Janet and I were on the hunt for a small retirement home in
North Carolina, we started this process in 2008. The problem was that we
wanted a small historical or colonial-federal home in need of restoration.
Living in Western New York made the hunt extremely difficult. After some
hours on the internet, I came across a web site that specializes in Historic
Homes located in North Carolina. Preservation North Carolina, (PNC). Their
web site is an excellent source for locating historic homes. Our first trip
to North Carolina was to Enfield. There was an early Federal house with the
name of Branch Grove. What a great plantation home, a restorer’s dream
house. All wood work including, wide board paneling, doors, windows and
fireplace had never been altered. Also included with this property was an
original Georgian house that served as the kitchen and servant quarters. The
only problem was that the house needed to be moved and still living in New
York State, we did not have the time to take on this project.
I continue to check the PNC web site and searching for a house that would work for us. One evening while searching the web for colonial-federal homes in North Carolina, I found a small federal home on the PNC web site located in the Greensboro NC area known as the Blue House. Again the house needed to be moved, had a great look and was in a nice area. I contacted the owner and set a date that Janet and I could travel to North Carolina to inspect the blue house, Janet and I started our planning for our trip to North Carolina. While we were in the planning stages for our trip south I notice on the PNC web site three new listings, two of which are listed on the National Registry of Historic Homes in the Town of Pittsboro. The three houses were moved to make room for a new Judicial Center. We called PNC and set up an appointment to view the small Federal house, known as the McClenahan House. We first inspected the Blue House near Greensboro, the house set about 1500 feet off from the road in the middle of a field. The house would have been an excellent restoration candidate years ago, but time had taken its toll on this old house. The only way this project would have made since would have been to dismantle and then reassemble it at a new location. Again time would be a problem and we decided not to pursue this home. We thanked the owner for taking the time to show us the blue house and we were off to meet with Cathleen Turner of PNC and to look at the small federal McClenahan house, located in Pittsboro. We arrived early for our meeting, providing Janet and I the time for a quick walk around inspection o f the exterior, but my eyes keep looking over at this big yellow house. When Cathleen arrived and opened the McClenahan house, all I could think of is the yellow house on the center lot. Cathleen, Janet and I inspected the McClenahan house, checked in the crawl space and determined that the house was sound, a very good candidate for a restoration project, but not the house us or maybe it was the thoughts of the big yellow house next door that helped to make my decision on the McClenahan House . We asked Cathleen if there was a chance we could look at the big yellow house, we had not scheduled an appointment to view this house. Cathleen said yes, we were off to look at the Big Yellow House. I believed Janet and I were hooked before we entered the interior of this grand house, but once inside this large house, we knew that this was the house for us. Great chair rail moldings, Georgian center hall plan, a stair system that utilized octagonal newel-post and large sturdy spindles, most of the interior and exterior doors were original to the house, interior floor-plan seemed to be original to the C. 1787 construction date and there was one other special feature that I have never seen in an early home. A two part paneled wall system that when raised and latched to the ceiling, combined the large parlor and the center hall creating a ball room and when lowered returned the home to a Georgian center hall plan.