Location: Whitsett, Guilford, North Carolina, United States
The Whitsett Historic District is situated in the rolling countryside of eastern Guilford County, seven miles east of Greensboro. It lies adjacent to the boundary dividing Guilford and Alamance Counties within an incorporated community originating at the T-configured intersection of two-lane roads, NC 61 and Whitsett Park Road (State Route 3064). Long vistas of open land surrounding the community recall the larger and earlier context of settlement in the area by eighteenth century Quaker and German Lutheran farmers. But as a community without a pronounced agricultural or commercial orientation, Whitsett developed around the Whitsett Institute, a prestigious private college preparatory school which operated between 1884 and 1919. Although the institute is now gone, several associated houses and boarding houses still focus on its former site now occupied by a 1921 public school building currently serving as the town hall. These houses, which have remained relatively unchanged during the last five decades, line the grassy verges of the main roads extending to the north, south and east of the former institute site. Many of the lawns are shaded by large oaks and magnolia trees planted early in the community's development. With remarkably little infill development over the last eighty years, and the original main road configuration intact, the built environment continues to evoke a time when community life revolved around the institute.
The Whitsett Historic District comprises approximately sixty-five acres and contains eighty resources of which twenty are contributing primary buildings and eight are noncontributing primary buildings. The noncontributing resources are primarily secondary structures and outbuildings, with the large majority of principal resources being contributing. There is one contributing site: the Whitsett Public School baseball field. Although some of the built resources lack significance individually, they possess intrinsic value as components of a district which document this community's pattern of development. The noncontributing buildings are unobtrusive in scale and character, are compatibly-sited and thus do not infringe upon the overall integrity of the Whitsett Historic District.
The architectural landscape of the community is one of a relatively sophisticated aesthetic for a rural area, and most of the houses are notable renditions of the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles along with some examples of an earlier vernacular Victorian farmhouse style. The contributing houses along Whitsett's main street, formerly known as College Avenue, now NC 61, and along Whitsett Park Road were built between 1894 and 1921, with thirteen of these having been constructed between 1900 and 1908. Most of the houses in the community were originally homes of teachers at the institute, boarding houses, or residences for merchants in the immediate vicinity. The most notable include the home of Dr. William Thorton Whitsett, "The Oaks" (7222 Whitsett Park Road), a distinctive turreted cross-gabled Queen Anne style house with a Colonial Revival porch, and J. Henry Joyner's house known as "Hollygate"(721 NC Highway 61) (listed in the National Register in 1980). Dr. Whitsett was the founder of Whitsett Institute, and as his collaborator and brother-in-law, Joyner built his asymmetrical two-an-a-half-story cross-gabled Queen Anne house in 1910. Other Queen Anne-influenced houses capped with hipped roofs with intersecting gables include the John Rankin House (722 NC Highway 61), the Captain Dick House (802 NC Highway 61), the Wimbish-Tayler House (7210 Whitsett Park Road) (home of the institute's business manager) the Jefferson Lamb Houses (7206 Whitsett Park Road) (a family dwelling where students also boarded), and the Swift-Wheeler House (7204 Whitsett Park Road) (home of a local merchant). The 1894 Charles T. Mason House and Dormitory (816 NC Highway 61) is the sole-remaining family residence built with a wing specifically intended to house students.
Interestingly, there is a dearth of the Craftsman Bungalow style houses that proliferated rural Guilford County during the 1920s and 1930s. Apparently, Whitsett was not a participant of that era's nationwide building boom that took place prior to the Great Depression, and that is evident in most areas of Guilford County. Most infill development at Whitsett did not begin until the 1940s and continued somewhat into the mid-twentieth century, and was manifested primarily in a scattering of post-World War II houses and later brick Ranch houses.
The most significant change to the community since its inception is the loss of the Whitsett Institute campus. After a fire destroyed the institute's main building in 1918, the school closed and never reopened. Located on a wooded site in the center of the hamlet, this 1902 building was a grand two-story frame structure with a square four-story tower and a smaller three-story tower, each with a pyramidal cap. The entry bay projected at the first level and entrance to the building was gained through one of three arched and keystoned openings. Four fluted columns rose from the flat roof above the entry bay to support a pedimented gable (1913-1914 Register of the Whitsett Institute).
According to 1895 Register of the Fairview Institute and Commercial College, the "General Plan" for the Fairview Institute consisted of the centrally-located main building, athletic grounds on the east side of College Avenue, and three boarding houses across the street to the west. Of these houses, only the Charles T. Mason House and Dormitory (816 NC Highway 61) is extant. To the south of the boarding houses, a frame building, now demolished, served as a store and post office. Another boarding house, also now demolished, was located to the south of the post office. A late 1800s drawing entitled "General View of Whitsett Institute" looking north up a very broad College Avenue (as NC 61 was then called) depicts a bustling village. A large, frame steepled chapel building is shown located on the institute campus, with another church building to the north of this. The south side of the street is lined with houses of varying sizes and styles, one being the Charles T. Mason House and Dormitory. The drawing depicts the supply store building post office and large two-story house to the south, all no longer standing. Scant small trees line the street (The Liberty News, July 27, 1977). A Methodist church was erected near the center of the village in 1908 and a Lutheran church was located at the northern edge of the village around that time. The Methodist church building, which still stands, originally served the Whitsett Methodist Episcopal Church (1005 NC Highway 61). Although somewhat altered, the building depicts the original ecclesiastical Gothic design intent (Pegg 1980, p.7).
The 1913-1914 Whitsett Annual Register describes the campus this way:
"Grouped around the school campus, at a distance of one hundred yards, are twelve dormitories and boarding halls, where students room and board. The buildings are all practically new, having been erected within the past few years, and offer pleasant homes for the faculty and student body. Each boarding place is in the charge of a suitable matron."
A circa 1915 documentary photo gives insight into the original streetscape along then College Avenue (NC State Historic Preservation Office Survey files). The brick store building currently located at the intersection of NC 61 and Whitsett Park Road was originally a one-story two-bay brick structure with a parapeted roof which sloped to the rear and large storefront windows headed with decorative brickwork. The brick north wall of the current building is part of the original configuration. The building served as student and faculty supply store. To the south of the supply store was a smaller brick building, no longer standing, that served as the post office. Continuing south on College Avenue, the photograph provides a glimpse of a one-story, L-plan house and a two-story I-house.
Nestled in rural surroundings, the Whitsett Historic District reflects the tastes, culture and style of an important late nineteenth century professional and intellectual community centered on education. The Whitsett Institute, originally founded as Fair View Academy in 1884, closed in 1918, but period family homes that also served as student boarding houses, emanate from the original site which is today occupied by a former elementary school building now serving as the town hall. This 1921 Neoclassical school building, a significant structure in its own right, alludes to the importance of the former institute with its prominent central location in the community. Today, Whitsett's physical presence is a touchstone memory of local civic initiative and accomplishment. The community evokes what one local writer has termed "the gracious influence of the institute" on its surroundings.
The Whitsett Historic District is significant in the area of community development as a community which emerged from institutional origins. The lifestyle of the citizens as well as the built resources focused on an educational core. Whitsett was a pocket of academia and sophistication which developed in the midst of an agrarian culture. It survives as a community which retains much of its original countenance. The style of the many surviving institute-associated houses suggests a migration from town to country and the establishment of a special precinct. The houses of Whitsett are not simply independent family homes, but dwellings that were part of an interconnected community originating from educational aspirations. Collectively, the resources of Whitsett shape streetscapes and landscapes that recall a community of spirited citizens whose work and living milieu reflected the Progressive Era's doctrine of social improvement through education. They are remindful of a rapidly developing post-Reconstruction South where city and countryside distinctions were already blurring, and where co-education was well established. After the main building of the Whitsett Institute was destroyed by fire in 1918, a public elementary school was erected on the site in 1921 and today alludes to the community's educationally-inspired legacy.
Significant in the area of architecture, the Whitsett Historic District comprises resources that portray a relatively sophisticated aesthetic which is exhibited in a notable and varietal collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century buildings. The most prominent built resources of the Whitsett community are architecturally notable Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and vernacular Victorian-era houses radiating from the central 1921 Neoclassical former school building. A sense of continuity is lent in that descendants of Whitsett's early founders reside in the community and maintain substantial family home places. Although a few of the contributing resources lack individual significance, as a group they possess intrinsic value and tell the story of the community's pattern of development over time. The Whitsett Historic District's noncontributing resources are unobtrusive and are subordinate to the overall historic integrity of this rare-surviving and largely intact community. The Whitsett Historic District constitutes a significant cultural landscape which embodies the essential character of a community which evolved from educationally-motivated origins.
The Whitsett Historic District's period of significance begins in the year 1894, the construction date of the earliest extant building, the Charles Mason House (801 NC Highway 61), which included a dormitory wing for students at Whitsett Institute. The period of significance ends in the year 1930 in order to encompass the 1920s, the period during which the community continued to flourish after the construction of the Whitsett Public School (811 NC Highway 61) in 1921.
Historical Background and Community Development Context
The Whitsett area's first European residents descended from William Penn's Pennsylvania Quakers who arrived from Germany with Lutheran immigrants, and came from other parts as pioneer farmers. By the late nineteenth century, local residents were tracing family roots to the Revolutionary War "Regulators" of adjacent Alamance County, who, at nearby Clapp's Mill skirmished with the General Charles Cornwallis on his way to the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Eventually, the town of Whitsett came to be situated on agricultural land that was once part of the late 1700's Foust plantation in eastern Guilford County (Guilford County Deeds, Book 99, page 305 and Historical Documentation Map 1980).
As population increased in Guilford County and the economy began to recover from the tribulation that followed the Civil War, a number of rural communities emerged, particularly those served by the expansion of the railroad. The North Carolina Railroad was the foundation for the future growth of the county and for the improving conditions that significantly affected the rural development pattern in post-bellum years. This development pattern foreshadowed the increasing pace of urbanization in the county. Rural communities such as Gibsonville, Stokesdale, Browns Summit, Summerfield, Julian and McLeansville flourished in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with the expansion of the railroad (Smith 1979, p.21). Although the Danville to Salisbury railroad did not pass through Whitsett, the town benefited from its proximity as travelers arrived at the nearby Gibsonville depot (located just two miles north) and were shuttled by a two-horse wagon to Whitsett (1910-1911 Register of the Whitsett Institute, p.50).
The rise of Whitsett as an educational center took place against the backdrop of the educational poverty of much of rural North Carolina in the decades following the Civil War. Farming families frequently depended on child labor for survival, and the state's seeming lack of interest in funding public education for all reinforced the economic and social forces favoring illiteracy and dismal personal prospects in the countryside. The schools system was bankrupt, and opposition to taxation led to stagnation. In 1872 only seven of Guilford County's eighteen townships had schools in operation (Stoeson 1993, p.14). Those few who had the vision and means to seek quality education had to look to the private sector. Often, in communities like Whitsett where there was no alternative, the citizens themselves took initiative to provide educational opportunities.
So it was in 1884 that three enlightened and prosperous farmers, Joseph Bason Whitsett, Henry Sharp and Alphonso Clapp, established Fair View Academy, later renamed the Whitsett Institute, with the help of Paisley White, the Reverend Brantly York and Charles Mebane who each served short terms as Academy superintendents. The academy was erected on land reputedly deeded by Joseph Whitsett. Although White was most active in the first year, York and Mebane brought notable experience to the project. In 1839, York had started the school that in 1859 became Trinity College, the foundation on which Duke University was established in the twentieth century. Mebane was a professor at Catawba College, from which he had recently graduated, and in 1896 he was to become Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of North Carolina.
In 1890, Joseph's son, William Thorton (W.T.) Whitsett, accepted appointment as Fair View's fourth and last superintendent. William's maternal grandmother, Libina Summers Foust, had offered him 123 acres of land in Whitsett if he would accept the position at the school rather than in a larger city. Although just twenty years of age and a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the younger Whitsett began with a clear vision of educational purpose and a marketing plan for promoting the fledgling school. He became the institute's guiding force over its last thirty years and sought to develop a first-class private boarding school with several study programs built on a strong foundation of literary studies. Capitalizing on early and rapid successes, he hired J. Henry Joyner around 1908 with whom he worked in tandem to secure the school's reputation. Joyner built an elaborate Queen Anne house, which came to be called "Hollygate," just north of the Academy. Revered by students, Joyner, who became Whitsett's brother-in-law, eventually moved to public instruction and served as president of the North Carolina State Board of Education (Pegg 1980, pp.1-2 and The Liberty News, July 27, 1977, p.3-B).
William Whitsett generously offered a considerable amount of the family's land adjoining the school at no or little cost to encourage families, including those of his faculty and staff, to build homes large enough to house institute students (Bachelor 1991, p.11 ). A number of smaller cottages were also built so that male students could try their hand at housekeeping (The Liberty News, July 27, 1977, p.3-B). Other families who moved to the area built smaller homes nearby so that their children could conveniently attend the school. Institute salaries were modest but Superintendent Whitsett insured that faculty paychecks would support the building and maintaining of substantial family home places. In "Those Wonderful Whitsett Homes" (1987), local historian Rollin M. Steele, Jr., writes that the ideal for the new Whitsett citizen at the turn of the century was drawn from classical antiquity and modeled himself after Virgil, the "educated agriculturalist," the poet-beekeeper. Hence, many of these homes, whose facades reflected the tastes, culture and style of an intellectual community, were to a degree supported by small-scale, backyard farming.
But unlike most rural Guilford County communities, Whitsett did not begin or evolve as a farming or railroad community. It owed its existence to the institute. Several other academies or boarding schools were built in Guilford County in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but none prompted the development of a supporting community to the extent that Whitsett Institute did, with the exception of the Oak Ridge Academy. Though the earliest surviving buildings of the campus of the Oak Ridge Institute (as it was formerly referred to) date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the school was actually begun in 1853. Housing for the staff and students sprang up around the school; however, the community had previously been established by Quaker farmers in the eighteenth century. Other rural academies include the late nineteenth century Jefferson Academy in the community of McLeansville, whose small frame building closed in the early twentieth century, and the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, a nationally-respected boarding school for blacks founded in 1902 (Smith 1979, p.31).
Towards the turn of the century, most of Guilford remained agricultural despite the significant trend in the county and other areas of the Piedmont toward industrial and commercial development and large-scale retail marketing and banking. Life was centered around the farm and the institutions of rural living including the church, the local gristmill, the general store, and sometimes, as in Whitsett, the school (Smith 1980, p.29).
In 1891, Fair View Academy became Fairview Institute, reflecting changes in size, faculty and curriculum. With the addition of a business curriculum in 1895, the name changed again to Fairview Institute and Business College. Finally, in 1898, the school became Whitsett Institute. The institute was a non-denominational, non-sectarian secondary school with a curriculum of literature, science, telegraphy, art and music; but it was also a "normal" school, i.e., a teacher's college, as well as a school of dentistry and business.
In 1900, Josephus Daniels, editor of the Raleigh News and Observer and later Secretary of the Navy in Woodrow Wilson's administration, spoke at commencement. Impressed, he soon editorialized, "If we had ninety-six such schools in North Carolina (one for each county), it would revolutionize life and lift up the state to the highest plane" (News and Observer, May 27, 1900). As it was, Whitsett graduates tended to have easy entry to the state's most prestigious colleges, including Davidson, Wake Forest and the University of North Carolina (1900-1901 Register of Whitsett Institute, p.3). Students came to Whitsett from Cuba, Spain, France, England, South America, from seven other states and from Canada ( 1910 Register of Whitsett Institute; Bachelor 1991, p.11 ).
Rapid growth, from sixty-eight students in 1888 to over 300 in 1900, led to the construction of a new main building in 1902. The frame structural members for the building were milled at the large sawmill operated by the Clapp family on nearby Rock Creek. Dr. Whitsett closely supervised the building's construction. A local memoir describes it as "solid and almost handsome, and certainly one of the finest school buildings in the state at that time. It was eighty-feet-wide and 100-feet-long, with two full floors, a beautiful four-story tower, and several arched windows with stained glass. It contained two study halls, several classrooms, a sizable library two halls designed for the literary societies, an auditorium, and a study room supplied with newspapers and periodicals" (Pegg 1980, p.3). The 1913-1914 Register of Whitsett Institute described it as "a model school building, of handsome and striking architecture, affording comfort and convenience" and "well-adapted to the work for which it was designed." The school's annual register also touted the "beautiful surroundings and admirable location of picturesque variety and genial clime."
As Fairview Institute evolved, so did the community around it. Dr. Whitsett's deep and honorable family roots in the area eased the way for close "town-and-gown" understanding and collaboration. Along with Professor Joyner, Whitsett worked to improve local roads and to secure a United States Post Office for the community. Most significantly, he encouraged young families to build large homes on small tracts near the school and to rent rooms to the ever-growing numbers of enrolled students. Guilford County deeds suggest that at least fourteen houses were built between 1892 and 1912 (Bachelor 1991, p.11).
But the pressures of World War I soon caught up with Whitsett Institute. Dr. Whitsett replied to parent's inquiries about the school's future: "Because a large part of the world is at war we must not neglect [the education of] our young men and our young women." However, the class of 1917 had only twenty-two graduates. In 1918, the under-insured 1902 main school building was destroyed by fire, and the institute did not reopen given the increased availability of public high schools (Bachelor 1991, p.12). Having provided private education for several thousand students, Dr. Whitsett and Joyner backed a bond referendum for a new public school in January 1919, and in July the Board of Education authorized its construction. Subsequently, Dr. Whitsett, became chairman of the board for thirteen years and a member for twenty-two years. In August 1919, he sold the institute's former site for the future Whitsett High School to the Board for $600.00. A Neoclassical Revival school building, currently serving as the town hall, was erected in 1921, after the board appropriated $1,500.00 for its construction (Bachelor 1991, p.63). The community over which it now presides remains in essence the same aggregation of family houses and associated structures which Dr. Whitsett nurtured at the turn-of-the-century.
Architectural Context: Late Nineteenth-Century and Early Twentieth-Century Architecture in Rural Guilford County
With labor and materials diverted to war-time efforts, the Civil War nearly halted construction in the South that was unrelated to the conflict. The most significant construction project in Guilford County during the war was the railroad between Greensboro and Danville, which bypassed Whitsett to the north through the nearby town of Gibsonville. Though destruction caused by the war itself was minimal in Guilford County, statewide economic recovery was slow. Thus, few buildings of significance were built in the county immediately following the war. Generally, farmhouses built with the profits of agricultural enterprise were not large or richly detailed. Prices for farm products remained deflated for over thirty years after the war, and unless farmers had additional income from grist mills, general stores, or other businesses, farm incomes remained too modest to afford elaborate dwellings (Smith 1979, p.21).
The "triple-A" house, as it was known colloquially due to its roof form of two side and one front gable, appeared throughout North Carolina as elsewhere in quantity as the standard-house type in the post-Civil War period. The Summers-Edgerton House (1000 NC Highway 61) built in 1900, and the Whitsett-Clapp-Tysor House (1017 NC Highway 61) built in 1904, illustrate the triple-A form in Whitsett. They document a developing technology of building and changing tastes in design, but reflect the continuing demand for simple, straightforward architecture.
As in most places in the nation around the turn-of-the-century, the Queen Anne style predominated in the dwellings of the most prosperous people, who were for the most part involved in industry, commerce, and other non-agricultural-related enterprises. The style is testament to the improving ability of established Guilford County farmers and entrepreneurs to erect relatively large houses with greater comfort and more refined detail. The houses were often constructed by local builders whose architectural concepts were taken from widely circulated pattern books which tended to standardize architectural styles during the period. Patterns for brackets, sawnwork, and various ornamental details utilized in embellishing Queen Anne houses as well as the vernacular Victorian styles, were easily obtained through mail-order catalogues or were milled locally and sold as stock items. These decorative elements became standard motifs on houses throughout the county. Thus, the conservative vernacular idiom was virtually eliminated at least among the most substantial building. The principal divergence of post-war architecture in Guilford County from that of the antebellum period lay in the fact that locally developed indigenous building traditions were supplanted by a national vernacular. Victorian-era styles in the county did not substantially deviate from those found in other locales of similar climate and resources (Smith 1979, p.37).
Although traditionally Quaker areas of the county such as Whitsett were described as aesthetically conservative, they were also intellectual centers comprised of forward-looking citizens who readily adopted a degree of sophisticated architectural eclecticism that was more characteristic of the eastern portion of the state (Smith 1979, p.16). This acceptance of more academic design was evident by the late nineteenth century in the number of fine examples of the Queen Anne style that the county boasted; unfortunately, many of these examples have now been destroyed. Whitsett boasts the most intact collection of these Queen Anne dwellings in the county. One of the most significant in the collection is the house built for Dr. William Thorton Whitsett (7222 Whitsett Park Road) called "The Oaks." It features a handsome wraparound porch accented with a polygonal pavilion. The Dr. J. Henry Joyner House (721 NC Highway 61), also highly notable in Whitsett, exhibits a handsome transitional Colonial Revival porch. While not representative of typical rural housing, this group of impressive domestic Queen Anne houses is testament to Guilford County's rapidly-increasing wealth, architectural capabilities, and, in terms of design, interest in adopting recent architectural trends near the turn-of the-century (Smith 1979, pp.23-24). Outside of Whitsett, one of the most outstanding examples of the Queen Anne style is the 1897 house called "Oakhurst" (National Register) located in the northwest county in Oak Ridge, a community whose origins lay rooted in agriculture as well as education. The house represents the epitome of the Queen Anne style and was built by the co-principal of the Oak Ridge Institute, Martin H. Holt. To the east of Oak Ridge, in the town of Summerfield, is the Henry Clay Brittain House, an elaborate Queen Anne style house built by the proprietor of the Brittain Store in the community.
The outbuildings that were typical of the county's rural landscape are not well represented in Whitsett given that the community's primary subsistence was not originally rooted in agriculture. Only a few miscellaneous small barns allude to the small-scale, "back-yard" farming that took place in the first decades of the twentieth century. Outbuildings in the Whitsett Historic District consist mostly of a few storage buildings and detached garages dating to between the 1920s and 1970s. The most significant surviving outbuildings are those associated with the Dr. J. Henry Joyner House (721 NC Highway 61) and the Clapp-Barnhardt House (1010 NC Highway 61). The Joyner House property exhibits a variety of types and period of outbuildings including a 1910s frame garage, a 1930s brick flower house, and a corn crib, an outhouse, and a well house that appear to be contemporary with the 1908 house. The Clapp-Barnhardt House retains its 1905 carriage house.
The standardization that took place after World War I due to the improving modes of transportation, the migration of professionals to the state's rapidly-developing Piedmont region, the availability of illustrated catalogues and journals, and the emergence of a trained architectural profession, ended the builders' dependence upon local tradition and materials and allowed the execution of more sophisticated designs (Smith 1979, pp.37-38). An example of this more liberal aesthetic bent in Whitsett is evident in the shingled Dutch Colonial Revival house of Dr. John Clapp called "Midlawn" (723 NC Highway 61), built in 1908 (Smith 1979, pp.37-38).
The architectural centerpiece of several rural communities in Guilford County was the school building. In Whitsett, the original private institute building around which the community emerged is no longer extant, however a two-story brick Neoclassical public school building was erected in 1921 near the site. In the first and second decades of the twentieth century in Guilford County, larger brick schools like the former Whitsett Public School and the Neoclassical former Jamestown Public School (1915) (National Register) and the Busick School (1925) in the Osceola community were built. However, most were abandoned as the large consolidated schools took over in the 1930s.
Several private boarding academies were built in nineteenth and early twentieth century rural Guilford County. The Oak Ridge Academy, formerly Oak Ridge Institute, located in northwest Guilford County, is the only nineteenth century private school in the county which remains in operation (Bachelor 1991, p.10). Today, its campus is primarily comprised of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Colonial and Neoclassical Revival buildings. These include Alumni Hall erected in 1912, which although is much larger, resembles the Whitsett Public School building.(811 NC Highway 61). Other rural academies include the Jefferson Academy in the community of McLeansville, whose late nineteenth century small frame building closed in the early twentieth century, and the nationally-known Palmer Memorial Institute founded in 1902 in Sedalia. The Palmer campus comprises a highly significant collection of 1920s Colonial Revival style buildings that served as a boarding school for blacks (Smith 1979, p.31). Of these academic institutions, only Oak Ridge Academy, begun in 1853, precipitated the emergence of a substantial supporting community similar to that of Whitsett. Although the Whitsett Institute campus no longer remains, the historic character and scale of its context remains as exhibited in the community's crossroads and the extant associated boarding houses. The high degree of intactness of these supporting contextual elements is unique in the county.
- Batchelor, John E. 1991. The Guilford County Schools: A History. Winston-Salem. NC: John F. Blair, Publisher. Copyright by the Guilford County Board of Education.
- Burlington Times News. September 26, 1968.
- Fairview Institute and Commercial College. 1896. Promotional brochure owned by Mrs. James Griggs, Whitsett, NC.
- Greensboro Daily News. October 15, 1960.
- Greensboro Record. April, 1966.
- Guilford County Deed Books. Register of Deeds Office located at Guilford County Courthouse, Greensboro, NC.
- Historic Documentation Map, Guilford County, NC. 1980. Drafted by Fred Hughes. Located at the Greensboro, NC Public Library.
- National Register of Historic Places Nomination for Holly Gate. 1980. By Keith Morgan and Jerry Cashion. Unpublished manuscript located in North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office survey flies, Raleigh, NC.
- Pegg, Carl Hamilton. 1980. Whitsett Institute [Formerly Fairview Academy] 1884-1918: A Sketch. Chapel Hill, N.C.
- Raleigh News and Observer. October 16, 1960.
- Registers of the Whitsett Institute. 1900-1914. Located in North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office survey files, Raleigh, NC.
- Smith, McKeldon H. 1979. Architectural Resources: An Inventory of Historic Architecture. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History.
- State Historic Preservation Office Survey Files. North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History. Raleigh, NC.
- Steele, Dr. Rollin M. 1987. Those Wonderful Whitsett Homes. Unpublished manuscript located in North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office survey files, Raleigh, NC.
- Stoeson, Alexander R. 1993. Guilford County: A Brief History. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History.
- Whitsett Historic District Commission. 1994. Historic Designation Report for Whitsett. North Carolina. Unpublished manuscript located in North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office survey files, Raleigh, NC.
- Kaye Graybeal, DSAtlantice, Whitsett Historic District, Guilford County, NC, nomination document, 1999, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
- Greensboro News and Record article.