Historic landmark's owner seeks permission for changes
Posted October 5, 2011
Hillsborough, N.C. — The owner and current occupant of a historic Hillsborough landmark appealed to the town's Historic District Commission on Wednesday evening for permission to tear down part of the structure, but his request was denied.
The commission unanimously voted to deny Francis Henry's request to demolish a section of the east side of the Colonial Inn that houses the kitchen to put in a patio. The commission said Henry showed up 15 minutes after the vote was taken.
His application was denied because it was incomplete and the requested materials were not turned in, Hillsborough town planner Stephanie Trueblood said.
If Henry turns in another application in the future, the item will be placed back on the agenda, Trueblood said.
The inn was built in 1838, and has seen a series of additions since then, Trueblood said Wednesday. The part of the house that Henry wants demolished was largely built in the 1950s and 1960s.
Henry wasn't available for an interview Wednesday but said in an email that "there should be some interesting things in the near future."
Once a popular tavern and hotel, the Inn became rundown in recent years. It was at the center of a legal battle between the town and Henry, who bought the building in 2002 and promised to restore it.
Trueblood said that, years ago, the town issued a series of orders for certain buildings in Hillsborough's Historic District to prevent what's called "demolition by neglect," or allowing a structure to deteriorate, but that Henry hasn't completely complied with the order.
The Inn has been a part of Hillsborough, and many residents say they hope the building can eventually be restored to its former glory.
Local real estate agent Susan Waldrop was drawn to it when she moved to Hillsborough 30 years ago. She is hopeful that Henry will at least restore its exterior.
"It was beautiful on the inside with high ceilings and lots of pretty woodwork," she said. "You felt the history when you walked in it, and our town is so much about history. It's just sad to see such an important landmark falling into disrepair."