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?

While the Town negotiates the relocation contract with the developer, Town staff have met with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to inform them of the relocation and confirm the process for approval. Town staff is now working on the relocation report and application, with a target of submitting it to the National Register Advisory Committee (NRAC) meeting for review in October 2020.

The Friends of the Page-Walker will continue to communicate the importance of preserving the Ivey-Ellington and its National Register status to the Cary Town Council and the Town staff.

UPDATE – April 2, 2020

The Friends received an update on the status of the Ivey-Ellington in a telephone conference call with Town staff Gillian White and Danna Widmar and Town Council member Ed Yerha. They reported that the relocation process, including obtaining a recommendation from SHPO, is on hold. Also on hold is preparation and release of the RFQ and RFP for the old library site, which may be considered as a future home for the Ivey-Ellington. No activity is expected for the duration of the Town Hall closure, which began on March 16. Our thanks to Gillian, Danna and Ed for keeping us up-to-date.

What do we know about the future location? 

The December 12, 2019, resolution provides for the Ivey-Ellington to continue to be located in downtown Cary. There has been some discussion about siting it on the old library property on Academy Street and at this time the Friends believe this location would appropriately honor the house. However, the most important opinion will be that of the state and federal agencies that determine National Register status. The Friends will closely monitor the application process as it develops, providing careful review and offering meaningful input, doing our part to ensure that this much-loved Cary treasure continues to be recognized for its historical and architectural integrity on the National Register of Historic Places.

UPDATE - JULY 14, 2021

A meeting was held this day with a representative from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Town staff, and representatives from the Cary Historic Preservation Commission and Friends of the Page-Walker. SHPO presented two sites being considered, the old library site and 311 S Harrison. They prefer the Harrison site, but did not rule out the library site. There is a concern that the library site may trigger a re-assessment of the Cary Historic District, possibly putting it at risk of losing its National Register status. Before the Town selects which site to submit for approval, a consultant is to be hired to evaluate the current state of the Cary Historic District.

What do you love about the Ivey-Ellington House?

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