As Historic Preservation Month began last week, Fuquay-Varina took the opportunity to look back and celebrate its treasured past. The Fuquay-Varina Museum Questers offered tours of 10 historic properties in the Fuquay Springs area.
Homes, like the Ballentine Spence House that J.D. “Squire” Ballentine built for his second wife on Spring Street, were open for the tour from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The property owners all have a love of the homes’ historic charm and hope to preserve the heritage that is so rich in the downtown.
For owners of the J.E. Howard House Tim and Ashley Ruffin, the desire to keep the original beauty of historic Fuquay is prevalent throughout their home.
The Questers hope to inspire many others to do the same.
The group hopes to place plaques on several historic homes throughout the town. Museum Volunteer Director Shirley Simmons said she has a list of nearly 50 landmarks she would like to see marked.
Among those properties is the Barbour House where Brandy and Chuck Taylor live with their two children.
Originally from Georgia, the couple moved to the home in December 2012 and have only made cosmetic changes to the property. They moved to Garner two years ago with the intent of buying a historic home. They found the Barbour House the day it went on the market.
“We told him (the previous owner) we’d take it that day,” Brandy said. “That’s where we saw our forever home.”
Brandy grew up in a historic home owned originally by her great grandmother. She and Chuck wanted their children to have the sense of community that comes with living in a historic district.
“It’s just a different way of life,” Brandy said.
Like Brandy, Shannon Adcock grew up in a historic home in Florida and she and her husband, Fuquay-Varina Commissioner Charlie Adcock, lived in an old home in Raleigh that was renovated into apartments.
“This is the first house we ever looked at,” Shannon said. “I don’t think we’ll ever move.”
The couple bought the home in July 2000 and moved in the following January. They had some major renovations to do, like putting in all new windows and heating and air conditioning, rewiring and putting in new floors. They even had to completely gut and refinish one wall in what used to be the parlor.
The Ruffins said they tried to keep the character of the home while they did major renovations.
“The house had great bones,” Tim said. “It’s solid as a rock.”
The couple had a new home in Cary but both grew up in older homes and didn’t like the feel of such a modern property.
“It felt new,” Tim said.
They looked at a home on Holland Road that wasn’t for them before passing the J.E. Howard House. It wasn’t on sale at the time, but the couple loved the wrap-around porch. They joke that the porch has more square footage than their first home after they married.
Less than a week after the Ruffins first passed the house, their realtor called to say it was on the market. They made an offer immediately.
John Chandler had a similar experience. He passed by the Richard Aiken House just as the for sale sign was going up in the yard in 1999. He had always wanted to have his own business and an old home. This was the perfect marriage of the two.
He made an offer on the home immediately and now uses it for his engineering and land surveying business, The Chandler Group.
For Julia Aiken Brown who grew up in the home, it’s a blessing to see her childhood home come to life again.
“It just makes your heart happy,” she said.
Chandler took about a year to renovate the two-story property, putting in new floors after he found the original hardwood ruined by lead paint, closing off doorways to a bathroom and back hallway and redoing a kitchen while still keeping some original touches. He even had the original doors rekeyed so all of the hardware stayed the same.
The Friends of the Museum and Fuquay-Varina Questers also showed off the Varina Mercantile, Cheek House, Edwards House, Proctor House and Thomas Rogers House on Spring Street and Fuquay Avenue.
Contact Kelly Griffith at email@example.com or 919-552-5675.