GotNo Farm (Raleigh, NC)



GotNo Farm isn't a farm, which you could probably already deduce from its name. Scattered among the six-acre property previously owned by the late plasterer George Thomas Morris, one can find his 1949 Luston home and several of his art pieces which he created from plaster and metal laths. Sadly, the property has been sold and the future of the home and the art pieces is uncertain.

One of the biggest pieces on GotNo Farm is this giant dog. According to Morris's great-grandson, Stephen Morris, it was created to impress a child. "There's actually a great story about the dog. A kid came to the farm with his family and was thoroughly unimpressed. He said anybody could make this junk. In an attempt to prove him wrong, my great-grandfather took his little toy dog and told him to come back in a few days." This giant dog is what Morris created based on the child's toy.

George Morris and his wife, Jessie Merle Arnold Morris, had one child, Dr. George Thomas Arnold Morris, a former physician in Burlington, NC. Dr. Morris shared how GotNo Farm became GotNo Farm.
My dad was raised in Baja California and came back to California when he was in the sixth or seventh grade. He had been thoroughly immersed in Spanish and because he had a little challenge to his English, they put him in the third grade. He finished high school because he skipped ahead pretty quickly. In California, there's always been a lot of Spanish-speaking people there. He noticed one day this fellow had a ranch, because everything out there is a "ranch," no matter what it is even if it's a small parcel of land. This fellow's ranch was named NoTengo Rancho which he remembered as GotNo Farm. That's where GotNo Farm comes from. When we came back to North Carolina after he had built ships in New Orleans during the war, everybody in the community was a farmer. He thought that since he had one of the few places that wasn't a farm, that's why he used the name NoTengo Rancho. GotNo Farm.

Dr. Morris feels his father's art was borne from his plaster work.
He was a plasterer by profession. Putting plaster on the wall requires dexterity. I think it's just a natural outgrowth of what he did.

They were all based on things he had done in his work. Plastering, during the time that he was in it, went from being on wood laths that were on the wall to a metal lath and then finally they got into boards like we just leave up now and paper and paint over. The metal laths allowed him to build a structure that he could plaster over. Behind the plastered surface of the art is a framework of metal and metal laths.

Dad made the art for his own enjoyment. I think he treasured the creative and artisan aspects of these works.

Over the years, GotNo Farm grew to be more than the site of the Morris family home.
It was the center of activity for the community of New Hope Baptist Church during the time that area of Raleigh was developing. Church picnics, community picnics, and those things would use the barbecue pit and the shelter next to the lake. It was used for church socials and Sunday school socials.

According to Dr. Morris, GotNo Farm has been sold and the future of the Luston house is uncertain.
The Lustron house will be demolished. That property is supposed to close at the end of July. I think there is interest from the Modern Architecture people and some other individuals in not necessarily preserving that Lustron but at least disassembling it and maybe using the pieces in two or three existing Lustron homes. That's my take. I guess it's not beyond the realm of possibility that someone might disassemble it and reassemble it somewhere else.

The background on the property is that my grandmother had a tobacco farm. She gave each of her six children a six-acre lot to encourage them to build on that property. Several of them did. My dad and mother built the first one and that was adjoined by the youngest sibling, Virginia. When mother and dad died, Virginia bought mother's property, so that became a twelve-ace [lot]. That's what's going to be developed around the pond. It's been put off closing several times but I think it's probably going to happen this time.

I had a call yesterday from a cousin of ours who was showing someone the Lustron house. She has keys to it. She called to tell me that she had the bill of sale for the Lustron house that indicates 1949. The price was right at $8,000. It's prefabricated, all metal. It arrived on a tractor trailer. The people put in the ground floor with cement. I think they assembled it off the trailer in two weeks because it had all the plumbing, wiring, and everything. It didn't take them long to put it up.

[Preservation societies] are interested in it. I told them to talk to the man who's purchasing it because I was selling the property "as is."
We would like to thank Dr. George Thomas Arnold Morris and Stephen Morris for speaking with us for this piece.

What To Know Before You Go

GPS Coordinates: (35.830145, -78.576900)
Location: 3690 Buffaloe Road, Raleigh





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Strange Carolinas: The Travelogue Of The Offbeat: GotNo Farm (Raleigh, NC)
GotNo Farm (Raleigh, NC)
Strange Carolinas: The Travelogue Of The Offbeat
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