Friday, October 14, 2011

Faison-William House, Faison, North Carolina

Just north of Magnolia is Faison, another town that grew up around the Wilmington-Weldon Railroad (which now through many and various mergers is CSX Transportation). Although it was originally settled by land grant in 1776, Faison's heydays were during the years of 1830 to the end of the nineteenth century.

Prior to the Civil War, many planters built large mansions in the town, earning it the sobriquet "The Acropolis of Society of Duplin County". One of those mansions is the one pictured above, the Faison-Williams House.

Today the house is nearly hidden from sight behind these huge magnolia trees. I drove up the driveway to get a better look at the house which looked neglected and abandoned (I figured I could leave long before the sheriff's deputies showed up to arrest me for trespassing).

What an odd sight. The front stairs had been repaired but there was an abandoned secretary's chair and contractor's light on the porch. The old brick piers holding up the porch have been replaced in places with concrete blocks (ugly). When you look through the front door and windows, the inside has been gutted to the studs and drywall lies piled on the floor. If you click on this link, it will take you to the North Carolina State University Digital Library and photos of the interior which were taken in 2005. Six years later, it still looks the same.

A little digging around the Internet brought just one comment on a genealogy site from the guy who bought it in 1999. In 2001 he wrote that he and his wife were renovating it and planning on turning it into a bed and breakfast. It looks as though they gave up on the renovation shortly after posting that comment.

And doing a little more digging to find the owner's name, it turns out that he ran for town commissioner twice and state senate once and was roundly defeated for all three races. Think people were upset by how he's left this once proud mansion to fall into ruin?


Anyes said...

This old building could have made a splendid Bed and Breakfast, no question about it :-)

frayedattheedge said...

Another amazing building! I had a look at the link ..... wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to buy and renovate such a beautiful property - it would make a fabulous B&B!
Have a great weekend!

Karen said...

Anyes: It could have been, but at the back the roof was really damaged. Wonder if anyone will ever be able to bring it back.

Anne: I just despair of these old houses disappearing forever along with all the history it holds.

Weekend was great. Pictures to follow!

Tracey said...

I hate to see houses with so much potential fall by he wayside. :-( It looks like it could be a beautiful place, indeed.

Karen said...

Tracey: In such a tiny village as Faison (700 people), I bet they are beyond p.o. with how the owner has handled this historic mansion.

Anonymous said...

My name is John named after my grandfather John Sanders Faison, who somehow is related to this property in its original form. Interesting to see and learn that this home is still standing, It sure once was a beautiful place, I have old photos of the place way back when.

Karen said...

John: Catherine Bishir, who wrote four books about North Carolina historic architecture, says that this house was built for Isham Faison. There is a Dr. John Faison house on Center Street, but I didn't take any pictures of that house, unfortunately.

If you are able someday to take a trip to Faison, you should go. In a town of 700 people there are over 90 historic buildings. It is certainly a lovely little town.