“Both architecturally and historically, the Gen. Robert F. Hoke House is one of Lincoln County’s most important structures.” So wrote architectural and historical consultant, Marvin Brown, in the 1986 publication, Our Enduring Past, an architectural survey of 225 years of Lincoln County architecture.
Built in 1835 by local attorney, Michael Hoke, the house later passed to his son, Confederate Major General Robert F. Hoke, who was born in the house in 1837. The elder Hoke was not only prominent locally, but also served eight years in the North Carolina House of Representatives. As well, in 1844, Hoke famously ran for Governor against fellow Lincoln County native, William A. Graham. Following Graham’s victory, an exhausted Michael Hoke fell ill and died only months after the election at the age of 34.
The unusual H-plan Greek Revival house that he built for his bride, Frances Burton, is rare, and is the only such plan in the county from that era. It still retains original pine floors, plaster walls, fluted door and window surrounds with bullseye corner blocks, and original spiral brackets decorating the stair treads. The floor plan is basically unaltered, featuring a wide entry hall from which two rooms open on each side, both on the ground floor and upper level, for a total of eight large rooms around the two large central hallway rooms. A later kitchen and full bath were added to the rear of the home. As well, there is a half bath on the second level.
The exterior details include two-story tall corner pilasters, pedimented gables, nine-over-six windows on the lower level, and a recessed front doorway and transom that appears to have been modeled on Plate 35 of Asher Benjamin’s Practice of Architecture, published in 1833. The existing front porch with columns is a later addition, replacing an original wraparound porch. In the 20th century, the house was moved one lot down from its original location on the corner of North Aspen and East Chestnut Streets. Today it occupies 1.7 acres in the center portion of the 100 block of East Chestnut.