House in the Horseshoe site.
Wednesday, September 6, 2023

House in the Horseshoe to Receive Federal Preservation Grant

Sep 6, 2023

A North Carolina state historic site, one of only a few known surviving houses from the American Revolution that still bear the scars of the war, was recently selected to receive federal preservation grant funding.

A $444,926 grant from the National Park Service Semiquincentennial Grant Program of the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) will be used to do important preservation work at the House in the Horseshoe (ca. 1770) on the Deep River near Sanford, N.C.

The house was owned by Philip Alston, whose band of colonists seeking independence from Britain was attacked in 1781 during the American Revolution by British loyalists led by David Fanning. Additionally affected by the skirmish were 20 enslaved Black laborers who lived and worked on the Alston plantation. Later, four-term governor Benjamin Williams lived in the house, which now features antiques from the colonial and Revolutionary War eras.

“This grant will enable the House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site to undergo its first significant update in 46 years,” said D. Reid Wilson, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “As we prepare to celebrate America’s 250th anniversary, historic sites like this one are a vital part of telling America’s story and commemorating North Carolina’s contributions to the founding of the United States.”

The renovations will include making needed structural repairs; treating all lumber exposed to the elements for mold and termites; performing a historic structures report to understand how the home has evolved; conducting a paint analysis to restore colors to original scheme; installing a new HVAC system; installing project signage with QR codes that link to in-depth historical information, data, photographs and maps to help visitors understand and interpret history; and updating the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places to include more research.

“We are beyond thrilled by the transformative possibilities these funds open up for new and expanded audiences to access our state’s rich and layered stories,” said Historic Sites Division Director Michelle Lanier.

Today, the site hosts a Revolutionary War reenactment and living history programs each year, using the power of place-based learning to convey history. It welcomes 25,000 visitors each year, who are able to enter the home and see the actual bullet holes that riddled the Alston home, including the very fireplace where the Alston children hid during the attack.

The National Park Service (NPS) awarded $10 million in the second round of funding from the Semiquincentennial Grant Program commemorating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States. Created by Congress in 2020 and funded through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), this round of grants will support 20 cultural resource preservation projects across 14 states.

This project is supported through a grant from the Semiquincentennial grant program of the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) as administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior. For more information about NPS historic preservation programs and grants, please visit

The HPF uses revenue from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, assisting with a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars, with the intent to mitigate the loss of a nonrenewable resource to benefit the preservation of other irreplaceable resources.

Established in 1977, the HPF is authorized at $150 million per year through 2023 and has provided more than $2 billion in historic preservation grants to states, Tribes, local governments, and nonprofit organizations. Administered by the NPS, HPF funds may be appropriated by Congress to support a variety of historic preservation projects to help preserve the nation’s cultural resources.

About the National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.

The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the North Carolina Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit

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