Historic Caswell Co. house destroyed in fire

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MILTON, N.C. -- The historical Longwood House burned down Thursday night taking away a symbol of North Carolina’s history.

Today, all that’s left behind of the pre-Civil War home is smoke and ashes.

"It's gone,” said Rachel Badilla whose parents owned the home. “One second your life could just change."

Badilla and her family lived in the home for the past eight years.

"The house itself was so beautiful, we had so many beautiful memories,” she said. “We'll never have it again. You can't rebuild that."

Built in the 1850s and restored throughout the years, the house was also part of the fabric of Caswell County.

"The entire community is devastated by the loss of this fixture," said Vernon Massengil, Caswell County fire Marshall.

Dating back to early 19th century, the home's owners ranged from politicians to ministers.

Much of the woodwork inside, including spiraling staircases were designed in the late 1800s by famed North Carolina furniture maker Thomas Day.

Day was a freed slave who opened and ran a furniture shop in Milton. His work is now considered to be collectible items.

"It will be a tremendous historical loss for the Milton area," said Cecil Page, a member of the Caswell County Historical Association.

It’s a loss already felt as those who once passed by to admire the home's beauty will now see a skeleton of what it once was.

"We know everybody's hurting today like we are," Badilla said.

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