The Ledbetter Auction House is like none other when it comes to folk art. Trains, Americana art, and a bit of southern charm entice you into the small town of Gibsonville, North Carolina.
We heard about this young antique picker amassing an exciting collection of outsider art. Since it meshes well with our passion for folk art, we wanted to learn more.
Join us as we discover the history and charm of the Ledbetter Auction House.
Let’s dive in!
The Story of Matt Ledbetter and His Auction House
Matt Ledbetter looks like your next-door woodsman. Standing firm in a plaid shirt and keeping a thick beard, he appears anything but a folk art aficionado. But he’s been collecting antiques since he was nine years old.
Matt gained his love for all things old and wonderfully outsider eccentric from his father. Working the local weekly auctions, he learned everything as second nature.
The death of Kobe Bryant spurred Ledbetter to make his auctioneering a reality. The Ledbetter Folk & Americana Auction became more than just a dream in 2020.
Ledbetter held two live events in 2020. He and his father owned 150 lots of a 450-lot warehouse. For his auctions, he set up 30 chairs, well-spaced in the warehouse. Along with 400 online bidders, the auction house took off.
The auctions are not just about the art but an entertaining event. Participants enjoy complimentary beer, wine, and barbeque, all textbook southern charm.
Ledbetter collects furniture, paintings, and just about any unusual art piece that speaks to him. He also makes the auction smooth, either online or in person. It’s a whole experience; you never know what you’ll see.
Where Is Ledbetter Auction House?
Ledbetter’s Auction House is tucked away in the southern town of Gibsonville, North Carolina. The quaint, picturesque village is reminiscent of southern scapes with gabled houses and wrap-around porches. It’s easily accessed from Interstate 85 between Greensboro and Burlington.
With just under 9,000 people, the town boasts the title of City of Roses. Formerly, the North Carolina Railroad carried passengers through town. They were treated to extensive rose bushes climbing the fence at the local Minneola Mill. Today, the tradition continues as residents plant more roses.
In 2017, when the local museum closed, the Ledbetter Auction House quickly filled the void. It’s full of Americana, from face jugs by the Meaders family to works by self-taught artists like Mose Tolliver and Jimmy Lee Sudduth.
Learn about folk art on the Ledbetter blog. If you want to visit in person, check out the Ledbetter Auction schedule on their website. There’s something for everyone nearly every month. We love following their Instagram account.
The History of Gibsonville
Gibsonville officially became a place in 1855 as a new train stop for the North Carolina Railroad on Highway 100. Joseph Gibson conveyed the land, and the town was named after him. His house still stands today.
The town’s heyday harkens to the cotton mills active between the 1880s and 1920s. It was situated at the crossroads of the railroad, industry, and the natural east-west road through North Carolina.
Elon University (1889), Whitsett Institute (1884 to 1919), and Palmer Memorial Institute, an African American school from 1904 to 1970 utilized the convenient stop.
Elon University still operates today. In fact, it supports many of the local residents and the area’s economy.
Where To Stay Near Ledbetter Auction House
If you think you’ve pulled off onto an unbeaten path, you probably have. But not to worry, there are great places to stay if you visit the Ledbetter Auction House.
Burke Manor Inn and Pavilion
Staying at the Burke Manor Inn and Pavilion gives you the right blend of southern history and modern accommodations. Caesar Cone, a textile magnate, built the house on 303 Burke Street in 1906. He sold it to the Burke family, who resided in it for four generations.
In 1999, the estate was converted into an Inn. Today, owners Lori and Lil Lacassagne provide a full-service establishment. You can enjoy a calm getaway with great food and service.
Double Oaks Bed and Breakfast
Located in nearby Greensboro, Double Oaks Bed and Breakfast is a luxurious distraction. Whether staying the night or several days, all your needs are met.
Built in 1906 for Harden Thomas Martin and designed by North Carolina’s first registered architect, William G. Armfield, the estate is a prominent piece of Greensboro’s history.
Depending on how you plan your trip, you might enjoy one of the many events held here. For example, they have Wine Wednesdays, Sunday brunch, and beer pairings. You may find it hard to leave the grounds.
Other Things To Do Near Ledbetter Auction House
Gibsonville may be at a crossroads, but there are other things this lovely community has to offer. Make a weekend of your visit by taking in these local sites.
Gibsonville Garden Railroad
Kids of all ages love trains and railroads. The Gibsonville Garden Railroad will attract them all. Founded in 1996, the garden has over 2,400 feet of G-scale train track with 20 trains running simultaneously.
The railroad usually runs every Saturday, weather permitting. It’s free to watch, and visitors can bring their own trains.
The group also has a Facebook page where you can enjoy the trains to your heart’s desire.
Gibsonville Historic Walking Tour
The Gibsonville Historic Walking Tour is a great distraction while the train enthusiasts in your family partake in the garden railroad. Walking Gibsonville is available on Google, and an interactive map starts at the train depot.
You can take your time visiting the 23 historically significant locations in town. There are historic homes, downtown buildings, and other important sites. The tour also takes you past restaurants and antique stores. It’ll be easy to lose yourself in a day well-spent.
Is a Road Trip to Ledbetter Auction House Worth It?
We think this would make a very worthy weekend getaway. You’ll leave the hustle and bustle of a big city behind but find big art and entertainment in lovely Gibsonville.
The Ledbetter Auction House will always have some of the best folk and outsider art available. You never know what surprises await that you can’t leave without – or at least bid on.
Have you visited Gibsonville and the Ledbetter Folk Art Auction Gallery? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Outside Folk Gallery
You can explore folk, street, and outsider art in our personal collection at Outside Folk Art. We’re celebrating these creatives and giving voice to rising black, Native, immigrant, and working mother artisans.
We’ll also be offering pop-up shows and collaborations with small museums, so be sure to follow us to discover the where and when!