The L.L. Polk House preservation volunteer cleanup event was hosted by Preservation North Carolina with help from the town of Polkton and South Piedmont Community College on Oct. 13.
The historic birthplace of Polkton founder Leonidas Lafayette Polk, a 19th century champion of North Carolina farmers, holds a great deal of history. Polk was president of the National Farmers Alliance, founder of “Progressive Farmer” and a founder of Raleigh universities N.C. State and Meredith.
“Preservation North Carolina was first contacted about the property by a member of the Polkton Town Council, who expressed the community’s interest in seeing the house preserved, and later by members of the Anson County Historical Society,” said Cathleen Turner, regional director for Preservation North Carolina. “We had an excellent turnout at our cleanup event on Saturday and accomplished so much.”
The State Historic Preservation Office provided information and photographs that supported their determination of the importance of the home.
“We contacted the owners and worked out an agreement to allow us to purchase the house if we can find a buyer who will commit to restoring and preserving it,” she added.
Since the house had been vacant for several years, there was much to be done to prepare it to be marketed to preservation-minded buyers.
They cleaned up the lot of overgrown vegetation and cleaned out the house of debris, old carpeting and non-historic wall paneling that covered up beautiful wood floors, hand-planed wall and ceiling boards, and other woodwork that give the house so much character. They also repaired the front porch steps and secured doors to protect the interior from the weather.
Preservation North Carolina will market and sell the house subject to protective covenants that will ensure that the house is rehabilitated in a way that preserves its historic and architectural character. The electrical, plumbing and heating and air systems will be updated. Kitchen and bath improvements will be made. This will ensure that the house is restored with high priority repairs being completed within a reasonable timeframe and that the house will be maintained and preserved for years to come.
Turner said the next step is to develop their marketing materials so that they can post the information on PreservationNC.org, and in an upcoming issue of their magazine.
It is thought that the house was built in the 1820s or 1830s. It is federal and Greek revival in style with a “hall and parlor” interior plan consisting of two main rooms on the first floor and two room on the second. A two-room board and batten addition is attached to the rear forming a wing where the dining room and kitchen is located. A “stranger’s room,” or preacher’s room, is off the front porch and a bathroom enclosure is off the rear porch.
Founded in 1939, Preservation North Carolina is North Carolina’s only private nonprofit statewide historic preservation organization. Its mission is to protect and promote buildings, landscapes and sites important to the diverse heritage of North Carolina. Through its Endangered Properties Program, Preservation North Carolina acquires endangered historic properties and then finds purchasers to rehabilitate them.
The Endangered Properties Program is widely regarded as the nation’s most successful program of its kind.
The historic L.L. Polk House in Polkton is the birthplace of Leonidas Lafayette Polk.
Volunteers worked on the L.L. Polk House earlier this month, clearing a great deal of vegetation outside and removing debris from inside.