Franklinville Residences

Homes, Great and Small, all on the National Register of Historic Places.




      The two-story brick Greek Revival style Makepeace House is the most impressive dwelling in Franklinville and one of the most architecturally significant houses in Randolph County.  Its most prominent feature is the ornate Victorian two-tiered porch, probably built in the 1880s, which hints of the Chinese Chippendale style. The facade boasts a handsome Greek Revival entrance featuring Doric pilasters, sidelights and fanlight.  The circa-1840 house displays an austere use of the Greek Revival which, in its simplicity, is related to the New England Federal style popular early in the 19th century.  It indicates the conservative survival of earlier architectural tastes among Randolph County artisans and craftsmen. The builder of the house may have been Franklinville's founder, Elisha Coffin, who originally owned all the surrounding acreage.  Its location on the highest point in town was originally central in regard to the church and school across the street and the factory at the foot of the hill.  In 1850 the property was sold to the mill supervisor George Makepeace, a Massachusetts native.  It passed into the hands of his son, George Henry Makepeace, and remained in the family into the early 20th century. 


G) CURTIS-BUIE HOUSE, 606 West Main Street.

   One of the show places of Franklinville, this house was a substantial residence both before and after the Civil War.  Though the magnificent Eastlake style porch is its most prominent feature, the rear wing is important because it may be one of the earliest remaining structures in town.  It was part of the tract received by Sarah Morris Fogleman in 1812 from the estate of her father, Christian Morris. In 1838, the Foglemans sold the tract to A.S. Horney, who in turn sold this portion to his father, Dr. Phillip Horney (1791-1856).  The two Horneys had been deeply involved in the county's textile development, having been partners with Benjamin and Henry B. Elliott in the construction of the original Cedar Falls factory, and then assisting the establishment of both the Franklinsville and Island Ford factories.  In 1872, A.S. Horney sold the property to Dennis Curtis (1826-1885), son-in-law and apprentice to George Makepeace, the revered superintendent of the mill.  About 1880 Curtis more than doubled the size of the old house by adding the impressive two story riverfront facade.  The glorious porch is an eclectric composition with elements of several styles; its central gable exhibits psuedo-Gothic elements.  Curtis and his brother-in-law George Henry Makepeace owned and operated the Columbia Factory in Ramseur before Curtis moved to Greensboro in the mid-1880s.  The house was later acquired by Matthew Gilbert Buie (d. 1912), overseer of weaving at the "Upper" mill, and subsequently passed to his son J. T. Buie, bookkeeper for the corporation. 


H) JULIAN HOUSE, 466 West Main Street. 


     This lovely home is perhaps the oldest structure in Franklinville. Local historian Cornelius H. Julian, whose descendents still own the house, said that the date "1819' is carved into one of the sills. The architectural record certainly bears this out, for the house exhibits graceful, refined proportions, and trim which indicates the transitional period between the Georgian and Federal styles. In 1819, the house was on the property of William and Sarah Morris Fogleman. Sarah Morris inherited the land in 1812, and sold it to A. S. Horney in 1838.  In December, 841, the Horneys sold the house to James Johnson, a blacksmith.  In April, 1844, Johnson advertised for sale his "valuable real property in Franklinsville... 4 town lots, on which there are two excellent dwelling houses, a good blacksmith shop and all necessary and convenient outhouses... The premises are well adapted to keeping Entertainment-there being no other tavern or house of public entertainment in the place.  It is also to be remembered that... this place is directly on the stage route from Raleigh to Salisbury."  Nathan Cox (1809-1872) acquired the house from Johnson and operated it as a boarding house, later housing workmen engaged in rebuilding the fire-damaged mill.  Like Franklinville's founder, Elisha Coffin, Nathan Cox was a birthright Friend who had been disowned for marrying a non-Quaker.  Cox's daughter Mary Jane (1840-1913), a weaver in the upper mill, subsequently owned the house before it came into the possession of C.H. Julian. Julian (1871-1953), a prominent Franklinville citizen who acted as postmaster from 1933 to 1948  and previously served as depot agent, town clerk and town treasurer. 


I) "COTTON ROW" HOUSES", 447, 449, 459, 467 and 505 West Main Street.


     These five houses are undoubtedly among the original dwellings built by the Randolph Manufacturing Company after April, 1838.  In March, 1839, the Asheboro newspaper noted that "since the commencement of that works but one short year ago, a little village has sprung up at the place which has assumed the name of Franklinsvilte, embracing some eight to ten respectable families." Each small, sixteen by twenty-two-foot house had two rooms in a hall and parlor plan, a single fireplace on the west end for heat and cooking and a loft reached by a boxed staircase. Five and perhaps six of these houses were built in a row on the hillside above the factory. The western-most has been destroyed and the eastern-most is now attached to the two-story Will Tippett house, leaving four one-story frame houses in between. The rool of the original houses can still be seen poking up above the later additions and showing its boxed cornice returns on the western gables. William H. Tippett (1857-1938) was a builder and contractor who lived in the western house and about 1900 turned it to face its gable end north and built a large two-story louse as its south wing. 


K) LAMBERT PARKS HOUSE, 216 West Main Street. 

      Known locally as the "Sumner House," this residence has had a long and colorful history of ownership. In 1907 David S. Sumner (1862-1939), superintendent of the "Lower" mill, moved here from his former home outside town. His family resided here for the next seventy years. Sumner bought the property from the widow of Alexander S. Horney. From 1871 until 1893 the dwelling was the home of Hugh Parks, undoubtedly the most powerful person in Franklinville. During that period Parks acquired control of both the local textile corporations and served as v and as a county commissioner, among other offices. About 1893, Parks engineered a trade with Ruth Horney in which she moved back to this, the former home of the Horneys, and Parks moved his family into the impressive Horney mansion (now destroyed) on the hill above the Island Ford factory. 

       The later transfers cite the property as "the Lambert lot in the village of Franklinsville." This refers to John R. Lambert, seller of the house to A.S. Horney in July, 1850. Lambert, 36 years old in the census of 1850, listed his occupation as "Manufacturer.'   The house is one of the county's best examples of the full-blown Greek Revival style, and was probably built some time in the 1840s. The porch superstructure original to the house, although the chamfered posts with sawn decoration and brackets seem to have been added in the 1880s.  The finest exterior feature is the entrance where double leaf raised-panel doors are framed by sidelights and a Greek Revival architrave with molded corner blocks. 


 L) THOMAS RICE HOUSE, 127 Weatherly Drive. 

      One of the most architecturally significant structures in Randolph County, this small house was built by Thomas Rice (1803-1893), a well-known carpenter and "mechanic." Rice worked in both Randolph and Guilford counties, building such structures as the Franklinsville Covered Bridge (1848) and Greensboro's West Market Street Methodist Church (1849-51). One of his most important commissions came in 1852 when he was hired to build the "Old or Main Building" at Trinity College, a large three-story brick structure.  Rice held several public offices in Randolph, and was a Justice of the Peace from 1843 to 1859.  Financial difficulties during the 1850s seem to have caused Rice to leave Franklinville; in the 1860s he settled in the Farmer community in southwest Randolph. In 1846 Rice became one of the founding stockholders of the Island Ford Manufacturing Company, and supervised the construction of the frame factory building. At the same time Rice bought live acres of land on the hillside above the factory and built his home for his wife and five (later seven) children. The property was part of the Island Ford corporation's Mulberry Street development, where property was sold off to raise operating capital.  The most unusual feature of Rice's house is its distinctive engaged porch, set back under the gable roof and supported by four stuccoed brick columns painted to resemble marble. This kind of porch is characteristic of the Greek Revival's "Creole Cottage" house type, popular in coastal areas and standard along the Mississippi Delta region.  It is extremely rare in piedmont North Carolina. The high quality of Rice's craftsmanship is evident in the sophisticated architectural details of the exterior.

 To Make a Donation to support the restoration of the factory and the creation of the Franklinville Mill Museum, go here.

To take a virtual tour of Franklinville's History, choose from the menu below: