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Dr. William C. Verdery House

Verdery House
The Dr. William C. Verdery House, located at 1428 Raeford Road, is a historic home located at Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina. It was built in 1936, and is a Colonial Revival style brick dwelling. It consists of a two-story, main block flanked by a two-story wing and a one-story porch wing on the west and a one-story wing and recessed two-bay wing on the east. It is topped by a slate gable roof and features an Ionic order entrance surround.

The house is currently being sold by the estate of Stuart Verdery Kerr (the daughter of Dr. William Verdery). Stuart passed away in her home on August 5, 2011.  Stuart was well known throughout the community and made many contributions to society. She was a founding member of the Fayetteville Academy Board of Directors. Stuart also served for many years on the Fayetteville Downtown Revitalization Commission, the Board of Fascinate U Children’s Museum, the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Cumberland Country Chapter of the North Carolina Symphony and the Linear Park Advisory Board.

She also was a member of the Study Club and the Fayetteville Garden Club. Stuart was actively involved in the Altar Guild at St. John’s Episcopal Church and most recently spearheaded a local ministry supporting families bereaving the loss of a loved one. She devoted her time and passion to feeding the homeless through the Love Lunches program.
Verdery House 3

James C. Dobbin

Although the Historical Marker references a home one block north of the marker, the Dobbin house is no longer standing.  It was originally in the vicinity of Fair Oaks (our next stop on the tour) and was likely destroyed by General Sherman along with the Fayetteville Arsenal and other important Fayetteville buildings in Sherman's famous "March to the Sea" in 1865.
Although the Historical Marker references a home one block north of the marker, the Dobbin house is no longer standing. It was originally in the vicinity of Fair Oaks (our next stop on the tour) and was likely destroyed by General Sherman along with the Fayetteville Arsenal and other important Fayetteville buildings in Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea” in 1865.

Born on January 12, 1814, in Fayetteville, James C. Dobbin entered the University of North Carolina at the early age of fourteen and graduated with honors in 1832. He returned to Fayetteville where he “read law” (how a lawyer was trained before there were law schools) with Judge Robert Strange. Dobbin was admitted to the bar in 1835 and launched his law practice.

Soon he began to participate in local politics and after declined to be a candidate himself, Dobbin unwittingly was nominated for Congress by the Democrats. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1845 and served the term but refused to run for reelection. Instead he turned his attention to the North Carolina House of Commons, to which he was immediately elected.

James Cochran Dobbin, US Secretary of the Navy 1853-57
James Cochran Dobbin, US Secretary of the Navy 1853-57

In 1948 he made a passionate speech in favor of establishing a hospital for the insane that resulted in a favorable action being taken by the General Assembly. Using money donated by Dorthea Dix a hospital for the mentally ill was established in Raleigh and named for its benefactor.

Dobbin was reelected and appointed Speaker of the House for 1850-1852.  At the 1852 Democratic National Convention, Dobbin nominated relatively unknown Franklin Pierce for president.

Dobbin’s speech at the convention and his later support for Pierce during the campaign earned him the appointment as Secretary of the Navy. He worked to reform and expand the Navy, making it a more efficient and effective military branch.

Dobbin was a firm believer in a strong Navy as insurance for peace (like Reagan’s “peace through strength”, and during his brief tenure as Secretary of the Navy put eighteen ships, including six steam-powered frigates, into service. He also maintained support for exploratory voyages, such as Commodore Matthew Perry’s expedition to Japan which resulted in a treaty with that country, signed in 1854.

The four years that Dobbin spent as Secretary of the Navy took a heavy toll on his fragile health and just five months after leaving office, August 4, 1857, James Dobbin died in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is buried at Cross Creek Cemetery.

Fair Oaks

Fair Oaks
Fair Oaks, located at 1507 Morganton Road, Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina, was built in 1858 by prominent businessman E.J. Lilly.

It included an octagonal summerhouse, the old kitchen, servants’ quarters, smokehouse, and school house. The house incorporates a Georgian plan with Greek Revival and Italianate elements. Surrounding the house is the original cast iron fence with a beautifully designed gate.

General Sherman’s Union troops marched into Fayetteville on March 11, 1865, to burn the Fayetteville Arsenal, which had been taken from the federal government and used by the Confederacy during the war. The troops stayed four days and burned the arsenal, The Fayetteville Observer, mills, and homes.

Historians say Lilly, who built Fair Oaks, was concerned about danger to his family from Union troops in the area and offered Sherman the use of his home.

It is believed that Sherman’s troops used the Fair Oaks house as a field hospital and it therefore was spared from the “scorched earth” campaign that destroyed the Fayetteville Arsenal and many other important Fayetteville buildings.

Rear view of Fair Oaks complete with external bath house and servants' quarters.
Rear view of Fair Oaks complete with external bath house and servants’ quarters.
The old stables behind Fair Oaks.
The old stables behind Fair Oaks.

Frank H. Stedman House

Stedman House
The Frank H. Stedman House is a historic home located at 1516 Morganton Road, Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina. It was built in 1925, and consists of a two-story, five bay, main block with a hip roof and projecting one-story, flat-roofed wings that form a “U”-shape. It is sheathed in stucco and is in the Italian Renaissance style. The front facade features an arcade supported by two Corinthian order columns. Also on the property is a contributing garage apartment.

Statue of Confederate Soldier

Confederate Monument 1
This bronze statue of a Confederate soldier holding his rifle on a four-sided granite pedestal between two cannons. The monument was erected in 1902 at a cost of $2,200 and was dedicated to the 2,416 soldiers of Cumberland County that fought in the Civil War.

It was originally located in the center of St. James Square, at the present day intersection of Grove, Green, Rowan, and Ramsey Streets. It was moved to the northeast side of the square in 1951 to accommodate the roads and in 2002 it was again relocated to the intersection of Morganton and Fort Bragg Roads.

confederate monument 2

The Haymont Grill & Steakhouse

Hamont Grill
The Hamont Grill and Steakhouse was founded in 1946 and has been owned and operated by four generations of the Skenteris family in this very same location. At one time this building housed the Haymount Barber Shop, First Citizen’s Bank, Metropolitan Life Insurance, and a beauty shop.

Local legend has it that the restaurant was originally the Haymount Grill (named after this area of town) but shortened its name to Hamont because it was $5,000 (the equivalent of $49k today) cheaper to make a sign with two less letters. Other businesses began to follow suit for the same reason and now 60+ years later, this section of town (the mount at the top of Hay Street) is known widely as both Haymount and Haymont.

If you notice the signs on the Hamont Grill, the large sign says “Hamont Grill” and the smaller sign on the front says Haymont Grill”.

Haymont Barber Shop

Proprietor, Donnie Barefoot giving a traditional haricut in the same chair for over 50 years.
Proprietor, Donnie Barefoot giving a traditional haricut in the same barber’s chair for over 50 years.

Haymont Barber Shop originally opened in the Haymont Grill building but lack of parking for the restaurant caused Pete Skenteris to not renew it’s lease. They moved across the street to this location and have been here ever since. Donnie Barefoot, the owner since the early 1960s was a barber in the original Haymont barber shop across the street.

Duncan Kelly House

Hilltop House
Two Scottish brothers, Augustus Hiram Kelly and Duncan Ray Kelly built this house around 1900. In 1912, Duncan Kelly purchased his brother’s interest in the house, and he and his wife re-modeled. The family was prospering from their business, the Kelly Suspender Company, and many additions and improvements were made at this time.

The original full porch on the front was replaced with a smaller version and another porch was added onto the side. Cliff E. Rankin, a local craftsman, made the fluted Doric columns seen on the porches. The mahogany door with beveled glass and beveled sidelights still remain as when they were added in 1912. By the 1980s the home was being used commercially by Newton’s Antiques and when Newton’s closed for business the building was re-modeled to be a restaurant.

Over time, many changes have been made, but the house is essentially the same building that has stood for almost 100 years — a two story Georgian style frame house with many features popular in the period: bay windows, stained-glass windows, gabled roof, machine-made balusters.

Inside the front door there is a central hallway and a mahogany railed staircase and machine-turned balusters leading to the second story. The oak hardwood floors throughout the house are ornate and continue the mahogany theme with the outside perimeter of the floor having a double inlaid strip of mahogany and a Greek key design in each corner. The original dining room has a Tiffany bay window and a Tiffany tile fireplace.

General Lee Park

gen lee park
The first of ten parks on our tour, General Lee Park is named for General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army. This beautiful neighborhood park is a throwback to earlier times, like in the movie Sandlot. During the summer, the park hosts outdoor family movies on many weekends. Watch local media for “Happenin’ in Haymount” or “After Dark in The Park”.