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Caswell County Coach Trip
October 14, 2016 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Caswell County’s oldest architecture comprises several Georgian and Federal style houses built for prosperous planters and townsfolk. Most of them are relatively modest, 1 or 1½-story dwellings with hall and parlor plans; only a few are 2-story residences. More abundant is architecture from the late antebellum “Bright Leaf boom era,” when Caswell County’s planters and merchants invested in larger houses and generally favored the nationally popular Greek Revival style. In Caswell County, such houses often incorporate the woodwork of one of Caswell County’s best known citizens-the free black cabinetmaker Thomas Day, who lived and worked in Milton from 1827 until his death about 1861, and is credited with a distinctive body of architectural woodwork as well as his famous furniture. The Caswell County Courthouse, designed by British-born William Percival, is among the most exuberant Italianate designs in the state. This tour will access both public buildings and private homes rarely open to the public.
Sites included on the tour:
- Garland-Buford House, c. 1860. This house is considered to be the epitome of antebellum exuberance in the Carolina Piedmont. This two-story frame plantation house is attributed to the creative genius of master carpenter Thomas Day. The facade sports an array of sawn-work, bracketed eaves, and porches with tapered boards and trefoils. Tradition says the house was built for Dr. John T. Garland who left it unfinished when his wedding plans were cancelled. If you love the work of Thomas Day, you MUST see this house! (Private)
- Brown-Graves House, 1802. Home of the Speaker of the 1848 Senate session who’s vote broke the tie that approved the formation of the North Carolina Railroad. The late Georgian-style dwelling is of frame construction and features beaded siding and a Neoclassical modillion cornice. The interior features a central hallway with a closed-string stair. Flush wainscottng, molded chair rail, and raised panel doors can be found on the main floor. (Private)
- Brown’s Store, c.1782. On the opposite side of the Greensboro Road facing the Brown-Graves House is Brown’s Store, a one-story gabled frame structure with boxed eaves, molded architraves, and a stone and brick chimney. The large interior room contains flush beaded siding and exposed ceiling joists, typical of the period in this part of the Piedmont. Take particular note of the finely crafted ladder stair! (Private)
- Neal-Worsham-White House, c. 1856. This two-story weatherboard house features a low hipped roof, large windows, and an entrance with wide sidelights and transoms that are sheltered by a one-story Doric portico. The interior features a spacious central with flanking parlor and dining room. This home features a lovely selection of eclectic furnishings collected by Sally and Bob Cone, of Greensboro. Lunch site. (Private)
- Clarendon Hall, 1842-1843. This imposing and elaborately finished Greek Revival brick house was built for planter and banker Thomas Donoho Johnston. As one of the wealthiest men in the antebellum county, Johnston’s brick residence stands two stories tall and two rooms deep. It represents a high water mark among antebellum residences in the region. Interiors are inspired by popular pattern book motifs of the era, including Asher Benjamin’s Practical House Carpenter (1830). The stair follows a popular design adapted from a plate in Owen Biddle’s Young Carpenter’s Assistant (1805). (Private)
- Caswell County Courthouse, 1858-1861, William Percival, architect; David McKnight, contractor. Research by William Bushong revealed that by the summer of 1858, architect William Percival had persuaded Caswell County commissioners to select him as architect and sought builders to bid on construction of the courthouse. The contractor, David McKnight, was a Greensboro brick mason (perhaps builder of Blandwood?) who had been involved in major recent projects including the North Carolina Hospital for the Insane in Raleigh, designed by New York architect Alexander Jackson Davis, and the Edgeworth Female Academy. (Public)
Our coach trip will take place rain or shine on Friday, October 14. Reserve your seat today on our tour that includes comfortable passage, lunch, and exploration of one of our State’s most architecturally rich counties. The coach will depart from the Blandwood Mansion parking lot, and return there at the end of the day. Ticket price is $65, including transportation, lunch, tips, and admission fees.