An American Foursquare Finds Bright Future
The Carrie and Charles Angle House on Spring Garden Street in College Hill was saved from demolition through a partnership between the College Hill Neighborhood Association, the 1772 Foundation, the Covington Foundation, the City of Greensboro, Preservation Greensboro, and the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund. The project qualified for use of North Carolina’s Historic Tax Credits for residential preservation.
The form of the Angle House is known as an American Foursquare – featuring two stories of height, asymmetrical façade, pyramidal roof, and a central dormer window. The architectural style of the Angle House is inspired by the Colonial period. Interest in Colonial styles grew after the nation’s Centennial celebration in 1876, and buildings in various Neoclassical styles were evocative of homes built early in the nation’s history. Designers mimicked the diamond pane windows, bay windows, attenuated columns, and clapboard siding of early American homes when designing Colonial Revival-style houses. The Angle House demonstrates each of these characteristics, with the addition of a broad wrap-around porch popular in the Carolina Piedmont to capture cool summer breezes.
Much of the original interior floor plan and details of the Angle House were lost to previous renovations and a fire that occurred in 2011. The current owners restored the building to standards approved by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office to qualify for use of Historic Tax Credits.
Carrie Angle purchased this house for $3,500 in October 1907. Placing the property within a wife’s name was a type of insurance policy in case of her husband’s death. Carrie Lee Finney (1869-1942) and her husband Charles Joel Angle (1866-1942) remained in the house until their deaths – representing a 35-year span in ownership! The couple had two children. Their daughter was Mary Ruth, known as Ruth, born in 1895. Their son was Charles William who was born in 1897.
The Angle family members were natives of Henry County Virginia. Carrie Finney Angle was a daughter of the wealthiest family in Henry County. She married Charles in 1893. By 1900, Charles Joel Angle was an established lumber merchant in Martinsville VA. The couple moved to Greensboro in 1906 where Carrie and Charles quickly blended in social circles. In addition to the lumber business, Charles J. was a member of the building committee for the new education building at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. He was also a Mason. Their daughter Ruth was quite a social maven and attended Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. Their son Charles W., attended Fishburne Military Academy near Staunton VA and Davidson College before returning to Greensboro, marrying, and starting a construction company. In his career, he built most of the buildings at Bennett College, Meyer’s Department Store, the Guilford Building, the Southeastern Building, and the Central Fire Station.
Ruth inherited the property at the time of her mother’s death in 1942 and remained in the house until she moved to Friends Home. She was employed in a variety of jobs including an elementary school teacher but most memorably served as a librarian at UNCG. Perhaps in the 1940s, the house was expanded with a large frame addition to the rear, nearly doubling its square footage presumedly as an income=producing apartment house. She sold the home to Mary Watson and Joseph Flora in 1976. Ruth passed away in 1983. During this time, the Flora’s rented the house to the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, to the consternation of the College Hill Neighborhood Association.
Mary and Joseph Flora sold the property to Jim Wentz in 1983. Wentz made extensive changes to the building as he converted it to a four-unit apartment house. He maintained ownership of the property until 1999 when it was acquired by certain members of College Place United Methodist Church. The house was transferred to the church in 2008. In June 2011, a fire damaged much of the rear and upper portions of the house, putting the future of the century-old landmark in question.
The Angle House was acquired by the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund in 2013 in recognition of its role as a contributing structure in the College Hill (Local) Historic District and the National Register Historic District. The College Hill Neighborhood Association promoted the preservation of the house by seeking approval from City Council to assign gap funding from their Municipal Service District program account to the project. The updated MSD Plan was approved by City Council in September 2013, and the funds were allocated to the Angle project to maintain the important historic fabric of the neighborhood, to encourage private reinvestment, and to secure the future of the highly visible property through a preservation easement held in perpetuity by the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund. Restoration began in 2014.
Utilizing a grant from the 1772 Foundation, the house was “re-sized” through the restoration process after the fire-damaged additions were removed. This reduced the home’s overall square footage and favored single-occupancy use. The process included a broad scope of work including correction of structural issues, electrical rewiring, new HVAC, plumbing, new bathrooms, and a large kitchen in addition to preservation of the wrap-around porch, and distinctive diamond-pane windows. A grant was made to the city from the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation for the restoration of the slate roof, one of the few remaining in the neighborhood. Historic Preservation Tax Credits were utilized for this project for residential investment for properties listed to the National Register.
The College Hill Neighborhood Association, the 1772 Foundation, the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation, the City of Greensboro, Preservation Greensboro, and the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund all contributed to the partnership to save this fascinating house.
The current owners of this home have reinvented the interior, 90% of which were lost to fire or heavy-handed remodeling. A casual floor plan was restored, with a front door entering directly into the main living area and a smaller office sectioned off by a partition wall.
Preservation Greensboro contributes a key role in the growth of Greensboro’s economy and vitality through tourism, reinvestment, and place-making. With diverse initiatives that help you to restore, explore, and connect with your community, Preservation Greensboro provides a voice for revitalization, improved quality of life, and conservation of historic resources for future generations. As a not-for-profit organization, Preservation Greensboro earns its annual income through memberships, sponsorships, and donations from preservation supporters like you!