Bobby Grier House (Robert Grier House),
One of Mecklenburg County's oldest
antebellum mansions was built by Robert Grier c. 1830-35. The
structure was lost to fire in 1976. The roof was supported by four towering
brick columns that extended 18 inches from the porch and rested on large
blocks of sandstone. Most of the nine rooms were handsomely paneled in
virgin pine and five of them had fireplaces. Owned by Mrs. L.H. Parham
(Mary Elizabeth Chambers Parham), 1440 Scotland Ave., Charlotte, N. C., the
house was occupied by the family of S.C. Forbis, 85-year-old retired
farmer. Mrs. Parham's son is Lewis H. Parham, Jr. Mrs. Parham
stated in a letter to the HLC office dated Aug. 30, 1976, "that the property
was purchased by my father in the early twenties, or shortly before for the
purposed of agronomics and it is, therefore, not my family ancestoral
article by Dot Jackson, 9/6/1976
"Unpainted, Unplumbed- Still
It Was A Regal Sentinel"
Sometimes a thing can wait only 150 years. One day longer and you're
week Bill McCallister and I were out on a story, and we came around a bend
in the Matthews-Weddington Road, and there it was.
Talk about the Ideal Home, this one all but jumped out and hollered.
It was the most Ideal, the most regal in its unplumbedness and unpaintedness,
the most touching and entreating.
It was kept, but nobody lived there. The porches up and down had been
built for sitting and rocking and shelling peas and tatting, and watching
who went by.
The great rounded pillars in the front were layered for strength, curved
handmade brick outside of heart of pine, and a little bit maybe for show.
Hefty pine poles hid behind them.
We needed to stop and take its picture. But we did not have time.
Some day very soon, we said.
It was like saying we would write poor old Aunt Neecie tomorrow, and then
getting word the funeral was today. Because when I went back in less
than week, there was nothing but the chimneys, and the bricks from the
columns and a little tin that had been the roof.
That was the old Robert Grier house, built about 1835. It was not
Robert Grier's only house. His other was on East Trade, where the law
building stands now. Other ravages than fire have robbed downtown
Charlotte of homes of that era.
this was his country estate. It was where he fled to, with his
daughters, when the Yankees came and camped on Trade Street and used his
trees to barbecue neighbor's pigs and chickens. The wretches.
the country house escaped invasion. When Robert was gone his sons
farmed it. And then his grandson William who was no farmer sold it.
passed to the George Chambers family, who rented it out to J.C. Forbis for
over 40 years, and then Mrs. Mary Hudson rented it and lived there until a
few weeks ago. The place is still owned by Mrs. Mary Elizabeth
Chambers Parham, of Charlotte, who had kept it very nearly as it had been
happened? Clyde Baucom, Matthews police chief, says he doesn't know
how it started, but sometime in the night Monday the house caught fire.
"It wasn't occupied. If a house is occupied and something like this
happens it's usually an accident. When one is empty, it's less
in the country sometimes you can follow the arsonists by the smoking ashes
and bereft chimneys. "Some people get a kick out of that," Baucom
says. "I really hated this."
Dukes, nearby neighbors, hated it too. "My wife and I were at home
when it happened but we didn't hear a thing. The next morning when I
drove by there on my way to work there was nothing but the chimneys."
The Dukes have a painting of the house done by Elizabeth Higgings, on of
several artists who- thank goodness- at least have its memory on canvas.
Carolina being as it is, the Grier descendants are in sorrow.
"I always thought how it would be, if I could buy it," says Marcia Grier
Spencer, 28, great-great-granddaughter of the builder.
It would have been nice.
Landmarks Commission considered the property to be an important historic
landmark. September 7, 1976, it was to be considered for designation
as a historic landmark at a scheduled public hearing with Mecklenburg County
Rear of Robert Grier Home, Matthews-Weddington
Rd., Charlotte, N. C. (burned 1976)
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