Morgan, Radford homes announced as sites 3, 4 for Courtyard & Garden Tour

Published 3:51 pm Sunday, April 2, 2023

Across Stanly County the arrival of spring brings an explosion of floral landscapes and the return of outdoor living. To celebrate the beauty of Albemarle and Stanly County, the Stanly County Historical Society will host an encore benefit Courtyard & Garden Tour 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 29.

Proceeds from this rain or shine event will fund educational programs and preservation initiatives of the Stanly County Historical Society, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. This self guided tour will allow access to 10 private and public courtyard and garden spaces stretching from Albemarle to Badin.

The tour features a variety of outdoor spaces including a Spanish influenced courtyard, an English cottage garden, Charleston inspired garden and a wildflower meadow.

The white brick ranch home and courtyard at 424 N. Tenth St. in Albemarle’s Forest Hills is Site No. 3. The childhood home of David Morgan has been home to David and his wife Mellanie since 2000 following the passing of his father, M.C. “Preacher” Morgan. The home was designed by a Florida architect and constructed by J.D. Harward & Son in 1950.

In 2001, David and Mellanie remodeled some of the Morgan homeplace to better enjoy the natural beauty of the backyard. On the left side of the house, a large kitchen with three double French glass doors took the place of the original two car garage. On the rear right side of the house, the screen porch was glassed in to provide a temperature-controlled sunroom to enjoy year round.

The house and back patio were built for entertaining. With spacious free flowing rooms on the inside, the den picture window looks out to a large slate patio enclosed with a Spanish style wall and a built-in brick charcoal station and chimney for grilling. The Spanish wall is antique chipped to blend with the natural backyard setting. A large towering chestnut tree creates shade for the patio.

The white brick ranch home and courtyard at 424 N. Tenth St. in Albemarle’s Forest Hills is Site No. 3. (Contributed)

Over the years, David’s mother and father added three additional cement patios to overlook the natural and wooded areas. Today, a herd of deer and other wildlife make this area their home year round.

A year or so before David’s mom, Eloise Mabry Morgan, died in 1973, “Preacher” built her a fish pond with a working waterfall between one patio and the Spanish wall. Rocks to make the pond wall and waterfall were gathered from nearby woods and creeks.

Last year for the first time, goldfish hatched and now live in the 50-plus-year-old pond.

In 1989, during Hurricane Hugo, a tree fell on the rear center of the Spanish wall. Instead of building back the wall, David and Mellanie built an outdoor fireplace to match the original patio architecture to use in the evening during the cooler months.

As the sun sets, exterior ground lights illuminate the white painted brick of the house and antiqued Spanish wall. Accent lights are placed in both the front and back yard to highlight specific areas of the landscape. Four 500 watt flood lights, mounted on the roof, light up the large backyard trees. When the trees have leaves, these lights create a softly lit canopy over all of the backyard patios.

From around the golden flagstone walk leading to the home’s front door to the area around the backyard patios, Mellanie has transplanted many of the shrubs and colorful azaleas from their original location in 1950.

Site No. 4 is the garden at 1620 Bellamy Circle. It is evident that Maurice and Margaret Radford have spent 37 years planting and cultivating their outdoor space. Once part of the Loftin Farms estate, their garden features multiple patios, walking paths, a koi pond and spots for meditation. Azaleas, camellias, bulbs and perennials provide an explosion of color, while many unique ornamental trees and shrubs offer tranquility and encourage wildlife nesting.

The natural setting has afforded the Radfords many hours of enjoyment. Over the years, they have observed a variety of wildlife. Deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, foxes, skunks, Canadian geese and blue herons have visited their garden. Numerous birds, barred owls, and woodpeckers are frequent garden guests.

Site No. 4 is the garden at 1620 Bellamy Circle. (Contributed)

Advance $15 wristband tickets are available at the Stanly County History Center, 157 N. Second St., Albemarle, or by mail order from Stanly County Historical Society, PO Box 1384, Albemarle, NC 28002.
Pre-paid mail orders will be held at the will call station at the 1852 Isaiah Snuggs House, 112 N. Third St., Albemarle, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tickets purchased on the day of the tour will be available for $20 at the Isaiah Snuggs House. All ticket sales are non-refundable donations.

Direct inquiries to or call 704-986-3777.