1. Name and location of the property: The property known as Carter
Hall is located on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University at 100 Beatties
Ford Rd., Charlotte, NC 28216.
2. Name, addresses, and telephone of the present owners and occupants
of the property:
The present owner and occupant of the property is:
Johnson C. Smith University, Inc.
100 Beatties Ford Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28216
3. Representative photographs of the property: Representative
photographs of the structure are included in his report.
4. A map depicting the location of the property: This report
contains two maps. A tax line map depicts the location of the campus of
Johnson C. Smith University. The second map depicts the location of Carter
Hall on the campus.
5. Current Deed Book Reference of the property: The land which
comprises the campus of Johnson C. Smith University is listed in the
Mecklenburg County Registry Deed Book 208, page 201.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property:
The history of Carter Hall is intimately bound up with the history of
Johnson C. Smith University. Johnson C. Smith University was founded by two
white ministers (Rev. S. C. Alexander and Rev. W. L. Miller) under the
auspices of the Presbyterian Church. It was known as the Henry J. Biddle
Memorial Institute in honor of Major Henry J. Biddle, a Union soldier who
was killed in action during the Civil War. During its formative years Mrs.
Mary D. Biddle, the wife of Major Biddle, gave considerable financial
support to the institution.
The school was originally housed in a small church located near the
present location of Fourth and Davidson Streets. A few years after its
feeble beginning, the institution purchased the old Confederate Navy
Building located on East Trade St., below where the Civic Center now stands.
This building was to be moved to another location on Seventh Street,
somewhere between College and Caldwell Streets. Colonel William R. Myers
discouraged the ministers about moving to that site and offered them
property where the school now stands. The gift of eight acres by this
outstanding Charlotte citizen was the nucleus of the present site.
In 1883 the name of the institution was changed to Biddle University. In
1921 because of the many generous gifts which she had made to the
institution in honor of her husband, Mrs. Jane M. Smith was notified by the
Board of Trustees that the name of the institution had been changed to
Johnson C. Smith University.
The first president of the institution was Rev. Stephen Mattoon. For
nearly two and a half decades the presidents and most of the faculty members
were white. In 1891 the institution had its first black president, Rev.
Daniel J. Sanders. Since that time all of its presidents and the majority of
the faculty have been black.
Carter Hall was constructed in 1895. It is the oldest dormitory on the
campus. Situated on the northeastern corner of the University Quadrangle,
Carter Hall possesses an overall Gothic Revival flavor, especially
highlighted by circular pavilions at each corner. Also noteworthy is the
structure's wooden cupola. Much of the labor for this 15, 758 square foot
building was done by students under the supervision of the Industrial
Department of the University. The exterior of the building, except for a
modern protrusion on the eastern facade, is original. The interior, however,
is completely unoriginal. The original interior was torn out, and an
entirely new building was constructed within the old walls.
7. 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 Survey and
Committee of the Commission has examined this structure and has judged to
be of architectural significance. The Survey Committee stated that Carter
Hall has the following significant details:
1. Brick jack arch with header course above arch and corbeled drip
2. Nine over nine wood
3. Wood cornice at eaves.
4. Circular pavilions at each corner with slate roof.
5. Wooden cupola
The fact that the structure has been judged to be of architectural
significance, coupled with the fact that it is the oldest dormitory on the
campus of the only black institution of higher education in Mecklenburg
County, suggests that Carter Hall meets this criterion.
b. Suitability for preservation and restoration: The building is
in excellent repair. As stated above, it is currently a dormitory for
Johnson C. Smith University. The building is therefore highly suited for
c. Educational value: The educational value of the building is
somewhat substantial. It is the oldest structure in the city and county
which possesses a cupola and circular pavilions. Certainly, its
educational value would be enhanced if the original interior had not been
destroyed. One should remember, however, that Carter Hall is a symbol of
the rich heritage of Johnson C. Smith University and of the local black
d. Cost of acquisition, restoration, maintenance, or repair: The
Commission has no intention of acquiring this property. The cost of
acquisition would be high. The building is in excellent repair. The
maintenance costs are currently carried by Johnson C. Smith University.
e. Possibilities for adaptive or alternative use of the property:
This structure is suited only for housing a substantial number of people.
The Commission assumes that the University will continue to use as a
f. Appraised value: Attached to this report is a real estate
appraisal card which reveals that the land and property itself is
appraised at $201,520.00. Again, the Commission has no intention of
acquiring this property. And the University is not required to pay taxes
on this property.
g. The administrative and financial responsibility of any person or
organization willing to underwrite all or a portion of such costs: It
is assumed that Johnson C. Smith University shall continue to operate the
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria established for inclusion in the National Register: The
Commission believes that Carter Hall, because of its association with
Johnson C. Smith University, does qualify for the National Register on the
grounds of Criterion A - properties "that are associated with events that
have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history."
9. Documentation of why and in what ways the property is of historical
importance to Charlotte and/or Mecklenburg County: Carter Hall is
significant to what was accomplished by a newly-liberated people in an
atmosphere that has been described as "hostile." This structure was built
under trying circumstances and by people who had very meager financial
resources. It is the oldest dormitory of the first and only private
institution of higher learning open to black people in the immediate and
surrounding communities. The exterior of the structure possesses
considerable architectural significance for the local community.
For more information...
Survey & Research Report: Carnegie Library at Johnson C. Smith University
Survey & Research Report: Biddle Hall at Johnson C. Smith University
Survey & Research Report: Stone Entry Gates at Johnson C. Smith University