History of the Joel Lane House

Many visitors want to know what happened to Joel Lane’s house after his death. Here’s a time line:

ca. 1770 Col. Joel Lane built the house and around 1793 changed the original gable roof line to gambrel, enlarging the upstairs rooms.

1795 - 12/31/1808 Thomas Lane, a minor son aged 10 years, inherited the house which was then rented. Thomas lived with his cousin, Martin Lane.

1809 - ca. 1813 Dr. Allen W. Gilchrist, husband to Col. Lane’s daughter Dorothy, bought the house from Thomas Lane.

Ca. 1813 -1818 Peter Browne, a local attorney, bought the house. Tradition maintains that he removed the Lane headstones in order to plant cabbages in the family burial plot!

1818 - 1919 William Boylan and family willed the house to several different descendants.

1840 One room school house or office (now the Visitors Center) was built.

Prior to 1872 The Boylans added the school/office on the side of the house.

1911 The Boylans moved the house to its present location and moved the 1840 addition to the back of the house since the new lot was too narrow for it to remain on the side.

1919 Josephine Boylan Van Patten and husband, E. H. Patten, sold the house to R.H. Merritt.

1927 R. H. Merritt (1st. party) and Raleigh Savings Loan (2nd. party) sold the house to the Colonial Dames of Wake County for $5,000.

March 30, 1974 Lane family bones reburied in City Cemetery.

April 22, 1976 Official opening of the restoration of the Joel Lane House. The 1840 addition was removed during the restoration since it was decided to return the house to its 1793-4 configuration. The addition was located at the rear of the Joel Lane House garden and served as rental property referred to as a dependency.

Dec. 1976 The Ruth Coltrane Cannon Cup was awarded to Joel Lane House, Inc. The Cup, the state’s most prestigious preservation award, is presented annually.

April 23, 1978 The garden, designed by Donald Parker of Colonial Williamsburg, opened to the public.

June 7, 1979 The “kitchen,” actually a c. 1795 middle class residence, was transported by truck to the site for restoration.

1990 Landscape Architect, Major “Mac” Newsom updated the garden design.

April 23, 2007 Dependency opened as Visitors Center which includes offices and gift shop.

April, 2010 Public restroom addition to the Visitors Center, designed by David Maurer Architects and built by Greg Paul Builders, officially opened.

2011 Storage shed designed and built by Greg Paul Builders opened.

2014 New fixtures for the Museum Store were added to the Visitors Center.

2015 New fixtures for the office and the rest of the store were added to the Visitors Center.