Save This Old House: A North Carolina Italianate Cottage
Score a post-Civil War Italianate cottage for only a buck
Published November 2012
Location: Wilson, N.C.
Contact: Kathryn Ferrari Bethune, 252-234-7694
The history: James T. Wiggins, who built this charming Italianate cottage in 1872 for himself and his wife, Ella, was a bigwig in this quaint Southern town, located 40 miles east of Raleigh, North Carolina. A Civil War hero and tobacco planter, he also ran the town's sawmill, owned a general store, and helped develop the local school system. Wiggins decamped to a larger house in 1887. In 1903, the new owner moved the cottage from the original site to its current location and tacked on a rear ell addition. A succession of owners followed; it was most recently used as a law office, which resulted in the removal of the kitchen but otherwise left the layout intact. The house must now be moved again to make way for a health center's parking lot.
Why save it? The front double doors feature a nice beadboard surround. The house also retains its original windows, as well as porch columns with elegant brackets. "This is one of the finest examples of post-Civil War middle-class housing in town," says Kathryn Ferrari Bethune, director of Preservation of Wilson.
What it needs: Bethune is eager to work with potential buyers to find a suitable plot of land. Once the house is moved, it will require updates to all its systems, repairs to the tin roof, and a new kitchen. After that, you, and the house, will have a new place to call home.
This center-hall wall features dramatic diamond-pattern wood paneling and a door with an arched transom.
Three of the four original mantelpieces were replaced with Colonial Revival-style mantels like this one in the house's front parlor.
The typically Italianate porch railing features turned balusters.
The 2,230-square-foot three-bedroom, one-bath house features a low hipped roof and bracketed eaves.