Korner’s Folly in Kernersville needs a new roof

Ceiling murals in the Rose Room have sustained water damage at Korner's Folley in Kernersville. (Andrew Dye/Journal)

Ceiling murals in the Rose Room have sustained water damage at Korner's Folley in Kernersville. (Andrew Dye/Journal)

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. – Korner’s Folly has long been a Kernersville landmark, but now when folks drive by the historic home, they may notice a few things that seem out of place.

Blue tarps cover sections of the roof – signs of a brutal winter and an aging home in need of repairs.

The Korner’s Folly Foundation has worked steadily over the past few years to raise $500,000 for an exterior restoration project to stabilize the home and return the roof to its original appearance. But frequent winter storms over the past few months “upped the stakes,” as foundation Executive Director Dale Pennington describes it.

“It’s really put a lot of extra stress and wear and tear on the house,” she said.

The foundation is about 90 percent to its fundraising goal and hopes to raise the last $50,000 by April 15 so roof restoration can begin by May 1. The Foundation has already worked on porch renovations and foundation stabilization.

“This is an important moment in the history of Korner’s Folly,” Duane Long, a foundation board member, said in a statement. “We are closing in on a critical deadline related to the roof restoration needs.”

“We’ve had great success from everybody around our community in giving. It’s just going to take a little more,” said Chris Thompson, president of the foundation board.

Pennington said an anonymous donor kick-started the fundraising in 2012 with a $150,000 matching gift.

“Because of things that have been worsened with this winter’s weather, we really don’t want to go through another winter before this roof is replaced,” Pennington said.

Pennington said there are optimal months to replace a roof, and staff members want the brunt of the work done before hot summer weather.

Already, leaks have caused water damage to hand-painted murals throughout the home. The foundation wants to begin restoration work inside the house, but that can’t happen until the outside is secure.

The foundation is working with preservationists to make sure that the roof replacement will take the house back to the appropriate time period.

The iconic red tin roof was actually put on the house in 1954. Crews will replace the roof with a composite material reminiscent of the brown chestnut shingles that Korner’s Folly sported when Jule Gilmer Korner built the house around 1880 to serve as a showcase for his interior design work.

“It will have the same look as the original chestnut shingles, but it will be much more long lasting. … Changing the red will be quite a change with the house. We’re very excited, though, to get it back to the original look,” Pennington said.

The house is open for public tours Thursday through Sunday. Pennington said the goal is to keep the house open to visitors during the roof replacement, giving them a chance to learn about historic preservation.

January’s cold weather caused a pipe to freeze and burst, which flooded the summer kitchen. Fortunately, the damage was localized, and the area has since been repaired. Other interior work will have to wait, though, until fundraising is complete for the exterior. Any donations above the $500,000 will go toward interior restoration.

“I think it means a lot obviously to the foundation, but it means a lot to the town,” Thompson said.

The home gets about 9,000 visitors a year.

Korner’s Folly is located at 413 S. Main St., Kernersville. For more information or to make a donation, call (336) 996-7922, email director@kornersfolly.org, visitwww.kornersfolly.org, or send mail to P.O. Box 2091, Kernersville, NC 27285.