304 W. Vance Street

Gold Harrell House

Congratulations to Ed Lackie for the impressive job he has done with the restoration of the Gold Harrell House in the Old Wilson Historic District.  Over the last four years Ed has worked tirelessly, and at times painfully, as he repaired, rebuilt, patched, sanded, painted and so much more as he worked on the house from top to bottom.   Today the exterior is fully restored and the interior is on its way.            

Ed came to us after discovering the house from an article in the June 2011 issue of This Old House magazine featuring the Queen Ann Style house as an endangered property. The next month Ed traveled from California to see the place and six months later he purchased the property.  Work began immediately.  Thank you Ed for staying with the job not giving up!  The Old Wilson Historic District is a better place because of you and your efforts.  Just ask the folks who are finding courage to follow in your footsteps.  

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Under Restoration

The Gold Harrell House is an impressive Queen Ann style house built circa 1884 for prominent Wilson minister and publisher Pleasant Daniel Gold (1833-1920) by one of Wilson’s foremost builders, James W. Wilkins. Gold came to Wilson in 1871 as the pastor of the Primitive Baptist Church and served area churches until his death in 1920. Gold and his son, Jon D. Gold (1867-1954) formed the P. D. Gold Publishing Company. In 1898 they started the Wilson Times, and in 1902 they started the Daily Times; the two papers merged in 1936 to form the Wilson Daily News, which is still family owned.

Landmark Gold-Harrell House Sold

The buyer, Ed Lackie, originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts and recently living in Fountain Valley, California, plans to rehabilitate the house and bring it back to a single family residence.   Lackie, a licensed contractor in California, is already hard at work.  His construction knowledge and familiarity with the permitting process will serve him well as he transforms this dilapidated structure back to its former grander.

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The June 2011 issue of This Old House Magazine featured the house as an endangered property with a full page story.  After seeing the article, Lackie visited the property in July and closed on the house just six months after the article was published. “There is a lot of damaged wood from the lack of gutters and roof maintenance” said Ed.  “I had to remove part of the back of the house because the rotted wood was so bad.” Fortunately for Ed, the house still retains its architectural integrity, with ornate spindle work, built-in cabinetry, and many original doors and windows.

Ed Lackie is a preservationist at heart and welcomes the opportunity to restore just about anything.  Just before moving to Wilson, Ed restored several 356 Porsches.  “Restoring of an old Porsche and seeing the rust removed and the damage fade away, is something I enjoy.  I like being able to bring it back to its original condition.  Whether it’s a car or a house, it is the joy of bringing something back to life those appeals to me.” said Ed.

History and Details on the House

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In 1922 the property was purchased by Ephrain J. Harrell, than a salesman with the Woodard Brothers and Company, wholesale grocers. Harrell (1884-1983), a native of Wilson, incorporated the Acme Candy Company in 1924, which he built into one of the largest manufacturers and wholesalers of candy in Eastern North Carolina. Harrell and his wife, Thelma (Keith) Harrell (1900-1975) resided here until their deaths.

The large, two story, T-plan building is crowned by a slate-covered cross-gable roof whose gable ends are decoratively framed with arched braces and king posts, creating a picturesque three dimensional effect on the otherwise restrained exterior.

The spacious wrap-around porch was added by the Harrells in the mid 1920’s. Carried by Tuscan Columns supporting a dentiled frieze and enclosed by turned balusters, the classically detailed porch blends well with the rest of the house. The fenestration consists of single and double windows containing tall Queen Anne Style sash composed of small pane divisions outlining a large central pane. The windows are handsomely framed by cornerblock surrounds and projecting molding window hoods and retain their louvered shutters. A decorative, three-sided bay is located on the front southeast.

The rear elevation contains a two-story, similarly detailed ell, shed rooms, and (now enclosed) porches. The center hall, double-pile interior has undergone little alteration and reflects the same restrained character as the exterior. The closed stringer stair rises from the rear. Simple woodwork, classical over mantels, and an ornate spindle screen at the bay window complete the interior. Modest Queen Ann Style windows are found on the second story.

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