Durham's free house sparks interest


The house sits on a desirable lot on Markham Avenue, near Duke's campus.

The owner is thinking about tearing it down, but preservationists say it is worth saving.

So, the owner made an offer to save the house, but keep his lot.

One neighbor says despite the owners offer of $5,000 to help move the house off the lot, he would not take it.

"I really would not. I think there'd be much more cost in energy and labor involved," neighbor, Luke Chen said.

However, not everybody feels that way. There have been several inquiries, including one from a man who wants to move the house to Henderson, but that is not the location preservationists would prefer.

"It's a little like matchmaking," preservationist, John Schelp said. "They're going to try to match the best owner with the house, and look at the location, see if it's going to be historically appropriate, and move from there."

Schelp has spoken with representatives of Preservation Durham, the group that is fielding inquiries about the house.

"What we need is someone who has a parcel ready, who has the funds available to move the house," he said.

Though, they prefer to move the house not far from the original location.

"Priority would be a neighborhood like Trinity Heights, if not Trinity Heights itself," Schelp said. "And I think the next priority would be to move it into an historic district in Durham."

That could happen, since the owner considers at least three of the inquiries he received, serious.

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