the potential in undertaking the complicated restoration project. The project team included: the College Hill Neighborhood Association, the 1772 Foundation, the Covington Foundation, the City of Greensboro, and Architect Steven Johnson AIA and Interior Designer Janet Mazzurco with A408Studio Architecture + Design PLLC and General Contractor A408Studio Inc. The Preservation Greensboro Development Fund sold the property to the Stones and retained a preservation easement attached to the deed that precludes future demolition. Today, the beauty of the 110-year old house shines, and it anchors the southern blocks of the College Hill Historic District overlooking the bustle of Spring Garden Street.
Dixon’s Barber Shop was likely built for James Cohen Dixon, who moved his barber shop to this location in 1912. Dixon lived just around the corner on Arlington Street with his wife Lura Fannie Dixon. Born in 1880 in Chatham County, he operated one of 22 barber shops in Greensboro, and one of eight along Elm Street in 1912. In 1925, ownership of the barber shop was transferred to his nephew William A. Dixon, and in 1927 it was renamed, Art Barber Shop. Fortunately, this shopfront was acquired last year by Victoria Carlin and Ron Milstein, who partnered with New Age Builders to complete a Preservation Tax Credit project just as the old credits were sun-setting. Victoria, an accomplished artist originally from New York, saw potential in the generous backyard courtyard, and soon fell in love with the lovely purple and clear leaded glass that grace the transom windows. These leaded windows are a signature feature of Old Greensborough, and their restoration adds to the liveliness of the streetscape.
The first occupants of the handsome brick foursquare house built in 1923 were Fannie and Michael Marks. Marks and other members of his family were the owners of Marks & Son, a clothing and shoe shop located at 346 South Elm Street. Both Fannie and Michael were born in Russia in the 1860s, and children seem to have come into their life after they relocated to America. Sons Bennie, Hattie, Louis, and daughters Theresa and Yedda were all born on this side of the Atlantic. By 1930, they moved to Baltimore, perhaps because of the hardships brought on by the Great Depression. After the Marks family left town, ownership of the house remained with a local bank, before being purchased by the Agapian family in 1944. The house remained in the Agapian family until September 2014 when it was sold to West View Acquisitions and Matt Thomas. After clearing 36 mechanical liens on the property, reconstructing interior floors that had collapsed into the basement, and rebuilding the front brick patio, the transformation has been a welcome change for Fisher Park.
Gladys and Willis R. Shoffner were the first occupants of this bungalow when it was constructed around 1915. Shoffner was an electrical contractor with offices at 311 South Elm Street where he operated a firm specializing in generators, motors, electrical fixtures, and mazda lamps. He and Gladys were married in 1910, and they remained in the house until the 1930s. Their charming bungalow features a granite trimmed porch, textbook examples of Craftsman features and period tile surrounds, and large double hung windows. Some of the biggest challenges that confronted preservationist Jinni Hoggard stemmed from past “renovations” that didn’t properly address real issues, but simply covered them up with false surfaces such as lowered ceilings and plywood wall paneling. All of the fireplaces had been painted, and both bathrooms and the kitchen required a complete makeover. Today, the charming Bungalow looks much as it did when constructed, with lots of modern day conveniences built in.
All of the projects represent a massive private reinvestment in Greensboro that demonstrates strong desirability, livability, and tax base.
The Architectural Salvage of Greensboro Volunteer of the Year was presented to Kay Shore. Kay began volunteering her free time with Architectural Salvage over a decade ago, and since then has been active in salvages, board meetings, and took on special duties as the Treasurer. Though she recently stepped down from that role, the ASG board wants everyone to know how valuable she has been to the organization.
Blandwood Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Jim Reece. Jim has been a great support to our Architectural Salvage, and has also volunteered on our Tour of Historic Homes, but he has shown a particular interest in Blandwood. Whether helping set dramatic lighting at a bridal show in the Carriage House, lending a mobile stage during an event on Blandwood’s South Lawn, or maybe just trimming the trees on the property to improve the view of the house from surrounding streets, Jim is there, and we are grateful.
The Preservation Greensboro Volunteer of the Year recognized Sue Polinsky and the Extreme Makeover Team for contributions of time and talent for things that our founders could not have imagined 50 years ago. Polinsky and the Team provided a radical technical makeover that touched every aspect of our electric persona. They expertly reworked our logo, overhauled our website and our blog, installed a new phone system, set wireless internet access across the Blandwood campus, brought in new computers, revamped our credit card acceptance system…and so much more! Thanks to Sue Polinsky, the Extreme Makeover Team, and the Weaver Foundation.