Survey and Research Report
Name and location of the property: The property known as
the Massey-Clark House is located at 232 North Trade Street in Matthews, North
Name and address of the present owners of the property:
The Town of Matthews
232 Matthews Station
Representative photographs of the property: This report
contains representative photographs of the property.
Map Depicting the location of the property: Below is a map
depicting the location of the property. The UTM coordinates are
Current deed book reference to the property: The most
recent deed book reference to this property is recorded in the
Mecklenburg County Deed Book 3988, page 416. The tax parcel number
A brief historical sketch of
the property: This report contains a brief historical sketch of
A brief architectural description of
the property: This report contains a brief architectural
description of the property.
Documentation of why and in what ways
the property meets the criteria for designation as set forth in N.C.G.S.
Special significance in terms of its history,
architecture, and/or cultural importance: The Commission judges
that the property known as the Massey-Clark House does possess special historic
significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission
bases its judgment on the following considerations: 1.) The Massey-Clark House
is one of the oldest extant buildings in Matthews. 2.)
The Massey-Clark House is an excellent example of hall-and-parlor style
architecture. 3.) The Massey-Clark House is an important remnant of
a once rural small town community and is, therefore, reminiscent of a way of
life that has virtually disappeared in Mecklenburg County.
Ad Valorem tax appraisal: The Commission is aware that
designation would allow the owner to apply for an automatic deferral of
50% of Ad Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the property which
becomes designated as a “historic landmark.” The current appraised
value of the lot is $83,100. The appraised value of the building
is $39,300. The total tax value is $122,400.
This Report was prepared by Hope L. Murphy
Massey-Clark House is one of the oldest extant residences in Matthews,
from the late 19th Century. Matthews was originally
known as "Stumptown," for the many stumps left by farmers as they cleared
the land to build houses and fields. In 1872 the Carolina Central
Railroad, as it completed its line from Wilmington, North Carolina to
Charlotte, located a depot beside a stagecoach stop in Stumptown.
Seven years later, in 1879, the town of Matthews was incorporated. It
was named after Watson Matthews, a member of the Board of Directors of
the Central Carolina Railroad. Beginning in the 1890’s, Trade
Street began to develop into a bustling center for commerce frequented
by local farmers and the passengers and crews of the many trains that
stopped there daily.
The house had a wraparound shed porch
Though local lore credits the house with being built in 1845 by W.W.
Orr, it is more likely that the structure was erected soon after 1880.
It was then that E. J. Funderburk sold the lot on which the house rests to Dr.
Henry V. Massey, a medical doctor and Civil War veteran.
Funderburk, a prominent farmer, most likely theretofore used the land for
The home remained in the Massey family until
1925. It was then that Dr. Massey’s children, Daisy Massey
Alexander and Henry Massey,
sold the house to C.C. (Clarence Coatsworth) Clark and his wife Susie
Mr. Clark was employed by the Southern Railroad as a section foreman.
The couple had five children
Paul, Ralph, Ruth, and Helen, who died tragically as a young child of 4
or 5, and an infant who died shortly after birth.
When the Clarks lived in the home Matthews was still very rural, and a
field next door to the house was used to grow cotton.
Later, in 1950, the Matthews Town Hall was erected next door at 224
North Trade Street.
Susie Elmore Clark
Paul and Lucy Clark
In 1953, Paul Clark, his wife Lucy, and their
children, Jane and Oliver, came to live with the aging Susie shortly
before her death. Jane recounts that while her grandmother was alive,
her family used one side of the house and her grandmother the other.
Susie had her own living room, to the left of the entrance, and Jane’s
family had their own across the hall. Both families had their own
kitchens at the back of the house, though everyone ate meals together in
her Susie’s kitchen. When Susie died, Paul and Lucy removed the
second kitchen and put in the bathroom.
Clarence Clark Showing Wraparound Porch In
Paul Clark was employed by Williams and
Shelton, a wholesale distributor on South Boulevard that sold wares to dry goods stores
in Charlotte and its environs. There he managed the Men & Boys Department. Jane
remembers that when she was growing up the house was always full of
visitors, because it was located so near to Town Hall and
people often stopped in. Neighborhood children also frequently ran
in and out of the house, the doors of which were never locked. Mrs.
Clark was well known for the Raggedy Anne dolls that she made and gave
out to children in the community. Jane Clark lived in the house
until she left for college. After studying at Emory University, Clark stayed
in Atlanta where she became a nurse and received her doctorate.
When her parents died Dr. Clark put the house on the market.
Concerned that the house would be razed for development she sold the
house to the Town of Matthews in 1977.
Beginning in November 1979 the Massey-Clark House
was occupied by the Matthews Help Center. The Help Center provided
the community an array of services from the small six-room
home, including tutoring for students, a thrift store that
provided inexpensive used clothing, helping the elderly in filling out tax
and social service forms, and providing emergency funds for Matthews
families in need. The center was staffed by members of the Matthews
Woman’s Club, Matthews Ministerial Association, and other community
volunteers. The founders hoped that the center would make services more
accessible to the residents of Matthews, who traveled into Charlotte for
such assistance before the opening of Help.
Joan Uhrich, who has worked for Help for 25 years, credits the house and
its architecture with creating a nurturing environment for the
explains that the staff, volunteers, and clients all believed that the
offices felt “like home;” providing care was easy in such an
environment, Uhrich related.
In recent years a retail store occupied the Massey-Clark House.
The house presently has no tenant, and the Town of Matthews is seeking a
preservation solution for the property.
The Massey-Clark House was most likely originally
built in the hall-and-parlor form. This type of house is
characterized as being two rooms wide and one room deep. Virginia
and Lee McAlester write that this type of house “remained the dominant
folk housing over much of the rural Southeast until well into the 20th
The house is presently cross-gabled, by a later addition. The back
side of the house also has a shed addition, adjacent to the earlier
addition. The house is located on a small lot on North Trade Street, a
busy thoroughfare in Matthews.
The front of the house is three bays wide.
Six over six double-hung sash windows are found on either side of the
front door. The front door is wood paneled with a six-pane inset
window and is flanked by three pane side lights The front stoop is a
concrete slab set on a low brick. A 1979 photo shows that the stoop was
originally accessed by brick steps; it is now reached by a concrete
ramp, to allow for handicap access. Iron rails flank the ramp. The
small gabled front porch is covered by a low-pitched roof supported by
two posts. Green tar shingles cover the building’s roof. .
Immediately inside the front door is the central hall. This
approximately 11’ by 4’ space is lined on three walls by shelving, added
by Help. To the right of the entrance is a small room
(approximately 11 foot square). The room contains a non-working
fireplace, with a wood mantle. A walk-in closet is accessed through a
door in the same wall. Both the ceiling and walls are covered with
beadboard. A carpet is laid over the floors, which are likely
hardwood like many other rooms in the house. At one time this was
a bedroom for room for Paul and Lucy Clark. The room was used by the
Help center initially as a meeting room and later as an office and
staging area for organizing in-home meal deliveries.
The room to the left of the entrance is a little larger in size, it also
has a fireplace on its most rear wall. The fireplace surround is
of a pale brick with a wood mantle painted white. The floor is
also covered with carpet. The ceiling is covered with a textured
spray on application. There is a ceiling fan with light fixture in the
ceiling. The rest of the house is lit by industrial neon lighting.
This room served C.C. and Susie Clark as a living room, and later as a
checkout area for the Help organization’s thrift store.
Behind the front two rooms, is the dwelling’s most substantial addition.
The first two rooms both have wood floors and one six over six
double-hung sash window. They are connected by a small hallway.
To the rear of these rooms is the home’s kitchen. The kitchen has
painted wood cabinetry, and light beige wood paneled walls. Over
the sink, located on the rearmost wall of the house, is a single
fixed-pane window. Joan Uhrich, relates that the kitchen served
many purposes for the organization, serving both as a food preparation
area, place to consume meals, and as a work area.
A shed-roofed addition was added adjacent to the kitchen. This
addition contains a bathroom, back hall, and storage area. The
bathroom has a glass paneled door that leads to the front hall.
Jane Clark recalls that the bathroom was added when she was a small
child in the 1950’s, which accounts for the door which originally led
outside. Until then the property had an outhouse. The bathroom
floor is linoleum, as is that of the kitchen, back hall, and storage
space. The back hall area’s walls are wood clapboard and six over
six sash window opens from the kitchen, showing that the space was added
to the house.