There's a massive antebellum house that sits atop a slight incline, just before a sharp curve on Tuckaseegee Road in west Charlotte. It's been there since 1844, making it one of the city's oldest homes. It's also one of the few links that still exists to the west side's history.
Generations of notable Charlotteans, including a former mayor and director of the Mint Museum, have called the Wearn House home. Its builder even helped spawn the city's pre-Civil War development.
The Richard Wearn House, as it is listed on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, started life as a log cabin and evolved into a wood-plank farmhouse that was Victorianized with the addition of period-appropriate latticework and a wrap-around porch. During its construction, the Queen City saw the nation's first verified gold find, leading to a rush that began around the turn of the 19th century. The house's builder, Richard Wearn, who with his wife Henrietta Thompson, immigrated to the U.S. from Scotland in 1823, spearheaded much of the gold-mining efforts, which perpetuated development that led to a sudden jump in population and the eventual decision to locate a U.S. Mint in Charlotte in 1837.
The house was built prior to the abolition of slavery, so it serves as an example of an important time in history for both black and white Charlotteans, reminding us of the unimaginable struggles faced at the time.
The Wearn House would pass through multiple owners. By the early 20th century, it landed in the hands of Mary and Edward Hayes, who operated a botanical nursery on the property. For nearly 100 years, it was part of the Hayes estate, a massive piece of property that stretched from what is Freedom Drive to Tuckaseegee Road and beyond. Following the death of the elder Hayes, sons William and Edward Jr. continued living in the home for many years. Edward died in 1983, and William moved out of the house in 1989. He died in 2006.
With no more surviving heirs, Bank of America handled the estate until April 2008, when about 100 people gathered for an auction of the house and estate. A group of investors (Magnolia Acres LLC) with its sight set on a new housing development captured the property for a reported $1.5 million. Plans were to build a subdivision of the same name, Magnolia Acres, on the property.
Susan Ward and Doug Bradley, owners of the Historic Wearn House.
After putting their own money into the restoration of the property, in 2017 Susan and Doug set up a GoFundMe site for much needed additional repairs. Help them out if you can! And check out this cool "hands on" video demonstrating some of the restoration in action!
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Creative Loafing Charlotte, "The Wearn House could serve as a westside museum," by David Aaron Moore. June 6, 2012.
Creative Loafing Charlotte, "The Historic Wearn House can still be saved," by David Aaron Moore. May 23, 2014.
Creative Loafing Charlotte, "The Wearn House could serve as a westside museum," by David Aaron Moore. December 8, 2014.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass