C. C. CODDINGTON HOUSE
This report was written on March 6, 1985
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the C.
C. Coddington House is located at 1122 E. Morehead Street in Charlotte,
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the
property: The present owner of the property is:
The Morehead Ltd.
1122 E. Morehead St.
Charlotte, N.C., 28204
3. Representative photographs of the property: This report
contains representative photographs of the property.
4. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent
deed to this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 4826, Page
446. The Tax Parcel Number of the property is 123-102-08.
5. A map depicting the location of the property:
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 by Lisa A.
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria set forth in N.C.G.S. 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 C. C. Coddington House does possess special significance in
terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on the
following considerations: 1) the C. C. Coddington House, completed in
1917-18, was designed by William H. Peeps (1868-1950), an architect of
regional significance; 2) C. C. Coddington (1878-1928). the original
owner, was a leading businessman in Charlotte, both as a distributor for
Buick automobiles and owner of Radio Station WBT; and 3) the C. C.
Coddington House is one of the few early twentieth-century homes to
survive on E. Morehead St., one of the grand boulevards of
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling
and/or association: The Commission contends that the attached
architectural description by Lisa A. Stamper demonstrates that the
property known as the C. C. Coddington 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 .889 acres of land
is $154,840. The current appraised value of the improvements is $326,510.
The total appraised value of the property is $481,350. The property is zoned
Date of Preparation of this Report: March 6, 1985
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
1225 S. Caldwell St.
Charlotte, N.C., 28203
Dr. William H. Huffman
The Coddington House, one of the few stately homes remaining on the
Dilworth section of Morehead Street, has more the appearance of a New
England summer home than that of a formal residence one would expect to find
on a major boulevard of a fashionable neighborhood. Nonetheless, the house,
built by Charles Campbell and Marjorie Lyon Coddington in 1917 from the
plans of Charlotte architect William Peeps, was well suited for a style of
life that centered around frequent entertaining of guests.
Charles Campbell Coddington (1878-1928) was the epitome of an energetic,
enterprising young man out to make his fortune in turn-of-the-century
America. He had worked as a reporter for the New York Evening Journal
in his early twenties, but the New Jersey native restlessly sought a
commercial venture suitable for his energy and talents, and settled on the
fledgling automobile industry as having the most potential. In 1907, the
three-year-old Buick Motor Company granted him exclusive rights to be its
distributor for the Carolinas, and the confident young man set out for
Charlotte. While driving the first Buick south of the Mason- Dixon line,
Coddington stopped in Greensboro at a drug store, where by chance he saw a
young woman who had recently been voted the most beautiful in North
Carolina. He was so taken with her that he decided on the spot to stay in
Greensboro until he could meet this charming beauty, and plans to open his
business were laid aside. It took a month for him to manage an introduction,
and his persistent courtship resulted in marriage a year later to Marjorie
Although she was a native of Thomasville, N.C., Marjorie Lyon Coddington
(1884-1925) had grown up in Greensboro in the home of her parents, Edward
West and Minnie Rinehurt Lyon. Six months after her marriage to C.C.
Coddington in 1908, the couple moved to Charlotte in January, 1909 2
and first took up residence on East Boulevard in Dilworth. By 1911, they had
moved to a house at 603 South Tryon Street, just beyond Stonewall, and C.C.
had set up a Buick distributorship, garage and automobile supply company at
209 S. Church Street. About 1913, they moved again, this time back out of
town to the first block of West Morehead Street, and started their family.
C. C. Coddington's business instincts had served him brilliantly; not
only had he chosen to enter a business that experienced explosive growth in
the teens and twenties, he did so in a city whose growth matched that of the
automobile industry. As a banking and distribution center which served the
Piedmont Carolinas, Charlotte experienced a sustained boom from the 1880s to
the end of the 1920s in playing a key role in the New South
industrialization centering around the proliferation of
cotton mills in the region. The combination of his business skills and
being in the right place at the right time proved to be fruitful indeed.
Sometime about early 1917, the Coddingtons decided to build a new home on
the extension of East Morehead Street in Dilworth, the city's first
streetcar suburb, at the corner of what was first known as Coddington
Avenue (now Berkeley Avenue). To design the new suburban residence, they
hired one of Charlotte's most skilled architects, William Peeps. The basic
H-pattern and general appearance were patterned after an old family home of
Marjorie Coddington's forebearers in Carlile, Pa., the Eliot Farm house.
William Peeps (1868-1950) was a native of London, England, who came to
Charlotte in 1905 to begin a career in the Queen City which spanned
forty-five years. During that time a number of the most impressive
structures of the city were produced in his office. Among his admirable
commercial designs were the
Latta Arcade (1914, for Edward Dilworth Latta, the developer of
Dilworth), the Court Arcade (1927-8), Ivey's Department Store (1920s), and
Ratcliffe Flowers (1929). For many of the leading citizens of Charlotte
and surrounding communities he created Colonial Revival,
English Tudor and other styles which provided the area with a rich
architectural heritage. The latter include the Lethco house on Roswell, the
Wilson house at Providence and Queens Roads, and the residences of John Bass
Brown (East Boulevard), William Porcher (Queens Road West), J.B. Ivey,
Osmond Barringer (Sherwood) and Lee A. Folger (Coddington's business manager
and next door neighbor on Morehead). 5
The suburb they chose for their new residence, Dilworth, was being
developed by the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company (known as the
4C's), which was formed by Edward Dilworth Latta in 1890. It was made
possible by its lifeline to the center city, a new electric streetcar system
that ran from the Square to Latta Park at the heart of the city's first
suburb. In its heyday, the park which surrounded a large lake, was the site
of sporting events and traveling shows in its pavillion, and it also served
as an outdoor social center. From the beginning, Dilworth had a wide range
of houses, from the large homes of the well-to-do on the main boulevards
(East and South Boulevards, and Morehead Street), to the modest homes on the
side streets, and even some mill houses on the south side which belonged to
Atherton Cotton Mill off South Boulevard. Latta himself built his own
mansion on East Boulevard where the Greek Orthodox Church now stands. 6
When the house was finished in late 1917 or early 1918, the Coddingtons
moved in and began to turn it into one of the city's best known centers of
hospitality. 7 As the years progressed, C.C. Coddington's
business prospered to the point where he became one of the area's wealthiest
men. During World War I, he bought his own train of about 60 cars to ensure
delivery of autos from Flint, Michigan, and was, as a consequence, the only
distributor with a large stock of cars on hand to meet the demand at war's
end. 8 In 1925, C. C. Coddington experienced both tragedy and
triumph. In February, Marjorie Coddington died suddenly of heart failure at
the age of forty, leaving three young sons, C. C. Jr., 11, Dabney Minor, 9,
and William, 7. The Observer described her as "a leader in social and
civic activities, having had a reputation as being an exceptionally fine
That same year he completed the Coddington Building on West Trade Street
(now the site of the newly renovated State Office Building), and bought
radio station WBT (the first to go on the air in the Carolinas, 1920). The
station was moved from the
Independence Building to Coddington's, the power boosted to 500 watts
from 100 and an advertising slogan was invented for the call letters: "Watch
Buick Travel." In addition to being one of the organizers of the Charlotte
Motor Speedway, he also raised thoroughbred horses on his 5000-acre estate
in Jacksonville, N.C. (where he hosted meetings of his Carolinas dealers),
was a state boxing commissioner, and in 1928 was elected president of the
National Association of Automobile Dealers. When C. C. Coddington died
unexpectedly on his yacht in Pamlico Sound, the city and state lost one of
its most colorful citizens. 10
Following the death of Marjorie Coddington in 1925, C. C. swapped the
Morehead Street house for the Duke mansion in Myers Park the following year,
and the Dukes sold it in turn to Nash dealer Armistead Burwell. 11
After Burwell lost the house during the Depression, it had a series of
owners who continued to use it as a well-designed place for entertaining.
(Roy and Ethel Goode, 1939-1944; Jerry and Billie Huber, 1944-48; Lee and
Loraine Kinney, 1948-76; 12 (the Kinney's annual April lawn party
drew nearly 300 guests in its later years.) 13 The tradition of
hospitality remains today, with the present owners, headed by Nancy
Bergmann, who have turned it into a comfortable place which once again
accommodates guests, but this time as a country inn, The Morehead.
1 Charlotte Observer, Dec. 4, 1928, p. 7.
2 Ibid., Feb. 17, 1925, p. 5.
3 Charlotte City Directories, 1909-1913.
4 Charlotte Symphony Women's Association Designer House
brochure, 1976, p. 6.
5 Charlotte Observer, Sept. 11, 1950, p. 1B; Georae W.
Hamilton, ed, William H. Peeps, AIA (Charlotte: News Publishing
6 "The New South Neighborhoods: Dilworth," Charlotte
Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1981.
7 Inscriptions on walls in Coddington house; see note 2; Deed
Book 391, p. 486, 1 Sept. 1917.
8 See note 1.
9 See note 2.
10 See note 1; LeGette Blythe and Charles Brockmann,
Hornet's Nest (Charlotte: Public Library, 1961), p. 386; information on
file at Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission.
11 Deed Book 628, p. 229, 13 July 1926.
12 Deed Book 849, p. 404, 31 March 1934; Ibid., 995, p. 128;
Ibid., 1129, p. 138, 21 July 1944; ibid., 1333, p. 1, 24 Aug. 1948; ibid.,
3849, p. 687, 3 June 1976.
13 See note 4.
by Lisa A. Stamper
February 25, 1985
The extremely successful Charlotte entrepreneur Charles Campbell
Coddington hired local architect William Peeps to design a home patterned
after Mrs. Coddington's family residence in Western Pennsylvania. The
resulting two story clapboard home with green tiled roof has graced the
northwest corner of East Morehead Street and Berkeley Avenue since 1917.
Built with colonial revival detailing and a symmetrical H-shaped plan, the
Coddington House still stands as an excellent example of early
twentieth-century residential architecture. The house and its outbuildings
have recently been renovated and are being used as a bed and breakfast
establishment named "The Morehead Country Inn".
The original front facade faced East Morehead Street and today looks very
much as it probably did in the early twentieth-century. The design's
strongest feature is its symmetry, emphasized by the two gabled wings
flanking a spacious terrace. The roof of each wing is contained within the
second story, and a large chimney is centered within the end of each wing.
Located between the first and second stories, and connecting the wings, is a
short sloping roof which shelters the entrance door and the two large
flanking windows, and with a slight extention, designates the doorway. The
windows of this facade, as well as the original ones vary in size, but are
characterized by many small rectangular panes, wooden frames, and delicate
In 1980, a two story addition was built onto the back of the original
house to create more office space for an insurance company. This addition
extends the length of the house, and fills in the rear of the H-shape. The
addition is also of the Colonial Revival style, and easily blends in with
the original design without directly copying it. According to a plan drawing
filed in "William Peeps Papers" in the Special Collections of the University
of North Carolina at Charlotte's library, the addition replaced a first
story terrace similar to the one in front of the house, a second story
balcony, and a two story porch on the western corner of the home.
Although symmetry is an overall theme in Peep's design, the side facades
are not identical. Both have gable within gable ends, and two first story
windows in their front wings; however, the rest of the openings and
architectural elements are varied to accomodate interior planning. The
southeast facade, that faces Berkeley Avenue, has a side door flanked by two
windows and covered by a sloping overhang supported by two simple, delicate
round columns in the middle of its main section. Directly above this portico
is a triple window. A small window is located higher and to the front of it.
On the back wing of this facade, the first story contains two large casement
windows. Above these windows is one typical window. All of these openings
appear to be original. The last bay on this side is part of the addition. It
contains a first story door and one second story window.
The main section of the northwest facade has a first story double window
and two typical second story windows. The back wing has a simple, thin
chimney near the main section plus a first and second story window near the
rear. The last bay, which contains only one second story window, is part of
The original interior plan and architectural features reflect the
exterior colonial revival design. However, while the first floor plan
follows the concept of symmetry closely, the second floor deviates slightly
from true symmetry. Many early architectural elements and finishes are still
in good condition. Most of the original architectural elements appear to be
intact, including the staircase and its ornamentation, flooring, woodwork,
paneled doors, mantels, paneling, wainscoting, moldings, and stained glass
windows now in bathrooms. Early chandeliers with very ornate collars hang in
the living and dining rooms. The 1980 addition's interior does not detract
from the 1917 design. It presently houses various suites, a first floor
conference room, and a second floor sitting room.
The living room is located on the first floor in the center of the house,
and is presently similar to the original room, with no apparent structural
alterations over the years. It has direct access to all the original first
floor living spaces, both interior and exterior, except the pantry. The
southeast side entrance was probably the main entrance, and still is used as
such. The entrance hall gives an impressive view of the large living room as
one enters the home. The grand U-shaped stair is located in this area, so
that it may present an elegant view to those in the living room. As one
enters the house, a half-bath was once located underneath the stairs to the
left, and a closet to the right. Today, the half-bath is located to the
right, with the left door closed and that area used as a private bath.
The library, which is located on the first floor of the east wing, also
has been altered only slightly if at all. It is still being used as a
library. The north wing contained the dining room, and still does, again
without major alterations. According to Peeps' plan, the chimney on this
side of the house was fake, built only to complete symmetry in the exterior
design. Also on the first floor the sun parlor, located in the south wing,
is now being used as a bedroom suite. Only a few minor alterations have been
made in this room.
The original kitchen was located in the west wing of the first floor.
This area now contains a private bath and a laundry room. The servants
stair, which is still in use, was located next to the kitchen. The original
pantry, located between the dining room and the kitchen, has been converted
into a small, modern kitchen. However, all openings seem to be original, and
the original shelves seem to be intact.
The second floor, originally consisted of bedrooms, baths, and a single
hallway. Only a few minor alterations allowing access to the back addition,
placing a bath in a cedar closet in the south wing, and changing a few
through closets and bath areas were required. At the end and to the right of
the hallway an original cedar closet with sliding shelves is an interesting
architectural detail still being used today.
Today, two outbuildings exist on the Morehead Country Inn property. A
gazebo house was built near the back addition, away from Berkeley Avenue, in
1980. It is now being used for storage. Next to the gazebo house is a
garage, built in 1920. It was converted and expanded into a private
residence in 1976. Today, the upstairs is used as a bedroom suite for rent
and the first floor is used as residential quarters by the proprietor of the
inn, Nancy Bergmann.
It is difficult to discern how much of the surrounding site has been
changed since 1917. Many trees and shrubs, however, seem to be quite mature
and most probably existed early in the twentieth century. The early driveway
was probably entered from Berkeley Avenue, then called Coddington Avenue.
This drive has been expanded to create several small parking areas scattered
throughout the back and Berkeley Avenue side of the home. The majority of
the inn's parking spaces, however, are located across Berkeley Avenue.
The Coddington House sits in the historic Dilworth area. Today, East
Morehead's early architecture is threatened by modern commercial buildings
with little if any architectural or aesthetic value. Along with many other
fine residences, the home built next to the Coddington House, which was
built by one of Mr. Coddington's friends and also designed by William H.
Peeps, has already been destroyed. The Coddington House is an example of an
older building being used successfully in our modern society without losing
its historic ambience.