Historic House Listings

Built for daughter of Francis Scott Key. On 76 acres in North Carolina. $175,000

March 12, 2020

This interior is so original! What amazing windows and mantels! This home was built sometime between 1829 and 1846 for Ann Arnold Key and Daniel Turner. Ann was the daughter of Francis Scott Key. This home was thought to be the work of Jacob Holt, a well known builder in the area during that time. “Reedy Rill” has been in the same family for over a century. The house has been vacant for many years and will require a complete rehabilitation. This home is located on 76 acres in Warrenton, North Carolina. The home is 4,400 square feet. $175,000

Contact Cathleen Turner with Preservation North Carolina: 919-401-8540

From the Preservation North Carolina Listing:


Significant Greek Revival/Italianate-style house on 76 acres in picturesque Warren County. Earliest section built for Ann Arnold Key and Daniel Turner, the daughter and son-in-law of Francis Scott Key.  Only minutes from Lake Gaston and Kerr Lake. One hour to Raleigh or Research Triangle Park, and less than two hours to Richmond, VA.

Architectural and Historical Information

Built in two phases, the earliest section was constructed sometime between 1829 and 1846 for Ann Arnold Key and Daniel Turner, the daughter and son-in-law of Francis Scott Key. Its expansion and fashionable updates were likely commissioned by Richard B. Robinson who purchased Reedy Rill in 1854. The resulting form and exuberant detail are thought to be the work of Jacob Holt, a popular builder among the area’s tastemakers. Reedy Rill has been in the Twitty Family for over a century.

An archival photo of Reedy Rill provides valuable evidence of the fanciful decorative woodwork that was once displayed on the exterior. Against an otherwise traditional Greek Revival form, Holt added Italianate brackets along the roof cornice, placed two-story engaged pilasters at each corner, and arranged paired porch posts linked by delicate woodwork, brackets and balustrade along the wide one-story front porch. Though much of its more exuberant decoration was lost or removed, the engaged corner pilasters, tall graceful paired windows with arched top sashes with tracery, an elaborate front entrance with double-leaf arched panel doors, a transom and sidelights accentuated by delicate tracery within arched and circular windows, divided by heavy brackets and molding remain. The low hipped roof is punctuated by two interior stucco chimneys and the tall stone foundation, which houses a full basement, is finished with scored stucco.

The house has been unoccupied for several years and will require a complete rehabilitation including restoration of the front porch, restoration of the windows, mechanical systems, structural repair of the rear addition (or construction of a new addition), and new bathrooms and kitchen. The once admired winding front drive has become overgrown, though several of the ancient boxwood survive. This remarkable property has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since the early 1970s and is eligible for tax credits.


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