The Barton-Graves House

Barton College President’s Home


Celebrating 100 Years • 1923-2023

History of the Barton-Graves House

About the Barton-Graves House


Designed by prominent Greensboro architect Harry Barton and built in 1923 for Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Graves, the Barton-Graves House is considered one of the finest examples of Neo-Georgian architecture North Carolina. The home exudes Southern charm  as one of the most impressive early 20th century residences in Wilson. Nestled behind a low brick and manicured boxwood perimeter, the home and gardens span two-thirds of a city block. The gardens showcase many original plantings by Mrs. W.W. Graves, including azaleas, camellias, and peonies, among others.The floor plan or “footprint” has not been changed since it was built. The total square footage of the home measures about 7,000 square feet with a full basement and attic, and sits on approximately 2.5 acres of property.



The architect, Harry Barton (the name is coincidental, not related to the naming of Barton College) of Greensboro, was one of the leading architects in North Carolina during the early twentieth century. Barton is perhaps best known for his courthouses in Alamance, Cumberland, Guilford, Johnston, and Surry Counties. The Graves House was his only Wilson commission. J.W. Stout and Company of Sanford were contracted for the construction. The W.W. Graves House, Garage, and Grounds were officially recognized as historic property by the City of Wilson on February 27, 1986.



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Learn More About Barton-Graves House

Barton celebrates the home’s centennial here through the voices of some who are closely affiliated.

Barton College’s First Lady, Beth Searcy, discusses the beauty of the house, the many events held there, and the nuances of family life in a home that hosts more than a 100 events a year.

General contractor Ches Joyner discusses the renovation of the Carriage House.

Verna Farmer reflects on her 20 years as the housekeeper at the Barton-Graves House.

Eliza Stephenson discusses her work as an interior decorator at the Barton-Graves House.

Bobby Boykin discusses some of the architectural features, as well as the silver and china collections of Barton-Graves House.

Monica Davis, Executive Director of Preservation of Wilson, discusses the historical importance the Barton-Graves House in Wilson and North Carolina.

Celebrating 100 Years!