The future is unclear for Crenshaw Hall, a historic home that has been a popular wedding venue in Wake Forest.
The property on Durham Road, about 3 miles west of the former Wake Forest University campus before the school moved to Winston-Salem in 1956, fell into foreclosure.
On March 12, American National Bank, a Virginia-based bank with branches in the Triangle, entered a $775,000 bid to buy back the home, which has been plagued by financial problems.
The property owner owes more than $3,500 in delinquent town and county taxes dating back to 2011.
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The history of the 5,577-square-foot home goes back more than a century. It was the centerpiece of a plantation in the 1800s and once belonged to William Crenshaw, the first treasurer of Wake Forest University.
According to Wake County property records dating back to 1963, the Jones family – cousins to the Crenshaw clan – formerly owned the home.
Heirs of the Crenshaw family later took ownership, including John Bennett III in 1997. He created Crenshaw Hall Properties LLC and turned the house into a space to host weddings and other events.
Crenshaw Hall Properties filed for bankruptcy twice since 2010. Last year, lawyers for the company attempted to stop foreclosure on the property.
The last relative who lived in the home died in 1992, said Jody Totten, who is Bennett’s sister and lives in Tennessee.
After their mother died, the entire Crenshaw estate was divided among heirs. Bennett got the house, Totten said.
She said siblings didn’t keep up with each other’s dealings from the estate. But she said Bennett renovated the old house into a beautiful space.
At one point, the Crenshaw property was valued at more than $1.4 million, according to Wake County records. It is currently valued at $821,400.
Totten said she is unsure what led to the financial troubles at Crenshaw Hall. Bennett could not be reached for comment.
Totten said it would be tough to see the property belong to someone outside the family. She spent a lot of time at the house as a child.
The home was a landing ground for the Crenshaw family and relatives, Totten said. Some of her distant relatives moved away and would come back to visit or to get away from their everyday lives.
A pair of distant grandfathers lived as bachelors their entire lives in the house, Totten said.
“It was home,” she said. “When you’re younger and move away and don’t have a spouse or a family, it’s where you go back to.”