(Below in italics is from the 1985 National Register listing; not verified for accuracy by this author.)
Large two story Neoclassical residence with center hall plan and French doors leading to living and dining rooms. Weatherboard siding, hipped roof. Stone bungalow piers support large front porch with hip roof which continues over a side carriage porch.
From Preservation Durham Home Tour "Then & Now" May 2022
Sometimes an old house gets lucky. Sometimes its buyers choose not only to purchase the house and make it their ownbut also to respect its past, cherish both its beauty and its idiosyncrasies, and guard the memories of those who came before. Such is the case with the 1924 James S. Satterfield and Annie L. Satterfield House on North Mangum Street, where the most recent buyers, a young couple who have embarked on a thorough and thoughtful restoration, have allowed history be their guide.
The homeowners moved to Durham a little over ten years ago for graduate school and work. They settled in Old North Durham after happening upon an Indy article about Durham’s next “up-and-coming neighborhood.” They purchased a small 1940s home on a quiet street and fell in love with the neighborhood. After awhile, they began thinking about needing more space and talked with an architect about adding on to their current home. In 2020 they got a bit more serious, and began to look for a larger home. Though they considered the Trinity Park and the Watts-Hillandale neighborhoods, which they found charming, they really liked Old North Durham and hoped to find a home there. In their dreams, the home would be big and old, a time capsule where no one had changed anything that was original, but had simply taken care of it and let it be.
When the unusual-looking house at 1204 N. Mangum, with its pink trim and pink roof, came on the market in July 2020, they were intrigued by the photos they saw online, but the price was simply too high. When the house was taken off the market, they were disappointed to have missed it but realized that they needed to be ready to buy if something similar came along.
Happily, 1204 N. Mangum came back on the market in October 2020 at a much- reduced price. The house had foundation issues, which of course could be fixed, but these issues may have frightened away other buyers. The new homeowners purchased the house in November 2020 and now had the big old house they wanted. The house was much as it was when it was built in 1924. Because they lived nearby and did not need to hurry to move into the house, the owners were able to take their time to find out about the house’s history and to hire the right contractor and designer for the restoration work that needed to be done.
It was April 1923 when tobacconist James S. Satterfield purchased the lot at 1204 N. Mangum Street to make a home for himself, his siblings, and his cousin. They hired the Durham architectural firm of Rose & Rose to design the house and contractor Tyson Edward Crisp to build it.
James S. Satterfield, the eldest of eight children, came to Durham with his siblings and a cousin from Flat River Township in Person County, north of Durham, in 1907. They all settled together, renting a large Victorian house at 411 Morris Street. (This house still stands, holding out as the last residence on this block which is now mostly parking lots and staging areas for new construction.) James and his brother Frank were in their early thirties when they moved to Durham. Their sisters and brothers ranged in age from fourteen to twenty-three. Both James and Frank started out as merchants. James was the president of the Eureka Grocery Company on Parrish Street, while Frank was vice president of the Durham Notion Company on Corcoran.
By 1911 Frank had married and James had become a tobacco buyer. Brothers Ira and Walter had also entered the tobacco business, working for the American Tobacco Company. The sisters, Mary, Annie, Luna, and Nannie, were either students or teachers at this time. Education was important to this family, with James and Frank having attended the Caldwell Institute in Orange County, while the sisters attended Elon College, with summer study at the university in Chapel Hill.
After Frank married, he stayed on at Morris Street. James and the rest of the family lived in rented homes first on Milton Avenue (South Buchanan today) and later on East Geer Street. James continued in the tobacco industry, working as a buyer for Export Leaf Tobacco Co., a subsidiary of James B. Duke’s British-American Tobacco. Ira also worked for Export Leaf. He married and eventually moved to Warsaw in eastern North Carolina. Walter studied for the ministry and served overseas in World War I. He was a Methodist minister in Vance County after the war and later lived in a veteran’s home in Tennessee. Sisters Annie, Luna, and Nannie worked as teachers. Mary seems to have suffered from health issues which may have prevented her from working outside the home.
The family members who moved into the new home at 1204 N. Magnum in 1924 were siblings James, Mary, Annie, Luna, and Nannie Satterfield, and their cousin George Dewey Ray.
Like many Rose & Rose-designed houses in Durham, the Satterfield House is an eclectic mix of Neoclassical and Craftsman elements. It is a two-story hipped roof house with a full facade front porch terminating in a porte cochere on the north side. On the porch and continuing around to define the porte cochere, paneled box posts rest on piers of granite ashlar laid in a random pattern. Other decorative elements on the exterior facade abound, including brackets in the eaves, and a Chinese Chippendale balustrade around the porch roof deck, elements of which are also found in the porch rail. The attic gable contains an arch cut out, revealing a pair of decorative attic windows. The three-bay facade suggests the central hall plan of the interior. Inside, rich crown moldings, solid oak flooring, and French and single-panel pine doors, stained a deep brown, are among the details and materials immediately noticed. One enters through a multi-paned front door with sidelights and a transom into a large hall. The living room is to the right and the dining room to the left. Straight ahead one finds the stair to the second story. The large living room contains seven nine-over-one windows, three along the porch wall and two pair on either side of the Craftsman-style brick fireplace along the south wall. Similarly the dining room contains three nine-over- windows along the porch wall and two more windows placed along the north wall. Natural light flourishes in all rooms of this house.
From the formal dining room one moves through the swinging door to the breakfast room and kitchen areas of the house. The built-in breakfast nook and butler’s pantry cabinets and furnishings are original Rose & Rose designs found in several Durham houses from this period. The kitchen is new, replacing a kitchen put in by former owners in the 1980s. Photographs of the original kitchen show a large cast iron sink along the north wall with pantry closets on either side.
Also on the first floor, behind the living room, is the parlor bedroom with a fireplace and a bathroom. The “parlor bedroom” is a design holdover from the Victorian era – a time when large families lived together and elder family members aged in place. Upstairs are four bedrooms. On the south side, two bedrooms originally opened into a bathroom, but the bedroom doors to the bath have been removed so that the bathroom is now accessed only through the hall. Originally there was a sewing room between the bedrooms along the west (front) side of the house, but the homeowners have converted the sewing room to another bathroom so that the northwest bedroom is now a master suite. The owners searched to find vintage fixtures to furnish the new bath. The original upstairs bath still retains many of its original fittings and fixtures.
Soon after moving into this house, from 1931 and until his retirement in 1947, James partnered with his brother Frank as owners of important Durham tobacco sales warehouses, both the Liberty Warehouse (also known as Satterfield & Stone) and the Big Four Warehouse, for a time. Tobacco warehouses covered large areas surrounding downtown and were the market centers of the tobacco industry, the places where farmers brought their tobacco and the manufacturers purchased it at auction. The 1934 Durham city directory states that before Durham’s warehouses were built, farmers had to take their tobacco to Richmond and other Virginia cities to sell it, and then manufacturers had to pay to transport it back to their Durham factories. The Durham warehouses alleviated these needless transportation issues, and
by 1934, the directory states that Durham was becoming one of the largest bright leaf tobacco markets in the world, selling between 28 and 33 million pounds of tobacco each season.
Various members of the Satterfield family made 1204 N. Mangum Street their home through the 1970s. Mary died in
1932. Cousin Dewey married and moved out and died in 1935. Luna, a schoolteacher for 20 years, died in 1948. Nannie married and moved out of the house, but returned as a widow with her daughter and died in 1949. James died in 1953. Annie, a longtime schoolteacher and former principal, continued on in the house until she died in 1978 at the age of 92.
The house has had three additional ownerships since it left the Satterfield family in the early 1980s. All have been preservation minded and have worked to care for the house rather than alter it. If minor changes were made, changing out a light fixture, for instance, the fixture was labelled and placed in the attic. Many of these treasures have been reused in the current restoration work. The current owners hired Acanthus Construction and Four Over One Design for their restoration project. Both of these firms helped restore dozens of Durham properties and possess a solid commitment to the preservation of Durham’s historic homes.
Thanks to all involved, the Satterfield House is now primed for another century of happy inhabitancy.