Survey And Research
On Eastover Elementary School
1. Name and location
of the property: The property known as Eastover Elementary School is located
at 500 Cherokee Road in Charlotte, N.C.
2. Name, address, and
telephone number of contact for the current owners of the property:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools/Board of Education
701 East 2nd Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
photographs of the property: This report contains representative
photographs of the property.
4. A map depicting
the location of the property: This report contains a map depicting the
location of the property. The UTM coordinates of the property
are 17 516263.0 E 17 3894857.1 N.
Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent deed to
this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 1379 at Page 80.
brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains a brief
historical sketch of the property prepared by Dr. Dan L. Morrill.
brief architectural and physical description of the property: This
report contains a brief architectural and physical description of the
property prepared by Stewart Gray.
Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the criteria for
designation set forth in N.C.G.S 160A-400.5.
a. Special significance in terms
of its history, architecture and/or cultural importance: The
Commission judges that Eastover Elementary School possesses special
significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases
its judgment on the following considerations:
1) Eastover Elementary School,
erected in 1935, was designed by M. R. Marsh Architects, a design firm of
local significance in the first half of the twentieth century.
2) Eastover Elementary School is
important in the history of Eastover, a neighborhood of special cultural
significance in Charlotte.
3) Eastover Elementary School is a
well-preserved local example of Colonial Revival style institutional
architecture and demonstrates great sensitivity to the surrounding
b. Integrity of design,
setting, workmanship, materials, feeling and/or association: The
Commission contends that the architectural and physical description prepared
by Stewart Gray demonstrates that Eastover Elementary School House meets
Valorem Tax Appraisal: The Commission is aware that designation would
allow the owners to apply for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem
taxes on all or any portion of the property which becomes a "historic
landmark." The appraised value of the property is $8,888,300. The Tax
Parcel Numbers of the property are 15510236 and 15509401. The property is
exempted from the payment of property taxes.
10. Amount of Property
Proposed for historic landmark designation. The exterior of the
school building and the the entire land associated with the school, being
tax parcel numbers 15510236 and 15509401.
Date of Preparation of this Report: January
A Brief History Of Eastover
Dr. Dan L. Morrill
Eastover Elementary School opened in
1935 to serve the Eastover neighborhood and adjoining white residential
districts in Charlotte, N.C., including Colonial Heights and nearby portions
of Myers Park and Elizabeth. The building of Eastover was part of a
spate of school construction that occurred in the 1930s in Charlotte and
across the United States because of the influx of Federal money
provided by work relief programs during the Great Depression.1
The Federal Emergency Relief Administration and the Civil Works
Administration, both established in 1933, distributed money to local
communities to construct a variety of public projects, including schools.
In January 1934, Charlotte Mayor Arthur E. Wearn announced that funds had
been granted to Charlotte to enable the City to undertake several projects,
including the construction of Eastover Elementary School.2
Mayor Arthur E. Wearn (1933-1935)
The architect of record of Eastover
Elementary School was M. R. Marsh.
M. R. “Steve” Marsh (1901-1977), a native of Jacksonville, Fla., came
to Charlotte in 1916 as chief draftsman for the architectural firm headed by
James Mackson McMichael (1870-1944). In 1922 Marsh opened his own
architectural and engineering company in Charlotte and continued to head the
firm until his retirement in 1964.3 The
principal designer of the school was James A. Stenhouse, a native of St.
Louis, Mo., resident of Charlotte from early childhood, and graduate of the
School of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology who joined
Marsh's firm upon graduation. 4 Stenhouse would
have a long and distinguished career in Charlotte. Remembered mostly for
his design of churches, including Westminister Presbyterian Church in
Eastover, Stenhouse would become a founding partner of J. N. Pease
Associates in 1938, a design and engineering firm of regional significance
which is still in business.5 A charter member of
the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, now Historic
Landmarks Commission, Stenhouse was also a leader in the historic
preservation movement in Mecklenburg County in the mid and later twentieth
century and was instrumental in establishing the Mecklenburg Historical
James A. Stenhouse with original
Like most public schools erected in
Charlotte in the 1920s and 1930s, Eastover Elementary School was traditional
in design. Stenhouse fashioned the original section of Lawyers Road
Elementary School, later named Midwood Elementary School, on Central Avenue
to be almost identical to Eastover in design.6
One also sees revivalist architecture in such schools as the Morgan School,
built for African Americans n the Cherry Neighborhood, and the Myers Park
Elementary School on Ratcliffe Ave. in Myers Park.7
Dr. Thomas Hanchett, resident historian at the Levine Museum of the New
South, contends that traditionalist architecture, especially Colonial
Revivalism, reflected the conservation values increasingly espoused by
Charlotte's business elite in the 1920s and 1930s. Hanchett writes:
Charlotte's early New
South leaders had experimented freely with the newest styles, Victorian
variations in the 1890s, the Rectilinear, Bungaloid, Colonial Revival, and
Tudor Revival styles of the 1900s through early 20s. By the late 20s,
however, the Colonial Revival was adopted as the single acceptable
architectural motif, with Tudor Revival variations being the only
alternative. While this was part of a nationwide return to historical motifs
in architecture, it seems to have been particularly rigid in Charlotte.
Endless blocks of Myers Park, Eastover, and the new streets of Dilworth were
developed in the 1920s with variations on the two-story brick Colonial box.8
Lawyers Road (Midwood) Elementary School (1935) M.
R. Marsh Architect
Morgan Elementary School (1925) Louis Asbury
Myers Park Elementary School (1928) C. C. Hook
Eastover, the first totally
automobile, bus, or truck-dependent affluent suburb in Charlotte, eschewed
by legal means experimentation in architecture. Developed by by the E.
C. Griffith Company, its original section laid out by landscape architect
Earle Sumner Draper, and opening in 1927, Eastover operated under deed
restrictions that stipulated that "no residence of Spanish Architecture or
design shall be erected upon said lots of land."9
One can assume that Edward Colville Griffith did not
appreciate the appearance of the Reynolds-Gourmajenko House just outside the
Reynolds-Gourmajenko House (1926) William L.
Eastover School has flourished
over the years. Not surprisingly, several additions have been made to
the original building. In 1941 major changes occurred, including
the construction of an auditorium, a basement kitchen and cafeteria, and the
addition of five classrooms on the north side of the property. Five
more classrooms were erected to the rear of the original building in 1949.
That same year the Charlotte Board of Education purchased property across
Cherokee Road for use as a playground. An 8-classroom building, no
longer extant, was constructed in 1955 at the western edge of the school
site. In 1972 a Media Center and Physical Education facility was erected on
the south side of the auditorium.11
Finally, a major makeover of the building occurred in 2004-2005. The
1955 classroom building was demolished and replaced with a larger structure,
and the interior of the building was gutted and totally modernized.
Shook Kelley Architects demonstrated great sensitivity to retaining the
ambience of Eastover Elementary School, however.12