Frank A. Linney House
Linney/Coffey Homestead from King Street
Backstory and Context
This one and a half story house on West King Street was built circa 1890 for the family of Frank A. Linney. Frank A. Linney, the son of U.S. congressman Romulus Zachariah Linney, Sr., served as a prominent attorney for the town of Boone in the second and third decades of the twentieth century and was nominated for District Attorney for Western North Carolina by President Warren G. Harding in 1921, although he faced opposition from the NAACP for his “lily white” policies. Frank Linney’s law office can still be seen on the southwest corner of the front yard, although his practice has been gone for many years and other businesses have occupied both floors over time.
As the home of one of Boone’s leading families and fiscal contributors to Appalachian State University, the placement of the house seems fitting. Although there is little evidence remaining to support such claims, there has been some conjecture that the Linney House stands on the site of the antebellum Watauga county courthouse. This conjecture is possible, as the court house burnt to the ground in the 1870s, although it would be difficult to prove.
Featuring six rooms at the time of its construction, the house has gone through three expansions in the first two decades of its existence. The property was originally part of a large, sprawling farm, reaching to Howard Knob, though this has since been divided, leaving only the house, a small fieldstone building, and the original well and spring trough around back. Other features of note include the servant’s quarters on the upper level, originally occupied by a cook or a maid, separate on the interior from the rest of the house.
Other notable residents include author and playwright Romulus Linney, who lived in the house for a brief period during the Great Depression and was known to visit his family in Boone, particularly his cousin Margaret Linney Coffey, daughter of Frank A. Linney. On Frank A. Linney’s death in 1928, the house passed into Margaret’s possession, and the house remains in the Coffey family to this day.