Benjamin Briggs puts its succinctly: “I've never seen anything like it.”
A statement that comes with some heft when you understand that Briggs is the executive director of Preservation Greensboro.
“It,” in this case, is Adamsleigh … the grand home of John Hampton Adams that might remind you a bit of Biltmore. Adams had quite a home, already, in 1929 on North Main Street in High Point when he signed the papers to build Adamsleigh. That home is the JH Adams Inn today and the week “Hamp” Adams signed the papers to build his grand new home on the grounds of Sedgefield Country Club was the same week the stock market crashed, setting off the great depression. Adams wasn’t worried.
Although his was the first North Carolina company listed on the NY Stock Exchange, he understood that he’d have plenty of income to build the estate. At times, in the 20th century, Adams Millis Company was the largest hosiery manufacturer on the planet. And his new home reflected it.
“There is no shortage of bathrooms,” says Brian Bumgarner, understatedly. Bumgarner is the man the family has asked to care for the estate while they look for a buyer. He is as dedicated to the memory of Hamp Adams as he is to the structure he built.
“A lot of people they interviewed and people he employed said no finer man could you have worked for and no finer friend could you have had,” says Bumgarner. “He was very generous to the church, he was very generous to the community, he was just a wonderful salt of the earth and he liked to stay out of the limelight.”
But Adamsleigh is in need of more care than Bumgarner can provide.
“It's a resource that, once we lose it, it's gone,” says Briggs. And he is convinced this community does not want to lose Adamsleigh.
“We don't want to become a sprawling community like, maybe, Atlanta or something like that, that maybe has lost a little bit of its soul,” says Briggs. “Guilford County, Greensboro, High Point, Sedgefield still has a soul and that is illustrated in buildings and places like this. This is what gives our community its unique DNA.”
Come inside Adamsleigh in this edition of the Buckley Report.