Known historically as the Paisley-Sloan-Logan House, this Greek Revival style home is one of the oldest privately occupied houses in Greensboro. It was built for Reverend William Denny Paisley who came to Greensboro in 1819. The house originally stood on West Market Street in the village of Greensborough on the site of today’s Preyer Federal Building, but it was moved to 409 Hillcrest Drive in 1929. According to Greensboro historian Ethel Stephens Arnett, the house not only housed the Gate City’s first Presbyterian minister but also his son in law, the city’s first mayor, Robert M. Sloan. Other historical accounts convey that the structure of the house was constructed using timbers from the Guilford County Courthouse, a legend that is substantiated by inspection of the floor joists in the basement.
Greensboro was established in 1808, and the one-acre of land on which the house was originally located on West Market Street was sold to Rev. Paisley (1770-1857) in 1821 for $80. After that initial sale, the property remained in one family, transferred from generation to generation by will, for 107 years.
The Greensboro Record newspaper celebrated the history of the house in a January 1926 article that stated “The house is rich with Greensboro history. Built in 1820 by Rev. William D. Paisley, familiarly and affectionately called “Father” Paisley, this house represents the entire past of Greensboro. Immediately, the Paisley home was erected. The house is partly built of logs from the old Martinsville courthouse, made famous by the encounter there of General Greene and Lord Cornwallis. There, in 1836, Sarah Paisley (1816-1884), youngest daughter of the revered minister, was married to Robert Moderwell Sloan (1812-1905), later to serve his town as major for four administrations, during which the town charter was amended and the name “City of Greensboro” was adopted.”
The eldest daughter of Sarah Paisley Sloan and Robert Sloan was Fannie Sloan (1842-1926), and she spent her 84 years of life in the house after her marriage to John Early Logan.
Threatened by development after the death of Fannie Logan, a grassroots campaign was initiated to save the landmark. The Greensboro Daily Record reported in June 1928 that “a group of memory-cherishing citizens who remember the teachings of historians and no nation, no people, no community can progress far without reverencing the past and those who laid the foundation stones, are launching an effort to preserve the old Logan home, which is the only surviving link connecting the Greensboro of the present and future with the struggling little village of a century ago.” Despite proposals to preserve the Paisley-Sloan Logan House and its historic gardens as a city park, and another proposal to move the house to Fisher Park, the house was saved through relocation in the summer of 1929 to Hillcrest Drive.
The house was placed on its new double lot on Hillcrest Drive and thereby saved through a partnership between developer Garland Daniel and realtor Jim R. Callum. The historic house served as an investment triplex for Callum, occupied at times by Nona and Milton McLean, Claude Caraway, Robert Blanchard, and Wilfred Booker until 1939, when it was purchased by Isla and Marvin Johnson.
The Johnsons converted the triplex into a duplex and continued to rent the right-side apartment for income. By the 1990s the oldest private house in Greensboro suffered from disinvestment and modifications as an investment property. Cindy and Doug Garrison acquired the property in 1995 and commenced a significant restoration that downsized the three kitchens to one, re-established the side porch, and returned the façade to its earlier appearance. Older features were enhanced, including reuse of original doors and hardware, replication of mill-work, and placement of new porch columns to replicate those seen in early images. Modern necessities were added including wall insulation, a new kitchen and laundry room, and a primary bathroom with walk-in closet.
This historic treasure is open today as the oldest known private residence in Greensboro, having just celebrated its 200th anniversary!
Six vintage homes in the Westerwood neighborhood will open their doors to ticket holders during Preservation Greensboro Incorporated’s 13th annual Tour of Historic Homes & Gardens on May 20-21, 2023. The tour will highlight charming features of early nineteenth and twentieth century architecture, including Craftsman bungalows, and examples of Colonial Revival design.
Written by Benjamin Briggs
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