Survey and Research Report On The Parks
Parks Hutchison School, 1926
1. Name and location of the property.
The property known as the Parks Hutchison School is located at 1400 North
Graham Street in Charlotte, N.C.
2. Name, address and telephone number of the
present owner of the property. The owner of the property is:
Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education
701 East Second Street
Charlotte, N.C. 28202
Telephone: (704) 343-6220
The current occupant of the property is:
Management School North
1400 North Graham Street
Charlotte, N.C. 28206
Telephone: (704) 343-6074
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 depicting the location of the property.
The UTM coordinates for the property are: 17515153E and 3899677N.
5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent deed
to this property is listed in the Mecklenburg County Deed Books #586 p. 512.
The tax-parcel number of the property is 079-017-29.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains a
brief historical sketch of the property prepared by Ryan L. Sumner.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains a brief architectural description of the property prepared by Ryan
8. Documentation of how and in what ways the property meets the criteria
for designation set forth in N.C.G.S. 160A-400.5:
a. Special significance in terms of its historical,
prehistorical, architectural, or cultural importance: The Commission
judges that the property known as the Parks Hutchinson School does possess
special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases
its judgment on the following considerations: 1) The Parks Hutchison School
represents a type of school construction built during the post-World War I
movement to consolidate rural schools for whites into larger units. 2)
Parks Hutchinson School was designed by Louis H. Asbury, an important
regional architect and founding member of the North Carolina Chapter of the
American Institute of Architects.
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling, and/or
association: The Commission contends that the architectural description
by Ryan L. Sumner, which is included in this report, demonstrates that the
essential form of the Parks Hutchison School meets this criterion.
9. Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal: The Commission is aware that designation
would allow the owner to apply for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad
Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the property that becomes a "historic
landmark." The current appraised value of the 4.18 acres of land is
$177,530. The current appraised value of the
improvements is $369,270. The total current appraised value is
$546,800. The property is zoned I-2.
Date of Preparation of this Report: September 1, 2002
Prepared by: Ryan L. Sumner and Dr. Dan L. Morrill
Historical Background Statement
The Parks Hutchison School was erected as part of a
statewide movement to consolidate small rural schools into large centralized
buildings. The impetus for this effort was a desire to improve
education while reducing the local tax dollars spent on schools, made
possible due to advances in transportation of children to more distant
schools. These "consolidated schools" were built much larger than
education buildings erected before the movement and took inspiration
from Classical, Gothic, and Tudor architecture. In general, these
schools were built for white students, as African Americans in rural areas
continued to attend small separate schools.1
In May 1924, the people of Mecklenburg County awarded the
School Board and City Council one million dollars for constructing new
schools.2 This money allowed the schools
to engage "Dr. Strayer and Engelhardt of Columbia University, New York" to
survey and recommend sites for six new school buildings and additions to two
existing ones 3 for which they would also be
Louis H. Asbury
Louis H. Asbury was the principal architect for the
project, planning at least four of the six new schools. According to
then School Superintendent Harding's memoir, Asbury designed Wilmore School
in accord with the Strayer/Engelhardt recommendations and reused the same
drawing for Seversville School.5 Other
sources show that Asbury was also engaged to design Morgan School
6 and Parks Hutchison School.7
A Charlotte native, Louis H. Asbury (1877-1975), received
his professional training in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology after graduating from Trinity College (now Duke University) in
1900. Before establishing his Charlotte practice in 1908, Asbury was
associated with the nationally known firm of Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson, in
either its New York City or Boston office. Asbury and his son, Louis
H. Asbury, Jr., had an extensive local and regional practice until his
retirement in 1956.
A founding member of the North Carolina Chapter of the
American Institute of Architects, Asbury, along with other early
professional architects in North Carolina, introduced a higher degree of
sophistication and professionalism into Charlotte building. Favoring
the Neoclassical and Gothic Revival styles which were popular both
nationally and among his conservative clientele, Asbury rendered designs
that covered a range of residential, commercial, and institutional
buildings, including Myers Park Methodist Church, the former Mecklenburg
County Courthouse, the Mayfair Hotel (now Dunhill Hotel), and the Doctors'
Building. His work illustrates a new urbanity in the architecture of
Charlotte, corresponding with the new importance of the city as a regional
center for the textile and banking industries. His practice spanned
two important periods of economic prosperity for the city during the
post-World War I and post-World War II eras, and the buildings serve as
reminders of these periods of urban development when Charlotte emerged as
the largest city in the two Carolinas.
In June 1925, the City of Charlotte purchased a four-acre
lot from the estate sale of Mr. Parks Hutchison. It appears that this
school was originally named "Eleventh Ward," 8
or "Hutchison Avenue School" (Hutchison Avenue was the name of this part of
North Graham Street at the time). Louis Asbury's Job Book shows that
he was the architect for the Eleventh Ward School.9
The motivation for building the school was to relieve congestion at First
Ward School and Fourth Ward School 10 -- both
of which were located just a few blocks from the Parks Hutchison site.
The school opened on September 13, 1926, enrolling about
200 pupils in grades one through five, with the ability to add a sixth grade
when necessary.11 The first principal
was Ms. Fannie Eaton, a former teacher from South Graded School.12,
The school continues to serve this community's children.
Today the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) buses the buildings as its
"Management School North," part of a program that teaches academic and
behavioral skills to students who have been removed from regular schools due
to violations of the Code of Conduct.
The Parks Hutchison School is located within the Lockwood
neighborhood, a 55-acre residential area between North Tryon and North
Graham Streets.14, 15 The school sits to
the front of a 4-acre lot, which is bounded roughly by North Graham Street to
the west, Halifax Ave. to the south, an industrial complex to the east, and Armour Dr. to the north. Facing west, the school is situated on a
corner lot, measuring 570 feet x 300 feet. The parcel is now
surrounded by the trucking and distribution operations that dominate the
North Graham Street corridor. The school is surrounded by a grass yard
on all sides, with an especially large open area in the rear for students to
play. A small asphalt parking area is situated on the north side of
The school is a two-story, red brick (laid in running
bond) building, that possesses its essential physical integrity. It
has a rectangular plan, and slight rear projecting "L." The building
has a symmetrical front facade, consisting of a central block flanked by
projecting pavilions. The front facade is seventeen bays wide.
The central entrance has a Tudor-style archway with
restrained, stepped, decorative, stone surrounds. The recessed doorway
has been bricked up. Like most of the first-story windows, the window
created by infilling the doorway and the two small four-over-four windows on
either side of the recessed hall are covered with a heavy metal security
grating. The three concrete steps that lead to the former main
entrance are flanked by heavy brick retaining walls with concrete caps.
Above the central entrance is a copper sign that reads: "Parks
The school's design follows certain Classical
conventions, such as a cornice, which defines the stepped parapets of the
three masses and contains a decorative corbelled triple diamond pattern in
the central section. The cornice is defined from below by a concrete
frieze, with a repeated recessed rectangle pattern common to Greco-Roman
There is a variety of window types used on the front
facade of the building -- single and paired, following several patterns.
Most of the windows are nine-over-nine light, double hung, with wooden sash.
Four small four-over-four windows flank the central mass, with one located
on either side and on both stories. The windows on the upper half of
the left projecting mass are four-over-four, indicating that they might have
been replaced -- possibly during a 1998 interior remodeling of this part of
the building.16 The window openings have
brick sills, and all of the first story windows are covered with heavy metal
The most prominent features of the side elevations (north
and south) are the entrances located on the first floors, constructed of
round brick arches with concrete corner blocks and keystones. These
round-arch entrances and doors are flush with the exterior wall. The
door on the north elevation appears to be original, including its five-pane
fanlight. The entrance on the south side is a modern replacement with
the fanlight covered by a wooden panel. On the south elevation the
entrance leads to a long north-south hall that run in a straight line
length of the building and connects to the north door. Like the
entrances on the front and rear elevations, the doors are recessed from the
ground via concrete steps flanked by brick retaining walls with concrete
tops. The north and south elevations each have a single second story
window above the door -- on the south is a double nine-over-nine double hung
window, and on the north is a double two-over-two apparently fixed window.
First Floor Interior
The interior of the the Parks Hutchison School has been
modified but without irreparably damaging its historic features. Most
of the hall doors to the offices and classrooms are original and have
six-light windows in the upper halves and paneled lower halves. Many
of these doors have four-light transoms, several of which still open.
Steam radiators also remain intact throughout and still heat the building.
Many original features such as plaster walls, floor moldings, and large
window sills remain. The recent changes consist mainly of new walls to
divide large rooms into smaller spaces, dropped acoustical ceilings with
inset fluorescent lighting, and bluish-gray carpeting; these changes
are obviously recent and do not mimic original moldings, hardware, and other
original interior features in appearance.
Louis Asbury designed the school's first floor interior
in a truncated T-shaped plan. A short corridor leads from the main
(front) entrance to a long north-south hall along which three classrooms
were originally located. Today the front door entrance has been
bricked-up and contains an added window. A drywall partition closes
off the east end of the short corridor, turning the short hall into a
conference room. An obviously modern door connects this room to the
first floor main hallway.
A principal's office flanks the conference room (formerly
the entrance hall) on the north. The doorway that connects these two
rooms has its original frame and four-light transom. However, the
original door has been replaced by a modern one. Original floor and
wall moldings remain, as do the deep window sills The room has its original door, and
has plumbing features that are original or date from the World War II era.
The principal's office connects to the main hallway via a doorway that
contains parts of the original molding but seems to have been lowered to
remove the transom.
Asbury designed another room to flank the south side of
the entrance hall as a mirror image of the principal's office. It was
likely a nurse's infirmary or school business office. The room
connects to the conference room (former entrance hall) via its original
paneled door, with original framing and four-light transom. Several
walls were recently added to the space to convert the room into an
ADA-compliant teacher's bathroom.17 Plywood partitions create a large stall
that contains a modern toilet and sink. As in the principal's office,
the original staff water closet remains in the front (in this case
northwest) corner. This room also contains a rather large vault that
is accessed by a plain door with a built-in combination dial and lever.
It is unknown if this was part of Asbury's design, but the feature is
labeled the "Old Vault" on a CMS diagram of the building
18 and is shown with walls twice as thick as other interior
The first-floor classroom with the highest level of
integrity is located across from the main entrance on the east side of the
long north-south corridor. The room is accessed by a modern door, but
the original frame and the original transom are in place -- even if they are
obscured by a plywood panel in the front and has been sheet-rocked over
inside the classroom. This room is the only teaching space that has
not been subdivided by new partitions. The original deep window sills
are still place, along with the radiators, and the cloakroom. The
doors to the cloakroom are modern.
The student restroom is located at the north end of the
floor and is accessed via a second short hall that connects to the long
north-south hall to the rear (east) entrance. new dividing walls have
segmented this space into two distinct bathrooms -- the original boys'
bathroom and ADA-compliant restroom are accessed by a separate locked door.
Modern doors provide access from the hallway and to the ADA bathroom.
The large window that once existed in this restroom has been replaced by a
plywood panel punctured by an exhaust fan.
Louis Asbury's design called for a classroom (22'-8" X
30'-2") with cloakroom to be located on the west side of the main hall in
the building's projecting pavilions to the north and south of the central
section of the building. However, neither rooms serves the school as a
New walls break the original northwest classroom into
three spaces -- a small library, secretary's office, and workroom. A
modern wall 19 running east-west bisects the
room with the library closest to the principal's office (south section);
this room is connected to the main corridor by a recently created doorway
and is accessed from the principal's office through a doorway in the room's
coat closet. The northern half of this room is cut into a secretary's
office and a workroom by a modern north-south wall and modern door.
Despite the extensive modifications to this room, it still contains the
original moldings around the original walls, its original windowsills, and
the original door (leading from the secretary's office to the hall), and
The southwest classroom has likewise been modified for
new uses. A new east-west wall divides the room into two spaces,
connected by a modern door. The north section has been modified with
linoleum floors as a very small lunchroom, where a limited number of
children can sit and eat homemade lunches. A recently created doorway
links this room to the hall. The southern section is accessed by the
classroom's original door, with its original six-light door and four-pane
transom still in place. The southern section now serves the school as
a computer laboratory with twelve workstations.
At the north end of the building, a stair tower is
located behind original (six-lights each with five-light transom) double
doors in the rear entrance vestibule. These stairs appear to be made
from steel-reinforced concrete, and contain a concrete-encased rail and
balusters.20 At the second-floor landing,
the stairwell contains a single, nine-over-nine, double-hung sash
window. Original double doors (six light each with five light transom)
lead from the stairwell to the second floor porch, which provides access to
the second floor hall through another set of original paneled doors
(six-lights each with five-light transom). The walls in the stair
tower are plaster, which may have originally been exposed brick, like the
upper and lower porches.
A second set of stairs is internal and ruses up from the
southern end of the building's north-south hallway. These are made
from wood, and although carpeted, seem to have the original risers, treads,
balusters, railing, and heavy newel post.21
Second Story Interior
The plan of the second story closely follows the layout
of the first floor. A short east-west hall connects the north stair
tower to the long north-south hallway that runs the length of the building.
Three classrooms and the student restroom are located directly above their
first-floor counterparts. The main difference is the location of the a
large room (37'-11" X 25'-8"), possibly intended for use as the library,
above the first floor conference room, ADA bathroom, and the principal's
office. As on the first floor, numerous drywall partitions have been
added to the classrooms to create offices for teachers within classrooms to
to adapt spaces for new uses.
The classroom with the most modification is located in
the northwestern corner of the building. To convert this space into
offices for the school's social worker and counselors, nine new walls and
six new modern doorways divide the space into six small offices. The
original door location is inside one of the offices and has been replaced by
a solid wooden panel, through the frame and transom remain. Some of
the original floor moldings are in place, though others appear to be modern
The girls' bathroom is located in the short hall just off
the north stair tower porch. The original six-light door is still in
place. There is no fanlight, indicating that it may have been removed,
and the door frame truncated. The plumbing features are quite old in
this space and date from the construction of the building or from the World
War Two era. The metal frames that divide the seven stalls from one
another are capped with decorative elements and may be original to the
The central classroom on the eastern side of the building
has some minor augmentations but retains a high level of integrity.
Although two new walls have been added to create a small office for teachers
in the northeast corner of the room, the original moldings, sills,
radiators, cloakroom doors, hallway door, transom, two blackboard frames and
chalk trays, are present. The room contains a built-in cabinet, with
small double doors.
A somewhat larger room is located in the front central
section of the building. Some of the plans in the CMS Facilities
Department files label this room, "Library,"23
which is consistent with the room's larger size and centralized location.
Currently the room has been divided into two classrooms by and east-west
drywall partition. However, the room is still relatively open and
contains its original moldings and a small framed slate blackboard with
wooden tray. A modern door opens into the hallway from an original
frame. The original four-light transom and opening mechanism are still
in place. A storage area has been created against the center of the
west wall -- again indicating this this was not originally a
classroom, because the six classrooms were all designed with cloakrooms.
The southwest classroom is located near the southern
stairway and is accessed by an original door that retains its four-light
transom. New walls have been added in the southeast corner to crate a
lockable teacher's office. As in other rooms, the slate is gone; but
original blackboard frames remain on the north south, and east walls.
Original moldings are also present, as are the three radiators, window
sills, and a built-in cabinet. The west side of the cloakroom has been
partition off to create a small staff restroom in the northwestern corner of
Two east-west partitions with modern double doors have
been added to the north-south hallway, one near the center of the building
and another near the southern stair landing. These doors do not seem
to serve any functional purpose, except perhaps added security.
Only two rooms are located in the basement, below the
rear projecting mass. Access is only from a steep concrete stairwell
24 centrally located outside the east elevation.
The modern door at the base of the stairs leads to the
boiler room, which is an area of about 25 square feet. The space is
essentially empty and is characterized by brick walls, overhead pipes, and a
large modern electrical boiler. In the southwestern corner is a single
toilet and stall defined by the same metal frame and decorative caps found
in the upstairs girls' bathroom.
A modern door in the boiler room's south wall leads to
the slightly larger coal room (approximately 30' X 22'). The coal
chute has been bricked up, and the rooms sits empty and useless. Like
the boiler room this space has brick walls and a concrete floor.
1. Woodard, Sarah A. and Sherry
Joines Wyatt, "Industry, Transportation, and Education: The New South
Development of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (Chrlotte-Mecklenburg
Historic Landmarks Commission, 2001).
2. Harding, Harry P.,
Charlotte City Schools, (Charlotte: Public Library of Charlotte
and Mecklenburg County, 1966), pp. 79-80.
3. These included Wilmore School
(Louis Asbury), Seversville School (Louis Asbury), Piedmont Junior
High School (Louis Asbury), Parks Hutchison School (Louis Asbury),
Morgan School (Louis Asbury), and additions to Elizabeth and Dilworth
Schools. Harding, pp. 79-80.
4. Harding, pp. 79-80.
5. Harding, pp. 79-80.
6. "Survey and Research Report on
the Morgan School" (Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission).
Hereinafter cited as "Morgan Report."
7. According to the records of
the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Facilities Department, Parks Hutchison
Schools was designed by "Louis H. Asburn" (sic.); this is obviously a
typographical error. Furthermore, Louis Asbury's Job Book (UNCC
Special Collections, Louis H. Asbury Papers) indicates his taking on a
school project shortly after the purchase date of the Parks Hutchison land;
the job was designated "Eleventh Ward." Apparently "Eleventh Ward" was the
original name for the school as Superintendent Harding indicated that
Eleventh Ward was opened to relieve congestion in the First and Fourth Ward
Elementary Schools (Charlotte News, September 5, 1926), and Parks
Hutchison School was built in very close proximity to both of these schools.
The 1927 Charlotte City Directory illumines the matter by indicating that
Miss Fanny Eaton was the principal of "Hutchison Avenue School." This
portion of Graham Street was named Hutchison Avenue at the time. Miss
Eaton was also listed as principal of "Eleventh Ward School."
8. See Endnote #7.
9. Louis H. Asbury Collection,
Job Book ("Eleventh Ward School" entry), UNCC Special Collections.
10. Charlotte News,
September 5, 1926.
11. Charlotte News,
September 10, 1926.
12. Charlotte News,
September 10, 1926.
13. Charlotte City Directory
14. Charlotte Observer,
November 26, 1992.
15. Mecklenburg County Map Books,
No. 3., p. 146.
16. Plans located in
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Facilities Department File: Management
School North. Hereinafter cited as "Files."
17. The American s With
19. This wall appears to be a
prefabricated wall that is easily removed.
20. There are eleven stairs from
the ground to a middle landing, from which the stairs turn 180 degrees,
before rising seven more steps to the upper landing.
21. There are thirteen steps to a
middle landing, where the stairs turn 180 degrees, before rising seven more
steps to the upper floor.
22. It seems that similar stall
partitions are found at Morgan school, also design by Asbury. See
23. Plans are in Files.
24. Sixteen steps with steel pipe