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You don’t see this every day: Two Meck homes built before 1850 for sale

Only five to 10 homes of similar age estimated to be in the county

The historic Grier-Rea home was nearly demolished eight years ago when the property it sat on was sold to make way for a shopping center and housing development. Photo by Tara Ramsey

Two homes that predate 1850 are up for sale, a rarity in Mecklenburg County.

The Grier-Rea home and Hennigan Place estate are among the oldest homes left standing in the urbanized county.

The historic Grier-Rea home was nearly demolished eight years ago when the property it sat on was sold to make way for a shopping center and housing development.

But the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission stepped in and bought the home, moved it and restored the two-story federal style farmhouse built in 1804.

Now that the project is complete, the commission is selling the home, one of the oldest in the county.

Realtors Irving Schwebel and Keith Thompson of Prudential Real Estate are the selling agents of the home at 6701 Providence Road. The asking price: $700,000.

Eight years ago, it probably would not have fetched such a high price. Back then, the commission was faced with the daunting task of restoring the home, which had boarded-up windows, termite damage and a leaking roof. Plus, it needed to be moved so the shopping center, Colonial Place Shopping Center, and the housing development could be built.

“We knew it was going to be difficult and expensive,” said Stewart Gray, preservation planner with the commission. “What swayed the commission is that the house dates from 1804. It was built when Thomas Jefferson was president. In terms of Mecklenburg County, it was an extremely important artifact.”

In the world of historic homes, the Grier-Rea House had a “high degree of integrity,” meaning it hadn’t been altered in any significant way since approximately 1870, Gray said.

“There aren’t many homes this old left in Mecklenburg County, because first off there are inherent dangers for older homes,” Gray said. “Older homes burn and decay. That’s just natural that you lose older structures, especially older wooden structures. That said, Mecklenburg County is very urbanized, and that’s another blow to the preservation of earlier structures.”

Gray estimated that there are between five and 10 homes of similar age in the county. The stone Hezekiah Alexander house on Shamrock Drive is believed to be the oldest house in Charlotte. It dates to 1774 and shares its property with the Charlotte Museum of History.

Schwebel agreed that it is unusual for a home as old as the Grier-Rea home to be for sale.

“You have to have a very deep appreciation for what it was and what it can be, because it’s not your ordinary home,” he said. “This home clearly has a personality.”

He said the interior woodwork is in “phenomenal” condition, although the home might need some upfitting in the bathroom and kitchen depending on the future owner’s plans for the residence.

The bricks for the chimneys were made in a kiln set up at a creek branch, and the cornerstones of the front porch were carved by a Native American, according to an architectural description on the commission’s website.

The home was built in 1804 by the Rev. Isaac Grier before being acquired by John Laney Rea Sr. in the mid-1880s and passed on through subsequent generations of the Rea family, according to the commission.

It was occupied until the mid- to late 1990s before being moved to the intersection of Providence and Alexander roads, Schwebel said.

The location is zoned residential, but the Charlotte City Council is expected to hear a request to change the zoning to light office, perfect for an attorney, architect or real estate company, he said.

An open house for the Grier-Rea home is set for Feb. 20.

The Hennigan Place estate at 3503 Tilley Morris Road in Charlotte also has a history of being moved around.

The upcountry transitional Federal/Greek revival plantation-style home includes a late 1800s “Old Georgia” drive-through barn and a 5.4-acre horse farm, three formal gardens and horse and carriage trails.

Randy Watson, of Hendrix-Mitchener Properties, is the listing agent for the property. The asking price is $1.19 million.

Hennigan Place has also been restored “from the frame up” with all new plumbing and wiring, according to a website featuring the listing. It has a new roof and heating and air conditioning system. The home features three fireplaces, heart pine floors and hand-planed moldings, and it is surrounding by trees.

The property, which was first located southeast of Pineville, was originally owned by James Hennigan until 1914, when it was sold to Stephen Manson. The Mansons lost the home during the Great Depression, and it was vacant and dilapidated by the early 1970s, according to the website.

It was purchased by its current owners, Peter and Betty Shulenberger Snow, and moved in 1971 to a site immediately across U.S. Route 521. It was moved again in 1973 to its present site on Tilley Morris Road, near Providence Road, in south Charlotte. The Snows and their daughter occupy the home.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at

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