With five National Register districts and more than two dozen individual listings, a drive through Lenoir County will take you on an architectural journey by way of stately homes and charming neighborhoods.
The stories of these historic structures are as interesting as the architecture. Among some houses that should not be missed is the A.C. Davis House, built circa 1887 at 131 East Railroad Street in LaGrange. Featuring Queen Anne Victorian architecture, it is the only surviving building of the A.C. Davis Military Academy, which closed in 1889 following a meningitis epidemic.
There is Cedar Dell, built between 1810 and 1820. The home was remodeled in 1880 with Victorian accents. Located in the Falling Creek vicinity, it was purchased in 1876 by W.F. Kennedy, who was among Lenoir County’s largest landowners. The house and 1,200 acres were deeded by the childless Kennedy and wife Emily Hardee to the trustees of the Thomasville Baptist Orphanage, with the stipulation that it not be used for any other purpose.
Vernon Hall, built in 1914, is now a bed-and-breakfast owned by Ward and Linda McConnell. The neo-classical revival, located at 117 West Capitola Avenue, is perched on the crest of a small rise known as The Hill.
Harvey C. Hines House, a 1925 Tudor revival home located just behind Vernon Hall at 1118 North Queen Street, features decorative copper work sporting a Coca-Cola motif – a design request of Hines, who owned the Coca-Cola franchise in Lenoir County. North Carolina native and Hollywood star Ava Gardner was a favored guest.
Then there is Harmony Hall, the only 18th century home in downtown Kinston. The home at 109 East King Street is now owned by the Lenoir County Historical Association and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Read more on the historic neighborhoods in Kinston, NC.