After the Körner’s deaths, Körner’s Folly was never again lived in as a full-time family home. Their descendants tried a variety of ways to manage the home’s upkeep, but the structure’s vulnerability to weather and time was enormous. In the late 1920s, just prior to the Great Depression, they opened it up for tours. Later, it was rented to the proprietor of an antique shop, and to an architect for use as his office and residence.
Despite these multiple repurposes, by the late 1960s, Jule’s remarkable home sat vacant and in serious danger of vandalism and deterioration to the point of collapse. The Kernersville community grew increasingly concerned about the home’s stability. In 1970, 26 local families came together to save the home for the education and enjoyment of the public. They purchased Körner’s Folly, saving it from demolition, and became the house’s caretakers for the next 25 years. Those families lead tours, raised money for much needed repairs, and hosted community events. They succeeded in having Körner’s Folly listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
In 1995, with assistance from Preservation North Carolina, they dissolved their ownership in order to form the Körner’s Folly Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization led by a volunteer Board of Directors. This non-profit designation placed restrictive covenants on the property’s use, protecting it in perpetuity from demolition or inauthentic renovation. It also placed the home in the public trust, to exist for education, not for the profit of any owner. Establishing this type of organization also allowed the Körner’s Folly Foundation to accept tax-deductible gifts from individuals and businesses, as well as to pursue grants from private and governmental organizations.
Today, the Körner’s Folly Foundation is composed of 15-20 volunteer Board of Directors, two full-time and four part-time staff members, and over 100 volunteers. Our mission is to foster an appreciation for history, the arts, and enterprise through the preservation and interpretation of Körner’s Folly. Our vision is to be a place of connection between the past and the future, between the arts and industry, and among people who share a common appreciation for new ways of thinking.