(Courtesy Jon and Shannon Thornburg)
Carl C. Woods, a general contractor later known simply as "CC Woods" built the large house at 217 West Geer St. around 1939-1940. It evidently served solely as the primary residence for him and his wife until about 1948, when they opened a 'tourist hotel' (a bed-and-breakfast of sorts) in their home. The obverse side of the above postcard reads:
"Private or Connecting Baths and Showers, Steam heat, Beauty Sleep Mattresses. The Restover - Tourist
Mrs. CC Woods
217 W Geer Street
Running Water in Rooms
US Highway 15 and 501
The Woods evidently lived in the house and ran the Restover until 1959, when it appears they moved elsewhere, and the house became an apartment building. It appears that it has been such ever since, albeit in ever-declining form as the neighborhood fell on increasingly harder times. Most recently, it appears to have suffered from a bad case of off-the-rack-window home depotitis. If the window doesn't fit, just shrink the opening.
217 West Geer, 07.24.08
The house was purchased by CASA in 2010 and is being renovated as apartments
Submitted by MK (not verified) on Wed, 7/30/2008 - 9:54am
Wow, but those two trees have grown!
Submitted by John Martin (not verified) on Wed, 7/30/2008 - 10:53am
Before he simply became a name on cake mixes, Duncan Hines published travel guides called "Adventures in Good Eating" and "Lodging for a Night." When I was a kid, my mother used to swear by his recommendations.
Anyway, I still have a 1947 copy of "Lodging for a Night," and it mentions the Restover. Here's what he says:
"Guest House: Restover. 217 W. Greer (sic) St. Open all year. This beautiful old (sic) Colonial house has 14 rms nicely furnished. For 2, $2.00-$3.00."
Just as a point of comparison, the Washington Duke was also recommended ("thoroughly modern in every detail") and charged "$4.00 up."
So it obviously became a tourist home before 1947. I wonder if they built it with that in mind? Or, since Duncan Hines called it "old", I wonder if they simply greatly expanded an existing structure? Do you happen to know what was on that site earlier?
What has happened to it is awful.
Submitted by Gary (not verified) on Wed, 7/30/2008 - 11:46am
Thank you! I've read about those guides, but I've never seen one. I researched this by going through each city directory. The first one that I found the Restover listed in was 1948. There was nothing on the lot in 1937, and the address 217/ CC Woods doesn't appear in the city directory until 1939-1940. I think Mr. Hines just assumed that it wss more colonial than colonial revival.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 7/30/2008 - 12:06pm
Isn't the for sale sign still in front of the house? I don't see it in the picture. It has been on the market for months.
I know El Kilombo was trying to raise money to buy this house to have a permanent location.
Submitted by Gary (not verified) on Wed, 7/30/2008 - 12:19pm
I think I did see a "For Sale" sign, but I couldn't find a listing online.
Submitted by Lamond (not verified) on Wed, 7/30/2008 - 1:24pm
anonymous is correct, the home is listed by America's Best Realty for $235,000:
217 West Geer
Property being Sold 'AS IS'. This is a 6 unit multi family building. A lot of renovations have taken place already. New AC units, windows, ceramic tiles, wiring, etc. Building comprised of 1 to 3 bedroom units. Must see, great for an investor to complete the renovation work. Three story building with a basement.
ListHub shows an asking price of $199,500:
ListHub - 217 W Geer Street, Durham, NC, 27701
Submitted by John Martin (not verified) on Wed, 7/30/2008 - 8:57pm
Well, isn't that a bargain! According to the tax records, the current owners, who are from Texas, bought the building in May,2007 for $58,526. Now, after remuddling it, they'll let you have it for only 199,500.
Don't we have enough of these local vandals without importing them from f**kin' Texas as well?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 7/30/2008 - 8:59pm
yeah, those trees are amazing
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 7/30/2008 - 9:05pm
the window thing drives me insane! how can they even get away with that and call it a renovation? and ask a price for it!? bah.
Submitted by Lynn (not verified) on Wed, 7/30/2008 - 11:20pm
John Martin, I have no idea why SJM Properties would target buying THIS property in THIS city. It does seem strange...they don't show up as owners of record on any other Durham property, and more interestingly, they don't show up as owners of any property in Dallas (Dallas County) nor the sister city of Fort Worth (Tarrant County). Search parameters used were "SJM Properties" and "SJM Properties LLC".
Slumlord real-estate speculating is a long-standing Durham tradition. I see not much has changed. *sigh*
Recognize that you're blessed to have community members who care what happens, and be thankful that you're not out here living in *ahem* "f**kin' Texas". It's worse than you can possibly imagine. :)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 7/31/2008 - 2:46pm
A renovation can (and often does) include bad additions, undersized cheap windows, gutting original trim, etc. and etc.
A restoration, however, is when you [are supposed to] "do it right."
Some knuckleheads, however, like to use the term restoration when they really mean renovation.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 7/31/2008 - 2:59pm
This is so sad to look at this house. What a grand house that has been carved up, and architecturally "f'd up" with its pathetic attempt to renovate. Those windows themselves are enough to make me not even want to look at the place. Again and again, the attempt to get the absolute most financially out of, by doing everything on the absolute cheap seems to rule. Quality workmanship, and a concern for your community and the structure itself gets thrown out when a property pimp like SJM's gotta make that buck...
Submitted by Minerva (not verified) on Thu, 7/31/2008 - 5:41pm
The green spray painted house numbers are a wonderful finishing touch.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 8/1/2008 - 1:00am
It actually went through a foreclosure a year or two ago. SJM was the lender and took it back.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 8/8/2008 - 4:36am
Are those two 'sticks' in the old picture those grand trees that stand today? What an awesome sight!
The "rennovation" leaves much to be desired. Ugh. Out of state investors. What do you expect?
Submitted by SteveG (not verified) on Fri, 7/10/2009 - 7:17pm
During the "City Hall this Week" program on TV it was mentioned that the city has obtained $2.1 million in stimulus dollars to stabilize struggling neighborhoods. Included among these are the many multi-unit buildings on W. Geer, and 217 W. Geer was specifically called out. Apparently the building will be repaired (renovated? restored?) for use by a group called CASA.
I was unable to find a video archive of this weeks program, but some info is on the City's web site.
Submitted by Steve Graff (not verified) on Fri, 10/30/2009 - 6:09pm
I was looking back at this post. Haven't seen any action occurring at The Restover. I found the link to the City Hall This Week episode from June 16 here:
Submitted by Floor (not verified) on Sun, 2/14/2010 - 4:19am
This house is for sale by owner (the lender who foreclosed on it), The owner can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org, seller can pay a referral or finder fee of 3%
Submitted by Marti (not verified) on Fri, 5/4/2012 - 7:09pm
Just in case the reverse of the postcard isn't in your files. Found on Ancestry.com in its postcard records.
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