Ca. 1730; ca. 1840; ca. 1910
SR 1529, Brunswick vicinity, NC
Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (2005).
Catherine W. Bishir, “Landmarks of Power: Building a Southern Past, 1855-1915,” reprinted in Catherine W. Bishir, Southern Built: American Architecture, Regional Practice (2006).
The plantation house at Orton embodies several phases of construction. It contains elements of the brick house erected in the early 18th century for rice planter Roger Moore, one of the principal planters on the Lower Cape Fear in the colonial period. It was enlarged to create a temple-form Greek Revival house for Frederick Jones Hill, who bought the plantation in 1826. After the Civil War the plantation was acquired by Kenneth M. Murchison, Sr., who adapted the house as a hunting lodge. After his death in 1904, it was renovated for his daughter Luola and her husband James Sprunt; family tradition relates that Luola’s brother Kenneth M. Murchison, Jr. planned the renovation of the main house and the addition of flanking wings, creating a Beaux Arts composition that came to represent the image of the Old South. Further renovation took place in the early 21st century for a descendant of Roger Moore. In 1915, the Sprunts also built a small, classical chapel on the plantation, which after Mrs. Sprunt’s death became known as “Luola’s Chapel”; the design is also credited to Murchison.