The Briles House, home to Junior League of High Point, serves a variety of groups
by Malia Thornton
Upon seeing the Briles House for the first time, you might stand in awe of its gorgeous exterior. Once inside, you can find elegant décor that is reminiscent of a time long ago. But what you might not realize is that this historical structure is home to the Junior League of High Point.
This home, situated along Main Street in town, once served one small family but now serves the greater community not only by serving as the league’s headquarters but also by offering a venue for meetings and special occasions. And some recent renovations have helped breathe new life into this stately home.
A bit of history
The Briles House, which was constructed in 1907, initially was not welcomed with warm wishes. Randolph County natives Lee Addison Briles and his wife, Bertie Wallace Briles, initially were teased by people during the construction of the home for building in what then was considered a rural area. Many of these same people were in awe of the property after the home was finished, though. The couple had inspired others to follow in their footsteps, and upper Main Street soon was filled with gorgeous homes.
In 1912, Lee Briles decided to return to Randolph County, where he developed the Hoover Hill Gold Mine. While the couple lived in Randolph County, they rented their home to Weaver Marr, who at the time was superintendent of the High Point City Schools, and Harry Raymond, whose daughter Katherine was a charter member of the city’s junior league.
The house remained in the Briles family for 100 years until the death of Ruth Briles, one of three Briles children. In 2002, after she died, the house was purchased by the Junior League of High Point to serve as its new headquarters. In 2007, renovations were completed with the community’s support. Today, the Briles House serves a dual role, both as the headquarters for Junior League of High Point, which is located on the home’s second floor, and a place for the community to gather.
A gathering place
These days, the Briles House also is utilized for a variety of fundraising efforts for individuals and other groups in the community. Through pledge options, members can rent the first floor of the house for personal events as well, from showers to meetings.
Other fundraising efforts include a Kentucky Derby Party, where guests dress in their Sunday best and don Derby hats; volunteer opportunities, including the Briles House Clean Sweep; and the Trowel and Error Garden Club, which works to maintain the grounds around the house. Members are recognized for their efforts in a variety of ways, including the Carraway Award of Merit.
“The Carraway Award was presented to sustaining member Mary Powell DeLille for her tireless efforts to refurbish the house,” says Leigh Anne Kasias, who serves as communications vice president of the Junior League of High Point.
In addition to fundraising, the Briles House also offers opportunities for volunteer work and interactive events for children, such as Done-in-a-Day and Kids in the Kitchen. Last year, the organization focused its Done-in-a-Day projects on children in the community. Working with the Boys & Girls Clubs, participants made crafts for virtually every holiday, including pumpkins for Halloween and unique heart creations for Valentine’s Day. Also, during the free fifth annual Kids in the Kitchen interactive event, children learned how to make healthy eating choices. The event was attended by more than 100 kids ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade, who learned not only about nutrition but also about exercise, hygiene, and staying active.
Through the help of volunteers and members, the Briles House has been given a new look that is sure to inspire not only homeowners but residents as well. What began as an elegant house in 1907 has become more than an attraction. It has allowed the women of the Junior League of High Point to come together to bring about a sense of community to the city.
Malia Thornton is an editorial intern with Triad Living and Wake Living magazines.
If you go
The Briles House is located at 1103 North Main St. in High Point. To learn more about the home, call the Junior League of High Point at (336) 442-4981 or visit www.jlhp.org.