The place where the late Rev. Billy Graham lived while he rose to become one of the United States’ best-known television evangelists is on the market for the first time, for $599,000. The pastor, who preached to millions, died in 2018 at the age of 99. His wife, Ruth Graham, died in 2007 at age 87.
“If only the walls could talk. What would the stories be like?” asks the listing agent, Brian Etheridge. “The history and the memories that were made here must certainly be special.”
The preacher, a North Carolina native, and his wife, the Christian author, bought the house on Mississippi Road in the mountain town of Montreat, NC, in the 1940s. With a career that spanned decades, the influential Christian leader counseled presidents and preached to some 210 million in 185 countries and territories. But he came from modest roots.
“When they purchased it, it was supposedly just a small cabin, not really even an insulated home at that point,” Etheridge explains. “They finished it out, and this is the home that the current owner, their daughter [also named Ruth], came home from the hospital to, and this is where they chose to raise their kids for a period of time.”
The cute cottage acted as the family’s residence during the time when the preacher was gaining notoriety with his tour of England and the Los Angeles crusades. But they ultimately relocated nearby.
“They decided to keep the home and move farther up on the mountainside and have a little more privacy,” Etheridge says, adding that the Grahams continued to use the home as office space and a retreat.
It has remained in the family, and for the past few years has been a popular vacation rental, allowing the curious to come in contact with the religious leader’s early home.
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The property contains four bedrooms and two bathrooms in 2,564 square feet. The bedrooms are divided between the main and second floors.
“I can tell you what Ruth’s wish is, and that is, she feels it is a great family home. It was a family home to her family, and that’s what she believes,” Etheridge says. “From a size standpoint, it allows you to spread out a little bit.”
Some of the furnishings are included in the listing price, although Ruth is taking the more personal items. The feel of the home, though, will remain.
“It’s got great nooks and crannies and various living spaces and conversation areas,” Etheridge says. “From a character standpoint, they have done one heck of a job maintaining the character and the charm that the original home had. It hasn’t been altered a whole lot, so it remains intact. In my mind, the word that comes to mind is just a storybook setting.”
The house sits on about a third of an acre and is near mountain amenities.
“It’s a flat piece of property. The driveway is flat. The side yard is flat. The backyard is flat, so it’s a usable property,” Etheridge notes. “It borders a creek, and then there is an access point onto a trail that leads from this backyard up through the quaint village or area of Montreat.”
Etheridge says there has already been a lot of interest in the home.
“I think that folks are fascinated by history, and the house has serious charm,” he says. “It’s in a very desirable location relative to the whole western North Carolina region, but at the end of the day, there’s no doubt that the history that the home offers is quite unique.”