Commentary

Help save Chapel Hill’s endangered places

December 3, 2013 

The Altemueller House is the last remaining small farmstead from a time when Chapel Hill was a village surrounded by small family farms.

PRESERVATION CHAPEL HILL

One of Preservation Chapel Hill’s primary advocacy efforts each year is to publish a list of Chapel Hill’s endangered places to raise awareness about the threats that face our most important historic treasures. The list is released each May during Preservation Month and becomes the focus of the group’s preservation efforts for the coming year.

This year’s list includes the Altemueller Farmhouse, located at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Westminster Drive.

The house was constructed sometime before 1879 and is the last remaining small farmstead from a time when Chapel Hill was a village surrounded by small family farms. The site still retains its farm outbuildings and several 200-year-old white oak trees.

Sold as part of a much larger parcel of land slated for development, the property is now owned by Bill Christian and has been included in the plans for the Charterwood development. The plans includes an adaptive reuse plan for the farmhouse, possibly as a coffeehouse. However, the Charterwood project has faced a number of delays, and meanwhile, the house is empty and subject to the elements and vandalism. Unless action is taken quickly, it is quite likely the structures will decay beyond the possibility of preservation, if not collapse entirely.

You can help save historic places in our community by volunteering your time with Preservation Chapel Hill or by making a tax-deductible donation to help fund preservation initiatives. Call Cheri Szcodronski, executive director, at 919-942-7818 for more information. Or, visit www.preservationchapelhill.org to view the complete list of 2013 Endangered Places, learn more about our volunteer program, or to make a donation.

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