The Bagley-Mullen House
This report was written on May 2, 1979
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
Bagley-Mullen House is located at 129 N. Poplar St. in Charlotte, N.C.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner and
occupant of the property: The present owner and occupant of the property
Charles H. Litaker Insurance Co.
129 N. Poplar St.
Charlotte, N.C. 28201
3. Representative photographs of the property: Representative
photographs of the property included in this report.
4. A map depicting the location of the property: This map contains
a map depicting the location of the property.
5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent
reference to this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 1230,
Page 552. The Tax Parcel number of the property is 078-016-08.
A brief historical sketch of the property:
On October 5, 1892, Edgar Murchison Andrews (1850-1920), a native
Charlottean and son of Ezra Hamwood Andrews and Sarah Bolton Andrews
purchased property at the corner of N. Poplar St. and Fifth St. in
Charlotte, N.C. 1 E. M. Andrews, is best remembered locally for
his role in establishing the Andrews Music Co., a corporation which
continues to operate in Charlotte. 2 In 1881 he had opened a
furniture store on W. Trade St. 3 Soon thereafter, he had brought
his brother, Frank H. Andrews, into the business for purposes of managing a
music room in which pianos and organs were to be sold. 4 The
significance of this activity notwithstanding, it was the second of his
business ventures which makes E. M. Andrews a pivotal figure in the
architectural history of this community. In the opinion of one observer, E.
M. Andrews was "the first man in Charlotte who built nice homes on back
streets." 5 Like the majority of towns in North Carolina,
Charlotte had expanded initially along its major thoroughfares, Tryon St.
and Trade St. The more imposing residences of the community were located on
these two streets. 6 Andrews, responding to the growing demand
for substantial dwellings to house the many newcomers who settled in
Charlotte in the 1880's and 1890's, invested in lots on streets which
intersected the major thoroughfares. Here he erected homes for sale. Edward
Dilworth Latta, President of the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company
and developer of Dilworth (Charlotte's initial streetcar suburb), stated
that E M. Andrews did more to make Charlotte a livable city than any ten men
of his day. 7 E. M. Andrews moved to Greensboro, NC, c. 1905,
where he died on July 13, 1920. 8
E. M. Andrews erected a two and one-half story brick house at the corner
of W. Fifth St. and N. Poplar St. The initial owner and resident was Andrew
Joyner Bagley (1856-1931), who purchased the house in March 1895. 9
A native of Johnston County, N.C., he came to Charlotte from Shelby, N.C.,
to accept a position in the freight office of the Carolina Central Railroad.
10 Later he became assistant ticket agent for the Southern
Railroad. 11 His wife, Bertha Ward Bagley, died in Charlotte on
September 8, 1896. 12 On March 4, 1897, he sold his home and,
moved out of the city. He settled in Lincolnton, N.C., where he died on
February 26, 1931. 13
The next owner of the house was Walter Nixon Mullen (1853-1910),
Elizabeth City, N.C. He had come to Charlotte in the late 1870's and had
opened a grocery store on S. Church St. By 1897 he had achieved the
accolades of his neighbors, primarily because of his invention of the "Hornet's
Nest Liniment," a widely-acclaimed medicinal brew of that day. 14
The Evening Chronicle explained that he "made a lucrative living from
the much advertised and meritorious composition." 15 A member of
Trinity Methodist Church, Walter Mullen died in the house on February 17,
1910. 16 "He was gentle in manner, kind in speech, unselfish,
honest in heart and life, square in his dealings, in exemplary husband and
father," The Charlotte News proclaimed. 17 In the
opinion of The Evening Chronicle, W. N. Mullen "had been one of the
best known most popular citizens of this community." 18
On December 30, 1946, the descendants of, Walter Mullen and his wife,
Annie Beatrice Grimes Mullen (1859-1925), sold the house to the Charles H.
Litaker Insurance Company. 19 That firm has used the structure as
its corporate headquarters.
1 Charlotte Observer (February 13, 1938), sec. 3., p.
7. Mecklenburg County Dead Book 84, p. 142.
2 The Andrews Music Co. is now located in the Eastland Mall
Shopping Center in suburban Charlotte, NC.
3 Charlotte Observer (February 139 1938), sec. 3., p.
7. Charlotte City Directory, 1893-94, p. 34.
4 "Frank H. Andrews" a Folder in the Files of the Carolina
Room in the Charlotte- Mecklenburg Public Library.
5 Charlotte Observer (February 13, 1938). sec. 3, p 7.
6 See Beers Map, 1877.
7 Charlotte Observer (February 13, 1938). sec. 3, p. 7.
8 Charlotte Observer (July 14, 1920) p. 1. The
Charlotte News (July 14, 1920) p. 15.
9 Burial Records of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C.
Mecklenburg County Deed Book 1125 p. 107.
10 Burial Records of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C.
Charlotte Daily Observer (January 10, 1895), p. 2.
11 Charlotte City-Directory, 1896-97, p. 56.
12 Burial Records of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C. Bagley
was a music teacher and operated a boarding house in her residence
(Charlotte City Directory, 1896-97, p. 56 ) .
13 Mecklenburg County Deed Book 116, p. 539. Burial Records of
Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C.
14 Charlotte Observer (February 18, 1910), p. 2.
15 The Evening Chronicle (February 17, 1910), p. 1.
16 Charlotte Observer (February 18, 1910), p. 2.
17 The Charlotte News (February 17, 1910), p. 12.
18 The Evening Chronicle (February 17, 1910), p. 1.
19 Mecklenburg County Deed Book 1230, p. 552. Burial Records
of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C., Charlotte News (February 17,
1910), p. 12.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains an architectural description of the property.
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria set forth in N.C.G.S. 160A-399.4:
a. Historical and cultural significance: The historical and
cultural significance of the property known as the Bagley-Mullen House
rests upon three factors. First, the structure was built by E. M. Andrews,
a founder of the Andrews Music Company and, even more importantly, a
pivotal figure in the architectural history of Charlotte, N.C. Second, the
house served as the abode of Walter N. Mullen, a leading entrepreneur of
the community. Third, the structure is the only local example of the
Chateauresque style of architecture.
b. Suitability for preservation and restoration: The overall
exterior integrity of the structure survives. The interior has been
substantially altered, but many of the details on the interior are extant.
On balance, the structure is suitable for preservation and/or restoration.
c. Educational value: The Bagley-Mullen House has educational
value because of the historical and cultural significance of the property.
d. Cost of acquisition, restoration. maintenance or repair: At
present, the Commission has no intention of purchasing the fee simple or
any lesser included interest in this property. The Commission presently
assumes that all costs associated with restoring and preserving the
structure will be paid by the owner or subsequent owner of the structure.
e. Possibilities for adaptive or alternative use of the property:
Obviously, the property is highly suited for adaptive use. Indeed, it
has been the headquarters of an insurance company for over thirty years.
Worth noting in this regard is the fact that the property is zoned B3.
f. Appraised value: The current tax appraisal value of the .139
acres of land is $18,150. The current tax appraisal value of the
improvements on the property is $10,690. The most recent tax bill on the
land and improvements was $490.28. The Commission is aware that the owner
could apply annually for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem
taxes on those portions of the property which are designated as "historic
g. The administrative and financial responsibility of any person or
organization willing to underwrite all or a portion of such costs: As
stated earlier, the Commission presently has no intention of purchasing
the fee simple or any lesser included interest in this property.
Furthermore, the Commission presently assumes that all costs associated
with the property will be paid by the present or subsequent owner of the
9. Documentation of and in what ways the property meets the criteria
of the National Register of Historic Places: The Commission judges that
the property known as the Bagley-Mullen House does meet the criteria of the
National Register of Historic Places. Basic to the Commission's judgment is
its knowledge that the National Register of Historic Places, established by
the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, represents the decision of
the Federal Government to expand its recognition of historic properties to
include those of local, regional and state significance. The Commission
believes that the investigation of the Bagley-Mullen House contained herein
demonstrates that the property is of local historic importance.
Consequently, the Commission judges that the property known as the
Bagley-Mullen House does meet the criteria of the National Register of
Historic Places. Specifically, the Commission judges that the property known
as the Bagley-Mullen House does meet the criterion that properties listed in
the National Register of Historic Places must "embody the distinctive
characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction."
10. Documentation of why and in what ways the property is of
historical importance to Charlotte and/or Mecklenburg County: The
property known as the Bagley-Mullen House is historically important to
Charlotte for three reasons. First, the structure was built by Edgar
Murchison Andrews, a founder of the Andrews Music Co., and even more
importantly, a pivotal figure in the architectural history of Charlotte,
N.C. Second, the house served as the abode of Walter N. Mullen, a leading
entrepreneur of the community. Third, the structure is the only local
example of the Chateauresque style of architecture.
Chain of Title
1. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 1230, Page 552 (December 30, 1946).
Grantor: J. R. & M. R. Mullen, B. F. & C. D. Mullen, Ann S. Mullen, Jessie
Grantee: Charles H. Litaker Insurance, Inc.
2. Mecklenburg County Will Book Z, Page 418 (1939).
Devisor: E. G. Mullen.
Devisee: Jessie Mullen Barbour.
3. Mecklenburg County Will Book T. Page 154 (September 2, 1925).
Devisor: A. G. Mullen.
Devisee: E. G. Mullen.
4. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 228, Page 504 (February 17, 1908).
Grantor: Walter N. Mullen.
Grantee: A. G. Mullen.
5. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 116, Page 539 (March 4, 1897).
Grantor: A. G. Bagley.
Grantee: Walter N. Mullen.
6. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 112, Page 107 (January 10, 1895)
Grantor: E. M. Andrews.
Grantee: A. G. Bagley.
7. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 84, Page 142 (October 5. 1892).
Grantor: J. R. Collett, agent for Walter Brem.
Grantee: E. M. Andrews.
An Inventory Of Older Buildings In Mecklenburg County And Charlotte
For The Historic Properties Commission.
Beers Map, 1877.
Burial Records of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C.
Charlotte City Directory, 1893-94.
Charlotte City Directory, 1896-97. Estate Records of Mecklenburg County.
"Frank H. Andrews," a Folder in the Files of the Carolina Room in the
Charlotte- Mecklenburg Public Library.
Records of the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office.
Records of the Mecklenburg County Tax Office.
Sanborn Insurance Maps of Charlotte, N.C.
Charlotte Daily Observer.
Vital Statistics of Mecklenburg County.
Date of Preparation of this Report: May 29 1979.
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
139 Middleton Dr.
Charlotte, N.C. 28207
Telephone: (704) 332-2726
by Dr. Dan L. Morrill
The Bagley- Mullen House (1895) is the only structure in Charlotte, N.C.,
which is predominantly, French Chateau or Chateauresque in architectural
style. Designs of this fashion appeared initially in France in the second
quarter of the nineteenth century and were inspired by the architecture of
the reign of Francis I (1515-1547). The most imposing edifice of this genre
in the United States was designed for George Washington Vanderbilt by
Richard Morris Hunt (1827-1895) and erected in Asheville, N.C. between 1890
and 1895. It is reasonable to infer that Edgar Murchison Andrews, who built
the Bagley-Mullen House for speculative purposes, selected the Chateaureque
style because of its association with the Biltmore House, which was under
construction at the same time. Admittedly, however, the Bagley-Mullen House
is a modest and somewhat unsophisticated example of this architectural
motif. The Chateauresque style is massive and irregular in silhouette. It is
characterized by steeply pitched
gable roofs with dormers, towers, and tall, elaborately decorated
chimneys with corbled caps. While incorporating these elements on the
exterior the Bagley-Mullen House exhibits interior features, especially the
one surviving mantel on the first floor, which draw their inspiration from
Neo-Classical designs. Consequently, like the majority of substantial
dwellings erected in Charlotte in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries, the Bagley-Mullen House can be classified as a transitional
structure in terms of architectural style.
The Bagley-Mullen House is significant also because of its role in the
development of the residential patterns of the built environment or
townscape of this community. This was not the first edifice to occupy this
site. Previously, three tenement houses, known as Fox's Row had been
situated on this and two adjoining lots. The construction of the
Bagley-Mullen House by E. M. Andrews illustrates the introduction of more
imposing homes on to the back streets of Charlotte, a process which was
occurring during the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century in response to
the commercial and industrial expansion of the community.
The Bagley-Mullen House is a two and one-half story brick structure four
bays wide and five bays deep with a one-story component across the rear. The
main roof is a gabled hip. A
pyramidal roof with metal cresting is atop the corner tower on the right
front A cross-gable is on the right. A gable roof is at the right rear and a
hip roof surmounts the one-story rear component. All are slate. Originally,
the house had a wrap-around porch on the front, a rear porch and a
second-story porch on the left rear. None are extant. The brickwork is
predominantly American or
Common Bond and exhibits considerable corbeling. Shouldered
segmental arches surmount the majority of windows and are connected to
one another by belt courses. A corbel table below the second story window
above the main front entrance assumes the appearance of a bracketed window
sill. The house has three chimneys, two on the left and one on the right.
They also possess considerable corbeling. The remnant of a chimney is
located on the one story rear component. The most typical
window is a two-over-two double hung sash with large rectangular lights
or panes. An oculus window with four granite
keystones or voussoirs is situated on the corner tower, as are three
pseudo-dormers with flared eaves. There are five entrances to the structure
(two on the front, one on the left rear, one at the center rear and a
second-story entrance on the right). The main front entrance is the most
imposing. It consists of double doors, each having a large light in the
upper half and four rectangular panels with raised molded surrounds below.
Fluted pilasters with Bull's eye corner blocks and a large pedestal-like
base flank the front entrance and surmount an arched two-lighted
transom. The metal stairway to the second story is not original. The
metal balustrades on both sides of the two front entrances are replacements
The interior of the first story has been changed substantially from the
original. The stairway to the second story has been removed. An archway to
the immediate left of the main front entrance has been enclosed. The three
doorways on the left of the center hall are later additions. All but one of
the fireplaces have been eliminated. The two bathrooms are not original in
terms of scale and fixtures. The floors have been covered with linoleum. The
most imposing original features are the Neoclassical mantel in the room on
the left front the double doors which connect the front and the middle room
on the left. Also noteworthy are the metal fireplace cover in the room on
the front left and the
wainscoting, composed of bands of vertical reeding posed by plain flush
boards which adorns the center hall and several of the rooms. The ceilings
on the first story are not original.
The second story retains its essential integrity, except for the removal
of the stairway. Especially striking are the symmetrically molded doorway
surrounds with corner blocks punctuated with roundels and cap with sawn
molding. Also, the bathroom retains its original fixtures. Unfortunately,
one of the two mantels on the second story has been removed.