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Cornelius News

Reprieve for sharecropper house on Alexander Farm

Sharecropper House / Photo by Jason Benavides

Feb. 1. By Dave Yochum. Years after the Alexander Farm went on the market, a late effort to save the tenant farmhouse on the northeast corner of the property appears to have been given a reprieve.

There was originally a Feb. 1 deadline.

Assistant Town Manager Wayne Herron says at least several weeks remain until the wooden structure must be moved or face demolition.

In December a cooperative owner—WIN Development of Belleaire Beach, Fla.—paid a total of $9.45 million for the 55-acre property which will become a mixed-use development with homes and retail, including a Lidl grocery store.

Wayne Herron

Moving the tenant house to another site on the property is a real possibility.

“The town is in the process of hiring a design professional to assist the town in evaluation of the Alexander Farm Park site. The plan will include a design plan for moving the structure and site planning for the proposed location. In addition, the contractor will assess the potential of incorporating the home with a proposed park on the site and how it may fit and be planned and/or programmed,” Herron said.

WIN’s plans call for a 3.2 acre park on the property.

Dan Morrill

Historian Dan Morrill said, “the most consequential thing that is happened is that the Town of Cornelius is engaged.”


The town’s Historic Preservation Commission was disbanded in 2014 and replaced with a Historic Preservation Committee which meets sporadically; six of 12 meetings in 2021 were cancelled. Agenda items for meetings that were held include thumb drives, a microphone system and the Tawba Walk in downtown Cornelius.

WIN Development was required to hire a consultant to determine what structures on the property are eligible for the National Register, Morrill said. The consultant focused in on the tenant house; there are very few tenant houses remaining in this once agricultural county.

“The developers have done exactly what the law requires,” said Morrill, a consultant for Preserve Mecklenburg, which will actually pay to move the house, thanks to a contribution from WIN.

“The state wants the tenant house preserved, possibly on the farm, or somewhere like its original type setting, and available to the public to interpret history,” Morrill said. “I’m just glad the town is engaged.”

Herron said everyone should be “cognizant of the fact that time is short, and we must perform all of our tasks in an expedited fashion.”

Must-do list as per Herron:

—Evaluate and identify a temporary site to move the structure

—Coordinate with Preserve Mecklenburg for the actual move.

—Identify a permanent site, hopefully same as the temporary site

—Evaluate and identify long-term use and costs for the structure