THOMAS A. STOKES HOUSE

506 E Forest Hills Blvd.jpgStokes_HS_NavalClub.png

THOMAS A. STOKES HOUSE

506
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1931
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

The Thomas A. Stokes House – one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in Forest Hills - is situated atop a hill overlooking East Forest Hills Drive and the Forest Hills Park. The sizable parcel of land on which the home sits, and the impressive number of mature trees surrounding it, combine to give the home a feeling of a country home. For the current owners, this sense of living in the country within the city is what lends their home its special appeal.

Comments

  • Submitted by William A. Stok... on Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 10:36am

    Thank you for the great write up. Thos A Stokes was my grandfather and I am looking forward to attending the Tour next week and begin at 506 E Forest Hills Blvd!  One point to clarify is that AH Stokes is actually Alvis Hatchett Stokes (not Albert).

  • Submitted by Kim Craig on Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 10:42am

    Actually, Thomas Stokes's father's name was Alvis not Albert.  My father is Thomas Stokes, Jr. and is still living in Durham.  He can vouche for this information.  Many of the Stokes's still live in Durham and it's great to see this wonderful house be a lovely home to a family.  We have such lovely memories there.

    You may want to check your information here.  thanks  KIMBERLY STOKES CRAIG 

  • Submitted by gary on Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 11:46am

    Corrected - thanks to you both. Hope you enjoy the tour. 

    Gary

  • Submitted by William A. Stok... on Friday, April 20, 2012 - 8:39am

    (from my father, who grew up in this house 80 yrs ago)

    -------------------------------------------------

    Your article on 506 East Forest Hills is very well done. I have many memories of those years I grew up in Forest Hills.   Just a few-- Heavy snows gave my Brother Tommy and me a chance to coast on a sled from the top our driveway all the way down that steep hill across the street into the park and stop just short of the ditch  Fun with the locker room in the basement for the neighborhood  football team.  I also learned the meaning of hard work in mowing that huge hilly yard with a push mower since this was before power mowers. On a good day it took over three hours.  Had a time cleaning out the high gutters with a long extension ladder kept hanging up in the garage. I thank you for a fine article and I am sure Daddy would appreciate the recognition given our family
    Bill Stokes.
    PO Box 2546
    Orleans Ma. 02653

  • Submitted by Frederick D. Melges on Friday, March 21, 2014 - 11:48am

    We moved into this house in 1976, I was 13 my brother Kurt was 10. It was a really neat house. I also have many fond memories there. Thanks for this page and information. This house had a coal shoot in the back, which was boarded up in the basement. I opened that board one day and found an old map of downtown Durham, Horse and buggy days, glued to the back. I used it as a "Show-and-Tell" in history class one day. There was an old slate pool table in the basement and a big oil heater, that heated the house. I was given several rooms to play in. My room was the bay window (on the left) on the 2nd floor. I also had a hobby room in the upstairs Attic and the pool table room.

    I was a budding artist and when Star Wars came out in 1977 I saw my rooms as my canvas. In My Room I painted Gloss Black lines around it like an imperial theme. In the pool room, I painted the floor black with glow in the dark stars, on each wall a different record album cover, Boston Ship from their 1978 "Don't look Back", E.L.O. Ship "A New World Record", Pink Floyd "Dark side of the Moon" and Earth, Wind and Fire "All 'n All". The Attic I started a film studio to create my own Special effects. Please forgive my early teen musings.

    In the closet of the pool room there were civil war bomb fragments on the old wooden shelves, I'm not sure if they were found around there or not. Several tiered garden areas were there in the backyard as well as steps to small grass area surrounded by bushes. It was always a great place to play hide and seek.

    "Rick"

  • Submitted by Frederick D. Melges on Friday, March 21, 2014 - 11:50am

    We moved into this house in 1976, I was 13 my brother Kurt was 10. It was a really neat house. I also have many fond memories there. Thanks for this page and information. This house had a coal shoot in the back, which was boarded up in the basement. I opened that board one day and found an old map of downtown Durham, Horse and buggy days, glued to the back. I used it as a "Show-and-Tell" in history class one day. There was an old slate pool table in the basement and a big oil heater, that heated the house. I was given several rooms to play in. My room was the bay window (on the left) on the 2nd floor. I also had a hobby room in the upstairs Attic and the pool table room.

    I was a budding artist and when Star Wars came out in 1977 I saw my rooms as my canvas. In My Room I painted Gloss Black lines around it like an imperial theme. In the pool room, I painted the floor black with glow in the dark stars, on each wall a different record album cover, Boston Ship from their 1978 "Don't look Back", E.L.O. Ship "A New World Record", Pink Floyd "Dark side of the Moon" and Earth, Wind and Fire "All 'n All". The Attic I started a film studio to create my own Special effects. Please forgive my early teen musings.

    In the closet of the pool room there were civil war bomb fragments on the old wooden shelves, I'm not sure if they were found around there or not. Several tiered garden areas were there in the backyard as well as steps to small grass area surrounded by bushes. It was always a great place to play hide and seek.

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In tours

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Location

United States
35° 58' 49.3392" N, 78° 54' 40.572" W
US

Comments

506
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1931
Architect/Designers: 
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

506 E Forest Hills Blvd.jpg

(photograph courtesy of Alex Maness)

From the 2012 Preservation Durham Old Home Tour booklet:

The Thomas A. Stokes House – one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in Forest Hills – is situated atop a hill overlooking East Forest Hills Drive and the Forest Hills Park.  The sizable parcel of land on which the home sits (3 full lots and portions of 2 more), and the impressive number of mature trees surrounding it, combine to give the home a feeling of a country home.   For the current owners, this sense of living in the country within the city is what lends their home its special appeal.

The development of this section (section C) of Forest Hills began in February 1927 when the New Hope Realty Company surveyed the land and divided it into lots.  In that same month, they sold Lots 27 and 28 to Richard H. Wright, Jr, who held them until selling them to Thomas A. Stokes in December 1928.  Stokes – a Durham native born in 1897 – worked in the building materials trade and was a partner in the S & S Sales Company on Mangum Street.  Stokes would have been closely acquainted with Durham’s prominent builders and architects and, wisely, hired architect G. Murray Nelson to design his home. 

Nelson had already proven himself adept with the Tudor Revival style in designing the magnificent Budd House on South Duke Street in Morehead Hill in 1924.  A Canadian by birth, Nelson had been living and working in Raleigh since 1919 (first with James A. Salter and then with Thomas W. Cooper) when he opened his own office in downtown Durham in 1923.  After the Stokes House, he went on to design one of Durham’s best examples of Renaissance Revival domestic architecture in the Kronheimer House on Minerva Avenue in Trinity Park, as well as the prominent Tudor Revival Hart House on Duke’s west campus. 

The dated architectural plans for the house could not be located, so one must assume that Stokes began planning and building his house soon after purchasing the land.  The onset of the Depression, however, likely slowed his project considerably, but, by 1932, City Directories indicate that the house at 506 East Forest Hills Boulevard was complete, joining three others nearby (410, 504, and 706).  In 1940, Stokes and his wife Sadye acquired portions of adjoining Lots 24, 25 (full lot), and 26.

The exterior of the house is one of distinguished solidity.  It is a two-and-a-half-story side-gable brick house with a two-story front-gable wing.  Its Tudor features include the use of clinker brick, the second story oriel bay window with half-timbered gable above, a gabled dormer with recessed balcony, a 3-bay engaged porch with brick posts and Tudor woodwork, casement windows with heavy wood lintels, and the projecting bay window on the north elevation.

After climbing the steep hill and ascending the front steps, visitors are welcomed onto the large, restful porch.  It is this space – accentuated by the beautiful screen door – that clearly shows the home’s dual qualities of both elegance and comfort.  The interior of the house is gracefully proportioned and inherently balanced.  The rooms are spacious and light.  Upon entering the central hallway, one finds the dining room on the left and the living room to the right.  Ahead and through a doorway one reaches the central stairway leading upstairs. 

Beyond the dining room is a bright breakfast room/butler’s pantry – a particularly lovely room, due to its useful size and beautiful original cabinetry.  The kitchen is also generously sized and has been modified only slightly over the years, with an original pantry having been hidden so as to install additional cabinetry.  The current owners have plans to amend the kitchen in the future, and visitors can see an example of cabinetry finishes they have considered.

Back to the central hall, visitors can observe the small, mirrored powder room near the back door.  Certainly of its time!  The south side of the house features the large living room in the front and the cozy den in the back, while the spaciousness of the house becomes even more pronounced upstairs.  2 bedrooms on the north side of the house share a bath.  The master bedroom has a large closet (curiously leading into the hall) and a bath, and leads into a room that is now a study but that was originally designed as a nursery.  This connects to what were servant’s quarters, with their own outside access.

The house also contains a large attic and a basement, wherein visitors can see evidence of the “realm of boys”.  Each of the 3 families that have lived in the house over the years have raised two boys in it.  Early on, the basement was a locker room with real lockers!  Neighborhood boys would come over and put their football pads on before going down to the park to play football.  As witnessed by the murals still seen on the walls, the late 1970s saw musicians playing here.  It is certainly a unique space in which to consider the past.

Thomas A. Stokes was the son of Alvis H. Stokes and Mary G. Angier Stokes.  His father was a tobacconist who owned A. H. Stokes & Co. (leaf tobacco dealers) at 114 W. Parrish Street before his early death in 1899 at the age of 55.  Thomas was raised by his widowed mother, Mary, who was an Angier and the daughter of one of Durham’s most prominent businessmen and founders, Malbourne A. Angier.  He owned a general store at the corner of Mangum and Main for over 40 years.  His older daughter, Sarah Pearson Angier, married Benjamin N. Duke, and it is for her that the Sarah P. Duke Gardens were named.

After the death of Mr. and Mrs. Stokes, the house was sold to Frederick T. Melges and his wife Connie in 1976.  Melges was a prominent psychiatrist, known for his work on the role of distortions of time in psychiatric disorders.  Following passing in 1988, Connie sold the home to Bill and Marcia Lorimer in 1992, who owned the home until recently selling it to its current owners.

Stokes_HS_NavalClub.png

Thomas Stokes was a "Cadet Naval Aviation" member of his high school Naval Club.

 

Comments

Thank you for the great write up. Thos A Stokes was my grandfather and I am looking forward to attending the Tour next week and begin at 506 E Forest Hills Blvd!  One point to clarify is that AH Stokes is actually Alvis Hatchett Stokes (not Albert).

Actually, Thomas Stokes's father's name was Alvis not Albert.  My father is Thomas Stokes, Jr. and is still living in Durham.  He can vouche for this information.  Many of the Stokes's still live in Durham and it's great to see this wonderful house be a lovely home to a family.  We have such lovely memories there.

You may want to check your information here.  thanks  KIMBERLY STOKES CRAIG 

Corrected - thanks to you both. Hope you enjoy the tour. 

Gary

(from my father, who grew up in this house 80 yrs ago)

-------------------------------------------------

Your article on 506 East Forest Hills is very well done. I have many memories of those years I grew up in Forest Hills.   Just a few-- Heavy snows gave my Brother Tommy and me a chance to coast on a sled from the top our driveway all the way down that steep hill across the street into the park and stop just short of the ditch  Fun with the locker room in the basement for the neighborhood  football team.  I also learned the meaning of hard work in mowing that huge hilly yard with a push mower since this was before power mowers. On a good day it took over three hours.  Had a time cleaning out the high gutters with a long extension ladder kept hanging up in the garage. I thank you for a fine article and I am sure Daddy would appreciate the recognition given our family
Bill Stokes.
PO Box 2546
Orleans Ma. 02653

We moved into this house in 1976, I was 13 my brother Kurt was 10. It was a really neat house. I also have many fond memories there. Thanks for this page and information. This house had a coal shoot in the back, which was boarded up in the basement. I opened that board one day and found an old map of downtown Durham, Horse and buggy days, glued to the back. I used it as a "Show-and-Tell" in history class one day. There was an old slate pool table in the basement and a big oil heater, that heated the house. I was given several rooms to play in. My room was the bay window (on the left) on the 2nd floor. I also had a hobby room in the upstairs Attic and the pool table room.

I was a budding artist and when Star Wars came out in 1977 I saw my rooms as my canvas. In My Room I painted Gloss Black lines around it like an imperial theme. In the pool room, I painted the floor black with glow in the dark stars, on each wall a different record album cover, Boston Ship from their 1978 "Don't look Back", E.L.O. Ship "A New World Record", Pink Floyd "Dark side of the Moon" and Earth, Wind and Fire "All 'n All". The Attic I started a film studio to create my own Special effects. Please forgive my early teen musings.

In the closet of the pool room there were civil war bomb fragments on the old wooden shelves, I'm not sure if they were found around there or not. Several tiered garden areas were there in the backyard as well as steps to small grass area surrounded by bushes. It was always a great place to play hide and seek.

"Rick"

We moved into this house in 1976, I was 13 my brother Kurt was 10. It was a really neat house. I also have many fond memories there. Thanks for this page and information. This house had a coal shoot in the back, which was boarded up in the basement. I opened that board one day and found an old map of downtown Durham, Horse and buggy days, glued to the back. I used it as a "Show-and-Tell" in history class one day. There was an old slate pool table in the basement and a big oil heater, that heated the house. I was given several rooms to play in. My room was the bay window (on the left) on the 2nd floor. I also had a hobby room in the upstairs Attic and the pool table room.

I was a budding artist and when Star Wars came out in 1977 I saw my rooms as my canvas. In My Room I painted Gloss Black lines around it like an imperial theme. In the pool room, I painted the floor black with glow in the dark stars, on each wall a different record album cover, Boston Ship from their 1978 "Don't look Back", E.L.O. Ship "A New World Record", Pink Floyd "Dark side of the Moon" and Earth, Wind and Fire "All 'n All". The Attic I started a film studio to create my own Special effects. Please forgive my early teen musings.

In the closet of the pool room there were civil war bomb fragments on the old wooden shelves, I'm not sure if they were found around there or not. Several tiered garden areas were there in the backyard as well as steps to small grass area surrounded by bushes. It was always a great place to play hide and seek.

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