Tools Of Historic Preservation
Surely everyone appreciates a lovely old building, a beautiful meadow, hand-hewn stone walls. Preservation doesn’t happen by accident. First an historic area must have a preservation organization made up of caring individuals intent on saving their local heritage for future generations. They must be willing to work, raise funds and have the tenacity to stick with the program through difficult times.
From the outset, HFR helped improve and save historic properties in the village, a few of which are The Old Parsonage at St. John in The Wilderness, Lowndes House at the Flat Rock Playhouse and Chanteloup. From physically improving historic structures and landscapes – many times hands-on endeavors – to purchase and resell with Historic Preservation Agreements in place, our ultimate goal is to preserve as many properties as possible through the most important of documents, the Historic Preservation Agreement.
The Historic Preservation Agreement is a legal agreement between a property owner and a qualified 501 C(3) preservation organization. It is a private, voluntary agreement that runs with the deed in perpetuity, through inheritance and sales. It ensures that the architectural character will not be altered and the use and density of the property will not be changed, according to the wording in the agreement. The owner retains full ownership, and is obligated to honor the terms of the agreement, the wording of which he tailors at the outset, with the assistance of HFR and legal counsel. An Historic Preservation Agreement is considered a charitable donation.
Historic Flat Rock currently holds Historic Preservation Agreements on 24 key properties: The Andrews House, Brookland, Commodore’s Cottage, The Dam House, Dolce far Niente, Dunroy, Edney House, Elliott Place (Vincennes), Hemlocks, Hopewood, Jones’ Motor Court, The King House, Sunbolt (Little Bye), Lowndes House (at Flat Rock Playhouse), Many Pines, Mountain Lodge, Oak Knoll, The Preserve, Rutledge Cottage, Saluda Cottages (2), Village Hall (Stradley-Jones House), and The Wrinkled Egg (2), previously known as Peace’s Store and The McAllen Craft Shop. Preservation North Carolina in Raleigh holds the preservation agreement on the 170 year old historic Old Post Office.
The financial benefits can be large, but the peace of mind can be even larger. Knowing that a special historic property is being saved forever is immeasurably satisfying. We also try to preserve historic landscapes, outbuildings and rockwork. Those beautiful rock pillars along Greenville Highway just south of St. John in the Wilderness, which are part of Dulce Far Niente, have been so saved, thanks to the foresight of the owners.
When Low Country planters settled Flat Rock in the early 1800s, the village became known as The Little Charleston of The Mountains. They built their summer estates at the end of long drives on large tracts of land. While this practice afforded privacy and opportunities for landscape features, the result affords little chance for passers-by of today to appreciate these lovely old structures. HFR conducts home tours, member functions at historic homes, galas and showhouses, all to acquaint their members and guests with this very special village, a National Historic District. Historic preservation is an expensive business.
By Galen Reuther and Rick Merrill