‘Strangest house in the nation’

By Kristian Whitesell and Paul Jordan
Times-News correspondents

KERNERSVILLE — Located in the heart of the Triad is a piece of art like no other. Built 131 years ago by Jule Körner, grandson of the Kernersville town founder, Körner’s Folly has been described as “the strangest house in the nation” and opens its doors to visitors year-round.

The house, when inhabited by its original owners, Jule and his wife, Polly, served not only as a home but also a showcase of Jule’s work for his interior design business.

Körner's Folly, located in Kernersville, has been described as the "strangest house in the nation."

Located at 413 S. Main St., this famous home has many unique features. There are 22 rooms spanning seven levels across three floors. Fifteen fireplaces, each with different tile designs, are placed throughout the house and feed into only five chimneys. Ceiling heights range from a mere 5½ feet to a towering 25 feet.

“This home shows the architectural genius and is a living history of Jule Körner,” said Bruce Frankel, executive director of Körner’s Folly.

The massive treasure features many intimate details; every molding around windows, fireplaces and shelving features different designs. It’s easy to tell what pieces of furniture Jule created himself — his signature touches include beading and rope designs around the edges.

Ninety percent of the furniture is original to the house, including the grand piano on the top floor of the home, which houses the first private little theater in the U.S.

These intricate details even extend to the floors and ceilings. Carpet wasn’t common in the 19th century, so home designers would often lay the wood flooring and create magnificent patterns and pictures, as is so at Körner’s Folly. The ceilings in the house are no less spectacular; many feature paintings of angelic cherubs ad tobacco leaves, showing the southern origins of the house.

Folly or not, this local attraction is sure to amaze you. Serving as a living history, Körner’s Folly greets its guest with open doors and an interesting story or two.

 Kristian Whitesell is a high school graduate and Paul Jordan is a senior at Western Alamance High School; both are Teens & Twenties writers.


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