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A Church is a Church, or a House, or a Business

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RALEIGH — Raleigh's tour of historic landmarks takes place this weekend, and shows off some pretty spectacular examples of renovation and preservation. Two examples this year's tour are old churches that have become ... well ... something else!

The new owners of the historic churches say their surroundings are simply divine.

Montfort Hall, 140 years old, survived the ages through flexibility. First it was a plantation estate. In the 1950's, a Baptist Congregation called it church. In 1977, the church wanted to sell.

Margaret Jadwick now owns the house. She said she'd had trouble finding just the right place.

"And we had wanted an old house," says Jadwick, "But at that time, Raleigh didn't have a lot of old houses. It had been, everything had been torn down. No it was just a pretty house... I mean when you go in that front hall..and it was just a very pretty house."

A mile to the north, Seventh Day Adventist's laid stones for a church in 1930. By 1982, they had outgrown their church home and sold it to a software company which converted it to office space.

Then it caught the eye of photographer Simon Griffiths.

"And it was just ideal," says Griffiths. "Big open rooms, lots of offices, lots of room for expansion. And the fact that it's an old building, i really believe in the revitalization of old buildings."

Griffiths kept a few pews, a lectern and communion table. He says the building is a great place to work.

"I think just being a wonderful building, says Griffiths. "It's a nice place to come to work. It's a nice neighborhood. My wife has a flower garden outside. I just like the environment."

Griffiths and Jadwick share a love for preservation for the sake of future generations.

"[It's] very important for children," says Jadwick. "There will never be another time when houses like this will be built. I mean, this is an era that's gone."

The tour of landmark homes in Raleigh runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. It's organized by Capital Area Preservation Incorporated.

For ticket information, call them at919-833-6404.


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