Thursday, November 10, 2005

Burton Place undergoes restoration

Staff Writer

Exterior work on the restoration of Burton Place, built circa 1840, is well underway this fall.

The historic home, also known by the name Fleur-de-Lis, was purchased for restoration and repair by David Person of Holly Springs, who completed restoration of Crump Place a year ago.

The exterior work includes restoration of the front porch and construction of three new porches on the south, west and north sides; roof replacement, shutter repair and window refinishing, and repair of foundation brick and wrought iron fencing, Person said.

He said restoration will be done subtly, so that it will not be noticed.

“My whole theme with this home is to restore and rebuild it but going really easy,” he said. “I don’t want it to stand out as restored. I want it to be very subtle and to speak to nature around it.”

Person described the mood when the concrete columns were removed from the front porch.

“The earth just shook when they hit the ground and shattered,” he said.

The columns will be replaced with wood columns resembling the old ones.

Extra brick was found stored under the house and that, plus some new bricks and ones salvaged from the front porch, will replace broken bricks. All materials where possible are being recycled, Person said.

He described the house on South Memphis Street as having no real high profile for either the house or people who lived in it.

The house was built by Mary Malvina Burton following her divorce, allegedly the first divorce in Holly Springs during the time.

Burton chose to suit her own taste, he said, rather than be a trend setter or one who follows a trend.

“This house was built almost as antique style - Virginia Federal style, not the house of the day in the 1840s,” he said. “The front of the house is the most interesting part.”

Builders were starting to think about constructing cotton plantation style houses at the time Burton built hers, he said.

“She wanted what she was used to so there are really no houses like it around,” he said.

Many of Burton’s descendants live in the area today. Mary Burton was buried in Hillcrest Cemetery.

He described the Burtons and a related family of Wootens as low key Presbyterians.

“The Burtons owned a huge plantation west of Holly Springs and at one point had up to 80 slaves according to figures I’ve seen,” Person said.

The owners were not extravagant or trying to be trend setters or stylish in selecting the style of the house, he said.

“A quiet elegance, I’d say, is what they wanted,” Person said. “There are no stucco cornices or anything like that. The interior is also simple in style.”

Person said he has received lots of offers to buy the house.

“But it ain’t for sale,” he said. “It needs to be brought back and I’m lucky enough to be able to do it, I hope.”

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