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History Lost, and Preserving Some That Remains

by | Feb 26, 2024

The demolition of the farmhouse took place on Friday, February 23.


We have a sad update to the article we published a little over a week ago, followed by a little bit of good news on the topic of historic preservation.

While the chimney stood a couple days longer, it too was toppled.

The old farmhouse on Highway 115, just north of Davidson, was demolished last Friday afternoon. The 154-year old home was no match for three large construction backhoes, and it was gone in a matter of hours. The chimney was the only thing left standing over the weekend, but as of Monday afternoon that, too, was gone.

Iredell County planning staff had previously stated that the developer, EPCON, had pulled the demolition permit. While they didn’t provide a timeline, the demolition seemed imminent. It was.

North Carolina is described as a “delay, not deny” state when it comes to historic preservation. As the state statute reflects, even a structure or landmark can be demolished. It simply requires a potential 180 – 365 day delay. The lone exception seems to be a structure deemed to have statewide historic significance. However, even that exception has an exception, specifically If the preservation commission determines that the owner would “suffer extreme hardship or be permanently deprived of all beneficial use or return by virtue of the denial.”

Thankfully, there is some relatively good news about historic preservation. Recently published information from the Town of Davidson’s Planning Department shared the following information.

The Davidson Historic Preservation Plan, adopted by the Board of Commissioners in January 2023, recommends that the town update the Davidson Local Historic District Design Standards. These standards provide guidance for alteration, restoration, new construction, additions, relocation, or demolition affecting properties in the local historic district.

The current Davidson Historic District Design Standards were drafted in 2009. With new development practices and the potential expansion of existing local historic districts, amendments to the existing standards are needed. The goal of the project is to create an updated, user-friendly document that is rich in content and illustrations.

The town is excited to announce that architecture and planning firm Frazier Associates out of Staunton, Virginia was selected to complete our design standards update. Frazier Associates’ team visited Davidson on October 18-19 to tour our historic districts and meet with stakeholders including the Historic Preservation Commission.

Be on the lookout for updates in the coming months. To see if your property is located within a historic district, check out the interactive map available at the Historic Preservation page on the Town’s website.

And while it obviously not a panacea given the state statute, it is a small step in the right direction.


Jane Campbell

Jane Campbell, U.S. Navy, Capt. ret., grew up in a military family and lived around the globe before graduating from Davidson College with a degree in Political Science. During a 25-year career in the Navy, she served aboard three different ships and held a variety of shore-based assignments. She was stationed on the East and West coasts, as well as overseas. She had tours at the Pentagon and the White House, and volunteered for a deployment to Afghanistan. She moved to Davidson in late 2014 and has become involved in a variety of volunteer activities with college, church, and community. She serves as a photographer and Sports Editor for News of Davidson.

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