Local businesswoman highest bidder in auction of Carter home

By Megan R. Harrell
Star Staff
mharrell@starhq.com

   A local real estate agent placed the highest bid for one of Carter County's most historic homes. After intense bidding, Linda Whitehead, owner of Century 21 Whitehead Realty, came out on top during the auctioning off of the Landon Carter Home Thursday afternoon.
   Whitehead's winning bid of $479,000 grouped the Carter property, located at 829 E. Elk Ave., with 2.6 adjacent acres along U.S. Hwy. 19E. Aggressive bidding inflated the prices of the coveted tracts of land, with a combined appraised value of $285,000.
   The Carter home was among 19 tracts that were auction off at Elizabethton's Veterans of Foreign Wars post. The Carter County Clerk and Chancery Court ordered the auction to settle a dispute over the estate of Dayton A. Seiler.
   Whitehead plans on securing the historical value of the Carter home after the sale is finalized. Chancery Court has ten days to accept bids ten percent higher than the final auction bid.
   "I am going to try to restore it to its original state, and I have some plans for the house, but I don't want to disclose those until after the 10 days and the court decides that it is a sale to me," Whitehead said. "I love it just because it is heritage to Elizabethton, and I want to keep that."
   Whitehead's intention to retain the 5,000 square-foot Carter mansion's historical value comes to the relief of many in the community. The home is not listed as a historical landmark, and there are no government restrictions in place to prevent its destruction for commercial development.
   As a successful real estate agent, Whitehead is excited about possible business opportunities since the two properties are located in the heart of Elizabethton's historical district.
   "I see a lot of potential there, and I am a real estate agent," Whitehead said. "There have been some businesses that I have tried to find properties for that could have really helped Elizabethton, but I could not find a place for them, so I have some really good ideas."
   Ed and Jan Peters, owners of two businesses located near the property in the historic district, also had plans for the Carter home. They were Whitehead's top competitors in the bidding process, and planned on turning the 19th Century home into a museum.
   "We actually bought a lot of the original furnishings from the home and were planning on turning it into a Landon Carter museum," Jan Peters said.
   Although the Peters lost the bid on the Carter home, they were the highest bidders on another piece of historic property. Their bid of $90,000 was the highest for the 1,700 square-foot lot in front of the Carter County Court House.
   County Executive, Dale Fair has voiced some interest in the property that adjoins the courthouse. He has stated that the lot would be ideal for parking. Fair recessed December's County Commission meeting until Dec. 30, when commissioners will vote on submitting a higher bid for the property. All post auction increases in bids must be submitted to Chancery Court by Jan. 6, 2003.
   In addition to the parcels of land in the Historic District, the real estate auction included commercial properties, residential lots, rental houses, and several acreage lots. A wooded, 40 acre lot off Hwy. 19E was one of the auction's top dollar items. Bids for the lot closed out at $118,000.
   Properties from several different communities in Carter County were auctioned off. Residential properties in Grandview Circle, and East First and East Second Streets were among those bidded on at the auction.
   The auction closed with bids totaling over one million dollars, approximately $400,000 above the appraised value.