As I have been searching out the history of Richard Harvey Wright, I’ve been amazed at the number of people who have shared their memories of this incredible house. In its time of glory, it was a true masterpiece. Initially, owned by Richard Harvey Wright, upon his death in 1929, he entrusted his sister Mary, known affectionally as Nannie, with his estate.
Richard’s nephew and his wife Claudia resided in the house for the duration of their lives. Claudia, the founder of the Durham Debutante Ball, hosted over 2000 young women at Bonnie Brae until Claudia’s death in 1981.
Richard Harley Wright and his wife Anne lived in the house until it was sold to Gary Hock in the early 1990’s. The Durham Citizens were outraged to hear that the house would be destroyed so it was moved to Independence Park, to serve as a focal point for a retirement village. It lost its historical distinction due to the modifications made in the renovation.
In the early 2000’s Bonnie Brae served as the centerpiece of The Village of Colonial Square. Eight buildings housing four townhouses were built around this historic house.
If you knew the house when it was located on Roxboro Road and saw it today, you might be disappointed by its present appearance. But if you ever wondered where some of the furniture and fixtures ended up, you would be pleasantly surprised to know there are family historians making sure they are preserved.
Just yesterday, my husband and I retrieved this mantle that came from Bonnie Brae out of a friend’s barn. Its amazing how the mantle was preserved for so long, which reinforces my conviction that Bonnie Brae still lives on.
I’m excited to share that my book, A Story of Durham: Told the Wright Way, is now available in hardback!
For the past two years, I have been researching and writing about my grandfather’s uncle, Richard Harvey Wright. When I began my search, I knew very little about this man except that he was one of the founding fathers of Durham, North Carolina. But what I discovered was a story of passion, love