Hillside is a grand home in Fisher Park in Greensboro built by insurance executive and philanthropist Julian Price. Preservation Greensboro volunteers are planning to open the Tudor-style home as a Designer Showhouse as a culmination of its restoration in April 2018!
The home has a notable history as the home of Julian Price, a nationally known insurance executive, business and civic leader, and philanthropist who had a leadership role in many business enterprises and philanthropic causes across North Carolina and who developed one of the largest life insurance companies in the American South.
Julian Price (25 Nov 1867 – 25 Oct 1946) is most remembered as chairman of the board of the Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company and for his generosity. He was born in Meherrin, Lunenburg County, Virginia near Richmond, where he learned Morse code and found employment as a telegraph operator and dispatcher for the Southern Railway as a young man. This position took him to North Carolina in 1895, moving first to Durham and shortly thereafter to Greensboro.
In Greensboro, Price took a position with Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company in 1912, He was promoted to president of the company in 1919 and served in that capacity for twenty seven years until 1946. When he took the position of president of Jefferson Standard in 1919, the company held assets of $9.7 million and insurance in force of $81.6 million. When he stepped down as president, the company held assets of $179.2 million and the insurance in force exceeded $672 million. At that time, Jefferson Standard ranked thirteenth in the nation among insurance companies.
Price held additional accomplishments outside of his presidency of Jefferson Standard. Governor Angus W. McLean (1924-1928) selected Price to head the North Carolina Salary and Wage Commission, which was instrumental in developing a fair system of employment and pay for state employees. He grew to become one of McLean’s most trusted advisors, and Price was mentioned as a successor to McLean as the nominee for the Democratic Gubernatorial ticket in 1928, but he refused to have his name placed in nomination.
Other business interests included a majority stake in the Greensboro Record, one of the city’s two leading newspapers. He held a role as president of the Atlantic and Yadkin Railway, a short line railroad within North Carolina from 1899 to 1950. It ran from Mount Airy southeast through Greensboro to Sanford, primarily serving the central Piedmont region.
Price also held civic memberships as a thirty-third degree Mason, life membership with the Elks and was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree at the sesquicentennial of the University of North Carolina in 1946, just months before his death.
Julian Price was a patron of architecture. In 1919, New York architect Charles Hartmann came to Greensboro to design the O.Henry Hotel on North Elm Street. Price offered Hartmann the job of designing the corporate tower for Jefferson Standard Insurance if he’d move to Greensboro and open a practice. Hartmann accepted the offer and spent the rest of his life in Greensboro designing notable buildings throughout North Carolina.
In addition to his company’s headquarters, Price selected Hartmann to design the Price family home, named “Hillside.” Located on a bluff overlooking the western lobe of Fisher Park in Greensboro, the sprawling 1929 residence (image, right) is an example of Period Revival architecture, specifically designed to evoke a rambling English Tudor home. The façade features rough stucco, herringbone brick, and false-half-timbered walls, massive brick chimneys with articulated flues and clay pots, and an asymmetrical massing that features gables, wall dormers, and a stair tower. The landscape is equally detailed, containing low stone retaining walls, serpentine flagstone walkways, and mature evergreen trees.
A granddaughter of Julian Price remembers an incident that reveals the personality of her grandfather. During World War II, Guilford County did not allow use of alcoholic beverages, and this was disappointing to local Air Force base personnel. One officer inquired of the name of the local bootlegger and was told it was a man named “Price.” The officer called Julian Price one Sunday afternoon and asked if he were the local source of liquor. Price asked what kind the captain wanted and when told, Johnny Walker, he asked the young officer, “Black or Red?” “Black,” replied the stunned officer, who was then told to drive up to the back of the Price home on Fisher Park Circle. The captain could hardly believe his luck when he tried to pay, for Price said, “No, no, young man, nothing is too good for our boys in the service.” That afternoon the Air Force base was enthralled with the captain’s awed description of how well he had been received by Greensboro’s leading citizen, Julian Price, whose profession and community standing was so much different from the local bootlegger with which he shared his surname!
Price died as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident while travelling to his mountain retreat near Blowing Rock. His estate near Blowing Rock was donated to the US Government as part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a site which is today known as the Julian Price Memorial Park.
The Julian Price House Designer Showhouse
Preservation Greensboro volunteers are busy working with specialty craftspeople, interior architects, and community partners to open Hillside to the public as a ticketed event beginning Saturday, April 7 to Sunday, April 29, 2018. Admission will allow tours of the historic home with interior and exterior spaces designed by some of the most creative innovators in the industry today. Southern Home magazine will feature their work in a publication in 2018. Tours will include the formal rooms of the house that ackbowledge the historic designation of the house, but will also showcase newly renovated kitchen and master bathroom spaces. Highlights include the Living and Dining rooms, Master Bedroom and Bath, a Kitchen and Playroom.
Hillside Magazine is the official publication for the designer showhouse Hillside Estate, known formally as The Julian Price House Benefiting Preservation Greensboro. This handsome, one-time publication is being produced by Preservation Greensboro and editor Judith Cushman Hammer in partnership with the O.Henry/Seasons magazine creative team known for its graphic panache. Hillside Magazine will guide readers through the designer showhouse, with its rich history and imaginative, up-to-date style themes, and promises to be a collector’s item commemorating this special 2018 event.
Sponsorships are ways that area businesses and individuals can connect to this unique showhouse through advertisement in Hillside magazine, special events and tours, and naming opportunities. For more information on sponsorship opportunities to connect to the diverse and enthusiastic followers of the Hillside Designer Showhouse, please contact us by phone 336-272-5003 or by email.
Hillside on Facebook
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