Cleghorn Plantation House is Reborn

Over the past two years, I have chronicled the decay of the historic 1835 Cleghorn Plantation house, and the outcry from my readers has been universal. “How can this kind of thing happen to a piece of Western North Carolina history?” Although the bankrupt development containing the house was sold to The Challenge Golf Group, Ltd., a Texas based corporation, in 2010, legal roadblocks and lawsuits prevented any work to be done on the site, and the golf course closed in October, 2012. The future of the house looked bleak. Last winter, the legal cases were finally settled, and the development was reacquired by its former owner, Ken Bortner, who immediatly began rehabilitating the course, the swimming pool, and all public areas. The course opened for business on March 1, and, best of all, Ken Bortner began to repair and restore the long suffering plantation house.

Cleghorn Plantation Main Gate

The main entrance has been totally redone, and a new artistic copper sculpture of the original house has been added.
Cleghorn Plantation Copper Sculpture

Cleghorn Plantation House

At sunset, the newly repaired exterior glows in a way not seen in years. The land where the house and golf course sits was given to William Cleghorn by King George II in 1752.

Cleghorn Plantation Front Elevation

The house has been made water tight, and rotting wood has been replaced. A new coat of paint gives the dowager a new lease on life. These double deck porches are relatively recent to the house, but the added square footage will contribute to the financial viability of the house when it once again opens to the public.

Cleghorn Plantation Porch Corner

Cleghorn Plantation Teak Porch

The floor of the front porch is weather resistant teak. Very beautiful!

Cleghorn Plantation Western View

The western view toward the Blue Ridge Mountains is as breathtaking as ever.

The interior has been cleaned and decluttered in preparation for remodeling. Although it would be nice to think that it will be restored to its antebellum glory with antiques and artwork from the period, most likely it will be reoutfitted for receptions and meetings. These rooms were originally bed chambers because they were cooler in the summer than the second floor. The main entrance was at the top of a sweeping outdoor staircase on the upper floor. At least it is being preserved, and those 18″ thick brick walls aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Cleghorn Plantation First Tee

The golf course has been brought back to its original 1972 glory, when it was voted as one of the top 100 golf courses in America. The stone work around the tees, above, was done by local stone mason Mike Connor. The course was designed by George Cobb, who also designed the Par 3 course at Augusta National, and Quail Hollow in Charlotte.

Cleghorn Plantation Sixth Hole

The view from the top of the sixth hole rivals any mountain course anywhere in North Carolina. Ken Bortner, working with his new General manger and Director of Golf, Dave Long, has made a major financial commitment into the property, and Cleghorn Plantation has risen from the ashes. Make sure you look at past postings about this iconic piece of history.

The video below was made at the top of hole 6. It really shows the elevation change from tee to fairway. That’s me on the tee, by the way. It’s a minute long.

7 thoughts on “Cleghorn Plantation House is Reborn

  1. I am so glad it is being restored……….it most definitely is a very important part of WNC history!  It is quite beautiful outside, hope the inside turns out just as beautiful…will stay tuned! Patsy


  2. The interior brick walls are interesting, and it looks like they might try to restore a mural in the stairway room. Might be work for you there!

    So many other buildings are important for a golf course. Where is the clubhouse, the starter shed, the gift shop? How will this one gracious building fit in?

    • Deb… The clubhouse is just down from the big house. Just a small snack bar is inside. There is no gift shop, yet, but that could change. The house will most likely be used for wedding receptions and catered luncheons. It’s really a spectacular location, just east of the Blue Ridge.

  3. What miracle is this restoration! This is an example of a true southern plantation of a relaxed lifestyle….and it has a long-lingering rich legacy of families who once owned the property in their own times….the McEntries’ (McIntyres)i, the Cleghorns, the McAfees’ and there were others. The story of “Gone With the Wind” could never offer to the reader or historian the richness of the many stories associated with this old plantation from the 1700’s….to this day……for the historical story of this property, today known as Cleghorn, is based on TRUE facts!

    There is an emerging interest in knowing the fuller and more detailed story of this plantation and those who worked it. This is the “other” part of the story of a southern plantation….the story of those who actually worked it!

    Thank you for your interest and efforts re this old historical NC property.

    C.L. McAfee

  4. So happy to see the Cleghorn plantation being brought back to it’s glory. Just love the beautiful wood trim on the porches. And what a view! It will certainly make a wonderful setting for a wedding,..Look forward to your follow up on this. The golf course it going to be beautiful I’m sure, from your pictures it does.

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