On Business: Ballentine-Spence House

Historic home in Fuquay-Varina becomes community gathering space

CorrespondentJanuary 20, 2014 

— Anna Campbell and her family were recent transplants to the Triangle and had settled into their new home in Cary when her husband showed her a picture of the Ballentine-Spence House last summer.

He didn’t expect her reaction when he mentioned it was for sale.

“I told him I had to have it,” she said.

Within days, a deal had been inked, and the Campbells were on the move again.

Located just off Main Street in Fuquay-Varina, beside a bed and breakfast owned by the town’s mayor, the Ballentine-Spence House looks from the exterior much as it did when it was built in 1910.

The stately columns and wide wrap-around porch exude southern charm. Its designation as a historic landmark in Wake County ensures the integrity of the structure will be preserved.

The history of the home and its station in town appeal to Campbell. “I’ve always loved old houses,” she said.

Almost immediately after moving in, she invited the town to be a part of that history by scheduling regular activities that she opened to the public. The Ballentine-Spence House was part of the Holiday Home Tour in December.

She has hosted crafting nights and monthly community potlucks, but she ached for a bit more excitement. That’s when the idea of a murder-mystery party was born.

Within days, people claimed the 40 free tickets for the first party scheduled for January and the 35 tickets for a March 15 event.

Participants are given a character to play and a script prior to the event, making every guest an actor and involved in the fun.

Campbell is anxious for the parties to be a success. “I don’t know any of the people who signed up for the March party,” she said, which is what she intended. “I want this to be a part of the community.

“I would love to see teen activities here,” she continued. “I see kids wandering around. They need a safe place to go and have fun. Wouldn’t it be great if they could put on their own plays here?”

The old house continues to reveal its secrets, much to Campbell’s delight. She said she was in a front room one day when the light hit the wall just right and the faint outline of a door could be seen. A little digging turned up the news that a doorway was once located there.

Campbell opens her home to many groups free of charge.

“I would love to have a reading group use the front room for their meetings,” she said.

The Ballentine-Spence House is also available to rent for special events such as wedding receptions and fundraisers. Campbell sees no end to the possibilities.

“I want this house to be used by the community.”

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