Couple’s amazing story sets stage for popular Historic Homes tour

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Kasey Stone

WASHINGTON, N.C. — In May of 2005, Ed and Shirley Stone made their first visit to the beautiful waterfront city of “Little Washington,” with no idea this afternoon visit would put them on the path to a labor of love and their forever home. Saturday, April 14, you can meet the Stones as they — and 11 other families — open their homes to visitors in a fundraising effort to support the Washington Area Historic Foundation.

Before their trek to Washington, Ed & Shirley owned a historic home in the College Hill District of Greensboro, N.C. and have always supported historic preservation because:


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1. It is an economically viable alternative to new construction
2. It increases property values in the area
3. It revitalizes neighborhoods.
4. It provides a connection to history and people of the past.
5. It preserves and protects history and heritage for future generations
6. Historic homes provide character not found in new construction
7. Most of all, it allows for the pride and joy of being caretakers of history

The Stones were immediately drawn to the friendliness of the people in Washington, and town’s beautiful waterfront and historic area. They soon purchased a restored home on East Main Street, which became their weekend getaway. However, there was another home in the area they could not ignore.

The Congleton family home on East 2nd Street, built in 1891, had been unoccupied for several years and was almost deteriorated to the point of no return. The Stones had a vision and knew that with love and care, this 115-year old home could be restored to its original beauty!

Using money inherited from her father, Sallie Chancey Congleton and her husband Ira C. Congleton built the house, which remained in the family for over 112 years!

Ed and Shirley purchased 513 East 2nd Street in August of 2006 and began the long process of preserving and restoring the home. They quickly enlisted the help of their daughter, Kasey Stone, an interior architect, general contractor and owner of Clerestory Design, Restoration and Construction.

Despite the damage done by time and neglect, the home’s construction of all cypress wood provided ‘good bones’ for preservation. While following all of the guidelines of North Carolina Historic Preservation, the Stones were able to preserve the six original fireplaces, wide plank cypress floors, windows, doors, hardware, locks and keys.

Ed did extensive research on the home and its former residents. He acquired old surveys, tax documents and photographs, given to him by three generations of Congleton family members. These documents were valuable resources when replicating lost details such as porch posts and shutters. The Stones were able to reproduce the original footprint of the porch and kitchen.

The initial goal of the project was simply to save this house before it was too late. But soon the Stones knew this house must be their home. During the restoration process, they sold their house in Greensboro and quickly made Washington home — in a house they so lovingly saved. Restoration of this home took more than two years to complete. Shirley will tell you the preservation process never stops, but it is certainly a labor of love.

Recently the Stones constructed a ‘Garden House’ – a welcome addition, located within the original footprint of a prior building, adjacent to the Congleton house.

The pride and joy of historic home ownership has become contagious in Washington! Other homeowners like the Stones will open their homes on April 14th for the Washington Area Historic Foundation Spring Homes and Garden Tour. From 10 am until 5 pm, 12 beautifully preserved homes will be open for the tour.

Guests can also explore beautiful spring gardens while Plein Air artists are at work. The tour ends with strawberries and champagne in the garden at 127 East Second Street. Advance tickets are $20, and day of tour purchases are $25.

Please buy tickets at the Washington Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Visitor Center, The Little Shoppes, and The Coffee Caboose. All proceeds benefit the preservation efforts of the Washington Area Historic Foundation.

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