The residence at 104 Fisher Park Circle is among the earliest in Greensboro to exemplify Craftsman architecture. The Craftsman “Bungalow” style began in Southern California, where South Asian and East Asian features were blended to create an exotic and innovative style well suited to sunny climes.
In April 1913 The Greensboro Patriot announced, “Mr. and Mrs. Charles D. Benbow, Jr., are moving into their new home on North Park Drive, where they expect to be at home to their friends the later part of the week. This new home is a 12-room bungalow, modern and beautiful, and is a lovely ornament to the Fisher Park section of the city.” The shingle-clad structure features a handsome stone foundation and porch supports of Mount Airy granite, likely hand-laid by master stonemason Andrew Leopold Schlosser. Asian-inspired features of the two-story home include exposed rafter tails, knee braces, and wide overhanging eaves.
Interior details are among the finest Arts and Crafts appointments in the city, including pierced, sawn stair balusters in the entry hall. Classically inspired wood triglyphs beneath the mantel, a coffered ceiling, and a section of original fresco round out the unusual features of the 3,300-square foot home.
Charles David Benbow, Jr., (image, right) was well-known in social and business circles in the Gate City. He was a member of the well-respected Benbow family of Oak Ridge, pioneering Quakers with roots pre-dating the American Revolution. Grandfather D.W.C. Benbow ran the Benbow House Hotel on South Elm Street beginning in 1874. It was the grandest hotel in the city.
A 1909 graduate of Guilford College, C.D. Benbow’s reputation grew professionally in real estate and auto sales. His wife, Marjorie Long, was a daughter of Dr. J.W. Long, and she continued her father’s line of work as a dietician. The couple was married in April 1911 and bought their lot overlooking Fisher Park shortly thereafter. They had four children: Mary Long, Charles III, John, and Marjorie. Benbow was best known as a proprietor of the Benbow-Long Sales Company, the local distributer for Hudson and Dodge Brothers motor cars.
During the Great Depression, Benbow became indebted to Prudential Insurance, and the family struggled to maintain ownership of the house. The home was sold by Prudential in 1937 to Louise and Thomas Hunt. Like Benbow, Hunt was in the automobile business as president of Thomas C. Hunt Motors. The Hunt name was associated with an esteemed Quaker family from the Springfield section of High Point. Hunt had begun his career with cars in 1914 and ran the Packard distribution network for 22 central Carolina counties. The couple raised three children in the house: Joan, Kay, and Cammie. They maintained the home until Thomas died in 1964. It then passed to Pearl and Ernest Emory and remained in their family until 2005. Orren Weisberg Falk enjoyed living in the house with her three children before selling it to Beth and Carl Nilsson in 2013.
The house is a contributing property in both the National Register Historic District as well as the local district. After touring the house, be sure to take note of Andrew Leopold Schlosser’s ornamental stone “King’s Chair” across the street in Fisher Park!
Vintage homes in the Fisher Park neighborhood will open their doors to ticketholders during Preservation Greensboro Incorporated’s seventh annual Tour of Historic Homes & Gardens May 20-21. The tour highlights stunning features of early twentieth century architecture, including Craftsman architecture, two Colonial Revival; designs, homes with Old World charm, and a grand Tudor manor.
The tour is the flagship fundraiser for Preservation Greensboro. For more information visit our tour webpage.