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Körner’s Folly

Körner’s Folly | Kernersville, NC

Kernersville NC Korner's Folly

Photo credit: Körner’s Folly

Fascinating, Amazing, Enchanting

If you are anywhere near Winston-Salem, Greensboro or High Point, consider a detour through the small town of Kernersville and plan a visit to Körner’s Folly. It’s not the most beautiful Victorian-influenced house you’ll ever see, with its uneven floors and mismatched windows. It is, however, one of the most intriguing buildings ever, with 22 rooms that are spread over three stories and seven levels (good walking shoes a must).

The building was started in 1878 by Jule Gilmer Körner, an interior and furniture designer, decorator and painter who planned to showcase his expertise to potential clients. He filled it with his favorite designs and renovated constantly to show off new ideas and creations.

There are 15 different fireplaces, and ceiling heights that range from 5½ feet to 25 feet. A unique air distribution system is accomplished through pivoting windows and interesting openings. There are cubbyholes and trap doors, quirky corners and the list goes on. A neighbor coined the phrase “Körner’s Folly” and Körner was so amused he had the name placed in tiles on the front porch.

Neighbors were invited to see the finished product on Easter Day, in 1880. The house was quite the sensation, with its decorative murals and unusual artwork. A former stable was renovated into a library and sewing room. The top level houses Cupid’s Park, a private theater that many believe is the first of its kind in America. The most popular room in the house, it’s decorated with eight hand-painted murals featuring cherubs and is still used quite frequently for performances.

WOW Factor: Every room has a story to tell and the best way to start is by watching the eight-minute tour introduction video in the gift shop before beginning your exploration. It will help you know what to look for and why.

Hint: This is a family-friendly attraction. There are scavenger hunts and activities specifically for children, so be sure to download information in advance or pick up instructions in the gift shop when you arrive. Paper dolls and other crafts are also available to download. If you’re there around lunchtime, Pegg House Tea Room comes highly recommended. It’s another 1800s Victorian house that has been converted into a restaurant and offers high tea as well as sandwiches and salads. Admission to Körner’s Folly: Adults, $10/ Children 6-18, $6. Open Thursday-Sunday. Check for times.

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