STOKES COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — People drive by it every day and it’s likely that none of them notices it — a red clapboard house sitting back amongst a grove of trees near Hanging Rock State Park in the northern part of Stokes County.
The fact that it’s still there is amazing.
“Oh, this is solid,” historical archeologist Mo Hartley said. “This was built for long-term service.”
When it was built is still a bit of a mystery – most likely the second half of the 19th century, according to Hartley. For the last nearly 50 years, it’s belonged to the state park service.
“From this front porch, you could have a view of Moore’s Knob and Hanging Rock in the background,” Park Ranger Jason Anthony said. “So, back then when this was all clear farmland, this was a prominent house.”
Over that time, it’s been neglected and had one of the nearby oak trees fall on it during an ice storm. But Hartley isn’t giving up on it.
“When I see this and I see how much is still here, I say, ‘Well, that is good,’” Hartley said.
The particular type of structure is one that has a long history in this area.
“There were, at one time, many of these and they’re going away,” Hartley said.
Anthony confirms that.
“It played a part in the history of this land,” Anthony said.
And that’s why they are so eager to see if they can keep what they refer to as “The Collins House” standing. For people like Hartley and Anthony, they are rare glimpses into the people who are not often portrayed in history books.
“People that grew up in houses like this, with no electricity, they had to live off the land. We couldn’t really fathom that, nowadays,” said Anthony, about the families that lived in the home over the years. “They couldn’t go to the grocery store when they needed something to eat, they had to grow it on their own property. If we don’t study the past, we’re going to forget about it. And, parts of the lives of these families that grew up here, we might not consider it especially relevant today, but they played a big part in the history of the county.”
See the house as it looks today and meet a woman who grew up in it, starting nearly a century ago, in this edition of the Buckley Report.