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Home North Carolina Cabarrus County City of Kannapolis Historical Markers Mill Hill

Mill Hill

Stirewell Road at Mooresville Road, Kannapolis, NC, USA
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Early example of Greek Revival architecture in South. Built, circa 1821, by Jacob Stirewalt. House stands one mile southeast."
     Most of the early settlers of what is today Cabarrus County were either Scotch-Irish or German immigrants. The Germans were concentrated in the northeastern and eastern sections of the county and were often skilled tradesmen. One such well-trained and talented builder was Jacob Stirewalt, who built his home, “Mill Hill,” beginning in 1821 on a high spot overlooking a stream where he eventually built a series of mills. The mills had various functions: woolen mill, grist mill, saw mill, and cotton gin. They furnished Stirewalt with funds to furnish his house with fine furniture and trim that he purchased from as far away as New York. One of the home’s most interesting furnishings was a pipe organ featuring ninety-three hand made pipes painted in bright colors, and was one of the first to be installed in a private home. Stirewalt relied on pattern books and academic training to complete his house, including sending a son to train with Ithiel Towne in New York.

     One of the earliest and most architecturally important Greek Revival homes in the South, “Mill Hill” features both Federal and Greek Revival styles. Thomas Waterman called “Mill Hill” “an essay in pastoral classic beauty.” The home’s most impressive feature is a full porch with fluted Doric columns and a stylized entablature. Interior elements are highlighted by fine mantles featuring academically rendered urns, moldings and surrounds. Stirewalt’s ability as a builder pushed him into the forefront of county architecture and he is attributed as the leading influence on the construction of the Cabarrus County Courthouse in 1826 and other prominent homes throughout the county.

     Stirewalt was a multi-faceted individual, also working as a cabinetmaker while operating a general store and post office on his farm in addition to managing his mills. Stirewalt’s enterprises were inherited by his son but the property passed out of the hands of the family for a period when all of the buildings except the main house disappeared. It was purchased by a Stirewalt descendant in 1938, who restored the main house, which is still a private home and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Peter Kaplan, The Historic Architecture of Cabarrus County, North Carolina (1981)
Catherine Bishir and Michael Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003)
Adelaide and Eugenia Lore, Open the Gate and Roam Cabarrus With Us (1971)
Frances Benjamin Johnston and Thomas Waterman, The Early Architecture of North Carolina (1941)