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Survey and Research Report

On The

Crutchfield-Bromar-Brem House

 

 

 

 

1.         Name and location of the property. The property known as the Crutchfield-
Bomar-Brem House is located at 307 East Boulevard in Charlotte, North Carolina

2.         Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the property.

The present owner of the property is:                               Mr. Jack E. Apple

5812-F Hunting Ridge Lane Charlotte, N.C. 28212 Telephone:  704/377-1357

3.      Representative photographs of the property. This report contains representative
photographs of the property.

4.    A map depicting the location of the property.  This report contains a map which
depicts the location of the property.

5.    Current Deed Book Reference to the property.  The most recent deed to this
property is listed in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 3939 at Page 802. The current
tax parcel number of the property is 123-075-02.

6.          A brief historical sketch of the property.  This report contains a brief historical
sketch of the property by Dr. William H. Huffman, Ph.D.

7.    A brief architectural description of the property.  This report contains a brief
architectural description of the property by Mary Alice Dixon Hinson, Professor of
Architectural History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

8.    Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the criteria set forth
in N.C.G.S. 160A-399.4.

 

a.     Special significance in terms of its history, architecture, and/or cultural
importance.
  The Commission judges that the property known as the Crutchfield-Bomar-
Brem House does possess special historic significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklen­
burg.  The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations:  (1) the
house occupies an important place in the development of Dilworth, Charlotte's first
streetcar suburb, because it was built by the Charlotte Consolidated Construction
Company or 4Cs, the developers of Dilworth, because it was erected in 1903 and is,
therefore, one of the oldest houses on East Boulevard, the grand thoroughfare in
Dilworth, because Dr. Edward E. Bomar, pastor of Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church,
was an early owner, and because Walter V. Brem, a leading businessman in Charlotte
and an early associate of George S. Stephens, who later developed Myers Park, lived
in the house for many years and died there in 1925; and (2) the house is one of

the finer local examples of the Queen Anne style.

 

b.          Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling and/or association.
The Commission judges that the architectural description included herein demonstrates
that the property known as the Crutchfield-Bomar-Brem House meets this criterion.

9.  Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal.  The Commission is aware that designation would allow the owner to apply annually for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the property which becomes "historic property." The current Ad Valorem tax appraisal on the entire .241 acres of land is $28,350.  The current Ad Valorem tax appraisal on the improvements is $11,220.  The total Ad Valorem tax appraisal is $39,570.  The land is zoned Bl.

Date of preparation of this report:

February 3, 1982.


 

Prepared by:

Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission

3500 Shamrock Drive

Charlotte, N.C. 28215

Telephone:  704/332-2726

 

 

 

A Historical Sketch

of the Crutchfield House

by

  Dr. William H. Huffman

         August, 1981

 

In the spring of 1903, the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company, commonly known as the Four-C's, began the construction of a house in the new subdivision of Dilworth for Mr. William G. Crutchfield. The house, presently located at 307 E. Boulevard, is a charming Queen Anne style with some unusual features, including a fireplace in the foyer directly under the stairway leading to the second floor. By October of 1903, the house was completed, and Mr. Crutchfield purchased the lot and new house for the sum of $4803.48 on the thirteenth of the month.

 

William G. Crutchfield was a railroad agent employed by the Southern Railway. He was born in 1871, and in 1894 married Mary D. Crutchfield (b. 1869).  In 1900, the Crutchfields were living in Salisbury, N.C. with their son, William G., Jr. (b. 1899) and two servants, Rose Clark, 22, and Lucy Galloway, 15.  By 1903, the Crutchfields had been transferred to Charlotte, where they lived at 8 West Tenth Street before building the house on the eastern stretch of the "Boulevard," a block and a half from South Boulevard.  Due to transfer or some other circumstance, Mr. Crutchfield and his family apparently did not live in the house long, if at all, since by 1904 they were no longer in Charlotte, and the house was rented to William M. Lyles and his wife Carrie from 1904 to 1908. Mr. Lyles was a traveling salesman

for Schiff and Co. in Charlotte.

 

In 1908, Dr. Edward E. Bomar purchased the house on a foreclosure sale at the County courthouse, which sale was a result of the foreclosure by Mutual Building and Loan Assoqiation on a defaulted deed of trust executed by the Crutchfields on October 16, 1903.  Reverend Bomar was the pastor of the Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church on South Boulevard.  On assuming his duties, in September, 1906, he became the second pastor of that church. During his tenure, he supervised construction of a new sanctuary and helped organize the Associated Charities of Charlotte, a fore- runner of the United Way.  Reverend Bomar left Charlotte in May, 1916 to take up the pastorate of a church in Owensboro, Kentucky.

 

In 1912, Reverend Bomar and his wife Nannie sold the residence to Hannie Caldwell

Brem (1851-1936), wife of Walter V. Brem (1848-1925).  The Brems had built a house (constructed July, 1902 - Feb., 1903) in the first block of East Boulevard, about a block to the west (now 211 E. Blvd.) of the Crutchfield house.  By 1912, Mr. Brem was 64 and his wife was 61, so it seems probable that they deemed the smaller Crutchfield house more to their liking for retirement years. Mrs. Brem was the former Hannah Caldwell, a daughter of North Carolina Governor Tod Robinson Caldwell from Morganton.   Walter V. Brem was a longtime state agent for the Traveler's Insurance Company with offices in downtown Charlotte. Mr. Brem started in the insurance business about 1890 with George S. Stephens, who was a close friend of his son's from their college days at Chapel Hill.

 

Mr. Stephens subsequently married Sophie Myers, daughter of John Springs Myers, in 1902, and a few years later, developed his father-in-law's 1200-acre farm into the Myers Park subdivision.  By 1916, George Stephens apparently prevailed upon the Brems to try out his new subdivision, so they sold the East Boulevard home to the Stephens Co. and moved to Harvard Place.  After a two-year trial, Walter and Hannie Brem decided that Myers Park was "too far out in the country," so they repurchased the Crutchfield house from the Stephens Co. in 1918 and moved back to Dilworth. Mr. Brem died at the residence on February 11, 1925, and Mrs. Brem moved to the Addison Apartments, where she lived until shortly before her death in 1936. Hannah Brem willed the East Boulevard residence to their three children, Mina Brem Mayer, Helen Brem Beatty and T. Robin Brem, who in turn sold it four years later to James Eustace Collins.  From 1930 to 1941, the house was rented to J. Landrum Brown, an independent accountant, and his wife, Mary.   James E. Collins was a merchant in Monroe, N.C., and retired because of his health in 1940, when he bought the Crutchfield house.

         

        After Mr. Collins death about 1943, Mrs. Mamie Collins continued to live in the house until her own death in 1972, at which time the house was willed to her four children.  The present owner, Mr. Jack F. Apple, purchased the house from the

Collins heirs in 1977, and has attractively turned the site into offices.

 

 

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION: CRUTCHFIELD HOUSE

307 EAST BOULEVARD CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

        The Crutchfield House, built around 1903, is a well-preserved and robust example of the domestic Queen Anne style popular in American architecture at the turn-of-the-century. The house, now facing a heavy stream of traffic along Charlotte's East Boulevard, serves as a reminder of the street's vanished suburban character. Despite erosion of the original environment, the two-and-a-half storey frame house continues to lend human scale to the street. The house is skirted by a front lawn slightly elevated above street level. A retaining wall encloses the yard and runs to the sidewalk. The rear of the site is dominated by an unscreened asphalt parking lot, an alteration resulting from an otherwise exemplary conversion of the structure from residential to commercial use.

        The building's irregular massing is organized around a two-and-a-half storey central core covered by a hip roof. Intersecting the hip is a two-and-a-half storey transverse gabled wing. The wing ends in projections, one bay wide and two deep, along both side elevations. A three-storey pentagonal tower anchors the western corner of the main (southwest) facade. The extreme asymmetry of massing animates the site while also joining it to the larger architectural fabric, still predominately picturesque and pedestrian-scaled, that remains along Dilworth's non-arterial roads northeast and southwest of East Boulevard.

The house rests on a standard brick foundation ventilated by small metal grilles. The decorative German siding that sheathes the body of the house is punctuated by blind wooden cornerposts and a continuous blank frieze beneath the eaves. Plain wooden surrounds frame doors and windows. The corbelled brick caps of three interior chimneys pierce the roof.

The principle components of the main facade are the corner tower, with an adjacent parapet, and an entrance porch partially enclosed along the eastern corner by the projecting walls of a one-storey sunporch. Tower fenestration is rhythmically varied. Diamond-light casements alternate with one-over-one sash along the first and second storeys. Eighteen-light small-paned rectangular case­ments encircle the top of the third storey beneath a massive conical cap. Between the second and third levels of windows the tower is wrapped with shake shingles; the shakes sweep from the tower to the adjacent parapet. This is a Shingle Style motif used here to visually link the tower with the main body of the house. The parapet terminates in a decorative finial centered over the main entrance bay. Behind and above the parapet is a heavy hipped dormer with a multi-light casement.

The main entrance is sheltered by a partially enclosed front porch raised several steps above grade. Single and triple groups of unfluted Doric columns define the porch corners and support the nearly flat roof. The columns stand on flat-paneled plinths connected by a simple balustrade. The underside of the porch roof is covered with thin strips of ceiling. The single-leaf entrance door is flanked to the east, by a slightly projecting wall carrying a diamond-paned double casement window and a single full-length pilaster.

Set at a right angle to the main entrance is a double-leaf door leading to the one-storey enclosed- sunporch. The sunporch, two bays long and six deep, runs along the southeastern elevation. Its southeastern and southwestern exterior vails are glazed by a continuous band of diamond-light-over-one pane sash windows.

In addition to the trim on the entrance porch, the main facade carries one-over-one double-hung sash windows and characterically Queen Anne oval-shaped occuli. The occuli are set with multi-paned lattice lights enclosed by wooden surrounds from which burst flat splayed keystones. The occuli are placed alternately horizontally and vertically between the sash.

Fenestration along the southeastern elevation includes, in addition to the ornamental sunporch sash, chiefly one-over-one and two-over -two sash windows. The attic glable, faced with shake shingles and outlined by a rakeboard, is pierced by a single multi-light oval occulus. The other face of the gable, projecting from the northwestern side of the house, is similarly faced and outlined. In its center is a small louvered wooden vent. Fenestration along this elevation includes one-over-one sash at both first and second stories. The first storey is dramatized by a triple diamond-light casement enclosed in a single surround.

The rear elevation contains a secondary gabled wing. It is two stories high and three bays square. The ridge line runs at a right angle to the ridge of the transverse gabled wing. The rear gable straddles an enclosed L-shaped corridor entrance porch. The entrance porch runs three bays deep into the body of the house and is one bay wide.

A one-storey rear shed, three bays square, is attached to the rear of the gabled wing, west of the entrance porch. Two-over-two sash flanked by two-light casements form a continuous ribbon around the shed immediately beneath the cornice line. Minor alterations and additions to the rear, including a modest brick patio, do not significantly detract from the structure's integrity.

In plan the house is, predictably, agglutinative. The entrance stair hall acts as a two-storey stem off of which principal rooms branch. Throughout both levels the stair hall features a wainscot of thin vertically-laid ceiling enclosed by molded baseboard and chairrail. Above plastered walls is a molded cornice some of the principal rooms also contain molded cornices and baseboards. Most of the interior doors are single wooden leaves carrying five flat panels.

The major stair begins in the southern corner of the entrance hall and rises in three runs with half-turn landings. The open string supports turned balusters on plinths. The newel post is square-in-section, decorated with flat panels and a cap built of ovolo, cavetto, and cyma recta Holdings. The tread lips are molded in a cavetto profile. An enclosed back stair rises in a quarter-turn with winders in the rear of the house. The stair walls are sheathed with horizontally-laid flush siding.

The most elaborate decorative program, however, is reserved for the fireplace mantels located in the principal rooms. Most of the mantels employ Neo-classical elements in typical Queen Anne arrangements. The mantel in the first floor entrance stair hall, for example, consists of a black tile surround framed by unfluted Ionic columns, garland bas-reliefs, and a heavy cornice with a register of floral teeth molding. Similar Neo-classical compo­sitions occur in most of the other major rooms.

The mantel in the first floor northwestern room consists of a blue tile surround framed by engaged reeded post flanking two bracketed shelves. The overmantel between the shelves contains a large rectangular mirror. The room also has a simple wainscot, molded baseboard, handrail, and picture molding.

The mantel in the first floor eastern rear room consists of a beige tile surround framed by two tiers of superimposed unfluted Ionic colonettes. The lower tier contains a frieze trimmed with a floral garland of bellflowers. The upper tier contains an oval mirror set in a panel bearing fleur-de-lis at each corner. The upper colonettes support a heavy Neo-classical entablature trimmed with egg-and-dart molding.

The mantel in the second floor eastern room consists of a white tile surround framed by reeded Ionic columns resting on plinths. The columns support a mantel shelf above a garland. The mantel in the second floor northern room consists of a white tile surround framed by modillions supporting a blank frieze and an overshelf. The shelf is underlined by egg-and-dart, fillet, double bead, and cable moldings.

In distinction to these Neo-classical mantels, the mantel in the first floor sunporch, with its blue and white tiles and simple tripartite overmantel, reflects the ideals of homespun simplicity popularized by the Arts and Crafts movement.  Like the sunporch, the second storey pentagonal-shaped tower room is distinguished by its abundant natural light.

The conversion of the Crutchfield House into multiple offices and small shops is a model of appropriate adaptive reuse. In­tegrity of structure, scale, textural contrast, and decorative detail has been maintained.

 

Mary Alice Dixon Hinson

College of Architecture

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

August 3, 1981