Capital Area Preservation, Inc. (CAP) moved the historic Franklin House from its current location at 6405 Holly Springs Road, Raleigh to a new location in Apex on Saturday, May 30, 2015.
The Franklin House, with its vernacular coastal cottage form with Greek Revival detailing, is likely the oldest house still standing in Swift Creek Township. Built sometime in the 1820s, the house exhibits a number of early features, including timber-frame construction with mortise-and-tenon joinery, shallow eaves and L-headed and machine-cut nails. Greek Revival features include the doors on the facade and in the interior, six-over-six windows in the facade window openings, and beaded stair treads.
The house has a unique floor plan, attesting to the vernacular arrangement of space in which the Franklin family designed the house to fit their personal needs, rather than repeating the orthodox arrangement of space in high-style forms of Greek Revival architecture. The house has a center hall plan but possesses an odd configuration due to the stairwell to the upper half story which opens out onto the front porch. The stair is at the south side of the house, and the entrance door to the stair is at the south side of the facade. This stair placement is highly unusual and quite unorthodox for formal Greek Revival design.
“Looking at the house roll down the street with its roof and front porch removed, I don’t doubt that some will wonder what all the fuss is about,” said CAP President & CEO Gary G. Roth, “but relocated and rehabilitated, this nearly two-hundred year old building has the potential to rank among Wake County’s architectural jewels.”
This was the second move for the Franklin House. Originally, it stood by the roadside, but when the Jones family acquired the property around the turn of the last century, they moved it to its current location in order to build a larger structure in the Franklin House’s original location. Back then, a mule team rolled the house on logs.
M/I Homes of Raleigh, LLC, who purchased the property in 2014 for single family home development, donated the Franklin House to CAP in order to ensure its preservation, and was instrumental in raising the funds for the move. M/I Homes will also donate a preservation easement to CAP on the c.1930 Jones family barn and silo which it intends to rehabilitate and retain on site. In addition, M/I will retain the Franklin family cemetery on the site, which it is currently in the process of rehabilitating.
The donation of the house by M/I Homes and its purchase from CAP by Jeff and Lesleigh Hastings, to whose Apex area property the house is being relocated, was the culmination of an eight-year effort by CAP and the Wake County Historic Preservation Commission (WCHPC) to secure the future of the structure. Hastings, who is a member of the WCHPC, will rehabilitate the house on the new site. “It is going to take time, but we are committed to make it happen,” said Mr. Hastings.