Ayr Mount is a Federal-era plantation house built in 1815 in Hillsborough, North Carolina by William Kirkland. Kirkland, named the house in honor of his birthplace, Ayr, Scotland. Unlike the other houses in the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust collection, Ayr Mount looks deceptively simple, even austere on the outside. There are no soaring columns proclaiming its classicism. On the other hand, Ayr Mount is far grander – especially in the interior – than one might expect from a first look at the exterior. The ceiling height of 14 feet is unusual for this period as is the elaborate Federal period woodwork and plasterwork found throughout the house. Ayr Mount also was the first major residence built of brick in this area of predominantly colonial era wood frame houses. At the time of its construction at the end of the War of 1812, Ayr Mount was considered one of the finest residential structure in Piedmont North Carolina. Visit this historic house.
Hillsborough itself is one of the oldest communities in North Carolina and was an important center of trade at the time of the American Revolution, serving briefly as the state capital when the then-capital of New Bern was held by the British. Hillsborough is full of charming old colonial houses, but Ayr Mount, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the crown jewel and well worth a visit.
What’s Going On at Ayr Mount.
To watch! On May 1st, UNC-TV featured Ayr Mount on Collecting Carolina. MESDA Associate Curator Daniel Ackermann joined Julia Carpenter to talk about the original home furnishings and special North Carolina collections to be seen on a tour of this 1815 house. Click here to view the full broadcast. And come experience this house for yourself – visit this NC jewel in person!
Also in May, the Wrightsville Beach Magazine featured a special section about Hillsborough, NC – read “The Sweet Life: 36 Hours in Hillsborough” (see pp 70-71 about Ayr Mount). Explore what gems this town has to offer: great places for art, antiques, books, award-winning restaurants, and – of course a trip to this historic town would not be replete without – a visit to Ayr Mount’s Poet’s Walk and the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail.
Don’t miss P. Gaye Tapp’s in-depth conversation with Richard Jenrette published in WALTER Magazine this May. Click here to download a copy of this exclusive interview.
We are also delighted to present a new downloadable brochure about Ayr Mount. Click here to access the PDF.