Across Stanly County, the arrival of spring brings an explosion of floral landscapes and the return of outdoor life. To celebrate the beauty and rich history of Albemarle and Stanly County, the Stanly County Historical Society is hosting a Benefit Courtyard & Garden Tour on April 30 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Proceeds from this rain or shine event will fund educational programs and conservation initiatives of the Stanly County Historical Society, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This self-guided tour provides access to 10 private and public courtyard and garden spaces stretching from Albemarle to Richfield that will inspire gardeners of all levels. The tour features a variety of garden areas, including DIY landscapes, restored formal gardens, and century-old family farms.
Site #7 is the formal garden of Dr. Julius Clegg Hall House at 343 N. Second St., Albemarle. In 2017, David Scarboro and his late wife, Brenda, purchased the historic home and began restoring the home and yard.
Although many of the original plantings had been lost through time and neglect, Scarboro, along with the help of local artist John Williams, restored the gardens based on the original landscape plan. Most of the hardscape has been preserved and restored, including the well-known pergola.
The pergola was used as an outdoor tea room for Dr. Hall’s wife Mary designed. Later her daughter Evelyn, a self-proclaimed mystic, taught spiritualism and metaphysics here. She also gave lectures, including one called The Many Facets of Healing, in which she taught people how to heal themselves using color, music, spirit over matter, and meditation.
The sunken garden is now called The Secret Garden after one of Brenda’s favorite books. The garden’s restoration was begun by Bushwackers Landscaping over three years ago. It will continue to grow and change in the coming years. A missing rose arbor is rebuilt in the spring and supplemented with perennials and other plants. A dedication of the garden will be held during the Courtyard and Garden Tour in memory of Brenda Scarboro.
Leave the city’s manicured lawns for the rolling hills and lush farmlands of northern Stanly County. Site #8 is the home of Tim and Deborah Burris at 24114 Collie Road, Gold Hill, just up the street from 1898 Mattons Grove United Methodist Church.
Tim and Deborah bought the abandoned property in 1981. Their first task was to make the 1910 property livable. Years of improvements followed to meet the needs of a growing family.
Tim and Deborah have retained much of the original character of the house and grounds while completing a patio, brick paving patio, raised bed vegetable garden and larger garden, as well as many other landscape changes. Most recently they have started projects to restore each of the outbuildings.
Your children enjoyed growing up there with nature. Deer, wild turkey, blue herons, red and gray foxes and a variety of songbirds have shared the property. They particularly enjoyed the countless clear night skies, sunrises and sunsets. On the eastern edge of the property next to the raised kitchen garden is a large evergreen plant. They called it the “Elf Tree” and tell the story that one Christmas night the elves would come out of the forest and decorate it for Christmas. This was part of the childhood magic of the property. To continue the stories and magic of this property, there are little fairy houses here and there.
Tim and Deborah have continued the traditions started by the Collie Barringer family in the early 1900’s by hosting large gatherings of family and friends for picnics, oyster roasts and BBQs on the property. They have also housed the regional riding clubs that sponsor wagon trains and horseback riding excursions. Most significant of all events, this was the location of her daughter’s 2014 wedding, set against the backdrop of the rustic barn.
$15 advance tickets are available at the Stanly County History Center, 157 N. Second St., Albemarle, or by mail from the Stanly County Historical Society, PO Box 1384, Albemarle, NC 28002. Prepaid shipping orders are held at the 1852 Box Office, 112 N. Third St, Albemarle from 9:30am to 2:00pm Wristband tickets are $20 and are purchased at the Isaiah Snuggs House on the day of the tour. All ticket sales are non-refundable donations. Direct inquiries to Stanlycountyhistory@gmail.com or by calling 704-986-3777.