Gordon-Brandon House | Caswell County, NC | c. 1850
Located in a quaint historic community on the Virginia-North Carolin border, this antebellum-raised cottage has been empty for years. But it may get another chance because a new owner has stepped up to rehabilitate the home.
Milton, NC History
Milton, NC, the town where it stands, has a long history dating back to early trade routes between natives and new settlers in the 1700s. Founded in 1720, it was incorporated in 1796, and throughout the 1800s, Milton emerged as a commercial boomtown and important economic hub for the tobacco farmers who lived in the surrounding countryside. Because of its location on the border with Virginia and its proximity to the Dan River, the town of Milton offered accessibility to markets and goods to both farmers and people who came to build within the town limits.
The first county newspaper was established here in the early 1800s, along with a hotel, shops, a state bank, and a tavern that opened in 1818. By 1857, Milton had 5 tobacco factories, 13 tobacco warehouses. Notably, the tavern, located in the commercial district of Milton also served as a cabinet shop and furniture manufacturing site where famed craftsman, Thomas Day, a free black man, opened shop. From this site, he created countless pieces of woodwork and furniture for the impressive homes of the area. Even today, you can experience the old town charm of an antebellum boomtown if you get to visit Milton. Its commercial district consists of a block of Victorian row stores, built in the 1880s, and is considered one of the best-preserved examples of this kind in North Carolina.
Gordon-Brandon House History
The Gordon House is thought to have been built in the 1850s and is one of 4 cottages of this style built for local merchants between 1840-1860. This particular house was built for Field Gordon, who owned and operated a saloon a few blocks away.
The main section of the house is arranged in a central hall plan with a large room on either side of the house, with the kitchen located in the rear portion of the home. The raised basement Greek Revival cottage is constructed of brick on the lower level and wood on the top. The front is dominated by a two-story, three-bay porch, with the main entrance on the second floor.
In 1950, the home was purchased by Hunter and Annie Brandon, a shop owner and school teacher, who made updates to the home. In 1964, Hunter passed away, but Annie continued to live here until she passed away in 2000.
Later in 2000, it was purchased but unfortunately, the new owner was absentee and the house suffered from many years of neglect. Recently, it was acquired by Preservation North Carolina to try and find a new owner to bring the property back to life, and in June 2022, a new owner closed on the property. Plans will begin to rehabilitate the building and I will reach out to see if they’re willing to share their progress.