These Three Historic North Carolina Homes Are Architectural Masterpieces

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The Old North State has a rich history, much of which still stands in the form of historic homes, both world-famous and local treasures. Take a look inside three of these architectural wonders.

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Korner's Folly in Kernersville, NC i

Photo by Jeffrey S. Otto/North Carolina Field and Family

Fun at Körner’s Folly

Another architectural wonder can be found in Kernersville. Körner’s Folly is the 1880 home of Jule Gilmer Körner, which was built to house his portfolio of art and interior design work and to serve as his bachelor’s residence. The Victorian Gothic structure cost Körner more than $100,000 to build and was so strange-looking that relatives called it Jule Körner’s Folly – and the nickname stuck.

Korner's Folly in Kernersville, NC i

Photo by Jeffrey S. Otto/North Carolina Field and Family

“The most amazing thing about Körner’s Folly is there’s so much variety in the home – tiny doorways, secret hallways, narrow passages and no two doors or windows are alike,” says Dale Pennington, executive director of the historic home. “There are 15 different fireplaces and decorative molding everywhere.”

Korner's Folly in Kernersville, NC i

Photo by Jeffrey S. Otto/North Carolina Field and Family

Körner’s Folly has 22 rooms on three floors and seven levels. Highlights include the dizzying winding staircase, trap doors and decorative murals. The third-floor Cupid’s Park Theater, considered America’s first private little theater, now hosts puppet shows and other public events.

Korner's Folly in Kernersville, NC i

Photo by Jeffrey S. Otto/North Carolina Field and Family

“I like watching people’s expressions when they walk into the theater and see its 25-foot ceiling and eight hand-painted murals,” Pennington says. “We still hold annual plays in the theater. I also love the reception room on the second level, which is a giant ballroom with neat architectural details, including two kissing corners that Jule put in so when he had parties, guests could steal away for a private kiss.”

Korner's Folly in Kernersville, NC i

Photo by Jeffrey S. Otto/North Carolina Field and Family

Visitors to Körner’s Folly are welcomed via Aunt Dealy’s Cottage, a two-room house behind the main home that was the original home of the family’s nanny and maid. Inside the cottage, visitors can watch an introductory film, purchase tour tickets, and shop for souvenirs and local crafts in the gift shop.

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