Historic Flat Rock, Inc.

What We Do

 

Through the years, we have been asked ’what does HFR actually do?” Since incorporating in 1968, our board members and officers have been active, both physically and financially, in every means of preservation. Some of the projects we have completed include:

 

Renovation of the “Old Parsonage” c1853, in partnership with the Church of St. John in the Wilderness, that included a new kitchen addition, designed by Erle Stillwell. Completed in 1974, the project included a landscape plan. The gardens were planted by HFR volunteers, members of the church and the Boy Scouts.

 

In 1975, another beautification project was undertaken for the “new” post office at the corner of Little River Road and Greenville Highway. HFR member, Wayne Towers drew the plans, and HFR volunteers rolled up their sleeves and did the planting. Notice commemorative plaques at the site.

 

In 1978, HFR was privileged to receive a donation that would begin our “revolving fund”. William Hartman donated “Elliott Place“ c1877, to HFR with a life estate for Mrs. Hartman. A Preservation Agreement was put in place, and the future of our organization received its first financial boost.

 

In 1985, we purchased Peace’s Store c1900 at the corner of Greenville Highway and West Blue Ridge Rd. A Preservation Agreement was placed on the property, and it was sold to a responsible owner who will see that it will always be the charming cornerstone of our commercial district, “The Wrinkled Egg “and “Flat Rock Bakery“.

 

In the late 1980s, The Rock, now “The Lowndes House” c.1885, (The Flat Rock Playhouse), was sorely in need of repair. HFR entered into an agreement to renovate and restore the building. Between 1990 and 1994, HFR donated $80,000 towards the project’s completion. With a Preservation Agreement in place, The Lowndes House now serves as executive offices for FRP.

 

In 1992, “Chanteloup” c1841was about to go on the auction block after suffering through many years of neglect. HFR purchased the property at auction. The grounds were reclaimed by HFR volunteers and the house was protected from the elements. These chores took untold hours of volunteer labor. The property was then sold to its present owners, who have brought the estate back to its original grandeur.

 

In 1993, HFR entered into an agreement with the owners of “Many Pines” c1849, one of the most important and in-tact historic estates in the district. We loaned them financial support in return for one of the most thorough Preservation Agreements on record. The loan was repaid on time and with interest

 

1987 saw the purchase of “The Old Post Office” and the Stradley-Jones farm. c1845 After renovation of The Old Post Office, HFR moved their offices to the second floor, and leased the first floor to the Book Exchange. HFR leased the farmhouse and outbuildings as well, to provide income and upkeep. A Preservation Agreement is in place.

 

In 2000, HFR purchased “The Preserve“, on the Greenville Highway, in the center of the village. This is the last remaining part of the Ravenswood estate c1863, built by Rev. John Grimke Drayton (Magnolia Gardens in Charleston). We purchased the land to prevent further commercial expansion. Ravenswood was torn down in the early 1960s. This event was a major impetus for the founding of Historic Flat Rock, Inc.

 

In 2003, we were approached by a search committee from the Village of Flat Rock, who were looking for a location for a Village Hall. What better place than an historic house right in the middle of town at the Greenville Highway and Little River Road. The Village Hall, formerly the Stradley-Jones farmhouse, is protected in perpetuity. This was the first cooperative venture in adaptive reuse of an historic structure.

 

This same year began our work on the Scenic Byways project. As you enjoy driving through the village, please know there was great effort and much paperwork involved to make this project a success. Scenic Byways are one way to ensure our historic roads will remain as beautiful as they are now.

 

In 2004, we took ownership of a house at 1125 Pratt Street in Hendersonville. This was a donation from Mrs. Alexander (Laurinda) Schenck, one of our most active and loyal life members, and spouse of our first president, Alexander Schenck. Proceeds of the sale were invested in the revolving fund.

 

In 2007, HFR, once again in conjunction with church volunteers, reopened the last remaining short section of the Jerusalem Path between the Old Parsonage and St. John in the Wilderness. The path was opened by C. G. Memminger from Rock Hill, now the Carl Sandburg Home c1839, to the church.

 

In 2008, HFR engaged an archeologist to conduct a dig on the “Hemlocks “property c1905. Results were positive, showing the cottage sits on pilings of a much earlier dwelling, likely the 1700’s Kuykendall Tavern. It is a numbered, registered NC State Certified Archeological Site. Later in 2008, we purchased “Hemlocks“, made necessary renovations, and sold it to its present owners with a Preservation Agreement in place. “Hemlocks” is located on the old Drover’s Road, the Old Buncombe Turnpike.

 

Also in 2008, we began our Historic Marker program. With permission, we place a permanent historic marker at properties on which we hold Preservation Agreements. This program is fully funded by HFR.

 

In 2010, HFR purchased the “Andrews House” c1885 at 2731 Greenville Highway. It was home to the Andrews family who ran a livery business from the late 1800s until the 1950s. The house had fallen into disrepair. Renovations were made and a Preservation Agreement was placed on the property before it was sold. The new owner received an historic adaptive reuse rezoning to allow a gallery in a residence..

 

In 2010, we sponsored our first Designer Showhouse at Saluda Cottages. This event brought the entire village together. Designers came from all over the south to work their magic, and magic it was. It was our best fundraiser to date. A Preservation Agreement is in place on the meadow and adjacent property.

 

In 2012, HFR purchased what is now called the “King House” c1843, at 2624 Greenville Highway. The house with the Green Creek running through it’s back lawn, began as three mill houses, that were moved to this location.. Tracking its history was almost overwhelming, but along the way we discovered interesting details about the house, its owners, and its uses. It has been sold with a Preservation Agreement in place.

 

In 2012, we sponsored our second Designer Showhouse at Interlude, and once again, interior designers turned this beautiful French Country estate into a place to be envied. 

2014 was a banner year for Historic Flat Rock, Inc. We have been working on updating the National Register Nomination since the 1990's. It has taken untold volunteer time and effort, as well as almost $100,000 of HFR funding, to accomplish our goal. Flat Rock was one of the earliest historic districts listed on the National Register in the early 1970's. Since then, the National Register has increased its requirements to include all structures in the village and an extensive level of detail. Our Renomination has now been acknowledged by the State Historic Preservation Office as being one of the most complex in the country. This enormous document, over 400+ pages, photos and 16+ maps, has now been accepted by the State Historic Preservation Office, and is awaiting the stamp of approval from the National Park Service. When that is done, our Renomination will become the updated Nomination of Flat Rock to the National Register of Historic Places and will be available for all to see on the Internet.  It's a fabulous, detailed document. We encourage all to visit the to explore our history.

2014 also saw HFR's huge project to save Mountain Lodge come to a successful conclusion. We purchased the estate from bankruptcy court, and then were fortunate enough to find a responsible buyer who will renovate and restore this wonderful old property, one of the earliest in Flat Rock, to it's former glory. We now have a Preservation Agreement in place.

2014 also saw our first Historic Home Tour since 2006, and a wonderfully successful Patrons' Party at historic Teneriffe.

 

When we do not sponsor either a home tour or a showhouse, members are invited to a Gala, held at private historic homes. These fundraisers have been held at Little Hill, Dunroy, Saluda Cottages, Pinecrest, Hopewood (the Ceilidh!), Tenneriffe and SkyTop Orchard, among others. These events take our members inside Flat Rock’s historic homes.

 

 

 

Another opportunity for members to be involved are Patrons Parties, hosted in historic homes. These lovely parties are a great way for the membership to get to know each other better, while helping HFR offset costs involved with its fundraising events.

 

 

 

In August, HFR holds its Annual Meeting, after which members are invited to a private, complimentary party, once again held in a private home.

 

                                                                                                                  

 

Galen Reuther 2015