Local News

Former Rockefeller property burns down

Posted February 4, 2009 11:51 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— The Bird Song building, part of Fort Bragg's Overhills area that was formerly part of a Rockefeller family estate that gave it its name, burned down early Wednesday, according to Fort Bragg spokeswoman Sheri Lynn Crowe.

The fire was reported at 12:19 a.m., bringing Fort Bragg and Harnett County fire departments. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

The building had no electrical hookups. A Fort Bragg spokesman said trespassers have been known to roam the site, but it's not clear if that had anything to do with the fire.

Members of the second-generation Rockefeller family established Overhills in the Sandhills area, just north of Fayetteville, in the early 1900s. They used the estate as a hunting lodge and resort for themselves and guests.

The Bird Song house, built about 1962, had more than 20 rooms – including 14 bedrooms and 14 baths – and was 10,649 square feet. It was used as a residence for members of the family, which also had a nearby mansion named Croatan. Fort Bragg officials described it as a guest house and said it also had an indoor swimming pool.

The Army purchased the property in 1997 for $30 million so it could add the estate's 10,500 acres to its training grounds. The estate had 150 structures, including stables and a golf course.

No training was taking place at the Bird Song building during the fire.

The building had been released from historical protection. Fort Bragg officials have initiated a documentation plan to preserve information about the history of Overhills, which is north of Pope Air Force Base.