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Historical Summaries of Significant Mecklenburg County Rural Resources

The two pictures above are the William Caldwell House (top) and farm land (bottom)

William Caldwell Farm (MK 1258), Caldwell Road. This is a two-story log house, surrounded by a significant collection of outbuildings, built in 1844 and significantly altered in the 1930s and 1980s. The farm is significant because of its age, because it is a two-story log house, and because it is surrounded by a large number of in-tact outbuildings and large fields. The outbuildings include a large log barn dating from 1844 and a more modern silo. This property illustrates the changes in agricultural technology from 1844 through the modern era.


Cedar Grove (MK 4), Gilead Road. This 1831 - 1833 mansion is one of the few ante-bellum Mecklenburg County home believed to have been designed by an architect rather than a builder. Constructed in the Greek Revival style for James Torance. Materials came from both local sources and from the great cities of Charleston , Philadelphia, and New York. Torance opened his store in his parents old house in 1805 and was already prosperous when he inherited his parents fortune and property. This property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a locally designated historic landmark.


Joseph Cochran House (MK 1260), Rocky River Road. Joseph Cochran emigrated to Cabarrus County from Ireland; finally building this log house in Mecklenburg County in 1822. The house was extensively remodeled in the 1930s by a descendant. The same descendent, Fred Cochran, stopped growing cotton during the 1930s and began raising dairy cattle. In the 1960s, three hundred acres of the farm were sold and the remainder is no longer in production. The 1930s remodeling was done in the popular Colonial Revival style with fanlight and sidelights at the entry and a double height portico. The farm, illustrative of the evolution of agriculture in Mecklenburg County, is endangered by Interstate 485 which will soon run nearby.


Samuel Elam Cochran House (MK 1261), Rocky River Road. Constructed next to the Joseph Cochran house, this triple-A I-house was built around 1904. Intact are the property's kitchen (possibly predating the house), a twentieth century tenant house, and a garage. Together with the Joseph Cochran house, this property is highly significant because the evolution of one farming family may be readily seen in this collection of buildings. Especially significant is the tenant house and kitchen, which are extremely rare in the current inventory of historic properties. Like the Joseph Cochran house, this house is threatened by the I-485 beltway.


Coffey House (MK 1700), Shopton Road. James Morrow Coffey built this I-house in 1886. A front gabled wing was added to the front around the turn of the century creating an irregular plan. Several outbuilding remain on the property including a log building (possibly older than the house) thought to be the kitchen, a log barn, a granary, and two sheds. The complex is an excellent example of the a late nineteenth century farmstead.


Community House (MK 1220), Community House Road. This Rustic style building was built in the 1930s for a local women's home demonstration club. The property continues to be used by the local Women's Club. Similar to the agricultural education program set up at Long Creek Agriculture Building, this building is indicative of the outreach education programs popular in the 1930s. The architecture of the building is unique in Mecklenburg County. The building is a locally designated historic landmark


Connell House (MK 1492), Mt. Holly Road. This double front gable cottage is endowed with a wide wrap-around porch trimmed in Folk Victorian sawnwork. This is an excellent example of the sort of one story house built by middle income farmers near the turn of the twentieth century. Mr. Connell operated a riding stable on this property and several remaining historic outbuildings give an excellent view into late nineteenth century farm life.


Cooper Log House (MK 1359), Dixie River Road. Built in the 1780s or 1790s with additions from the 1840s and 1880s, this house is an excellent example of the evolution of an early Mecklenburg County farm. William Cooper is thought to be the builder of the original section of the house. He was a typical plantation owner during the late eighteenth century, raising a variety of crops and owning a few slaves. The house passed out of the Cooper family in 1897. This dwelling is an extremely rare example of an eighteenth century Mecklenburg County plantation. This property is a locally designated historic landmark.


The two pictures above are the barn (top) and house (bottom) of Dr. Walter P. Craven

Dr. Walter Pharr Craven House (MK 1494), Mt. Holly - Huntersville Road. The T-plan house was built circa 1888 and exhibits the Folk Victorian style. The significant collection of outbuildings from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century provide important information about the life of rural Mecklenburg County doctor and farmer. Also of note is the circa 1910 family chapel, where the family held private Catholic services. This property is an important contributor to the rural character of Mt. Holly - Huntersville Road. This property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a locally designated historic landmark.


Joplar or Bill Jack Alexander Store/Filling Station (MK 1542), NC 115. This structure, which replaced an earlier store building diagonally across the intersection of what was then Highway 21 and Alexanderana Road, was completed on January 5, 1932, by Bill Alexander, the owner.  The granite used in the building was blasted by dynamite from a farm on Eastfield Road and hauled to the site by wagon. It is a random-coursed fieldstone structure with a hip-roofed porch. The filling station/store building is significant because its aesthetic quality exemplifies the romantic notions of automobile travel that characterized the pre-World War II era. America fell in love with the automobile almost instantly, and such decorative filling stations were popular even throughout the 1950s.

This photograph from the 1930s shows the rural context of the Rock Store.

 Filling stations are important in understanding the changes in rural life that were brought about by the advent of the automobile. People living in rural areas were suddenly brought into close proximity to the burgeoning city of Charlotte. The impact in the built environment is seen in the improvement of roadways as well as the decline of community oriented institutions such as the local store. Although modest to our eyes, this filing station, along with the Thrift Depot and Thrift Mill and the WBT building, hold a wealth of information about the drastic changes that were occurring in Mecklenburg County in the early twentieth century. This building seems to be presently used for storage.


Croft Schoolhouse (MK 1536), Bob Beatty Road. The initial portion of the Croft Schoolhouse was completed around 1890. A major addition occurred in the early 1900s, making the four classroom building the largest existing pre-1920 schoolhouse in Mecklenburg County. The building was in use until 1941. One teacher recalled the necessity of pausing her lesson each day while the gin whistle blew across the street. Located next to the S.W. Davis house this school is an important part of the integrity of the Croft area.