The "Superintendent's House"
A small two-story brick cottage stands back from a street in Eden, NC, and looks out over the Governor Morehead Park. It may be the oldest dwelling in the city, thought to have been built as early as 1813 - about the same time that James Barnett built the nearby Spray Canal to power his grist mill. It was certainly in existence by 1836, when John Motley Morehead (later Governor) built the “Old Stone Factory” on the land directly below the house.
Governor Morehead hired John Hall Bullard from Boston to set up and run his new mill in a brand new little town in North Carolina. The town was first known as Splashy, later as Spray, and much later was incorporated into Eden. Bullard, as the first mill superintendent, probably lived in the cottage that was perched on the hill overlooking the factory site - a perfect location to view the teeming activity below. That factory launched the textile industry, which became the community’s lifeblood for more than a century.
By 1840 James Ray was the “factory manager,” and probably occupied the house for a time. Meanwhile, the mill complex grew with the addition of the Leaksville Woolen Mill and many other structures. This is “Eden’s only dwelling directly associated with the genesis of the local textile industry,” according to A Tale of Three Cities, the Eden Preservation Commission’s inventory of historically significant local structures. And it comes with strong ties to some of the oldest families of Eden: the Barnett’s, Bullard’s, Ray’s, and Morehead’s.
"A Tale of Three Cities - Eden's Heritage," is available at Eden City Hall (Stadium Drive) and the Eden Historical Museum (Washington Street).
The building has belonged to the Eden Preservation Society since 1985. It was in fairly good shape considering it is almost 200 years old. However, it has needed a lot of work.
With much effort, the EPS has obtained several gifts and grants for the bulk of the work. These included the Stedman Incentive Grant of $10,000 in 2016, and the Marion S. Covington Foundation grant of $12,500 in 2018, both from Preservation North Carolina.
Many thanks to Si Rothrock at Reidsville Building and Restoration for all his insights, good counsel, and hard work!
Progress so far...
The foundation has been stabilized, all the outside brick-work has been completed, and a standing-seam metal roof installed – the first phase is complete!
New windows have been installed, and the doors have been restored, but still need paint.
Inside, the floors have been repaired, and the fireplaces are ready to have their beautiful mantels installed. The mantel from the main room (in storage until the project is complete) is a Federal era original.
Many thanks to all who have volunteered their time and donated to this ongoing remarkable project! Another $5,000 will be needed to fully rehab the building.
"Spray Industrial Historic District is a national historic district located at Eden, Rockingham County, North Carolina. It encompasses 70 contributing buildings, 9 contributing structures, and 1 contributing object in an industrial section of the town of Eden. It includes buildings associated with eight textile mill complexes, mill village housing, and seven commercial buildings. Notable contributing resources include the Smith River Dam and Spray Power canal, Morehead Cotton Mill complex, "Superintendent's" House (c. 1810), Imperial Bank and Trust Company (1912), Leaksville Cotton Mills complex, Spray Mercantile Building, Spray Cotton Mills complex, Lily Mill complex, Nantucket Mills complex designed by R. C. Biberstein, American Warehouse Company complex, Rhode Island Mill complex, Phillips-Chatham House (c. 1910), and Spray Woolen Mill complex. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986." Wikipedia: Spray Industrial Historic District
Other Links of Interest:
243 S Hamilton St
Eden, NC 27288
Donating and installing heating and air conditioning system.
Sam W. Smith, Inc.
1733 NC Highway 135
Eden, NC 27288
Grading the front yard and driveway.
310 W Meadow Rd Suite A
Eden, NC 27288
Surveying the property.