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Billed by Earl Sumner Draper, Myers Park’s nationally famous garden landscaping guru as “A Garden for the Country Home of the South” this stucco “linear” house was started in 1917 and !nished after World War I in 1921. Close control and attention to details by McAden plus a scarcity of materials during the war no doubt extended the building cycle of the home at 920 Granville Road.
Rosedale’s story is one of challenges, overcoming obstacles and evolving from “survive” to “thrive” in a city that has lost most of its historically significant homes.
It was built on 911 acres in 1815 by Archibald Frew and was called Frew’s Folly because it was so pretentious in a town of mostly log cabins. For over 170 years it was lovingly cared for by members of the same family—Frews, Davidsons, and Caldwells.
Wing Haven is a 1927, two story, three-bay house with white wood clapboard siding in the Colonial Revival Style. This style of house was particularly popular in the 1920’s after World War I . In 1970, the Clarksons donated their garden to the Wing Haven Foundation, Inc. (The Foundation), which was formed to preserve the gardens as a bird sanctuary and to provide education and inspiration to what now includes more than 11,000 annual visitors from Charlotte and beyond. The house was donated to the Foundation after the Clarksons’ deaths in the early 1990’s. Wing Haven has evolved from one couple’s passion and vision into a unique local house and gardens with outdoor classroom for groups of Charlotte school children, bird watchers, gardeners and horticulturists. By 1985, over 150 different species of birds had been identified at Wing Haven.
The interestingly varied bungalow-style frame house with a lively charm at 821 Harvard Place in Myers Park was built about 1915-16 by George Stephens (1873-1946), the energetic developer of Myers Park, and his wife, Sophie Myers Stephens (1875-1958). Christened George Erwin Cullet Stephens as the only child of Addison and Lydia Pierson Lambeth Stephens, he was born in Guilford County, near Summerfield. After his father’s death when he was about nine years old, he and his mother moved to Greensboro, where the boy attended the school of Lina Porter (an aunt of author O. Henry). At his next school, the Oak Ridge Institute, he became interested in physical education and showed great promise as a left-handed baseball pitcher. In 1892, Stephens entered the university at Chapel Hill, and earned his way through college with an appointment as an instructor in physical education.
After nearly three quarters of a century of searching every period of the past and every corner of the globe for models, at the beginning of this century architects found only one principal source of inspiration remaining untouched – America’s own colonial past. From leading architects of the early twentieth century came new work in the Neo-Adamesque and Neo-Colonial modes. This Georgian Revival architecture was the style which influenced the design of the Taylor house. As one of the earliest houses in Charlotte done in the Colonial Revival style, the Taylor place demonstrated a sensitive development of this emerging architecture. Zebulon Taylor was a well-to-do official in the growing Charlotte Electric Company, and the details of the house demonstrate his affluence.
The E. B. Gresham house on Edgehill Road in Myers Park is unquestionably one of the more unusual houses of its style in Charlotte. Built by Edwin Beverly Gresham (1878-1968) and his wife, Nettle Dowd Gresham (1880-1945), in 1924-5, its setting overlooking Edgehill Park reflects a comfortable style of suburban living of the 1920’s, and the unique architectural features of its stonework and imitation thatched roof suggest owners who wished to combine solidity in a contemporary home with a taste for the out-of-the-ordinary. E. B. Gresham, who was a Virginia native, married Nettle Dowd, the daughter of Capt. J. C. and Henrietta Rives Dowd of Charlotte, on October 17, 1899, when he was twenty-two and she nineteen.1 By the early 1920’s, E. B. Gresham, a graduate of Wake Forest, had become a department manager for the J. B. Ivey Company. The couple, with their son E. B. Gresham, Jr., who was studying for a career in law, lived on East Boulevard in Dilworth until about 1924, when they temporarily took up residence at 611 Hermitage Road in Myers Park. The latter address, at the corner of Hermitage and Ardsley Roads and one short block south of Edgehill, had previously been the home of John H. Cutter, a prominent real estate investor-developer and cotton broker.
Surrounded by deciduous trees, the Goff House stands 2-1/2 stories tall and is of frame construction with weatherboard siding. The facade is symmetrical, five bays wide with a center entry and gabled portico. The pediment is supported by grouped Tuscan columns and features a modillioned cornice. The entry consists of a six-panel door surrounded by partial sidelights and a curved fanlight. Above the portico, a Palladian window lights the center bay of the second floor. The house has a side-gabled asphalt-shingled roof which is pierced by three gabled dormers in the front. On the rear elevation, there is a single oversized dormer which holds a pair of small, fixed-sash windows. In addition, a tripped roof extends out from the main roof, shielding a rear sleeping porch.
The Isaac Newton Alexander Mill served the farmers of the surrounding countryside, who brought their wheat and corn, the principal grain crops of ante-bellum Mecklenburg to the facility for processing. 4 It must have been a hubbub of activity. As late as 1880, the mill was in full operation, not only processing grain but also producing cottonseed oil, the first in Mecklenburg County, peanut oil and castor bean oil. 5 But in the late 1880s and 1890s, more efficient plants, such as a roller mill in Dilworth, made the Isaac Newton Alexander Mill obsolete, and the old building fell silent. 6 On August 28, 1896, the Charlotte Observer reported that the mill dam “at the old Captain Alexander mill” had been washed away by heavy rains. “It was swept completely away,” the newspaper noted. “The people in that neighborhood think it a good riddance.”
The growth and expansion of Charlotte in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were intimately bound up with the installation and development of its streetcar network. Streetcars initially appeared in Charlotte in January 1887, when a horse-drawn system commenced operations.1 It was the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company, locally known as the Four Cs which revolutionized the transportation facilities of Charlotte, however. In February 1891, the Four Cs signed a $40,000 contract with the Edison Electric Co. to construct an electric streetcar on trolley system.2 Work began in march and terminated on May 18, 1891, when the first trolley departed from Independence Square, the intersection of Trade and Tryon Sts. in the heart of Charlotte.3 The system consisted of two lines, one from the Richmond and Danville Railroad Depot Carolina Central Railroad Depot on N. Tryon St. to Latta Park in Dilworth, the streetcar suburb which the Four Cs opened May 20, 1891.4
Construction of the house began on the morning of Thursday, August 20, 1874, on a lot on W. Trade St. which Samuel Wittkowsky and Jacob Rintels, two prominent merchants, had purchased from Jacob Duls on December 30, 1873. In many ways this pretentious dwelling reflected the value systems and priorities which had shaped the careers of its initial owners. Both Wittkowsky and Rintels came to Charlotte in the mid-1850’s as young adults who had immigrated from Prussia. They met as co-workers for Levi Drucker, a leader of the local Jewish community and owner of a mercantile establishment. In 1857 the two men formed a partnership for purposes of opening a general store in Ellendale, a small community in Alexander Co., North Carolina. Their total operating capital was less than $500. The firm was dissolved in 1859. Jacob Rintels then moved to Statesville, NC., where he met Bettie Wallace, sister of one of his partners in a newly-established mercantile house with which he became associated in 1860. They were married the same year.