Friends Support Ivey-Ellington House

Some photographs courtesy of Joe Lipka Photography (all rights reserved)

The Ivey-Ellington House (135 W. Chatham Street, Cary)

The Ivey-Ellington House is one of four Cary properties individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This distinction is granted to properties that have a unique historic and architectural character and are deemed worthy of preservation for their significance to the cultural heritage of the nation.

What makes the Ivey-Ellington worthy of National Register status?

Its architecture and its place in history. Built in the early 1870's, the Ivey-Ellington is a rare surviving example of a Gothic Revival-style home in Wake County. It features a steeply pitched roof-line, board and batten exterior, and pointed windows. During the 1890's the front yard was said to have served as a campsite for people driving cattle from Chatham County to Raleigh.

The National Register registration form for the Ivey-Ellington tells us this about its place in history:

Located near the former Raleigh and Chatham Railroad and constructed in the 1870's, the Ivey-Ellington House demonstrates the diffusion of styles and ideas from urban to rural areas. It exemplifies national trends in housing reform and the popularity of architectural pattern books in the late nineteenth century.

Learn more about the Ivey-Ellington's history via this link.

What has been done to ensure preservation of the Ivey-Ellington?

Over the years, the Friends of the Page-Walker have advocated for the preservation of the Ivey-Ellington House via written communications, meetings with key Town staff, and speaking before the Town Council.  In November 2011, the Town of Cary recognized the importance of preserving this property and acquired it, an important step toward securing its future.

In the late 1990's, a private development was envisioned for the corner of Harrison Avenue and West Chatham Street that would ultimately affect the Ivey-Ellington. The Friends of the Page-Walker worked diligently to encourage the developer to lessen the impact and retain the Ivey-Ellington on its original site. Unfortunately, these efforts were unsuccessful. The development plan, approved by the Cary Town Council in December 2019, provides for relocating the Ivey-Ellington pursuant to a relocation contract to be negotiated between the Town and the developer. Although details on the relocation contract were not included in the development agreement, the Friends successfully worked with Town staff to draft a resolution stating the Town’s commitment to preserving the Ivey-Ellington and its National Register status; the resolution was unanimously approved by the Town Council on December 12, 2019.

What’s next for the Ivey-Ellington?

Mayor Harold Weinbrecht's blog of April 23, 2022, included the following status report from the Town Manager:

In early 2023, the Ivey-Ellington House will be relocated from its current location on Chatham Street, consistent with the Council approved resolution on December 12, 2019. Given several factors, including the desired setting, historic context, and existing infrastructure, the southern portion of the former library site on Academy Street has been identified as the new location. The relocation will not interfere with existing infrastructure, including Charlie Gaddy Lane, parking, and utilities. Consistent with the adjacent structure, the Ivey-Ellington will be set back from the street and existing mature trees will remain. The remainder of the former library site will continue to be programmed with art and other activities until the Downtown Park is completed.

Although Cary will forego individual National Register designation, the new site is located in the Downtown National Register District. Public investment will continue to preserve and rehabilitate the house using the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. The Ivey-Ellington House is a valuable part of Cary’s history and can be further honored through designation as a Local Historic Landmark.

The Friends of the Page-Walker support the town's decision to relocate the Ivey-Ellington to the former library site and will continue to monitor the status of the move and rehabilitation of the structure for future public use. 

The status of the Ivey-Ellington's relocation and rehabilitation can be found in the project report maintained by the town.


January 9, 2023 Update - The town has announced the plans and schedule for moving the Ivey-Ellington to the former library site. The new site is being prepared and non-historic additions to the house are being removed. Mark your calendar for moving day on February 20. Find the details and project timeline here.


Unfortunately, the town has been informed that the Ivey-Ellington will lose its National Register status when it is relocated to the chosen site. However, its place in Cary's history can be honored through designation as a Local Historic Landmark. The local landmarking process would be initiated by the Cary Historic Preservation Commission and presented to the Town Council for final approval.

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