At the four-way intersection between Martin Pond Road and Wendell Falls Parkway sits a tired but majestic historical home that finally rests happily in the hands of a private owner.
Ben Carroll of Old Oak Construction in Wendell, who now owns the home, passed through the area and spotted the historic property which currently contains two kitchens, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and 12-foot ceilings. He immediately called Eugene and Teresa Richardson to see if it was for sale.
Carroll plans to refurbish the building, preserve the property and use the home for office space.
Carroll prides himself on his historic design and restoration in Wake County, adding modern amenities to buildings with rich stories and quaint architecture. His company restored and built Nationwide Insurance’s Zebulon office and the Wendell Trade School, among other local structures.
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“I can see it in my mind finished,” he said, with a hint of pride in his voice. He’d like to complete the project by the end of the summer, as Wendell Falls homes pop up down the street.
The historic Richardson home had been moved from across the street to its current location, resting beside a small family graveyard. There, Dr. William E. Richardson – a Civil War veteran – rests with his wife and twin infant daughters, according to Carroll.
Their lives will be remembered and shared as their former home is put to use, decades later.
Twists and turns
The Richardsons originally sold the white, one-story home to Mercury Development, LLC as part of the Wendell Falls Development.
Their contract with Mercury said the property would revert to the town of Wendell as a public historical facility to commemorate the heritage of the Richardson family if the project was not completed.
When their project fell through in 2008 the property went to the town. But the town didn’t want it and, at their April 27 meeting, the town approved a document that essentially gave the Richardsons’ property back to them.
Wendell Town Manager Teresa Piner said the town only recently found out about this private agreement between Mercury and the Richardsons, although they had originally been offered the property before Mercury’s plans dissolved and Newland Communities picked up the development.
Piner said the costs of repairs and bringing the building up to code were unrealistic and “not in the best interests of the Town of Wendell,” according to a recent resolution by the town.