Applications Videos

Historic Properties

Properties For Sale

About the Commission

Browse By Topic

Local History

Links

Home

SURVEY AND RESEARCH REPORT

ON THE

Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut

(1932)

 

1.  Name and location of the property: Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut, located at 219 Watson Street, Davidson, North Carolina

2.  Name and address of the present owner of the property:  The present owner of the property is:

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

And

Reeves Temple A.M.E. Zion Church
PO Box 701 
Davidson, NC 28036

 

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.  Current deed book reference to the property:  The most recent deed to this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 02723-384.  The tax parcel number of the property is 00325411.

6.  A brief historical sketch of the property:  This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property.

7.  A brief architectural description of the property:  This report contains a brief architectural description of the property.

8.  Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets criteria for designation set forth in N. C. G. S. 160A-400.5:

Special significance in terms of its history, architecture, and/or cultural importance:  The property known as the Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut does possess special significance in terms of the Town of Davidson and Mecklenburg County.  Judgment is based in the following considerations:

1)  The Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut is significant as a well preserved example of a depression era communally built Rustic Revival log building.

2)  The Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut is the best preserved building associated with the Unity Church/Calvary Presbyterian Church.

3)  The Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut represents the social history of the Town of Davidson during the Great Depression, and is one of the few building in Mecklenburg County to do so.

9.  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 a designated “historic landmark.”  The current appraised value of the building is $0. 

10.  Portions of property recommended for designation:  The exterior and interior of the Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut

Date of preparation of this report:  December 2007

Prepared by:  Stewart Gray  

Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut

During the 1930s, some farmers and small town residents in rural Mecklenburg County , North Carolina began to construct log buildings for use by their communities.  On the surface, the choice of log construction seems natural considering that Mecklenburg County had a long and significant tradition of log construction until the end of the 19th century.  But these Depression-era buildings had little in common with the area’s log-building traditions.  Their appearance on the landscape marked a sudden change in the county’s pattern of rural architecture.  Given that the buildings were erected during the Great Depression, a period when new construction across the country had nearly come to a standstill, their significance is amplified.  Few  Rustic-Revival log buildings were built in the county before 1930, and no similar buildings appear to have been constructed after 1940.  The Unity Church Cabin was the first of these communal-built rustic-revival log buildings.

Origins of Log Construction in Mecklenburg County

Log construction technology moved down the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania and into the Shenandoah Valley and into the North Carolina Piedmont and Appalachian Mountains.  In terms of traditional log buildings, Mecklenburg County is typical for the North Carolina Piedmont.  Practically all of the surviving 18th and 19th century log buildings in the county feature square hewn logs and half-dovetail notches.  These basic construction traits can be found on the county’s oldest identified log buildings, such as the 1780 Hugh Torrence Store[2] and the 1780 McAuley Log House.   The same log construction technique continued to be utilized into the 19th century with the construction of substantial two-story homes, such as the 1811 Potts Place in northern Mecklenburg  and the nearby 1829 Beaver Dam.  As sawmills sprang up and frame construction became prevalent, log construction continued to be used in rural Mecklenburg County.  Despite the overwhelming trend toward frame construction the tenacity of the log building tradition in house building is demonstrated by the 1881 McAuley House[3], which again employed square-hewn logs notched with half-dovetails.   Therefore, in Mecklenburg County extant buildings demonstrate at least one hundred years of relatively unchanged log  building technology. Log outbuildings associated with the  ca. 1881 Edward M. Rozzell House, the ca. 1875 Jordan Farm, and the ca. 1900 Frank Vance Farm seems to indicate that limited traditional log construction in Mecklenburg County may have continued until 1900. 

 

Origins of Rustic Architecture in Mecklenburg County

 

As early as 1840 the “log cabin” had begun to capture the imagination of the American people.  With the Log Cabin Campaign of William Henry Harrison, Americans began to associate log buildings with the valor of “humble beginnings” and republican ideals.  America’s early mass media quickly recognized the iconic power of the log cabin image, and that image remained pervasive.  In the 1930s Harold R. Shurtleff wrote, “By the turn of the century (1900), after many illustrations and countless picture postcards representing Puritan or Cavalier at home – always in a log cabin- had been distributed, a sort of psychological predisposition grew up to make a log of every timber.”[4]  This prevalence of the “log cabin” in popular culture was surely one of the factors that influenced the building of Mecklenburg’s Depression-era log buildings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This title page from the 1904 Reminiscences by personal friends of Gen. U. S. Grant and the history of Grant's Log Cabin, illustrates the degree to which log cabins had become icons of America’s past

 

Around the same time that traditional log construction was dying-out in Mecklenburg County, a popular movement concentrating on rustic, naturalist designs and materials was developing in other parts of the country.   Inspired by the plans and ideas of A. J. Downing, a mid 19th-century designer of buildings and landscapes, wealthy Americans such as J.P. Morgan built elaborate “camps” in the Adirondack Mountains.  These buildings, many of which featured log walls, were designed to blend in with the natural features of the landscape and to utilize materials such as timbers, bark and rough stones which had been worked very little[5].  Rustic architecture was also adopted by the growing National Park Service beginning in the first years of the 20th century, when stone and log buildings were erected in the western parks such as Yosemite and Yellowstone.[6]

 

1922 Ranger Station in Yellowstone National Park

 

In the first years of the 20th century, while many Mecklenburg County farmers continued to live in and use traditional log buildings, architect Henry Bacon was introducing rustic and picturesque architecture as a popular style into North Carolina.    Bacon, who worked with the New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, utilized bark siding and unpeeled tree trunks and limbs in the construction of the 1900 Van Landingham Cottage and the 1913 All Saints Episcopal Church, both located in Linville.[7]  Also in the North Carolina Mountains, E.W. Grove built the rustic Grove Park Inn, inspired by the mountain lodges he had seen in Yellowstone Park.  As was typical for many historic building styles, these high-styled, architect-designed homes and hotels of the wealthy inspired popular imitation.

 

By 1900, pattern books began to appear featuring log buildings as well as other rustic architecture. The first such book might have been Log Cabins: How to Build and Furnish Them by William S. Wicks, published in 1899.   Other titles followed such as How to Build Cabins, Lodges, and Bungalows; Complete Manual of Constructing, Decorating, and Furnishing Homes for Recreation or Profit, published in 1934 by Popular Science magazine, and the 1939 How to Build and Furnish a Log Cabin by W. Ben Hunt.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Illustration from How to Build Cabins, Lodges, and Bungalows; Complete Manual of Constructing, Decorating, and Furnishing Homes for Recreation or Profit (1934)

 

 

Illustrations from How to Build and Furnish a Log Cabin (1939)

 

Another possible source for inspiration in Mecklenburg County may have been the Boy Scouts of America.  With the Mecklenburg County Council chartered in 1915[9], men and boys throughout the county were exposed to “log cabin” plans and building instruction found in the first three editions of the Handbook for Boys, and in supplementary books such as The Boy Scouts Year Book, published in 1917.  Even though “log cabin” construction was dropped from the handbook after 1927, log building techniques continued to be included in supplemental Scout publications like the 1931 Preparing the Way: Pioneering.

 

 

 

 

Illustration from Handbook for Boys, the handbook for the Boy Scouts of America.  Published around 1920

 

 

In 1931 the Department of Agriculture published and distributed a pamphlet entitled "The Use of Logs and Poles in Farm Construction."  With this pamphlet, which was reprinted in 1941, it can be assumed that the concept of cheaply built log buildings along with simple plans and construction details was widely distributed to much of rural America.  

 

With the issuance of Farmers' Bulletin No. 1660, the concept of log construction was widely distributed throughout rural America

Other less instructional sources for log building designs and inspiration may have come from the exploding consumer culture of the early 20th century.  Log cabin images appeared on everything from sheet music to whiskey bottles.  Log Cabin Syrup, named to honor (or capitalize on) the humble beginnings of Abraham Lincoln, came in a tin container shaped and printed to resemble a log cabin.[10]  The container’s spout was shaped like a central chimney.  While these products may have been consumed in many households, Lincoln Logs may have given the general public their most personal and hands-on experience with log building. Designed by John Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright) and patented in 1920,  Lincoln Logs sold by the millions[11].

 

 

 

Log Cabin Syrup Container

Old Log Cabin Whiskey Bottle

 

 

 

 

Undated Sheet Music

Old Log Cabin Playing Cards

Patented in 1920, Lincoln Logs brought three-dimensional log buildings into many homes.

 

 

While the work of the Civilian Conservation Corp, (CCC) and the Work Progress Administration (WPA) began after the construction of the Unity Church Cabin, the proliferation of Rustic Revival style log buildings  sponsored by these agencies in local, state, and federal parks is notable.  The CCC especially was responsible for putting as many people as possible to work.  The Corp found that log buildings met their needs.  Costs for the buildings were low, especially when local materials were provided.  More so than most 20th-century buildings, log buildings were largely a product of effort, manual effort.  Even with few resources (aside from logs), with enough workers to cut, chop, and lift, a log building could be built.

 

 

5930 Lakeview Drive, 1925

 Charlotte

 

The first Rustic Revival style log building constructed in Mecklenburg County may have been a clubhouse for a golf course built on Lakeview Drive in South Charlotte which was built around 1925.  The second oldest identified Rustic Revival log building was the now demolished Myers Park Presbyterian Church Log Hut (1929), which was designed by Charlotte architect Martin Boyer.[12] Both may have been architect designed, and both were probably the product of a professional builder working for paying client.  These first  Rustic Revival log buildings shared some physical characteristics with the Depression-era log buildings built in the rural parts of Mecklenburg County.  But the builders of the Depression-era buildings were a very different sort of people, and the financing and construction of these later buildings was accomplished in a much different way.  The Unity Church Cabin was the first of Mecklenburg County's Depression-era, Rustic Revival, communally built log buildings. 

 

Unity Church Cabin, 1932

 

The Unity Church   

 

The Unity Church served the white residents on the west side of Davidson.  In contrast to the college professors, administrators and merchants who lived east of the AT&O Railroad that bisects the town, most of the residents west of the rail line worked in one of the town's mills, or in some service capacity at Davidson College.  The church was founded in 1890 by mill operator Dr. J. P. Munroe as a nondenominational church known as the Mill Chapel.  Services may have been limited to Sunday school classes taught by men and women who lived outside of the mill neighborhood.  Many of those who taught at the Chapel came from the college community, including students.  Services at the Chapel were discontinued in 1903 with the opening of the town's Methodist Church.  Dr. F. L. Jackson, the future treasurer of Davidson College, is credited with re-starting the Sunday school in 1913.  He remained the Sunday school  superintendent until 1924.  In 1927, under the direction of the Davidson College YMCA, a system was put into place where Davidson College students would serve as the pastor for the Mill Chapel.   Students in their final year of College, and for the year or two after graduation were employed by the YMCA as non-ordained ministers for the church.  This system lasted from 1927 until 1950, and a total of sixteen students held this position.  This arrangement proved to be very beneficial to the church which built a new sanctuary in 1930, and re-organized as the interdenominational Unity Church in 1932, offering worship services in addition to Sunday School Classes.  It appears that this arrangement served to train students who had an interest in the ministry.  Eleven of these student pastors went on to seminary.  In addition to the students, many people from the community at large continued to come to the Unity Church to teach Sunday school.  Among these was Louise Lingle, the wife of Walter Lingle, the president of Davidson College. [13] 

 

 

Exceptional among the students pastors  was John Howard who served the church from 1931 until 1933.  Under his leadership the church re-organized as the Unity Church, and in 1932 the church members built the log cabin.  the superintendent of the YMCA wrote in his report to the Dean of Students that John Howard's work with the Church was: The most outstanding single piece of service rendered by any Davidson Student during the year was the work of John Howard in the Mill Chapel, or Davidson Unity Church as it is now called." and that the YMCA's cooperation with and financial support for the student pastor had resulted in a "splendid church building and a fine log cabin."  (14)

 

The significance of the building of the Cabin is amplified when one considers the hard times of the 1930s.  Life for the mill workers was hard even before the advent of the Great Depression.  Social concerns were being expressed as the mills in Davidson were expanding  “…farms deprived of hands and at the same time the children who would grow up in the country are brought to the cotton mill to the almost utter destruction of theirs hopes for the future.” (15)

 

Across the South farm families left the land hoping for a better life in the mills.  What many found was monotonous hard labor, with barely enough pay to cover the costs of living.  Still, mill workers built communities, and certainly the Unity Church was the center of the community for many mill hands in Davidson.  Families had gardens and raised animals, and baseball was a major distraction with games being played in a field across the road from the church. (16).

 

While the Davidson mills were expanding in the 1910s, the 1920s brought hard times. In 1923 the town's two cotton mills merged, and in July of that year, mill operator Munroe announced to share holders the  “…conditions in the mill business are such with labor conditions uncertain, money commanding high rates of interest, cotton constantly fluctuating in price, yarn buyers comparatively scarce and hard to please, that considering all these things, I myself am willing and anxious to sell at some price even though that price be considerably below par.”  (17)

 

Then came the  Great Depression.  Just across the Catawba River in neighboring Gaston County, the Great Depression was playing itself out in Dickensian terms.  Working for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in 1934, Martha Gellhorn reported on the social and economic conditions of the region.  She described homes with broken windows, bare-footed children, and a newspaper photograph of FDR on the mantle. 

“As for their homes: I have seen a (mill) village where the latrines drain nicely down a gully to a well from which they get their drinking water. Nobody thinks anything about this; but half the population is both syphilitic and moronic; and why they aren't all dead of typhoid I don't know.” Horrible dietary diseases such as pellagra were decimating the people.  “Their health is going to pieces; the present generation of unemployed will be useless human material in no time; their housing is frightful (talk about European slums); they are ignorant and often below-par intelligence. What can we do: feed them--feed them pinto beans and corn bread and sorghum and watch the pellagra spread. And in twenty years, what will there be; how can a decent civilization be based on a decayed substrata, which is incapable physically and mentally to cope with life?”[18]  

It appears that things were not as bad in Davidson.   The mill operated at a loss, but did not shut down during the Great Depression.[19]  The workers may have struggled but it does not appear that they were as desperate as some of their neighbors.

Men of the Church will cut Saturday morning, from timber near the collage Freshman Field.  Following the log cutting the men will hold a fish-fry on the Catawba River in the afternoon.  The following week the women will cut the bark from the logs to ready them for the builders…[20]

In this climate, the mill workers of Davidson built a building that may have reminded them of a stable  past.  Building the cabin, holing the fish fries and parties, gave the people something to do when they were powerless over so many factors affecting their lives. 

Minutes and histories of the Unity Church indicate that the Cabin continued to serve as an important place for the church, and that the involvement of Davidson College students and the YMCA continued.  In 1932 the YMCA donated $300 (the cabin?) to the Unity Church and committed to $200 a year in the future, presumably to cover the cost of the student pastor.  Perhaps the performance of the church and the work of John Howard impressed YMCA, because by 1933 the organization had begun a fund drive to raise $500 for the church. This commitment was made despite the hard times, in the same year the YMCA had  to cancel its subscription to a Christian Newspaper to save money.  (21)

Despite the Great Depression, it appears that the 1930s were a time of activity and growth at the Unity Church.    In 1933 two "boys clubs for fellows of the Mill community," (22) were formed at the church.  Between 1933 and 1936  a community "bath house" was built behind the Cabin, to serve those in the community without indoor plumbing. (23)  In 1939 the Cabin experienced its first expansion, with an addition added to the rear of the building.  One of the rooms in the addition served as an apartment for the student pastors.  The mintues for the church and interviews with members indicate that the Cabin was in nearly constant use.  According to life long member Nancy Blackwell the Cabin was first and foremost the Men's Sunday School.  But the men shared their space and the Cabin was the site of church parties, suppers, Boy Scout meetings, Boy's Club meetings, quilting bees, Bible School, and barbeques where the pigs were cooked in a pit that was dug behind the Cabin.  The Cabin served the community at large when the County Nurse came to give inoculations. (24)   

Minutes beginning in 1938 indicate that the church Board of Directors met regularly in the Cabin. (25) According to a YMCA report, during the academic year of 1939-40 the Unity Church became independent of the YMCA, and that it now "stands on its own feet." This probably meant that the YMCA no longer provided financial support.  Still, a dozen Davidson College student continued to work with the church, and the student pastor system continued to operate for another ten years.  In 1949 the Cabin was expanded again with a log shed addition that housed two bathrooms.  In that same year the church became part of the Presbyterian Church, and was re-named as the Calvary Presbyterian Church of Davidson.  With the reorganization an ordained minister was hired and the use of student pastors was discontinued. (26)   The Cabin continued to be an important part of the church through the 1950s, with improvement being made in the kitchen. 

Lingle Hut

In 1966 the Calvary constructed a new building on South Street in Davidson.  The Watson Street property including the Cabin were sold to the Reeves Temple A.M.E. Zion Church which had a sanctuary on nearby Eden Street.  Securing funds for the purchase of the church building was a difficult task for the working-class members of Reeves Temple.  Cecelia Conner, a life-long member of Reeves Temple had worked for the Lingle family reading to the bedridden Mrs. Walter Lingle.  Mrs. Conner wrote to Walter Lingle Junior, a vice-president of Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati, to ask for assistance.  In consideration Cecelia Conner's good work, and of his mother's involvement in the Unity church Sunday School, Walter Lingle Jr. agreed to donate $6,000 with a commitment to donate an additional $3,000 each year for the next three years for a total of $15,000.  The only condition was that the Unity Church Cabin be re-name the Lingle Hut in honor of his mother.  This funding allowed the congregation to buy the former Calvary Church building.  In a formal ceremony the members of  Reeves Temple Church marched from Eden Street to their new church building.  Cecelia Conner saw the move as a big change for Reeves Temple.  The new facilities accommodated many more people.  The new location also had the advantage of indoor plumbing, which especially pleased the Conners who lived next door to the old church and allowed their outhouse to be used by the congregation. (27)

Reeves Temple appears to have used the Lingle Hut in much the same way as the church before it.  Cecelia Conner and member Ronald Donald recall using the Lingle Hut for Christmas dinners, picnics, fellowship events, and barbeques.  The congregation continues to rely on the Lingle Hut. It contains the only kitchen for the church, and has remained the most convenient space for most church functions outside of Sunday services. 


 

 Other Communally Built Rustic Revival Log Buildings in Mecklenburg County

 

Mt Zion Hut, 1932

19600 Zion Avenue, Cornelius

 

The Men’s Bible Class at Mt. Zion Methodist Church in Cornelius dedicated their log hut on October 18, 1932.   Mt. Zion’s membership in 1931 was 832 members, making it the largest rural Methodist church in North Carolina.  The 30x50 foot front-gabled building was constructed from logs provided by a local farmer, Will Potts.  Typical of all of the surveyed buildings, the Mt. Zion Hut features round logs connected with saddle notches.  The building is three bays wide, with a symmetrical façade.  The east elevation is four bays deep and features a replacement exterior chimney.  The west elevation features a shed-roofed one-room log wing.  As opposed to the framed gables of traditional Mecklenburg County log buildings, the gables of the Mt. Zion Hut are constructed entirely of logs.  The building was moved a short distance in the 1990s and sits upon a new block foundation.  The logs have been painted, and the interior was altered with the addition of a drywall ceiling.  The Mt. Zion Hut may have served as a prototype for the very similar Ramah Hut and the Community House.

 

Ramah Presbyterian Church Hut, 1935

Ramah Church Road, Huntersville

The Ramah Presbyterian Church Hut was built in 1935 to serve the Men’s Bible Class.  This building is very similar in design to the Mt. Zion Hut and the Community House.  All three are front-gabled with a chimney centered on the right side elevation.  The Ramah and Mt. Zion huts each feature a log kitchen attached to the left side elevations, near the rear elevation.  These three buildings and the Lingle Hut all functioned in a similar manner and were all constructed with local material by volunteer labor. 

 

The Ramah Hut is covered with a shake roof, which was probably the original roof material for most of the surveyed properties.  The hut features peeled log rafters with exposed rafter ends, and the original board front door.  The building was move a short distance in the early 1990s.  Original rock from the foundation and chimney was re-used.  A wheelchair ramp attaches to the front door, and modern metal replacement windows were recently installed.

 

Providence Women's Club, Community House, 1939

Community House Road, Mecklenburg County

 

The Community House was built in 1939 as a meeting place for the Providence Women's Club.  Local farmers contributed the logs for this building, and constructed it during the fall, when the demands of the farm work had lessened.[18]  This building is very similar in design to the Mt. Zion and Ramah huts, perhaps indicating that ideas and designs for improvements for community or church projects flowed easily among the rural residents of Mecklenburg County. 

The Community Club has retained a high degree of integrity.  The saddle-notched logs have never been painted, and the building has retained its original board door and six-over-six windows.  The entrance is protected by a gable roof supported by peeled posts.  An original log shed-roofed kitchen is attached to the rear elevation, along with a frame bathroom.  A replacement asphalt shingle roof covers the building.

Dr. Hood Cabin

 

Dr. Hood Cabin, ca. 1935

829 Concord Road, Davidson

 

While not communally-built, the Dr. Hood Cabin  shares some feature with the Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut, is also associated with Davidson College, and is geographically close to the subject building. This side-gabled log cabin was built in the rear yard of a substantial ca. 1930 brick house.  It is the only identified example of a secondary log residential building.  Dr. Hood was Davidson College’s first psychology professor and may have built the cabin for entertaining.  The remains of a shuffleboard court are still discernible in front of the cabin.  The building features the typical round logs with saddle notches, exposed rafter ends and board-and-batten door.  Like the nearby Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut, the windows are notably short, in this case four-light sliders. 

 


[1] John Morgan, The Log House in East Tennessee (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990), pp. 11-13.

[2] Dan L. Morrill, Frances P. Alexander and Paula M. Stathakis “Cedar Grove and the Hugh Torrance House and Store” (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, 1993)

[3] Dan L. Morrill, “Survey and Research Report on the Ephraim Alexander McAuley House and Farm” (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, 1999)

[4] Harold R. Shurtleff; edited with an introduction by Samuel Eliot Morison, The Log Cabin Myth; a Study of the Early Dwellings of the English Colonists in North America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1939) p. 199.

[5] Linda Flint McClellan, Presenting Nature: The Historic Landscape Design of the National Park Service (Washington: National Park Service, 1993), p. 53.

[6] William C. Tweed, Laura E. Soulliere and Henry G. Law, Rustic Architecture: 1916 – 1942 (National Park Service, 1977), Sec. III.

[7] Catherine Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990) p. 383.

[8] Virginia and Lee McAlester, A Field Guide to American Houses (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000), p. 268.

[9] Website: http://www.bsa-mcc.org

[10]Press release: “Log Cabin Syrup Pours Preservation Dollars into Historic Log Cabins
Public-Private Partnership With National Park Foundation” Columbus, Ohio: June 4, 1998.

[11] Website: http://burlingamepezmuseum.com/classictoy/lincoln.html

[12] Plans for this building, designed by Charlotte architect Martin Boyer, are in the Special Collections Room of the Atkins Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte .

[13]  Undated report on the history of Calvary Presbyterian Church, held in the files of the Cahrlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission

[14] YMCA Annual Reports to the Davidson College Dean of Students, held in the archives of the college library.

[15] Charlotte Daily Observer,  November 1907, pp. 113-114.

[16] Paula Stathikis and Stewart Gray, “Survey and Research Report on the Davidson Cotton Mill” CMHLC, 2004

[17] Special Collections, Davidson College Library, Folder: Linden Manufacturing Company, Davidson N.C., Letter, July 31, 1923 from president J.P.Munroe to stockholders.

[18] Martha Gellhorn “Report, Gaston County, North Carolina, November 11, 1934”

(Hopkins Papers, FDRL, 1934) Digitized version found in the New Deal Network’s Document Library, http://newdeal.feri.org/texts/default.cfm

[19] Paula Stathikis and Stewart Gray, “Survey and Research Report on the Davidson Cotton Mill” (CMHLC, 2004).

[20] “Cabin Annex to be Built,” The Davidsonian, 5 October 1939, p. 5.

[21] Minutes for Davidson College YMCA are held in the archives of the college library.

[22] 1933-34 YMCA Annual Report to the Davidson College Dean of Students, held in the archives of the college library.

[23]  Undated report on the history of Calvary Presbyterian Church, held in the files of the Cahrlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission

[24] Interview by the author with Nancy Blackwell, 11-20-07

[25] Session minutes exist for the Unity Church from 1938 are on file at the Calvary Presbyterian Church.

[26]  Undated report on the history of Calvary Presbyterian Church, held in the files of the Cahrlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission

[27]  Interview by the author with Cecelia Conner, 11-30-07

 

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION

 

 

The Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut  is a hipped-roof log building that sits close to Watson Street in the middle of the block.  The site is dominated by the neighboring brick sanctuary.  Both buildings face the east, and the terrain slope down moderately to the north.  The building features round-log construction with V-notches on the bottoms of each log, with the butts uniformly saws flat and painted white.  The logs are chinked with hard masonry mortar.  The building rest on large stones set at the corners of the building.  At some point the rock piers were in-filled with rock rubble curtain walls.  An interesting set of concrete/rock rubble steps lead to the front entrance.  It appears that the masonry steps were formed with wood, and then a mixture of rocks and concrete were poured or laid in the form.  

 

 

 

The front door is centered in the facade and is not original.  The door is bordered by short, nearly square windows.  It appears that the original tilting wooden sash have all been replaced with metal storm windows, although the original frames and trim have been retained.  The rafters-ends of the hipped roof are exposed and are 2X4 sawn lumber.  

 

 

The north elevation features a sloped-shoulder chimney.   The same formed-concrete/rock rubble construction found on the front steps was used to construct the chimney.  The chimney is bordered with windows like those found on the front.  On the side elevations,  painted log butts mark the original end of the building.  To the rear of the log butts, a log shed addition projects to the north.  This addition was added in 1948 to accommodate two bathrooms, and was the last expansion of the building.   The shed addition features a doorway facing the street, and a second doorway on the side elevation.  Both doors are now blocked with plywood.  A short window is located in the side and the rear elevations of the shed addition.

 

 

The south elevation of the original portion of the log building is pierced by three short windows.  To the rear of the windows is a doorway blocked with a plywood panel that covers an original five-panel door.   In 1939 the original building was expanded with a log addition on the rear. 

 

 

The rear log addition simply abuts the principal section of the building. A vertical two-inch timber separates the building from the addition.  The same vertical timber may support the ends of the addition's logs.  The hipped roof was expanded to cover the addition without any breaks or change in the ridgeline.  The addition was built on rock piers.  At some point a portion of the addition's frame floor was replaced with a poured concrete slab. Around the slab the lowest timber was removed and concrete block, brick, and rubble appear to have been used to form the slab and support the log walls.

 

 

The rear addition features two short windows.  The wall is pierced by a terra-cotta pipe that served as a stove flue.  The original rock pier foundation, in-filled with masonry rubble,  is still in place on the north side of the rear elevation.

 

 

In contrast to the exterior of the building, the interior has been painted, with the logs painted brown and the hard chinking, white.  The original section of the building consists of a single large room with a rock fireplace located on the northern wall.  The fireplace is topped with a concrete mantle and features a concrete hearth.  The firebox has been bricked-in.  A gas heater sits in front of the fireplace.  The ceiling is sheathed with beaded boards and follows the slope of the rafters for approximately half the length of the rafters, then the ceiling flattens out to form a tray ceiling.   the orignal rear fenestration is evident in the interior, with the original rear window and door openings still in place.  The floor in the main room has been covered with rolled vinyl.  

 

 

The 1939 addition features two rooms, a kitchen and a narrow bedroom.  Both rooms feature a low beaded-board ceiling, and the two rooms are separated by a frame wall, covered with beaded boards.  The kitchen features simple cabinets.  the bedroom contains two narrow three-panel doors the lead to the bathrooms in the 1949 addition.

 

In terms of the limited examples of Rustic-Revival log buildings in Mecklenburg County, the Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut's hipped roof is unique.  However, the hipped-roof design is not uncommon in the neighboring mill village, and the local architecture may have influence the design of the building.  The Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut is also notable for the use of some extremely small diameter logs.