Open for tours as part of the Westerwood Tour of Historic Homes, the Lillian and Alec Fetter Residence at 1005 Courtland Street features Mediterranean design influences, including a complex hipped roofline of projecting wings, classically inspired arched feature windows and an entryway highlighted by a blind arch. Though this style is less common in Greensboro than Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles, the Mediterranean region inspired some house designs that greeted returning vets of World War I who served in Southern Europe.
This architecturally sumptuous home was constructed around 1925 for Alec Weddell Fetter, his wife Lillian, and their family. Alec Fetter was born on Christmas Day in 1877 in Oxford, NC. His wife, also a native of the Old North State, celebrated her birthday just two days before his. The couple married in Rockingham County in 1901 and had two children, Minton and Gray Fetter. The young family rented different homes around the city before saving enough funds to begin their splendid home. Alec held several positions that included being a travelling salesman for Parker-Davis Pharmaceuticals before landing a prominent position as the local manager of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America with his office on the 10th floor of the Jefferson Building. He was also appointed to serve on the Greensboro Board of Welfare.
Alec was a cracker-jack insurance agent, quoted on his perspectives in a national newsletter:
There are five reasons why persons take out life insurance in the opinion of A. W. Fetter, of Greensboro, N. C., who bases his success upon the written method of solicitation. Those reasons are hope of a gain; satisfaction of caution – to clear up obligations; satisfaction of safety – to protect family satisfaction of pride; and a yielding to weakness. The policy holders who sign for the last reason are the most likely to allow premium payments to fall behind.. or the policyholder to lapse because they were out-talked rather than convinced thoroughly by the agent. THE EASTERN UNDERWRITER AUGUST 27, 1920.
Alec was hunting in the winter of 1939 near Wadesboro where he succumbed to a heart attack. Lillian sold their home that year to Clara and Floyd Caveness. Floyd was born in 1893 in Randolph County, attended Trinity College in Durham and married Clara Pugh in Charlotte in 1922. Floyd was from a prominent Randolph County textile family and held ownership in the Coleridge Manufacturing in Randolph County. By 1959 the mill boasted 6,000 spindles and 150 employees, manufacturing cotton or knitting yarn and twine. The couple had two children, Doris and Floyd Jr., who grew up in the house. Clara died in 1978 and Floyd died in 1984.
The home was purchased in 2006 by Robert Garner, who lives there with his partner Jack Kennedy. Much work has been done to extend the comfort and style of the house including the enclosed porch, a wonderfully modern kitchen, and an ingenious use of space on the second floor for use as a master bedroom suite. The property includes well maintained gardens that are sited on one of the few double lots remaining in Westerwood.
The 2014 Tour of Historic Homes and Gardens will feature a total of eight vintage homes in the Westerwood neighborhood.
Stay tuned to our website, this blog and our Facebook page for additional tour information!