The charming Kate and Harvey West Cottage, located at 306 Crestland Avenue in Westerwood, will be on the Tour of Historic Homes & Gardens this weekend!
Harvey Alexander West was born in 1898 in Rockfish, Cumberland County as was his wife Mary Kate “Kate” Driver in 1897. The couple married in Rockfish on Christmas day in 1919, and their only daughter Martha “Mart” Cameron West was born in 1923 just before they moved to Greensboro around 1926. In the Gate City, Harvey took various management positions with establishments such as the Jewel Box, Saslow’s Jewelers, and the local A & P Tea Company.
In 1934, by which time Harvey was employed as an administrator with the fire department, he and Kate purchased a lot at 810 Fairmont at the corner of Crestland, where he built a stone house that might have been planned as the garage for a larger home. That house still stands, and its large “garage door” openings can clearly be seen from Crestland Avenue. In 1937, the City of Greensboro prepared to sell a lot it owned through unpaid taxes directly behind the West’s new house at 306 Crestland. The city put the property up for public sale, and the Wests were the winning bid at $450!
On this lot, the couple planned to build their next home. A veteran of World War I, Harvey was well-travelled and developed an eye for architectural detail while in Europe. He was also frugal and thrifty. Around the time of construction, a stone campus building on the campus of North Carolina A&T (perhaps “The Barn”) was turned to rubble, and the demolition of the City Public Library provided Harvey with ample stone and brick to recycle into his home. He asked Greensboro architect Alfred C. Woodroof, AIA to review the materials on hand and recommend a design using the warm sand-colored stone to construct exterior walls, and the recycled bricks for pattered infill between stones and the half timbering in gabled rooflines. Several types of masonry patterns can be seen, including alternating herringbone and basket weave. The skilled mason was likely James W. Brown, a Scotsman with experience building the Duke University’s Memorial Chapel.
The 2,000 square foot home surrounded by charming gardens that still sprout garlic, one of Harvey’s favorites! The Wests are best remembered for founding West-Sloan Music, later Harvey West Music on West Market Street. The house remained in the family a remarkable 55 years until 1993. The property never went on the market, but was sold to family friends Victoria and Neil Clegg. The Cleggs have made changes including conversion of a small room into a library, an expanded open plan kitchen with terra cotta tile and pantry, along with the addition of a full bath. Today, the West Cottage looks much as it did when it was constructed nearly 80 years ago!
The 2014 Tour of Historic Homes and Gardens will feature a total of eight vintage homes in the Westerwood neighborhood. The tour will also include the “Village Fayre”, an event that will include food trucks and arts and crafts venues on Saturday, May 17th. Live music will include Larry G. Davis – Acoustic Jazz, Westerwood String Band – Folk, and Joel Landau – Beatles Sing-A-Long.
Tickets are available online through the link below, or at The Extra Ingredient (Friendly Center) and Brown and Gardiner (N. Elm Street). Stay tuned to our website, this blog and our Facebook page for additional tour information.