Friday, October 9, 2009


Today we went to the historic Blandwood Mansion, which was the home of former NC Governor, John Motley Morehead. It was expanded twice, once in the 1820s and again in 1844-1846. It is the oldest standing example of Italianate architecture in the United States and has elements like stucco exterior and a low roofline. The railroad runs through what used to be an edge of the property because Morehead thought that North Carolina needed to be more connected and was very influential in getting the railroad to pass through legislation.

One of the questions that we were asked to think about is: What are the implications of adding a new face twice to the original house?

First off, adding on/rebuilding anything costs a lot of money. The fact that they changed the house significantly twice in almost 30 years says that the family definitely had some money to throw around. That could give off feelings to the town population that the family living there is more concerned about how their house looks rather than the well-being of the town. Second, changing the face of the house would probably involve some serious reconstruction to update it to the modern style of the time, considering that the popular styles were so drastically different. A quirk that you can see on the outside of the house is the seam where the 2 parts of the house meet. You often run in to trouble like this when trying to add on/redo a house, because unless the work is perfect, things won't always match up exactly.

Some of the expensive things inside the house, like the silver set, the chandelier, and the ornate decorations on the ceiling.

Why do you think the family found it necessary to continue updating the structure?
The most obvious answer that I can think of for this is to continue to make it better. As more family members moved into the house, there were different needs and things were changed/added to accommodate those needs. Also, as new inventions were being rapidly produced, it made sense to update the house to make it easier to live in.

The bed and cradle in the children's room.

What do you think people said about this new-fangled, fancy house on the edge of town?
I imagine that people were very unsure about this house because it is foreboding and completely different than anything they would've seen before. Everything back then was probably mostly farmland with somewhat small houses, and then this mansion gets built. It also doesn't fit in with the style of the time and is very stark compared to the other houses back then.

I really enjoyed the tour of the Blandwood Mansion. I learned a lot about historic Greensboro and saw some really interesting things, like the original pieces of furniture and the law office outside. I wish that we hadn't been so short for time so that we could've talked more about the history and architecture of the time.

Some of the stuff out in the law office: a model of the house, a map of the trains running through NC and SC, and a smoking chair with a spot to store your tobacco paraphernalia.

The big tree outside.

1 comment:

  1. commentary about money quite on the mark. good post...and nice photos.