Historic farmhouse free to move

jwise@newsobserver.comMarch 24, 2014 

The 1850s farmhouse of Fendel Bevers on Leesville Road is available free for the taking, as long as you take it somewhere else.

KEVIN KEISTER — kkeister@newsobserver.com

— If you’re in the market for home with a history, Preservation Durham has a deal for you.

An 1850s farmhouse, free of charge.

You just have to move it.

“They’re putting in a new development, that’s why the house has to go,” said Elizabeth Marsh of Preservation Durham, which has the house listed on its Buy Historic Properties website, bit.ly/PRg7iV.

What’s more, “We’ll pay up to $15,000 to help you move it,” said Mark Ward, a partner and sales director with the developer, ForeverHome LLC of Raleigh.

“We want to be respectful of the people who lived out there,” Ward said.

The Fendol (sometimes spelled “Fendel,” but Myra Markham of Durham, his great-great granddaughter, said “Fendol” is correct) Bevers (or “Beavers”) House stands on Leesville Road, the 19th-century route from Durham to Raleigh, near the Wake County line.

The 1992 Durham County Historic Architecture Inventory (see links at bit.ly/1gFZDzj) describes it as having “an archetypal elongated form, a low hip roof and end chimneys with ashlar (squared) stone bases, a feature not commonly found in Durham County.”

The house encloses 1,280 square feet, rests on a stone foundation and has a long front porch that was added on in the late 1800s. A one-story ell, or wing, was added at the rear in the early 1900s.

How much it costs to move the house depends on how far it has to go.

“It can really range if you’re going, you know, 10 feet away versus a different county,” Marsh said.

Marsh said Preservation Durham isn’t particular where the house goes, but expects it will stay in the Triangle area.

“We definitely have people from other states emailing, (asking) How much will it cost to move it? I don’t think anyone really wants to pay that much to move the house.”

Bevers, 1822-83, was the Wake County surveyor and created an 1871 county map ( bit.ly/1iAJrnd) from his surveys for the 1870 U.S. Census.

“I do hope a suitable place will be found for relocating this important house so that another piece of history is saved,” said Markham, a past president of Preservation Durham and recipient of its 1990 George Pyne Award for her preservation work in Durham County.

Preservation Durham put the house on its “Places In Peril” list in 2012, due to development pressure in the area. The hope was to preserve several acres around the house and its outbuildings within a future subdivision.

That hasn’t worked out, but ForeverHome and Preservation Durham did come to an agreement for helping with a move.

Marsh said the house needs to go by October, but Ward said it could be later.

“We’re not in a huge hurry,” Ward said.

According to the Inventory, the house is Durham County’s “best-preserved” example of its type: “remarkably intact; original flooring, sheathing, mantels, and double vertical panel doors are in place.”

Now, Marsh said, “It needs some work.”

“It hasn’t been occupied in quite a while,” she said “It definitely needs some love.”

Wise: 919-641-5895

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