Restoration of the two-story, two-century-old Norris Holland Hare house, Holly Springs’ oldest structure.
In December 2017, the town purchased the house, saving it from demolition, with the expectation of selling it with preservation requirements. Since then, the house was sold to a local family.
The Norris-Holland-Hare House is a Federal period house built around 1805 by Needham Norris, the son of Revolutionary War veteran John Norris, Jr. For two weeks in April 1865, an encampment of Union soldiers encircled the Holland home and occupied the first floor as a field hospital.
The original portion is hall and parlor style with an enclosed staircase and has had several additions to the rear. Much of the original fabric remains intact, including windows, moldings, mantles, heart pine floors, stairs, and wood-paneled walls. The brick chimneys are laid in Flemish bond with bricks said to have been kilned on the property.
The home is nestled among century-old pecan trees. Family members who used to live in the home remember collecting and freezing pecans for the winter.
The property may be eligible for local landmark designation after rehabilitation and will be subject to a historic preservation easement and rehabilitation agreement with Capital Area Preservation, Inc.
Details about the Home and its History
The original hall and parlor section of the house likely dates to the turn of the 19th century, said the Capital Area Preservation representative who inspected it. Subsequently, the house was expanded to two floors with two rooms each.
Ninety percent of the original portion remains intact, reported the preservation inspector, who added that the house “likely is one of the older buildings in all of Wake County.”
The original portion was built by Needham Norris, the son of Revolutionary War veteran John Norris Jr. Needham Norris bequeathed the house and farm to his nephew, Simpson Washington Holland.
In September 1864 as the Civil War ground toward its final months, Holland headed to Virginia to search for his brother, a Confederate soldier. Left behind were Holland’s wife Mary Ann and their young children, including a week-old son. Simpson Holland died two months later without ever returning home.
For two weeks in April 1865, an encampment of Union soldiers encircled the Holland home. Mary Ann and her children lived upstairs while Union soldiers occupied the first floor as a field hospital.
The story of Mary Ann Holland and her young children featured prominently in the play “Finding Patience – The Story of Holly Springs.” The community production debuted in June 2017 at Holly Springs Cultural Center with multiple sold-out performances.
The town bought the house, saving it from demolition, in December 2017 with the expectation of selling it with preservation requirements. The Town worked with Capital Area Preservation on deed covenants that commit the new owners to preserving the structure’s character. Its history as a home and the high cost of adapting the structure for public use were reasons that preservation experts advised maintaining it as a private home.