Meet Adam Hurt and Beth Williams Hartness

Meet Adam Hurt and Beth Williams Hartness

Growing up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Adam Hurt learned to appreciate the historic architecture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Even as a child he dreamt of one day owning such a house.

In 2002 he moved to the South to pursue his career as an old-time musician, and to surround himself with those who shared similar interests. In 2006, introduced by a mutual friend, he met and became partners with Beth Williams Hartness, a talented guitarist who grew up in Caswell County. As they travelled together, playing music and visiting friends, the couple would often drive through Danville to appreciate its wonderful collection of houses. In 2010, they made a detour down Green Street, where Adam was particularly struck by a beautiful wood-clad Italianate house with a two-story porch.

Adam and Beth had been living in Kernersville, NC, renting an 1875 brick Italianate home. When the landlord decided to list the property for sale, Adam and Beth decided that perhaps it was time for them to look for a house of their own. The owner of the Kernersville house was asking too much for the property, which yet required a great deal of work.  Adam turned to Craigslist, where, as it so happened, he saw a listing for the house on Green Street that he had so admired nearly five years before. The house was being offered for rent, but perhaps the owners might be willing to sell.

The Green Street house was built about 1879 for Felix G. McKinney, an independent tobacco dealer and speculator.  The house stood empty for thirty years before being purchased by Steve and Susan Wilson.  The Wilsons’ restoration efforts were both carefully and thoughtfully executed in a manner sensitive to the historic nature of the property and yet practical for modern day residents. Of course they were happy to consider selling it to someone who appreciated historical architecture as much as Adam did.

Adam has said of Danville, “Its inventory of historic architecture is unparalleled in this region.  If I was to invest in a house purchase, I wanted the house to be a special one, and I wanted it to be in a cohesive neighborhood setting, so Danville was the obvious choice.”  Adam goes on to praise Danville’s efforts to restabilize after the exit of its major industries.  “The development happening around town, with buildings being renovated and businesses opening, is extremely exciting. I feel that so many people – especially those with portable careers like mine – would so enjoy living here and be able to lead more impactful, intentional lives for a very low price.”

Adam teaches old-time banjo and fiddle via Skype ™ to students across the United States and abroad. Both Adam and Beth are known for their innovative approaches to their instruments and to the old-time music they both love. They keep themselves very busy teaching workshops and playing music all along the east coast. To learn more about them, visit