FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. -- Room by room, Frank Helsabeck began building his dream home deep in the woods of northern Forsyth County in the late 1970s. Years later when he was done installing the windows and light fixtures that he made, Helsabeck had a three story showpiece.
Laynette Poff is Helsabeck's niece. She remembers family and friends gathering at the house to laugh and dance.
"When I came over, he would play his polka records very loud and I would have to dance the polka with him," Poff said. "I didn't know how to dance the polka, but as long as I could keep up with him he was happy."
So when Helsabeck died in 2011, Poff wanted to keep her uncle's spirit alive. So she started hosting bluegrass bands at what would become known as Helsabeck House Farm. Later she added other events.
"A lot of people have contacted me," Poff said. "They want to come here to have their wedding here or a family gathering or a birthday party because they knew uncle Frank and this place was special to them."
But the music and laughter is now gone. Inspectors that are responsible for covering Winston-Salem/Forsyth County recently shut down the venue.
"They came out and they said it had to be brought up to commercial standards, which I don't think will be possible," Poff said.
According to Poff, inspectors had concerns about the floors. Could the nearly 40-year-old floor support 100 people? Also there were questions about the roof supports and insulation. Poff strongly believes the Helsabeck House Farm is rock solid.
"I would leave my new house that's only five years old and this is where I could be," Poff said. "And I know I would have a lot of people come here with me because you are not going to blow away this house."
Poff's lawyers and architect say it could take $250,000 to $500,000 to bring the house up to today's commercial standards. Poff is devastated that she can no longer share her uncle's love of friends and music with others. But she is finding some relief with family she knows and doesn't know.
"I had a lot of encouragement," Poff said. "A lot of people who have wished me well and offered prayers that the house would be saved."
Poff doesn't have any events scheduled for the next few months. But she is hoping she can come to some sort of agreement with inspectors. If an agreement can't be reached. Poff feels there's a strong possibility she will have to sell a unique part of her family's and Forsyth County's history.