The James A. Blakeney House
This report was written on February 5, 1986
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
James A. Blakeney House is located on the Blakeney Heath Road in the
Providence Community of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the
property: The owner of the property is:
Willie Blakeney Life Estate et al.
2025 East Eight St.
Charlotte, NC 28204
The present occupant of the property is:
Margaret Blakeney Bullock
3. Representative photographs of the property: This property
contains representative photographs of the property.
4. A map depicting the location of the property: This report
contains a map which depicts 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 4641, Page
948, The Tax Parcel Number of the property is 229-051-06.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains
a brief historical sketch of the property prepared by Dr. William H.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains a brief architectural description of the Property prepared by Dr.
Dan L. Morrill.
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria for designation set forth in NCGS 160A-399.4:
a. Special significance in terms of its history , architecture,
and/or cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property
known as the James A. Blakeney House does possess special significance in
terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. the Commission bases its judgment on the
following considerations: 1) the James A. Blakeney House it a
well-preserved example of a type of farmhouse erected by prosperous
farmers in Mecklenburg County in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries; 2) the James A. Blakeney House and outbuildings constitute a
rare combination of agriculturally-related edifices in a section of
Mecklenburg County which is experiencing rapid suburbanization and 3) the
James A. Blakeney farm might contain important historic and pre-historic
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling,
and/or association: The Commission contends that the architectural
description included in this report demonstrates that the property known
as the James A. Blakeney House 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 which becomes
"historic property." The current appraised value of the house is $11,740.
The current appraised value of the 109.75 acres of land is $26,610. The
total appraised value of the property is $38,350.
Date of Preparation of this Report: February 5, 1986
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
1225 S. Caldwell St. Box D
Charlotte , NC 28203
by Dr. William H. Huffman
The James A. Blakeney House in southern Mecklenburg County is an
endangered species. This once model farm that was toured by schoolchildren
is now in danger of disappearing along with many others in rural Mecklenburg
County, victims of ever-spreading suburban development. Built about 1905-06,
the house still retains a fundamental soundness in addition to its rural
charm that evokes the sense of the pace of turn-of-the century farm life.
About 1890, a precedent-setting occasion took place at
Providence Presbyterian Church: the minister, Roger Martin, officiated
at the wedding of his daughter, Margaret Tomlin Martin (1864-1917) and James
Albert Blakeney (1856-1928). It was the first wedding ceremony performed in
the church; previously, couples were married at home. The preacher, a
Richmond, Va. native, served Providence from 1888 to 1892, when he took the
pastorate at Mallard Creek, a post he held until his death in 1900.1
James A. Blakeney's father, Reese Blakeney, a South Carolina native, had
gone into the Confederate service during the Civil War, and had not returned
at war's end, his fate unknown. His mother, born Caroline Kirkley,
subsequently married J. P. Doster, and about 1883 they settled near the
present Blakeney House to farm in southern Mecklenburg County. 2
James Blakeney and his stepfather farmed together on the latter's land for
several years, and in 1887 Blakeney bought just over 39 acres of his own,
and built a log cabin to live in. 3 It was here that the
newlyweds set up housekeeping about 1890.
About 1897, the Dosters moved to Hickory N.C., and James bought about
half of their holdings, a 60-acre tract (he bought their remaining 76 acres
in 1911) near his own. 4 On this larger property, he built a
one-story residence for his growing family on the site of the present house
which sat next to the road that bisected his farm. The farm prospered and
the family continued to grow. but it was a fire a few years after the turn
or the century that made a new house necessary, and so the one we see today
was put up about 1905 or 1906. 5
By 1910, the Blakeneys were farming about 232 acres and had brought eight
children into the world (seven daughters and one son), six of whom survived
to adulthood. 6 Unfortunately, about 1913 James Blakeney suffered
a stroke, and management of the farm was undertaken by Dr. Alexander Martin,
Margaret's brother, who came up once a week from Rock Hill, S. C., where he
was pastor of the Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church for many years. 7
When he came of age, James A. Blakeney, Jr. (1901-1973) took over
management of the farm, and about 1930 married Wilma Alma Blount (1906-) of
Roper, N.C., a descendant of Capt. James Blount, who died in North Carolina
in 1686. 8 During their long tenure on the farm, James A. Jr. and
Willie Blakeney raised three children, Margaret, Frances and James III. And
it was also during this time that schoolchildren used to tour the farm to
see, among many other wonders, old wagons and farm implements now found only
in museums. 9
Following the death of James A. Jr. and Willie Blakeney's move to a
nursing home, the house suffered some neglect, but since 1983 it has been
reoccupied by Margaret Blakeney Bullock, who has undertaken careful interior
restoration of the fine farmhouse, and intends to continue the efforts to
The James A. Blakeney House is a splendid representative of a vitally
important part of our cultural heritage, and these days, an ever rarer one.
Its preservation would insure that we would always retain a strong sense of
our own development; what we are, and who we are.
1 Louise Barber Matthews, A History of Providence
Presbyterian Church (Matthews, NC: Providence Presbyterian Church,
1967), pp. 176 -181; interview with Eudora Blakeney Garrison, Charlotte,
N.C., 30 January, 1986.
2 Interview with Eudora Garrison: interview with Margaret
Blakeney Bullock. 16 January, 1986. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 33, p. 137,
16 Feb. 1883.
3 Deed Book 224, p. 662, 1 Feb. 1887; interviews with Eudora
Garrison and Margaret Bullock.
4 Deed Book 117, p. 116, 27 Jan. 1897; Deed Book 269, p. 708,
8 March 1911.
5 Interviews with Eudora Garrison and Margaret Bullock.
6 Bessie Blakeney McAlwaine (1891-1935), a longtime missionary
to Japan; Lina B. Ardry (1893-); Harriet Caldwell Blakeney (c.1894-1900);
Edmonia Martin Blakeney (1896-1950); Margaret Blakeney Richardson
(1900-c.1980); J. A. Blakeney, Jr. (1901-1973); Grace Hoge Blakeney
(1904-1906); Eudora Blakeney Garrison (1906-).
7 Matthews, History, cited above; interview with Eudora
8 Family Bible of Wilma Alma Blount Blakeney; interviews with
Eudora Garrison and Margaret Bullock.
9 Interviews with Eudora Garrison and Margaret Bullock.
The James A. Blakeney House (ca. 1905-06) is a three-bay wide by four-bay
deep, two story,
frame farmhouse, with a tin-roofed, one-story projection on the rear
that contains a kitchen, porch, larder room, and bathroom, the last having
been added in recent years. It is located on Blakeney Heath Road in the
Providence community of Mecklenburg County, NC and faces north. In addition
to the main house, the property contains several outbuildings, including a
barn, two tenant houses, a chicken house, cotton house, corn crib, shop
building, pig pen, and a garage. Moreover, a substantial number of
pre-historic archeological artifacts, principally arrowheads, have been
found on the property, suggesting that it might possess archeological
The James A. Blakeney House is a rather typical example of a type of
dwelling which prosperous farmers erected in Mecklenburg County in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic
Property which most resembles it is the N. S. Alexander House, erected in
1903, Although the James A. Blakeney House is not unique, it is one of the
few surviving remnants of the built environment which was associated with
the cotton economy of southern Mecklenburg County at the turn of the
century. Indeed, this writer is aware of only four other farmhouses of
similar or earlier vintage which survive in the general vicinity of the
James A. Blakeney House, Also noteworthy is the fact that this section of
Mecklenburg County is undergoing rapid suburbanization. Consequently, the
house and land are clearly endangered.
Victorian motifs are evident on the exterior of the James A. Blakeney
House -- the large bay on the left front, the decorative detail on the
second floor windows of the bay, the slate-covered
gable roof and two cross gables, the wood
shingles in the gable ends, the large, tin-roofed wraparound porch, and
the Wooden lattice at the right rear of the wraparound porch. The overall
massing of the house, however, as well as its architectural appointments,
are quite simple, even rustic. The house, for example, rests on brick piers
with subsequent brick in-fill, and the dominant exterior wall covering is
clapboard. The fascia of the cornice of the wraparound porch is composed of
small vertical boards of unrefined design. The house contains an offset
right chimney and an offset left chimney, plus a chimney at the rear of the
kitchen, Seven lightning rods are atop the house. The fenestration is
irregularly punctuated, and dominant
window type is 2/2 double sash, with the windows on the right front of
the first floor extending to the floor of the wraparound porch.
The house also contains suggestions of classical revivalism. Arched
keystones punctuate the front gable ends of the cross gables, and
Doric columns support the roof of the wraparound porch. But the overall
treatment of the house suggests to this writer that the edifice was the work
of a local builder and should be labeled 'vernacular'.
The front door is pine with a single, large glass, no
sidelights but a
transom, and broadly-fluted pilasters with a bull's eye-decorative
element in each base. The interior of the James A. Blakeney House is largely
unchanged from the original. The hardware, the doors, the mantels in the
eight fireplaces, the plaster walls, the magnificent pine
wainscoting, and the
newel posts, pickets, and
handrail of the straight staircase which rises forward from the rear of
the central hallway, are all original.
For more information...
Property Profile: James A. Blakeney House - Restoration in Progress