News Column

Woman's Club of Fayetteville raising money to save historic house

July 14, 2014

By Sarah Campbell, The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.



July 14--Fundraising efforts are underway to ensure the Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House remains under the ownership of the Woman's Club of Fayetteville.

The club put the 200-year-old house on the market late last year because it could not afford the required upkeep. But the club's members hope a renewed push to keep the club and its properties going means the sale won't need to occur.

"We are having some very serious second thoughts about selling it at all," President Elaine Kennebeck said. "We're working very, very hard to schedule as many fundraisers as we possibly can."

Last year, the decision to sell the house was spurred by letters from city inspectors stating the house's rotting wood should be replaced and the exterior painted.

The Federal-style Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House is one of the few Fayetteville homes that survived the fire of 1831, which swept through downtown in May of that year.

The historic building has been part of the club's historic Heritage Square property on Dick Street since 1966.

The club also owns the historic Sandford House and the Oval Ballroom on the Dick Street property.

It will cost an estimated $20,000 to paint the two-story structure. An additional $3,500 is needed for wood replacement.

Kennebeck said the city inspector's office has given the club until the fall to complete the needed improvements.

"The pressure's off for a couple months, but we need to have something magic happen between now and September," she said. "We're hoping a large painting company or contractor will donate the labor."

The club is inviting the community to the Sandford House to get a feel for what the its preservation efforts are all about, Kennebeck said. Free open houses will take place the first Sunday of each month from 1 to 5 p.m.

Kennebeck said a membership drive also is in progress.

"By bringing in new members, we're hoping to expand our horizons as far as contacts and people who can help," Kennebeck said.

Kennebeck said the house only would be sold if fundraising is unsuccessful.

Preservation North Carolina is handling the sale of the 2,300-square-foot Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House, which is listed for $164,000.

The property requires a complete renovation, including installation of heating/air conditioning, plumbing, bathrooms and a kitchen.

The club also stipulates a buyer would have to remove it from the property.

"We don't want to give up our courtyard," Kennebeck said.

But selling is the last option as the women seek to raise money through a variety of monthly gatherings and special events.

Monthly bridge games will kick off at the Sandford House in August. For $15, people can spend an entire day playing. They'll also be served morning refreshments and lunch.

The games, which used to be held just twice a year, will take place the first Thursday of each month.

A giant yard sale will be held at the Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House courtyard on Sept. 26 and 27.

A wine tasting and silent auction are set for Oct. 18 at the Sandford House.

"We're going to be auctioning off some of the more valuable things from the Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House," Kennebeck said.

A Halloween Haunting will take place in October, and a Civil War Christmas is coming up in December.

"We're moving along quickly, trying to make up for lost time," Kennebeck said. "We're not giving up. We are going to keep fighting for this house."

Staff writer Sarah Campbell can be reached at campbells@fayobserver.com or 486-3523.

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(c)2014 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

Visit The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.) at www.fayobserver.com

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Source: Fayetteville Observer (NC)


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