Historic District

Large two-story brick home with imposing white columns

The Bumpass-Troy House, 114 South Mendenhall Street, built in 1847

College Hill was designated as Greensboro’s first historic district in 1980. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. The district’s period of significance is 1837 to 1941. The most typical styles of architecture are Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Craftsman. Click here for a map showing the district’s properties and boundaries.

College Hill’s first homes were built in the 1840s adjacent to then-new Greensboro College. “Piety Hill” was Greensboro’s first neighborhood, nicknamed for its proximity to the Methodist-affiliated school and the many clergy members who lived here. It also came to be called “the West End,” as it was Greensboro’s westernmost neighborhood. Most of the neighborhood was built out from the 1890s to 1930s. The area was annexed into the city in 1892.

Also in 1892, the Normal and Industrial School for White Girls (later the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina and now UNCG) opened adjacent to the West End. In the following years, the neighborhood prospered. The Tate Street business district was established, as was a smaller one at Spring Garden and South Mendenhall streets, which included Greensboro’s first A&P store (now College Hill Sundries). The College Place United Methodist Church, Greensboro Primitive Baptist Church and Presbyterian Church of the Covenant were founded. It was one of Greensboro’s best neighborhoods.

The Depression dealt the West End a severe blow, and the next several decades weren’t much better. Many of the large houses were divided into apartments. Some were torn down. What had been a premier neighborhood lost its status, deteriorated, devolved almost into a slum.

By the late 1970s the neighborhood and the city realized the historic and cultural value that was being lost. College Hill was designated as historic district in 1980 under relatively new authority granted to cities by the state legislature in the 1970s.

Wafco Mills building with sign painted on the brick wall: Feed Flour WAFCO MILLS Corn Meal

Wafco Mills building, 801 West McGee Street, built in 1893 and converted to condominiums in 1983

The designation has reversed the decline of the neighborhood and spurred the preservation of many of the neighborhood’s oldest homes, including the two remaining 1840s homes. Historic status was a key to the redevelopment of Wafco Mills as condominiums.

College Hill was designated as a redevelopment area, and many deteriorated homes were condemned and resold to homebuyers who agreed to restore the properties.

The neighborhood and the city continue to work together to restore what again is a vibrant, lively neighborhood. Property values have risen dramatically, benefiting the city’s tax base and easing the tax load of the rest of the city.

College Hill remains a work in progress. Demand for property near UNCG makes the threat of destructive redevelopment a continuing challenge. So, too, is the disinterest of absentee landlords. Nevertheless, the city, Preservation Greensboro and College Hill’s homeowners are making progress throughout the neighborhood as College Hill’s revival continues.

National Register of Historic Places

The boundaries of the National Register district are slightly different from the city’s historic district.  As a result, Greensboro College and Wafco are within the city historic district but outside the National Register district.

The two College Hill properties included in the register in their own right are the Bumpass-Troy House and Wafco Mills.

Elegant home on a rise above the street

The Walker-Scarborough House, 911 West McGee Street, built in 1845

Guilford County landmarks

The county’s preservation board serves as a historic landmark commission. College Hill properties designated as county landmarks are:

  • The Bumpas-Troy House, 114 South Mendenhall Street,
  • The Effie M. Anderson House, 303 South Mendenhall Street,
  • Greensboro College Main Building, 815 West Market Street,
  • The Sparger-Harrison House (exterior & lot only), 1007 West Market Street
  • Wafco Mills, 801 West McGee Street,
  • The Walker-Scarborough House, 911 West McGee Street, and
  • The Wilson-Andrews House, 102 South Mendenhall Street.

Historic district design guidelines

The historic district designation itself is a zoning overlay that limits the changes that can be made to properties in the neighborhood, such as a prohibition on dividing single-family homes into apartments.

Municipal Service District

College Hill property owners pay a Municipal Service District fee along with their property taxes. The fee pays for such neighborhood improvements as a continuing streetscape and landscaping project in the city right of way. Projects have included:

  • The neighborhood’s old-fashioned street lights,
  • Additional historically appropriate street lighting to eliminate dark spots throughout the neighborhood,
  • The pergola on South Mendenhall Street at Walker Avenue,
  • Signs identifying the neighborhood on Market, Spring Garden and Spring streets,
  • Sidewalk trash receptacles,
  • A security fence on Oakland Avenue along the railroad tracks,
  • Part of the cost of the Spring Garden Street median, and
  • The granite cornerstones and plantings at many corners throughout College Hill.

MSD funds also were used for the 2013 College Hill Tree Inventory.

Other Greensboro historic districts

The two other historic districts in Greensboro are the Charles B. Aycock Historic District and the Fisher Park Historic District.

Preservation Greensboro

A supporter and ally of the historic district is Preservation Greensboro Inc. It promotes historic preservation throughout the city and operates Architectural Salvage, a great resource for historic renovation.

Online resources

Legislative authority