On the corner of Howell and Western sits my newest favorite house in the Villa Place Historic District. The District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is a contributing structure for the District. On a Stepheny drive-by, one glance and I was in love…again. I wish I could call this house home. The men on the roof didn’t let me down. They waved down and I waved back. I can tell you from experience, this is how roofers are. It made me teary as I received their good will and cheer in a world that needs both.
I’m going back to Howell St. and take stock. How many houses, both sides of the streets, how many occupied, vacant, on a scale of 1-5 over-all condition. On my drives along Howell, I find a wealth of bungalow architecture. If Howell can be restored from one end to the other, it will be a showcase for Rocky Mount housing.
Guess who owns the house and is restoring it along with others on Howell? Adrienne Copland. You know her as the energetic, young, woman in her work clothes that speaks at the City Council meetings. I hope you are listening to her videos because with her head for numbers, she speaks with authority about a range of things that can include housing, ordinances, grants. She is a hands-on champion for the neighborhoods that are deteriorating. She works on a house from the inside out. Adrienne is a licensed general contractor, and has earned a Historic Preservation Research Certificate from Edgecombe Community College. She is President of the Board of Rocky Mount Preservation. She knows a thing or two!
Adrienne had her eye on this house for ten years. As fate would have it, one day she saw a man standing outside the house. She parked her car to speak to him. Her question, “Is this house for sale?” The man was from one of the banks. When the answer was yes, she said on the spot, “I’ll buy it.” It is undecided what Adrienne’s plans are for the house, but I’d keep an eye on it if it is love at first sight like me. She left me all the more tantalized by saying, “Wait until you see the pocket doors.”
Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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