Where We Live: This home in the Forest Hills neighborhood has a secret room and a bomb shelter (video)

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Where We Live: A weekly look at the homes in the Cape Fear Region

WILMINGTON – Bomb shelters and secret rooms may be something from the past, but a 1920s-era home for sale in the Forest Hills neighborhood has both.

The latest home featured in “Where We Live,” is located on nearly a half-acre corner lot at 1301 Live Oak Parkway. It’s a “stately Tudor Revival-style” home built in 1924 by the developer of the Oleander subdivision, Nelson MacRae.

This two-story home has four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. It also has a detached two-car garage with an extra one-bedroom guest cottage above, perfect for a guest home or a rental apartment. This space has rented for as much as $1,000 a month, according to Sam Simmons, the current owner of the property. The guest cottage is metered separately for electric.

The home also features a 500 sq. ft. basement, that’s perfect for a workshop. Inside the basement, there is an adjoining bomb shelter, built in 1960 for just over $3,000, Simmons  said.

The most recent home in "Where We Live" has a bomb shelter attached to the basement that was built in the 1960s. (Photos by Christina Haley.)
The most recent home in “Where We Live” has a bomb shelter attached to the basement that was built in the 1960s. (Photos by Christina Haley.)

Simmons, who has owned the home for nearly 20 years, said he still has documentation of the project, including the bomb shelter brochure and paperwork. The bomb shelter also makes for a unique wine cellar, which can store about 100 bottles of wine.

“You will feel like you are stepping back in time. It’s an ideal retreat during stormy weather or just as a play area,” Simmons said of the bomb shelter.

Along with the shelter, the home also has a hidden treasure on its second floor. Give the right bookshelf a slight push and you enter another feature of the home you would otherwise never know was there — a secret room currently being used as a children’s room.

The main house features large areas for entertaining, a butler’s pantry, an outdoor patio space, a porch off the second-floor master bedroom and a screened-in porch adjoining the living room. The sunken living room features a large, wood-burning fireplace and offers a cozy space for families and entertaining guests.

The owner has built the home’s courtyard and patio space, and has done extensive landscaping in the home’s many garden areas.

The Live Oak Parkway home has plenty of parking. Simmons said he has worked with the City of Wilmington to install a circle driveway in front of the home, along with building custom columns that guide guests into another driveway at the rear of the home. The custom driveway and landscaping were developed with many of the same features, including brick and granite accents, that are found on the original outside of the home, Simmons said.

The home has been kept up-to-date, while still keeping the home’s original “roaring 20s” character, including many of its original features, Simmons said.

“This style home was a great way to show off new wealth created during the boom times of the 1920s,” Simmons said.

The view of the Live Oak Parkway property from the circle driveway.
The view of the Live Oak Parkway property from the circle driveway.

According to Simmons, the home was also featured in a movie based on Jerry Bledsoe’s book, “Bitter Blood,” filmed at the Live Oak Parkway home in the mid-1990s. The former owners gave Simmons a copy of the movie when he purchased the home nearly two decades ago.

Simmons first noticed the Live Oak Parkway years before purchasing it, when he was a driver for United Parcel. The home came on the market in early 1997, and Simmons had one of the three offers that were on the home at once.

The Forest Hills community is “great neighborhood with friendly neighbors,” Simmons said. There’s a nearby open space of a city park and lots of sidewalk space and trails for biking, jogging and dog walking. The city park is also the site of neighborhood Halloween gatherings and annual Christmas Eve luminary display.

 The neighborhood is also near Cape Fear Country Club, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, UNC-Wilmington and Independence Mall. For families, the Forrest Hills community is zoned for Forest Hills Elementary School, Williston Middle School and New Hanover High School.

This home is on the market for $849,000.

Video Tour:

Floor plans:

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Where We Live is a weekly feature looking at the homes and unique places to stay in the Cape Fear Region. Do you have a home, on or off the market, that our readers may be interested in seeing? Let us know at PCD@localvoicemedia.com.

For more information about this week’s home or to view the property, contact Sam Simmons, of Port City Properties, at 910-251-0615 or email him at sambrokerpcp@gmail.com.  Click here to see additional information from the listing and other photos.

More of Where We Live

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Where We Live: Riverside property provides plenty of outdoor entertainment options for families

Where We Live: This home on Plaza Drive retains the interests of its past inhabitants

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