Sunday, November 21, 2004

"they're not going to like that location"

When Laurette and I were house-hunting in Greensboro 11 years ago, we saw an ad in the paper for the house we now live in, and asked our real estate agent about it. She said she wasn't familiar with the street or the Aycock Historic District, and called another agent to inquire about it.

"They're not going to like that location," was the agent's response.

Well, that piqued our interest. We hate it when people tell us what we're supposed to like.

It turned out that the house we were interested was less than half a mile from our real estate agent's house in Fisher Park, which is also one of Greensboro's three locally designated historic districts.

How did it happen that one experienced realtor didn't know about the existence of Aycock, and another, who knew about it, was actively steering homebuyers away from it? I suppose it might have something to do with the neighborhood's demographics: about 50% minority, with lots of multifamily housing mixed in with renovated single-family. But I never found out for sure.

It turned out we did like the location -- a lot. Here are some reasons why I like it today -- November 21st, 2004:

The crepe myrtles in the neighborhood burn like fire in the fall. I translplanted this one myself two years ago.

The maples look pretty good too, especially when they're surrounding a beautifully restored classic American foursquare:

You just won't find the kind of architectural variety that's typical of Greensboro's older, urban neighborhoods in the new developments. So you'll see some pre-Victorian styles like this "triple A"

within a block or two of a Craftsman-style bungalow,

which is just across the street from one of Greensboro's few remaining Queen Anne Shingle Style homes:

Nobody is building houses like these any more.

Was it a good investment? Realtors, take note: in 11 years, our house has appreciated in value by about 150%.

But architecture and money isn't the half of it. It's the people who live here who make our neighborhood really interesting, fun, even exciting. There's always something to do here, and someone's always doing it. Like last night -- check out what Hoggard has to say.


Jim Rosenberg said...

Neighborhood porn.

David Wharton said...

Thank you, Mr. Sun. I really "enjoyed" it.

Billy Jones said...

I could never afford to live in Aycock but always thought I'd like to ever since I was at Aycock School in the 1960s.

Michael said...

I don't think that you can describe anything in the neighborhood as "pre-Victorian". That would put it before the 1870s. That house you pointed to, I would guess, was built in the 1920s. Not having been inside, it seems an amalgam of late Victorian, colonial revival, and arts and crafts. A lot of the houses in the neighborhood embody that mix.

David Wharton said...

Michael, you're certainly right on the dating. I was referring to the triple-gable style, which was popular in a lot of pre-Victorian farm houses.

Not many like that one in Greensboro, though.

David Wharton said...

Correction: Michael is right; even the triple-A style is Victorian (or later).