Wake Forest has many historic buildings dotting the landscape. Some of these buildings have been determined to be significant and received local landmark status. Wake Forest’s local landmarks are listed below with a brief summary and picture of each of these special places. If you are interested in applying for local landmark status please contact Senior Planner Michelle Michael.
PLEASE NOTE: Local landmarks are private residences and not open to the public.
Ailey Young House
The Ailey Young house is a saddlebag style house that was likely built around 1875, or slightly earlier. It is a rare example of Reconstruction Era post-Civil War housing for the African American working class.
The Ailey Young House may be the oldest remaining African-American historic building in Wake Forest. It also has historical significance as the dwelling of one of the town's most important African-American citizens Allen Young.
One of Ailey Young’s 12 children, Allen Young, opened the town’s first school for African American children in 1905. The interior of the Ailey Young House will be open to the public once renovations are complete.
For more information, visit the Ailey Young House webpage
The Battle-Purnell House was designated a local historic landmark property on August 20, 2002.
This house was built by Josiah Battle in 1802-1803. It is a remarkably intact 2-story, T-shaped, Georgian-style dwelling.
Both the five-bay main block and the rear ell of the house are two-stories tall set on a high stone basement. The house is clad in plain weatherboards and has six-panel doors, 9-over-9 wood-sash windows, and three-part molded window and door surrounds.
Three, double-shouldered Flemish bond chimneys are handsomely finished with paved shoulders and glazed headers.
The kitchen addition was built in 1996 of old materials in keeping with the historic building.
The Heartsfield House is one of Wake County’s few remaining finely crafted, classically inspired vernacular houses dating from the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries.
Originally situated about 3.5 miles south of Wake Forest, the home is now situated well within the Town limits.
The foundation was built on large, stacked granite blocks a material commonly used for foundations in northeastern Wake County. The Flemish bond double-shouldered chimneys rank among the county’s finest displays of early 19th century brick work.
The originally Federal style house received a Greek Revival makeover around 1850. The interior floor plan was altered at the time, and a front porch was added.
Over the years the home as evolved to fit the various occupants needs, however the house is significant due as an example of high-style rural domestic architecture of the federal period.
I.O. Jones House
This Queen Anne-style house was designated as a local historic landmark on March 14, 1991.
The I. O. Jones House was constructed circa 1903 by Robert Freeman and his wife, Genoa Rox Hunter Freeman, as a wedding gift for their daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, Ira Otis Jones.
The house is a large two-story house with a pyramidal roof, interior chimney, and a front-gabled two-story wing with a cutaway bay window.
The pedimented gables have oval-shaped windows. One-over-one sash windows appear to be original.
The one-story, wraparound porch has a gabled entrance bay, turned posts, sawnwork brackets, and a simple railing.
A later Craftsman-style entrance vestibule was added in front of the original entrance, and a small sunroom above it, perhaps in place of an original open upper-story porch.
The A. Jack Medlin Store stands as a rare and exceptional example of a commercial building along North Main Street. Early twentieth century commercial buildings were often constructed of durable, fireproof brick. Early twentieth century commercial buildings were typically rectangular in form, with flat roofs. Parapets, which could provide space for signage, were also a common feature of commercial structures. The front elevations of many commercial buildings were pierced by large display windows to display store goods. The A. Jack Medlin Store retains many of these features that were typical of early twentieth century commercial architecture. The A. Jack Medlin Store differs from other commercial structures in the area due to its massive canopy off the primary elevation. No other buildings in Wake Forest have this unique feature.
The A. Jack Medlin Store is significant for its association with tourism and land use planning in the Town of Wake Forest, and for its role in a landmark court case that set a precedent that effected zoning regulations across the state of North Carolina. The A. Jack Medlin Store opened in 1905 as a general store and dining room with a curbside filling pump. In 1929, the Town passed an ordinance prohibiting the sale of gasoline on the west side of the railroad tracks. As a result, A. Jack Medlin incurred a penalty for his continued operation of the curbside filling pump. The case of Wake Forest v. Medlin rose to the Supreme Court of North Carolina in spring 1930 and was the first case heard by the court regarding land use zoning and police power. The landmark decision handed down by the court ruled that the Town of Wake Forest had the police power to regulate the operation of filling stations in certain circumstances and locations. As a result of this case, a precedent was set for land use zoning and the associated use of police power at both the local and state levels.
The A. Jack Medlin Store has since been converted to an office, and the property was designated a local landmark property on October 19, 2021.
The Mutschler House is a mid-century modern long, rectangular residence built circa 1973. The residence is sheathed with rough-sawn-dark-brown painted board-and-batten siding above a tall, variegated-red-brick, running-bond foundation embellished with weeping mortar and a slightly projecting header course cap. The low-pitched side-gable asphalt shingled roof has deep eaves. West of the entrance, the roof continues in a dramatic cantilever to cover a two-bay carport with a brick south wall. A rectangular brick chimney rises from the roof ridge. The interior retains a split-foyer plan and original character-defining features including rough-sawn board-and-batten accent walls, variegated-red-brick chimneys, exposed ceiling beams in the upper level public rooms, built-in bookshelves, hardwood floors, a brick stair landing, and lower-level game room, family room, and sunporch brick floors.
The Mutschler House stands in the center of a 0.91-acre parcel in Country Club Hills. Deciduous and evergreen trees, woody shrubs, and perennials punctuate the Mutschler House yard. The Mutschler’s fully implemented the naturalistic planting plan rendered by Samuel C. Taylor to complement the dwelling’s organic character.
The Mutschler House was designated a local landmark property on October 19, 2021.
Oak Forest was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998 and designated as a local historic landmark property on October 21, 2008.
This circa 1807 house was originally constructed in the Federal style with a hall-and-parlor plan. The original south-facing porch with hand-hewn columns is still in use.
The slender, round columns are unique in that they were carved in one piece to include the capitals and bases.
A later, Greek Revival addition gave the house a double-pile, center hall-plan.
At that time the front door was changed from south elevation to the west. The double doors were centered in a rectangle of horizontal boards, and the veranda was covered as seen in an 1887 photograph. An 1894 photograph shows an added portico.
In 1895, a returned-eave pedimented roof, four Doric columns, and a sawn work balustrade to the roof were added to the west porch.
Old Cemetery at Friendship Chapel Baptist Church
According to local African American oral history the site of the Friendship Chapel Cemetery was a gathering place for enslaved people from the nearby Ligon, Dunn and Hartsfield plantations. Gatherings would often happen at night in secret to celebrate milestone events and religious holidays.
After the Civil War, African Americans were motivated to start their own congregations. Nelson Ligon began Friendship Chapel Baptist Church in 1867 on the same parcel where the cemetery was located. Cemetery mapping was completed in 2017 and able to identify over 400 potential graves. Ground Penetrating Radar was used in a portion of the cemetery and able to identify 277 graves, including one possible mass grave.
Members of the congregation provided oral accounts of a possible mass grave containing the remains of victims of the Spanish Influenza. Confirmation of this grave came with when the GPR picked up on a mass grave within the cemetery. Scientific confirmation of the existence of these graves allows for verification of oral histories of Wake Forest’s African American community.
The Friendship Chapel Old Cemetery site provides a rare glimpse into the formation of African American communities in the rural South before and after emancipation.
Powers Dodd House and Store
Located on the corner of North Main and North Avenue, the Powers-Dodd House and Store were constructed in the 1890s by Dr John Benjamin (Ben) Powers.
The two-story center hall Italianate style house was constructed first around 1893 and the store was built approximately five years after.
In 1897 Dr Powers fell ill. Believing he was dying and concerned for his family’s ability to provide for themselves, he constructed a store on the corner lot next to the family home. The store was home to many uses over the years including a grocery store, restaurant, ice cream shop, fraternity house, bookstore, and its current use: an event space. Both the home and store maintain a high level of historic integrity.
The Powers Store is the most intact commercial building of the late 19th century remaining in Wake Forest.
The Powers house remains the most intact of the Town’s Italianate houses due to minimal additions over time.
The Purefoy-Chappell House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on October 22, 2008 and designated as a local historic landmark property on December 16, 2008.
The Purefoy-Chappell House represents a common, vernacular house type found in North Carolina in the early nineteenth century. James S. Purefoy bought the one-acre lot at the corner of a common road (later Powell Road and now South Main Street, Wake Forest-US 1-A) and Front Street (now Friendship Chapel Road) from Jesse Kemp in December 1837. The house and kitchen house were built in 1838 probably by the six carpenters enslaved by Purefoy's father-in-law (Foster Fort) whom he named in his will.
The house is comprised of four major sections: the original c. 1838, 1½-story, side-gable, single-pile main block with a rear shed wing, now the living room with bedroom above and dining room; a c. 1895, two-story, side-gable, single-pile addition of two bedrooms, a hall and staircase built onto the south gable end of the original house; a two-room, side-gable kitchen/dining building dating to c. 1838 that was connected to the main block in 1974 by a one-story hyphen containing a modern kitchen. The roofed concrete porches on the house and kitchen/dining room in c.1895 were removed except for a portion that is now the downstairs bathroom. A prominent feature, a large roofed front porch, was removed when the road was widened between 1932 and 1967.
Purefoy became a trustee of Wake Forest College at an early age and remained until his death. He built the Wake Forest Hotel at the request of the board, saved the college from bankruptcy by refusing to invest all its funds in Confederate bonds and was the first mayor of the Town of Wake Forest College and its richest man. He was also the pastor of several churches in the area.
The owners have been James Purefoy 1838-1853; Richard Ligon 1853; Peyton A. Dunn 1853-1861; Street Taylor 1861-1862; Dr. Leroy Chappell 1862-1913; Frank Chappell Sr. 1913-1964; Celera Chappell 1964-1965; Nurney and Grace Bond 1965-1967; Bob and Jean McCamy 1967-1970; John and Carol Pelosi 1970-present.
South Brick House
The 1838 South Brick House is the only extant building of the original permanent campus of the Wake Forest Institute, later Wake Forest College.
Built as faculty accommodation, the house is an excellent example of Greek Revival-style architecture and the only local example of residential masonry construction from the antebellum period.
In addition, it was built by John Berry, who later designed and built the Orange County Courthouse among other buildings in Hillsborough.
The original occupant was Professor Amos J. Battle and later Professor William H. Owen.
In 1855, the college sold the house to a private owner, and it has remained in private ownership since that time.
The South Brick House was designated as a Wake Forest Local Historic Landmark in 2013 and officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.