About the Eno House
Dale Edwards, formerly of The News of Orange in Hillsborough, NC
did a story on The Eno House in October of 2022:
“A big, empty box that we want to fill with things that people in West Hillsborough want, and need, and enjoy,” is not the answer you would expect when asked to describe the Eno House, a century-old Methodist church on Eno Road, a short distance from the business end of Nash Street. But that blank-slate image is essentially what Richard Greenway, Jordan Haywood, and Bill West believe is the best start for the building and its role as a gathering place in the community.
“We want to be an antidote to the polarizing discourse,” said Haywood, who is the director at Eno House. “Everything you hear is us versus them, whoever ‘us’ is for you, whoever ‘them’ is for you. We believe that when you know your neighbor, you can’t just make them ‘them.’ And so this is a place for people to get to know each other and in a real way, not just online.”
Already established is a community dinner that happens each Tuesday evening, and is free, sometimes drawing as many as 30 people, including kids, to gather, eat good food, and get to know each other. There’s a chess club on Thursdays, and a writers’ group will start meeting on Wednesdays. AA meetings are held there. On Monday evenings, Christina Hershey, an intern from the Duke Divinity School, will be on hand to provide free internet access at the Eno House.
Art exhibits are also on the table for future events and uses of the space.
“We’ve tried lots of churchy things that don’t work and the neighborhood has plenty of churches already,” said Richard Greenway, Pastor at Hillsborough United Methodist Church, which took over and maintains the Eno House. “I think as West Hillsborough has changed, we’ve looked for ways to be present in that same sense, in a different and new way. That’s our charge, and we’re trying to figure that out.”
One big way the trio is hoping to accomplish this is by establishing the Eno House as a concert venue. Music performances at the location had been going on for some time, but on a smaller and infrequent scale. Late last year, Greenway approached local musician Bill West about performing at the Eno House.
“I had no idea what he was talking about,” West said. “I thought it was a house party on Eno Street, or whatever. When he let me come see the place one day, a huge light bulb went off.”
West, who ran the club Billsborough in the former Blue Bayou space on Churton Street for years, said that Hillsborough — a town with an abundance of artists and musicians — lacks a true small concert venue. When he saw the inside of the Eno House, with its huge, open room, and heard the full and clear acoustics of the space, West knew it could be a special place to experience music and performances.
“There’s really nothing like this in Hillsborough,” West said. “So, I was trying to say (to Rich), ‘This is what you could do with this stuff. Trust me, watch, blah, blah, blah. We finally talked enough to where recently I started putting pen to paper and we’ve got a group next week coming to play.”
And just like that, this old church building is set to fill a void of a different sort by providing a place for bands and musicians to kick out the jams, and hand out the harmonies, all while staying true to its commitment to be a be a place for neighbors and community members to gather, get to know each other, and build friendships. In fact, some would argue the current and future plans for the Eno House Artist’s Den are right in the wheel house for a church building’s core value.
“I would say this is more like church the way churches are supposed to be,” Greenway said. “Centered on community and being together and hanging out. And music has always made my soul sing.”
Nevertheless, the organizers understand there will be a challenge to convincing people that the concerts — and many of the other events at Eno House — are not ‘churchy.’ But they are confident the performances will grow in popularity and, as has been the case with the dinners, word-of-mouth will likely be the driver of greater attendance.
That and what West believes will be a strong lineup of performers. First up for the Eno House Artist’s Den is AJ Lee & Blue Summit on Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Although a date hasn’t yet been set, world-renowned bassist Michael Manring has committed to playing the venue.
The group is uncertain how many nights will be devoted to musical performances, whether it will be once a week, or twice a month.
“It’s a featured event,” Haywood said.” “Ideally it would happen frequently enough that if you miss one, that’s OK. You can get to the next one, but then infrequently enough that it still feels like something special.”
“We want folks to love what’s going on, and to appreciate what’s going on,” Greenwood said. “And for neighbors to not get angry when they don’t love what’s going on.”
While Greenway, Haywood, and West believe more people are ready to gather together now that the Covid situation has eased, they are also aware that many of those who venture out still prefer to not do so in tightly crowded spaces. For that reason, concert capacity at the Eno House Artist’s Den will be capped at 70.
“Parking is our biggest issue,” Greenway said. “We put rock in across the street so you can actually pull in diagonally. We can fill the building and have enough parking. I don’t want people parking in neighboring yards.”
Along with filling a void in concert halls, the trio said the smaller capacity will be a sweet spot for quality musicians who might be on the verge of making the next step toward commercial success. It will also keep ticket prices for the shows at a reasonable level.
Surprisingly, until the pandemic shut down many in-person events and services, the main portion of the Eno House didn’t have a bathroom. The only toilet was in the small church-owned house next door. A full bathroom was added to the main space during the Covid shutdowns.
Another way the group is hoping to grow community interaction is that concertgoers will be encouraged to show up early to socialize and meet other ticket holders. In fact, the first official concert at the Eno House Artist’s Den will immediately follow the community dinner for that week.
Folks can stay after the dinner and hear the actual show.
“If we make this space cool, that’s part of the neighborhood flourishing,” Haywood said. “It’s a cool space that West Hillsborough has.
You won’t have to go to the Cat’s Cradle or Chapel Hill.”
For more information about the Eno House, go to
For information about upcoming shows at Eno House Artist’s Den, go to:
The Eno House is at 903 Eno St. in Hillsborough.