303 S. Mendenhall Street: A 1914 Harry Barton Classic in College Hill, $449,900

Update: The owners accepted an offer three days after putting the house up for sale. It sold for its full asking price on December 18, 2020.

The way historic houses are selling these days, it’s no surprise that the Effie M. Anderson House went under contract just three days after it was put on the market. Designed by the esteemed Harry Barton, it has been designated a Guilford County historic landmark. And it has been beautifully restored by the current owners.

The house does have a pretty hefty price tag, $449,900. But if you give the listing the benefit of the doubt, the place is so big (3,800 square feet) that the price is a way-below-market $118 per square foot. Even if you go by the county’s property records, it’s 2,958 square feet and $152 per square foot, still toward the low end of what similarly top-of-the-line houses in the historic districts and older neighborhoods have been getting lately.

There are six bedrooms, all on the upper floor and a half, and three bathrooms. The first floor is richly designed with mahogany pocket doors, a leaded-glass built-in china cabinet and a butler’s pantry. Coffered ceilings add a wow factor. There’s porch off to the side and a deck in the back. The killer feature is a basement pub with a bar, wine cellar and brick walls.

“The Effie Anderson House is an unusually well-preserved example of Colonial Revival architecture,” Benjamin Briggs of Preservation Greensboro writes. The design shows the influence of the architecture of Barton’s hometown, Philadelphia. “The form of the house is urban, following a three-bay façade arrangement typical of townhouses. In addition, the form of the house is known as a side-hall plan, with an entryway to the left of center. Additional design cues that mimic those identified in the Philadelphia area include a pent roof and dormer windows. Pent roofs, small steep shed roofs located between the first and second story, are synonymous with the Delaware Valley, where their utility was established by protecting lower regions of masonry walls from rainfall.”

The pictures with the listing don’t do the house justice (most of them have the photographer’s watermark plastered all over them).

303 S. Mendenhall Street
The Effie M. Anderson House
contract pending October 9, 2020

  • $449,900
  • 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3,807 square feet
  • Price/square foot: $118
  • Built in 1914
  • Listed October 6 2020
  • Last sale: $248,000 May 2008

Effie M. Anderson

Effie McLean Anderson was a widow. She bought the house in 1915, about a year after her husband died. They had been married less than four years. She had no children and never remarried. She owned the house until February 9, 1946, when she sold it to her step-daughter. Effie died eight days later at the age of 61.

The step-daughter, Fannie Anderson Sutton, lost her mother in 1910, when Fannie was four years old (her mother was just 30), and her father only four years later. Fannie herself lived to be 99, dying in 2006 at her home at Well-Spring Retirement Community.

Effie’s husband, and Fannie’s father, William Irvin Anderson, died at age 35 while having his appendix taken out. He was the founder and owner of W.I. Anderson Produce at 245 E. Friendly Avenue. His building has been converted to offices but is still identifiable by the words “♦ FRUITS ♦ PRODUCE ♦” over the door facing East Friendly (click on the photo to see it bigger):