Orange County government is strapped for cash and will be selling four pieces of surplus real estate around the county. Among the properties to be sold is the Alexander Graham Building at 118 North Churton Street in Hillsborough.
This remarkable and beautiful building is made of mortared stone in the Greek Revival style. It is only one story tall with a columned porch that makes the building look a bit like a miniature bank or courthouse.
The building’s cornerstone says “Graham Building 1930” and a little sleuthing shows that this was originally built as a private law office for Alexander H. Graham. Graham was at one time Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina and lived in Hillsborough at Montrose.
I don’t know why Lt. Gov. Graham chose to build such a solid and beautiful law office, but he did. By any standards this building is an inspired little piece of architecture and the method of construction appears to have been of uncompromising quality. Graham went for quality, not only in the finished surfaces, which are still beautiful and intact 80 years later, but in structural soundness. The building looks and feels like it will still be in downtown Hillsborough 80 years from now.
The minimum bid has been set at $130,000, and although the building is only about 700 square feet, I feel pretty confident that the County will get considerably more than that for it. I hope whoever buys this building will treat it like a treasure, because that is what it is.