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Saturday December 4th

Fate of little house in Chapel Hill depends on Historic District Commission review

A local couple has requested permission to tear down this historic house, located at 704 Gimghoul Road, to build a new one in its place.
Buy Photos A local couple has requested permission to tear down this historic house, located at 704 Gimghoul Road, to build a new one in its place.

Bob Bacon and his family lived at 704 Gimghoul Rd. for more than 45 years.

“In my opinion it has always been one of the best looking houses on the street,” Bacon said.

But now the home’s new owners plan to demolish the home.

Bacon said Tanner Hock and his wife bought the house more than a year ago with no indication they planned to tear it down. Bacon said the house, like many in the neighborhood, was built in the 1920s, giving it a unique character.

Last week, the Hocks submitted a proposal to demolish the house to the Historic District Commission.

The commission voted there was insufficient information on the structural integrity of the house and a decision would have to be postponed. If the commission members agree the house is historically significant, they can delay demolition for only 365 days.

Benjamin Brodey, a member of the comission, said there was no question the house has historical merit.

He said the house once belonged to Ernest Rutherford Groves and his wife Gladys — both UNC professors. The Groves’ published more than 20 books on psychology and sociology that can still be found in UNC Libraries today.

Brodey also said many residents of the neighborhood claimed Andy Griffith lived in a stone cottage behind the house during his time at UNC.

“We love the Gimghoul area, and it’s our ultimate goal to embrace the spirit of the neighborhood and unfortunately in this circumstance we are not able to do that,” Hock said.

Brodey said neighbors have come together and offered to pay for an engineering report to evaluate the home in hopes of preserving it.

“It’s really nobody’s fault,” Hock said. “The house is old and it has been neglected.”

He said he thinks the design for the new home will be a fitting addition to the neighborhood and flow better with the side of the street it sits on.

Susan Lessard, Bacon’s daughter, grew up in the house.

Lessard said the Chapel Hill Preservation Society once photographed the door to use it on their poster.

“So back in those days, people must’ve thought it was worth photographing.”

city@dailytarheel.com



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