Little Lake Hill

little lake hill circa1930
photo of original house circa 1930
Built in 1932 and occupied by a childless couple, the Fergusons, the original house sits high on a hill overlooking the pond and many ornamental gardens that were painstakingly built and nurtured by Mrs. Ferguson. Nancy was an artist and she designed and planned the gardens as though they were a painting. Stone walls, steps and rock barriers pop up unexpectedly everywhere, and within grow many hundreds of species of perennials, bulbs, herbs, shrubs and trees…. many of them rare, many of them native. The prettiest red maple tree in Raleigh sits in the front yard. It was the first tree Nancy and John put in the ground. She called it 'Sport'. In the fall people drive from all over to witness the blazing display of leaves. When the city threatened to cut the tree down in 1980 Mrs. Ferguson chained herself to the tree with a shotgun in her hand, threatening to shoot out the tires of the equipment the men brought with them to take down the tree! It still stands! I surely would do the same! Below you will find photos dating 1932-1937 that were shared with us by Margaret Voyles, John Ferguson's sister. The house, with the addition and renovations looks very different now, but still quite charming. The magnificent picture window (bottom picture) in the living room overlooks the driveway and where the pond once was. It is finally visible after a year of cleanup!
little lake hill today
The top of the flaming red maple the Ferguson's planted in 1932. It was the first plant they put in the ground and Nancy fondly named it 'Sport'. This is the tree Nancy Fergunson so adamantly defended in 1980 when the City of Raleigh threatened to cut it down.
little lake hill flaming red maple tree
'sport' the flaming and famous red maple tree
The maple has been cloned by Richard Taylor of Taylor's Nursery. Sometimes we have the clones available for a $30 donation per tree. The donations in the past have gone to Arbor Day Foundation , Wake County Meals on Wheels, and/or the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society. The crown of the tree died in 2008 but is growing back now. She has lost some of her grandeur, but is still one of the highlights for Raleigh's Peepers'. (Tree Peepers!)

Photos of Little Lake Hill circa 1930

little lake hill circa 1930 with sonw
Taken from the path to the waterfall and the trail around the lake, off the lower driveway.
little lake hill circa 1930
The arched doorway has been replaced with a large front porch with handmade 100 year old brick. There is now a wide overhang (like a skirt) all around the house, making it possible to walk all around the house without getting wet when it rains.
little lake hill circa 1930 red maple sport
The small window to the left of the chimney is now in a closet in the entryway. The half-moon window has a candle in it which shines at night. The 'twig' planted to the left of the snow-covered pine in front of the chimney could well be the red maple. Nancy Ferguson called it 'sport'.
little lake hill circa 1930 pond with sail boat Left picture is of the pond. Look hard and you can see Nancy is sitting on a pier feeding ducks. The boat was still in use to putter around the pond in the 1980's. Her favorite duck was named 'Duck Duck'! S/he is buried in the upper garden behind the house. Right side photo taken in 1937. We hope this will be possible again soon!
little lake hill circa 1930 pond and house snow
View of the picture window in the living room looking from the pond. Nancy kept somewhere around 145 African violets in that window. Eventually, she planted a vine around it to use as a natural curtain.