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Cornelius News

Sharecropper house could move to future park in Alexander Farm project

The sharecropper house is sited in the upper left corner of the 55 acre farm facing West Catawba. Westmoreland runs along the bottom of the image taken from Mecklenburg County property records

Jan. 20. By Dave Yochum. There’s a possibility the century-old sharecropper house on the former Alexander Farm could be moved to a 3.2 acre park planned for the northern section of the 55-acre mixed-use development which includes a Lidl grocery store.

The farm just sold for a total of $9.45 million, considerably less than the original $18 million asking price. The pricetag was reduced to $12.5 million before being put under contract by WIN Development of Belleaire Beach, Fla.

Alexander Farm was the last remaining farm in the western side of town, actively farmed until 2013 by the late Eugene Alexander who died New Years Day 2014 at the age of 96.

Dan Morrill, historian

As farmland, it hearkens back to Cornelius’ early days as a strictly agricultural community, long before the lake, not to mention the mills that were new in the early 1900s.

National Register-eligible

The sharecropper house—now a rarity but commonplace after the Civil War—is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Indeed, it may be the only one left in Mecklenburg County, according to noted historian and former UNC-Charlotte professor Dan Morrill.

He works with Preserve Mecklenburg which has the funding to help move the structurally sound wood-frame building.

Sharecropper house on Alexander Farm

There are no plans to save the farmhouse on-site, in part because there are other farmhouses left in Mecklenburg County.

Preservation effort

Preservation efforts already in place included salvaging wood from the Alexander Farm for new construction.

What’s in Cornelius stays in Cornelius

Morrill suggests that since the sharecropper house has been a fixture in Cornelius for more than a century, it should stay in Cornelius—as opposed to options like the Rural Hill plantation in Huntersville.

It can’t go to a private property, despite at least one offer.

To give the property to the Town, as required by the development approval, the Town would need to negotiate the future of the structure around such issues as liability, reuse and costs, not to mention a useful function or purpose.


The town has been had its eye on the 55-acre farm soon after farmer Eugene Alexander passed away in 2014.

Plans call for 120,360 square feet of commercial space including a Lidl grocery store; 200,000 square feet for senior independent living units and 76 single-family detached homes priced around $600,000.