A celebrated Greensboro residence in the Fisher Park neighborhood has been resurrected and recognized as an official county landmark. The Greensboro City Council has approved Guilford County Landmark designation for the 85-year-old C. P. Carmichael House at 314 Isabel Street in Fisher Park. The home was nearly lost to a disastrous fire in 2004, but it has been meticulously restored to its pre-fire appearance.
The grand Carmichael House was a latecomer to Fisher Park; constructed after much of the neighborhood had already been built out. Carmichael was the manager of J. W. Jones and Company, a wholesale grocery firm that stocked “the choicest in all varieties of general groceries and table delicacies, imported and domestic.” J. W. Jones was located in the three-story brick building today occupied by Natty Greene’s Brewing Company.
The one-and-a-half story frame house is notable for its classical features. Its design was inspired by the Neoclassical architecture that characterized the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The event utilized classical themes such as arches, porticos, cornices and pilasters to provide the exposition an architectural theme. Fair-goers found the resulting “White City” so beautiful that the sought to replicate its grandeur in towns and cities across the United States.
The Carmichael sports several elements key to the theme of the “White City,” including a grand portico that sports Corinthian columns, a high rounded arch, a cornice, pilasters and a requisite white paint job. It is one of only a handful of neoclassical residences in the Gate City. Other architectural elements are unique to the house, including the flagged French Doors (image, left), and coffered ceilings.
With this designation, Guilford County now hosts 89 Landmark-designated properties that are preserved for future generations to explore and enjoy. Guilford County's Landmark designation program has been active since 1980. It is a voluntary program that couples limited tax deferral with a permit process for alterations to historic features.
A detailed history of the C. P. Carmichael House by Diane Young is on file with the Guilford County Historic Preservation Commission. Images courtesy of Stefan-Leih Geary, Preservation Planner with the City of Greensboro.