Ayr Mount

Hillsborough, North Carolina

A Piedmont Showpiece

Ayr Mount, Hillsborough, North Carolina, 1814-1815

Landscape and fishing pond facing rear side of Ayr Mount. Captured by Thesis Content, 04/2021.

The Makers of Ayr Mount

William Kirkland sought many of the most accomplished tradespeople in Orange County for his ambitious house, and he found them.  As a trade, brick masonry was in its infancy in this region in the 1810s. Perhaps this accounts for scanty mention of the brick mason William Collier both before and after his work at Ayr Mount. It is tempting to suppose that he is the same mason named William Collier who spent most of his later years in Madison County, Kentucky. Before Orange County established a regular demand for high-quality brickwork like that at Ayr Mount, masons were oftentimes, by necessity, on-the-move.

The architect of Ayr Mount, if there was one as such, is not named in Kirkland family papers. Remarkably, however, William Collier and another builder are. And we can identify a third due to his involvement in similar projects in the region.  This trio of tradesmen who gave Ayr Mount its form are William Collier, the brick mason, John Joyner Briggs, who built the stair and the wainscoting, and Elhannon Nutt, who was responsible for much of the decorative joinery in the house, including its inventive mantels.

Brick detail of jack arches over the cellar windows at Ayr Mount.


National Register of Historic Places
Historic American Buildings Survey -Library of Congress