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Korner's Folly, Kernersville

4.8
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Historic Site · History Museum
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Körner's Folly is a historic home located at Kernersville, Forsyth County, North Carolina. It was built in 1880 by Jule Gilmer Körner, and is a 6,000 square foot, 3+1⁄2-story, eccentric brick dwelling with a shingled, cross-gable roof. It measures 48 feet on each side, with four bays. The house is said to have served originally as combination dwelling, stable, and carriage house, and featured an open carriageway running through the center of the house. Körner made his fortune by spearheading one of the first national advertising campaigns by painting murals of Bull Durham Smoking tobacco bulls on buildings and barns across the American east coast. In the 1870s he moved back to his hometown Kernersville, NC, to build Körner's Folly and start an interior decorating and design business. After marrying Polly Alice Masten and having two children, Gilmer and Dore, Körner closed the carriageway and renovated the house to its present floor plan. The 22-room interior features unusual architecture and many examples of Victorian furniture and interior decoration since Körner used the house to showcase his business. Also on the property is a brick outbuilding – a small-scale version of the main house – which functioned as the "privy."
The third floor of Körner's Folly contains "Cupids Park," which the museum says is the oldest private theater in America. Jule and Polly Alice Korner built the theater as part of their "Juvenile Lyceum," which was a philanthropic project providing local children with access to the arts. Today, the theater is used by local theatrical groups and by the Körner's Folly Foundation for a puppet show, which is performed several times a year for children and visiting school groups.

The 22-room mansion is now a historic house museum that is owned and operated by the Körner's Folly Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Visitors can view original furnishings and artwork, 15 fireplaces, cast-plaster details, carved woodwork, and elaborate hand-laid tiles. The house is open to the public for self-guided tours Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 4 pm, with the last entry time at 3 pm.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. It is located in the South Main Street Historic District.
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Korner's Folly reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
153 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • This is a unique and thoroughly enjoyable home to visit. It is NOT handicap accessible by any means with short doorways, a multitude of narrow and steep stairways, and generally unlevel floors. I... 
    This is a unique and thoroughly enjoyable home to visit. It is NOT handicap accessible by any means with short doorways, a multitude of narrow and steep stairways, and generally unlevel floors. I...  more »
  • Korners Folly in Kernersville NC is well worth the trip. If you can go at Christmas time you will see the most beautiful decorations in this mansion. The admission fee is reasonably priced at $10 per....  more
    Korners Folly in Kernersville NC is well worth the trip. If you can go at Christmas time you will see the most beautiful decorations in this mansion. The admission fee is reasonably priced at $10 per....  more »
Google
  • Absolutely loved this house tour. Truly unique home. Cannot believe I had not been before - I’ll return with my 11 and 13 year old. This time I brought the fiancé, our 3 month old and our 1 year old. Kept them in carriers strapped to our bodies and it worked out nicely. Loved the interactive cards. Best house tour around! Some narrow areas, we fit fine, but would be challenging for some people. $12 for an adult, we spent nearly 2 hours in the house, well worth the time and money. A great adventure for us all.
  • My daughter and I recently took a tour during Spring Break. It was one of the Best day-cations we've had in a while. We live locally and to be honest neither of us could remember the last time we took a tour. The self guided tour was Great! The information and guide posts along the tour we're both interesting and informative. My daughter really enjoyed the Scavenger Hunt. She got every answer right but one. 😊 We both really enjoy history, so this was a perfect outing for us. The breakfast nook and the reception hall were by far my favorite rooms in the house. The breakfast nook had Amazing windows and a sunroof, for a complete 360° of natural light. I definitely need one in my home. Korner's Folly is a great tour spot for kids/youth groups, families, anyone who Loves local history, architecture and art. My daughter and I are already making plans to return in the summer.

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