Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Kiamensi Road House

Kiamensi Road House
This one is much less of a normal blog post for me, and more of just a picture gallery. The photos below are of a house on Kiamensi Road, just east of Stanton Road. It stands almost directly across from the entrance to Powell Ford County Park. I don't really have very many concrete facts about the house at present, so a few educated guesses will have to suffice. Needless to say, if more information about the property does surface, I'll definitely pass it along.

Judging from its style, the house was probably built sometime in the 1870's or 1880's, and was almost certainly connected to the Kiamensi Woolen Mill just down the hill along Red Clay Creek. During that era, the mill employed dozens of workers and had surrounding it a small village, which probably extended most of the way from Stanton Road to the Red Clay. By 1888, Scharf states that the company owned 26 dwellings, although it's unclear (to me, at least) whether this is solely at Kiamensi, or if that figure includes their Stanton mill as well. In either case, I'd be shocked in this house was not one of the 26.

As you can see in the pictures, it's a three bay home, with a pointed Gothic gable and a full-length front porch. A garage stands on the northwest side, probably originally built as a carriage house. A centered ell extends from the rear of the house. The architecture on the rear ell is identical to the main block, so it was probably built at the same time as the house or soon after. At this point, any speculation as to the builder of the house and its residents is just that. Two possibilities come to mind, though. Less likely is that it is slightly older than it appears, and was built as a farmhouse, or even as housing for the cotton mill precursor to the Kiamensi Woolen mill. The 1849 map does seem to show a house in just about the right place. If it was not erected earlier, than it almost certainly was built by the Kiamensi Woolen Company in the 1870's or 1880's. Judging by the size, I'd guess it was used by a manager, supervisor, or foreman at the mill -- someone a bit higher up. Maybe it was built earlier as the mill's supervisor's house, to then supplanted by the Mansion House across the street and down a bit.

One reason I wanted to get pictures of the house is that its future seems uncertain. It's currently vacant, and the property in which it sits has been zoned for a number years to be divided into four lots and developed. I have a feeling that only the crash of the housing market and the economy in general a few years back saved it from demolition. I don't imagine it will stand for too much longer. As I said, if I'm able to come across more information I'll certainly pass it along. Until then, enjoy the pictures.



2 comments:

  1. Interesting house, do you know anything about the Mansion house near this one that was once owned by Powell Ford? I grew up near it, when Powell ford park was just a field. The mansion house was abandoned at that time.

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  2. I moved into Kiamensi 10 years ago. A couple years later I remember hearing fire trucks and sirens. My house is close to Stanton Rd. I can see the house clearly when I walk out my front door onto the side walk, if I turn to my left I'm facing Powell Ford park. I can clearly see the big beautiful house towards my left. Well I saw flames mostly toward the back end of house by the back side door. The back door I believe is the kitchen. So, I'm pretty sure it started there. It also went onto the 2nd floors cuz I remember seeing flames gushing out of the windows. But, thankfully only towards the back of the house. It took sometime for them to put the fire out.
    The family that lived there looked a little ruff and I remember seeing them having like lots of summer parties and then some people like sleeping in tents the next scattered about the property.
    Not that I'm putting that family down or anything. God knows there's nothing wrong with big parties and they all seemed to be having a good time.
    But, it was so sad when it was on fire I saw an older man on his knees crying. The image is burnt in my mind. He must of loved the house and I always think it so old maybe it's been passed down from family members.
    The house is a beauty and every time I walk by it or take my little ones to play at the park, I swear the house has a faint whisper when the wind blows and dances across the woods across the street from it. Telling me,
    Not to be forgotten and it misses its family. Or, when I drive by it, back from the grocery store like 2 or 3 times a week. Cuz my kids eat me out of house in home constantly!! Oh yeah...back to the house, well may sound weird but I think to myself that house has a secret.
    I'm always amazed that she is still standing!
    And I wonder, what she must of looked like in her glory days. Then..the thought Of..."HOW MUCH" would it cost to paint her oringinal paint color, and where in the hell would you find the stained glass that was all blown out because of the fire?
    Wow what a Beauty it must of been when 1st built.
    Well enough of me with blah, blah'ing
    I hope this info helps. The house as you can see is amazing and I would be devastated if destroyed. I would rather watch decay into dust then to see torn down. It's always been there, and it's a great conversation piece, to live near.
    Anyway...I hope someone will rescue her soon, cuz it sounds like with all the time the house has given through many years...Unfortunately it's time is running out!

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