As in most older houses, there were no standard light fixtures originally in the home, but the large paned windows in each room provide natural light throughout the day and are framed with floor to ceiling tailored window treatments in luxurious fabrics. A warm glow cascading from the added oversized chandeliers give this historic home timeless elegance.
The eight fireplaces throughout the home give each room a cozy feel, even when they’re lit with a collection of candles instead of a crackling fire. The mantle in each room is used to display family mementos and trinkets collected throughout the years and serve as a focal point for the rooms.
If Walls Could Talk
The Henry Lilly Cook house was designed and built by Cook himself to accommodate his large family. Henry married Mary Hill Watson in 1889 and together they had six children. The Cooks owned half of Hale Street and the original cost of the home was $5,000, a princely sum in 1902. During that era, according to register papers, the home was filled with an eclectic assortment of furniture, mostly oversized and in black leather. Wallpaper hung throughout the home, primarily a dark floral type that was popular during the Victorian period.
The back staircase (pictured this page), small kitchen and upstairs porch areas were added in 1919. The yards were open, with little landscaping, but the camelia bush and the Crepe Myrtle tree on the side and front areas predate the home. The camelia’s age has been estimated at 125 years. Originally a small stream ran through the back yard on what is now the rear property line but was buried in the 1920’s.
During the years of World War II, the home was used as housing for numerous military families. At that time the original owners were in their senior years, and lived downstairs in the office-turned-bedroom that is now used as a living room.
Henry himself was one of eleven children and military history ran deep in his family. His grandfather, Edmond Cook, arrived from England in 1769 and was lured into the patriot cause during the Revolutionary War.
The Cook family ties continue through Henry’s daughter, Mary Starr Cook, and link into the prominent Huske family. She married Joseph Huske who founded Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Haymount and his father founded St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, both of which have been beautifully preserved.
Henry Lilly Cook attended Fayetteville’s Donaldson Academy, established in 1833, the site of which was located approximately a mile from the Cook House. He was trained as an attorney and was a prominent member of the legal establishment for more than 40 years. In his long career in law he worked with the great-grandfather of Congressman Charlie Rose, Charles G. Rose, Jr., in the struggle to license a public water works for Fayetteville. Cook and Rose together championed the creation of the Fayetteville Water, Light and Power Company, the precursor to the publicly owned Fayetteville Public Works Commission.
A portrait of Cook hangs in what is now referred to as the Old Courthouse in the Superior Court Room on Gillespie St. in Historic downtown Fayetteville.