Historic House Listings

Woodleaf Plantation Cotton Gin, Circa 1838. Over one acre in NC. $32,500

March 13, 2019

This is the Woodleaf Plantation Cotton Gin, built in 1838. Located on 1.32 acres in Louisburg, North Carolina. It is situated along the old farm road and within viewing distance of the restored Woodleaf Plantation house. The main portion of the structure was once open and held oxen and mules that were used to turn the gin. In its later years it was used to produce sorghum. 2,080 square feet. $32,500

From the Preservation North Carolina listing:


The Woodleaf Cotton Gin was built around 1838 as part of the larger complex of buildings that comprised the Massenburg (Woodleaf) Plantation. Nestled among mature trees along the old farm road, the Cotton Gin is within view of the restored Woodleaf plantation house, listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1975.

The Woodleaf Cotton Gin is a contributing structure in the Massenburg (Woodleaf) Plantation National Register nomination and is eligible for tax credits.

The main 2-story structure sits atop massive cut-stone piers that create a full story below. Now enclosed, this once-open space was used for oxen, mules, and horses to turn the gin. It was later used to produce sorghum. At some point in the 20th century, the lower level was enclosed by variations of board and batten and horizontal wood sheathing with various door openings and a sliding horizontal window. A shed addition is located on the northwest side.

The gable roofed, timber-framed structure above is accessed by a stair that opens into a sizable storage area and displays large hand hewn beams, wide plank floors, and vertical sliding wood shutters that enclose the window openings. A stair to the top floor is adjacent to a large batten door that opens northward with a view of the old feed barn (19th c.) and plantation house. Nicholas Massenburg purchased over 600 acres on the old road to Halifax in 1830 and after his marriage to Lucy Davis increased his holdings and expanded an earlier house. His detailed journals are a rare glimpse of plantation operations that documents the development and construction of the building landscape we see today.

Like the Walnut Hill Cotton Gin in Wake County, the Woodleaf Cotton Gin can be thoughtfully adapted into a rural residential or artisan retreat. The adjacent Perry House, built by a Massenburg descendant, is also available for sale and could be purchased together to create a larger residential complex. A large solar farm is being developed in the farm field to the north. It will be buffered from view by a substantial screen of plantings which should screen the farm from the Woodleaf property within a couple of years. Located just five minutes from charming downtown Louisburg and 45 minutes to Raleigh, this is an excellent opportunity to have your cake and eat it too!

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