SURVEY AND RESEARCH REPORT
The Standard Oil Company of New Jersey
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as
the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey Filling Station 1010 North Tryon
Street, Charlotte, North Carolina.
2. Name and address of the present owner of the
John and Louise McDow
1018 La Salle St.
Monroe, NC 28110
3. Representative photographs of the property: This report
contains representative photographs of the property.
4. Maps depicting the location of the property:
This report contains a map depicting the location of the property.
5. UTM coordinate:
17 514258E 3898018N
6. Current deed book and tax parcel information for the property: 08102413
7. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report
contains a brief historical sketch of the property.
8. A brief architectural description of the property: This
report contains a brief architectural description of the property.
9. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets
criteria for designation set forth in N. C. G. S. 160A-400.5:
a. Special significance in terms of its history, architecture, and/or
cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property known
as the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey Filling Station does possess
special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission
bases its judgment on the following considerations:
1) Standard Oil Company of
New Jersey Filling Station is the sole surviving pre- World War Two
automobile filling station surviving in Center City Charlotte.
2) The Standard Oil Station is a reflection of the growing
importance of the automobile in Charlotte's transportation mix.
3) The Standard Oil Station possesses architectural
significance as an example of Craftsman style design.
b. Integrity of design, setting,
workmanship, materials, feeling and/or association: The Commission
contends that the physical and architectural description which is
included in this report demonstrates that the Standard Oil Company Of
New Jersey Filling Station meets this criterion.
10. 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 which
becomes a designated "historic landmark." The current total appraised
value of the building and property $52,700.
11. Portion of property recommended for designation: The
exterior of the building and the property associated with the tax parcel
are recommended for historic designation.
Date of preparation of this report: January, 2005
Prepared by: Stewart Gray and Dr. Dan L. Morrill
The Standard Oil Company
Of New Jersey Filling Station
Standing along North
Tryon Street immediately north of the CSX Railroad tracks in the City of
Charlotte, is the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey Filling Station.
The distinctive building with a tiled, hipped roof supported by a single
column, was constructed sometime before 1926. The construction of
this type of building signaled the rise of the automobile as a major
mode of transportation into and out of Center City Charlotte.
to become a significant regional retail and wholesale mercantile
center with the arrival of the first railroad in October 1852.
In anticipation of that event several local businessmen
purchased what was known as the “Davidson Corner” on the
southwestern corner of the intersection of Trade Street and
Tryon Street, locally known as the “Square,” and divided the
land into five separate store lots on which they erected a
series of brick mercantile buildings, probably Charlotte’s
first, collectively called “Granite Range” or “Granite Row.”
William Treloar, an Englishman who
moved to Charlotte in the 1850s, purchased the structures soon
after they were built and named them “Treloar’s
also witnessed the arrival in Charlotte of several enterprising Jews who
drew upon their experience in the mercantile trade and established
retail and wholesale outlets here. Among them were Samuel
Rintels. In 1862, these two men joined forces to establish
Wittkowsky and Rintels,
a wholesale mercantile firm on South Mint Street that would eventually
become one of the leading businesses of its type in the two Carolinas.
By the 1870s, Rintels and
Wittkowsky were among the wealthiest men in
town; and in 1874 they expanded into the retail trade in a building they
leased on West Trade Street. The local newspaper began publishing
advertisements that described the "new and desirable goods" that the
firm received by railroad from New York City.
Rintels died at the age of 40 on June 20,
1876; but Wittkowsky, who lived until
February 13, 1911, remained an important civic figure for many years.
In 1883, no doubt spurred by the increasing need for housing,
Wittkowsky and other local investors
established the Mechanics Perpetual Building and Loan Association, later
the Home Federal Savings and Loan Association.
Wittkowsky also headed the
Association in Charlotte in the late
1860s and early 1870s and led the successful fundraising campaign to
establish a local lodge.
Many small shopkeepers operated in Charlotte in the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries; and they too took advantage of the
substantial growth that was occurring here due mainly to the emergence
of Charlotte and its environs as a major
textile industrial area in the Piedmont. As with William
Treloar, Jacob Rintels,
and Samuel Wittkowsky, many moved here from
the North. John W. Sheppard arrived in 1896 from New Jersey and
established a drugstore on the “Osborne Corner” or the northwestern
corner of the Square.
Annie Augusta “Gussie” Newcomb and her sister-law, Susie A. Newcomb, who
had come with their husbands to Charlotte from White Plains, N.Y. in
1879, purchased Miss Gray's Millinery Store at 24 W. Trade St. Gussie
and Susie catered to the wealthier ladies of the community. Gussie would
travel to New York City to acquire the finest material and ribbons. The
making of the elaborate hats of that era, resplendent with ornamental
trimming, was done in the store by several milliners. To say that your
hat came from Newcomb's was “enough said.” The store was a resounding
Grocery stores occupied an important place in Charlotte’s retail trade.
The oldest commercial building surviving in Center City Charlotte is the
Crowell-Berryhill Store at 401 West Ninth
Street. A designated historic landmark, the store opened in 1897.
The owner of longest duration was Earnest Wiley
Berryhill (1865-1931) who was known as a gracious and considerate
man, who ran a charge and delivery store.
Berryhill sometimes gave free baskets of food to customers who
could not pay. Working with him in the store for many years was
Berryhill’s longtime black employee,
who was a familiar figure to those who traded at the store and lived in
There were also restaurants and saloons in Center City Charlotte in the
late 1800s and early 1900s. In April 1902,
J. Luther Snyder, a Virginia native, arrived from Atlanta, where
he had worked for the Coca-Cola Company for two years. He settled here
to establish the first Coca-Cola bottling plant
in the Carolinas. "When
I came to Charlotte, the city had 17,000 people, eighteen saloons, two
breweries . . . and I had a terrible time selling soft drinks with that
kind of competition," Snyder remembered.
According to some residents, Charlotte was "awash in booze."
A.M.E. Zion Bishop Henry Lomax insisted
in 1881 that “Charlotte was haunted with more drunken men, in proportion
of the population, than he had ever seen and he had traveled in every
State of the Union except three.”
On Christmas Day 1880
groups of young men roamed through town like participants in a “carnival
of intemperance,” commented another observer.
Retailer David Ovens, who arrived in 1903, noted that the only decent
restaurant in town was “The Gem” on South Tryon Street. No
restaurants or saloons of that era
Charlotte’s retail business expanded significantly between 1890 and 1910
to keep pace with the burgeoning population of Charlotte and the
surrounding countryside. The population of the town increased from
18,091 in 1900 to 34,010 in 1910, partly due to annexation.
William Henry Belk (1862-1952) opened a dry goods store in Monroe, N.C.
in 1888 and persuaded his brother, Dr. John M. Belk, to join him in the
business. The Belk Brothers successful formula was to sell clearly
marked, quality merchandise at reasonable prices, for cash only, treat
all customers with respect irrespective of their financial status, and
to institute a “no-questions-asked” return policy. Belk Brothers
established their first store in Charlotte on September 25, 1895.
On October 6, 1910, the
Belks opened a new three-story store on East
Trade Street. It had an impressive, highly ornamental front façade.
Live music was provided by Richardson's Orchestra for the gala occasion,
which was held from eight to eleven in the evening.
The building was demolished in the 1990s to make way for the present
headquarters of Bank of America.
The second major dry goods store to open in the early 1900s in Center
City Charlotte was Efird’s Department Store.
Beginning operations as the “Racket Store” and soon thereafter as
the “Bee Hive” on the corner of East Trade Street and North College
Street, the store was bought by Anson County native Hugh
Efird and two of his brothers, Joseph and
Edmund, in 1907; and the name was changed to
Efird’s Department Store. Joseph Efird
took charge of the Charlotte store after Hugh died in 1909 and oversaw
the creation of a chain of stores that eventually included over 50
retail establishments across the Carolinas and Virginia, all directed
Plans were announced in 1922 plans for
constructing a brand new half million dollar
Efird’s Department Store on the much-sought-after 100 block of
North Tryon Street. The site gave Efird’s an
advantage over its main rival, Belk Department Stores. A bronze plaque
was placed on the front of the building in memory of Hugh
Efird. The new flagship store was designed
by locally renowned architect Louis Asbury and was built on the site of
the old Charlotte Hotel next to City Hall. It was a state of the art
store, five stories high with over 100,000 square feet of floor space
including a bargain basement and a spacious dining room on the top
floor. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the building for its time,
however, were the escalators which made Efird’s
the only store south of Philadelphia which could boast of such a
convenience, and gave this Charlotte department store temporary bragging
rights over even the renowned Macy’s of New York. The building too was
sacrificed in the 1990s so the present headquarters of Bank of America
could be erected.
The third major department store that appeared in Center City Charlotte
in the early 1900s was Ivey’s. Joseph Benjamin Ivey, the son of a
Methodist preacher, opened a small store room in rented space near the
Square on February 18, 1900. He, like William Henry Belk and Hugh and
Joseph Efird, came to Charlotte at the turn
of the century to take advantage of the local booming cotton mill
economy. Ivey's first day's sales totaled $33.18. "We had to study
carefully and push the lines that the other merchants did not make a
specialty," the enterprising merchant explained many years later. "For
instance, at one time brass buttons were quite the rage. I was careful
to keep in a supply all of the time while the other merchants were not
noticing and allowed their stock to get low." Among Ivey's early
employees was David Ovens, a Canadian who joined J. B. Ivey & Company in
1904. "I would probably have been satisfied with a moderate business
that would make something over a living," said Ivey, "but Mr. Ovens was
ambitious to make J. B. Ivey & Company a big store and the business grew
rapidly under our combined efforts." A devout Methodist, Ivey insisted
that the curtains be drawn in his store windows on Sundays, so that the
pedestrians would not be tempted to consider matters of this
world on the Lord's day.
Happily, the Ivey’s Department Building survives. This elegant structure
at Fifth and North Tryon Streets was designed by architect William H.
Peeps and opened as the new home of J. B. Ivey & Company in 1924. A
native of London, England, Peeps came to Charlotte in 1905 from Grand
Rapids, Michigan, where he had been a furniture designer. Peeps lived
here and thrived as an architect until his death in 1950. Peeps would
serve as president of the North Carolina Chapter of the American
Institute of Architects.
Ivey’s was renovated and enlarged in 1939. On May 4, 1990, the company
was purchased by Dillard's, another department store chain. The Ivey’s
Department Store Building has since
been converted into condominiums.
Peeps was also the architect of the
Latta Arcade and the
Ratcliffe Florist Shop on South Tryon Street and the
Hovis Funeral Home on North Tryon Street –
all constructed in the first three decades of the twentieth century.
Opening in 1914 and inspired by the Grand Central Palace Exhibition
Building in London, the two-story
Latta Arcade housed the offices of the
Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company, the developers of Dilworth,
plus a range of other offices and retail outlets.
In 1917, Louis G. Ratcliffe, a native of
Henrico County, Virginia, opened a florist shop next to the
Latta Arcade. After military service during
World War I, he returned to Charlotte and was a civic leader in this
community for more than 50 years. He died in 1961. So successful was
Ratcliffe at supplying flowers for weddings,
funerals and other special occasions that he decided to erect his own
building in 1929. The Ratcliffe
Florist Shop, which has recently been moved a short distance and
incorporated into a large mixed use
project, is an almost whimsical expression of Mediterranean motifs.
Another pre-World War Two commercial building designed by Peeps that
survives on Tryon Street is the Hovis
Funeral Home Building. Erected in the
1920s, this eclectic Classical style building served for many years as
the site of the Z. A. Hovis & Sons Funeral
Home. As with Peeps's other
buildings in Center City Charlotte, the Hovis
Funeral Home draws upon traditional patters of design, including arches
and quoining. Also, the building
underscores the role of Tryon St. as the principal upscale commercial
street in Charlotte in the first half of the twentieth century.
Peeps was not the only notable local
architect who fashioned commercial buildings in Center City Charlotte in
the first half of the twentieth century. Louis H. Asbury (1877-1975) was
the son of S. J. and Martha Moody Asbury of Charlotte. In addition to
being one of the first carriers of the Charlotte Observer, the
young Asbury assisted his father, who was a builder of houses in
Charlotte in the 1890s. He subsequently matriculated at Trinity
College, now Duke University, and graduated from that institution in
1900. Having acquired his professional training at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Asbury returned to Charlotte and established
his architectural practice in 1908. In the succeeding decades,
Louis H. Asbury assumed a position of prominence and leadership in the
architectural profession. He was the first North Carolina member of the
American Institute of Architects and played a leading role in organizing
the North Carolina Chapter of the A.I.A.
Louis Asbury was responsible for two noteworthy commercial structures
that still stand on North Tryon Street. Montaldo’s,
a retail outlet for expensive women’s attire and accessories, opened in
the 1920s and was expanded in 1950s. Asbury designed the original
or northern part of the building; and his son, Louis Asbury, Jr., was
the architect for the southern half of the store.
Louis Asbury was the architect of the Oscar J.
Thies Automotive Sales and Service Building at 500 North Tryon
Street. By the 1920s, automobiles were becoming increasingly
available for purchase by the middle class; and businessmen such as
Thies sought to take advantage of this
expanding market. The Thies Building was
completed in 1922 and was occupied by the Roamer (automobile) Sales
Agency. Hipp Chevrolet rented the building
in 1923, and in 1925, Carolina Oldsmobile occupied the building and
remained there through 1930.
The demands of the automobile increasingly shaped the built environment
of Center City Charlotte as the twentieth century progressed.
Additional automotive dealerships appeared, including the Thomas
Cadillac Company and the Frye Chevrolet
Company (1934) at 416 West Fifth Street.
Of New Jersey Filling Stations also came into existence. The only
pre-World War Two example that survives in Center City Charlotte is the
former Standard Oil Company Of New Jersey Filling Station at 1010 North
Even more profoundly, the automobile forced retailers to provide ample
parking. The most graphic example of the transformation that began
to occur in Uptown retailing in the decade immediately following World
War Two was the decision of Sears Roebuck
and Company to erect a complex of buildings and a large parking lot on
North Tryon Street and North College Street. On May 5, 1949, Mayor
Herbert H. Baxter joined civic leaders, including Charlotte Chamber of
Commerce president J. Norman Pease, and
Sears officials at opening day, ribbon-cutting ceremonies for a large
Sears Roebuck and Co. retail store and parking lot on North Tryon St.
Tryon Street was also dramatically impacted by the advent of the
automobile. Charlotte architect J. Norman Pease, Jr. , who had
been educated in the Modernist tradition at North Carolina State and
Auburn University, designed an award-winning building for the Home
Finance Company in 1958. The
structure exhibits many of the best characteristics of Modernism.
Devoid of applied ornamentation and exploiting contemporary materials,
the Home Finance Building has expansive windows to allow large amounts
of light to enter the second floor offices. The stairway and
hallway are on the outside of the building, thereby allowing a more
efficient use of interior space. Originally, the lower floor was
used for customer parking. The concept was that customers could
park on the lower level rather than needing a large area paved outside
the building. Unfortunately, the bottom floor has since been
enclosed for additional office space and a parking lot has been built,
thereby depriving the Home Finance Company Building of some of its
In summary, the
retail stores of Center City Charlotte have continuously evolved in
response to changes in the marketplace. New forms of
transportation have been especially significant in this regard.
Before 1852 customers had to walk or ride in buggies or wagons to get
from one place to another. The coming of the railroad in 1852,
horse-drawn streetcars in 1888, and the opening of electric streetcar or
trolley service in 1891, gradually transformed Charlotte's built
environment and gradually gave rise to the appearance of suburbs.
The arrival of the automobile in the first decade of the twentieth
century and the enormous expansion of their numbers following World War
One gave even greater momentum to this process. Although totally
understandable, these powerful inducements for change have meant that
very few retail buildings endure in Center City Charlotte. Indeed,
the Center City is now entering a new era as more residential units are
being built, thereby giving rise to more pedestrian traffic. In
some sense history does repeat itself.
 Dr. William H.
Huffman, “Survey and Research Report on the Garibaldi and
June 5, 1985.
 Dr. Dan L.
Morrill, “Survey and Research Report on the William
Treloar House,” July 3, 1984.
 Dr. Dan L.
Morrill, “Survey and Research Report on the
McManaway House,” June 1, 1977. Jacob
Rintels House stood on West Trade St. but was moved to Queens
Road in Myers Park in 1916 by its new owner, Dr. Charles
McManaway. The house still stands at
1700 Queens Road.
 Dr. Richard L.
Mattson, “Survey and Research Report on the Home Federal Savings and
Loan Buildng,” November 25, 2001.
Dr. Dan L. Morrill and Jack O.
Boyte, “Survey and
Research Report on the Masonic Temple,” n.d.
 Dr. Dan L.
Morrill and Nora M. Black, “Survey and Research Report on the John W.
Sheppard House,” January 29, 1992. The John W. Sheppard House
still stands at 601 North Poplar Street.
Dr. Dan L. Morrill, “Survey and Research Report on
Gussie Newcomb’s House still stands at 324 West Ninth Street.
 Dr. Dan L.
Morrill, “Survey and Research Report on the Crowell-Berryhill
Store,” July 7, 1982.
 Dr. Dan L.
Morrill, “Survey and Research Report on the Belk Façade,” April 3, 1985.
 Christina A.
Wright, “Survey and Research Report on the Withers
Efird House,” June 30, 2000.
 Frances P.
Alexander and Dr. Richard L. Mattson, “Survey and Research Report on the
Latta Arcade,” July 20, 1994.
Hereinafter cited as
 Dr. Dan L.
Morrill, “Route VII. Uptown Walking Tour Part
2” (landmarkscommission.org), n.d.
 Dr. Dan L.
Morrill, “Route VII. Uptown Walking Tour Part
2” (landmarkscommission.org), n.d.
 Dr. Dan L.
Morrill and Stewart Gray, “Survey of Historic Buildings in Center City
Charlotte,” November 2004.
 Dr. Dan L.
Morrill, “Survey and Research Report on the Advent Christian Church,”
November 2, 1987.
Ibid. Mecklenburg Iron Works
Drawings, 1945-1968 (UNCC Manuscript Collection 190 in the J. Murray
 Dr. Dan L.
Morrill and Nora M. Black, “Survey and Research Report on the Oscar J.
Thies Automotive Sales and Service
Building,” July 24, 1992.
The Standard Oil
Company of New Jersey Filling Station faces west, adjacent to North
Tryon Street, just north of the CSX Railroad tracks that define the
northern edge of the Uptown area. The neighborhood is now
distinctly commercial and industrial in nature, with small warehouses
and business in one-story buildings separated by overgrown lots.
When it was built however, the station was surrounded by blocks of small
mill houses and duplexes, and busy railroad sidings and spurs. But it
was not the immediate neighborhood that attracted the filling station.
The Standard Oil Station occupied a prominent position along what was
then one of the state's busiest roads. Not only was Tryon Street
one of the city's original defining roads, but it was also part of the
first system of paved highways that connected the cities of North
The one-story, frame
and masonry station consists of a retail office and a deep two-bay wide
garage attached to the north side elevation of the office. The
station is covered with stucco, and its most distinctive feature is a
single square concrete post, centered in front of the retail office.
The post flares into a concrete beam and supports a hipped-roof, half of
which acts as a canopy that once afforded protection to customers and
their cars, with the other half protecting the principal section, the
station's retail office. The hipped roof is covered with pressed
metal shingles, formed to resemble clay tiles.
While difficult to
categorize, the ca. 1927 building is definitely reflective of the
popular styles of the early twentieth century, and shows that influence
of the eclectic nature of the Craftsman Style bungalows being built
throughout the city. The tile roofing itself, commonly employed in
exotic revivals such as Mediterranean, Italian, and Mission, is one such
eclectic element. The form of the building, with its prominent but
low-pitched roof, echoes the engaged front porch of a bungalow.
The flaring of the center post recalls the form of Craftsman Brackets.
The retail office sits on a concrete slab. The base of the retail
office is formed by a low brick wall, upon which the wall framing rests.
A replacement door is topped with an original four-light transom, and
the store-front windows appear to be original.
The concrete block
flat-roofed garage is set back slightly from the retail office. A
shallow pent roof shelters a pair of 24-light overhead doors. The
garage extends from the rear of the building and is accessed by a
recently added or replacement overhead door on the north elevation.
The south elevation features a pair of 20-light metal frame windows.