GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Blandwood is “a treasure and a jewel and sort of a hidden treasure” in the eyes of Greensboro Executive Director Benjamin Briggs, and it’s connected to a name you’ve likely heard dozens of times across the state.
“Blandwood is the ancestral home of the Morehead family, so this was the home of John Motley Morehead who was the governor of North Carolina in the 1840s – operated in a platform of education, transportation and business which are still important to us today,” Briggs said.
It’s a home that represents life in North Carolina in the 19th century for one of the state’s most influential families.
“Whether it is Morehead City or Morehead Avenue in Charlotte or Durham or Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, the Morehead family had a great deal of influence on shaping North Carolina through history,” Briggs said.
The Blandwood mansion is full of furniture and art that prove Morehead’s taste was progressive.
“The furniture that is inside is a blend of North Carolina furniture but also New York furniture and Philly furniture. The architect of the building was R.J. Davis who was a New York architect and even the art on the walls was inspired by a Hudson river painter in New York state.”
Right now, this National Historic Landmark is celebrating the architecture and furniture of Thomas Day.
“Thomas Day was a free man of color who really operated the largest furniture manufacturing business in the state of North Carolina in the 1800s,” Briggs said. “He operated that out of Milton, North Carolinam on the Virginia state line.”
He contributed architectural features like mantels and front porches to houses but he also designed very innovative vernacular furniture that is special and very collectible today in North Carolina.
There are about a dozen pieces on display at Blandwood Museum. Some come from the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. Others are part of private collections that the public never sees.
“So when you come to Blandwood today, you will learn about Thomas Day, you will learn about the architectural style of his furniture, the materials that were used and maybe even how to identify some Thomas Day furniture when you go out shopping for antiques on weekends,” Briggs said.
There is also something special outside of the house that visitors can enjoy while touring the grounds.
“We have a rose garden that has vintage roses that date back to the 1800s and even some to the 1700s and there are also grassy yards where you can have a picnic,” Briggs said.