The Jamison House
This report was written on June 3, 1981
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
Jamison House is located at 302 Providence Road, Charlotte, North Carolina,
in the block between Queens Road and Granville Road.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner and
occupant of the property: The present owner of the property is:
Mutual Savings and Loan Association
330 South Tryon Street
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
Telephone: (704) 373-0330
3. Representative photographs of the property: This report
contains representative photographs of the property.
4. A map depicting the location of the property: This report
contains maps which depict the location of the property.
Click on the map to browse
5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent
deed to this property is listed in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 3811 at page
801. The current tax parcel number of the property is 155-051-06.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains
a brief historical sketch of the property by Dr. William H. Huffman, Ph.D.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains a brief architectural description of the property by Mary Alice
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 does possess
special historic significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The
Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations: (1) the
house, erected in 1912-13, is the oldest house which survives in
Myers Park, the elegant
streetcar suburb designed by John Nolen; (2) the rusticated granite
construction of the house is unique in Myers Park; and (3) John M.
Jamison, the original owner, was a hotelier of regional importance.
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling
and/or association: The Commission judges that the architectural
description included herein demonstrates that the property known as the
Jamison House meets this criterion.
9. Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal: The Commission is aware that
designation would allow the owner to apply annually 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 Ad Valorem tax
appraisal of the entire 1.265 acre tract is $107,490.00. The Ad Valorem tax
appraisal on the improvements is $34,270.00. The total Ad Valorem tax
appraisal is $141,760.00.
Date of preparation of this report: June 3, 1981
Prepared by: Nancy B. Thomas, Assistant Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
3500 Shamrock Drive
Charlotte, NC 28215
Telephone: (704) 332-2726
Mary Alice Dixon Hinson
The John M. Jamison House is a handsome two-and-a-half story structure
built of rusticated uncoursed granite. It fronts a heavily developed
commercial segment of Providence Road within suburban Myers Park. Built in
1912-13, the Jamison House is important because it was one of the first
houses built in this early Charlotte suburb which was picturesquely laid out
by landscape architects John Nolen and Earl Draper in 1910. The house
remained in the Jamison family until the mid-1970s when it was acquired by
Mutual Savings and Loan Association. In 1978, Charlotte architect Richard
Gillespie directed the conversion of the ground floor into savings and loan
offices. Alterations were minor: the remodeling of the rear butler's pantry
and kitchen and the removal and storage of a few of the first floor doors.
The Jamison House stands today as a model of the kind of responsible
adaptive reuse of a historic structure that can be achieved by private
investors who appreciate the environmental and economic wisdom of
preservation. The structure significantly contributes to the community's
distinguished architectural fabric. The house's massing is simple -- it is
essentially a rustic cottage expanded to the scale of a
Neoclassical block. Its rough granite surface presents a textural
richness and surface life that modestly animate the street. The house is
two-and-a-half stories high, three bays wide and three deep. The symmetrical
main (south) facade faces Providence Road and the asymmetrical rear
elevation faces the residential neighborhood behind the building. These
differing elevational organizations reflect the builder's sophisticated
response to the site: a distinction is made between the formality of the
main approach and the
Queen Anne whimsicality permissible in the more private rear.
The house is built of rusticated granite laid like
rubble in an uncoursed cobweb pattern. The gang-sawed pieces of granite
are set within a lively network of protruding beaded mortar joints. A
tripped roof sheathed with shake shingles covers the house. Two
semi-exterior end chimneys and one interior chimney rise through the roof. A
chamfered wooden modillion cornice underlines the main roof as well as the
roofs of a central entrance porch and two smaller side porches. The main
facade and side elevations are skirted by an elevated piazza.
Terracotta-colored tiles laid flush in cream-colored mortar cover the piazza
The main entrance is sheltered by a tripped-roofed porch. The approach is
by two granite steps. Large square-in-section granite pillars give further
spatial definition to the porch. The entrance consists of a single-leaf
plate glass door flanked by
sidelights. A flat-paneled wooden soffit carried on flat-paneled jambs
ties together this tripartite entrance group.
Fenestration throughout the house is set within simply molded wooden
architraves. The ground story of the main facade has two large
sash windows. The second story of the main facade has six-over-one sash
in the outer bays with a nine-over-one sash in the center bay. The facade
attic level has three center bay
dormers: two multi-paned hood dormers flank a quasi-Palladian dormer
containing multi-paned glass between two wooden louvered vents.
The eastern elevation is dominated by a one-story side porch protecting
two plate glass doors. Glass
transoms surmount each door. Between the doors stands the large chimney
base, protecting from the body of the wall. Six-over-one sash windows pierce
the outer bays of the second story.
The western elevation is dominated by a one-story wing which balances the
eastern side porch. A shallowly overhanging
hip roof shelters the three entrances to this wing. These three
entrances open up the western elevation. Each is a glazed French door
beneath a three-light transom. Three double casements, each with triple
panes, line the front and back of the small western wing. The main western
elevation of the house, from which this wing projects, is pierced by
nine-over-one, six-over-six, and six-over-one sash windows.
In distinction to the general regularity of the facade and side
elevations, the rear elevation is organized with picturesque asymmetry. It
is treated as eleven bays of varying widths, with the western six bays
handled as a single unit stepped out from the main body of the house.
Fenestration along the rear is irregularly positioned, reflecting in part
the programmatic requirements of lighting the interior and in part the
decreased formality deemed appropriate to the back of the house. Varying
arrangements of three-over-one, six-over-one, nine-over-one, and
twelve-over-one sash windows articulate the rear elevation.
A wooden Queen Anne porch projects from the center of the rear elevation,
dramatizing the intersection of the six projecting western bays with the
five recessed eastern bays. The porch is built of turned Eastlake columns
which rest on chamfered plinths. The columns support a second story sunporch,
three bays wide and two deep. The body of the porch is sheathed with shake
shingles. The porch carries a bold
gable roof. The gable ends in a full pediment trimmed by a wooden
modillion cornice. A small attic window punctuates the pediment face.
East of the sunporch is a demi-hexagonal bay window. Tall narrow
three-over-one sash flank a large central twelve-over-one sash, rhythmically
breaking up the mass of the bay. A segment of a hip roof, sheathed with
shakes and underlined by a modillion cornice, covers the bay.
The interior of the house is in excellent condition and is trimmed
throughout with superb oak and cherry woodwork, fine mantels, and, on the
second floor, milk glass bellflower light fixtures attached to metal bases.
The ground floor contains a center stair hall with double door openings
leading to flanking front parlors. The principal rooms feature wooden dentil
cornices. Both front parlors contain exposed ceiling beams and massive
masonry fireplace mantels topped by molded wooden shelves. The east parlor
mantel is granite, the west, brick. A two-tiered flat-paneled cherry
wainscot runs along the center stair hall and the small one-story western
wing which adjoins the west parlor. The
wainscot is framed by a molded chair-rail and a molded baseboard.
An open-course half-turn
stair with two landings rises front-to-back along the eastern wall of
the center stair hall. The two-tiered wainscot rises along the stair wall
and runs throughout the second story stair hall above. The square and
rectangular flat panels of the wainscot change to slanted rhombuses and
parallelograms along the stair runs, suggesting motion up or down the
stairs. Reinforcing this motif, the molded
handrail is ramped and eased from landing to landing. Thin
balusters support the handrail. Like the wainscot, the soffit and fascia
of the exposed end of each
tread receives flat-paneled trim. The
newel post is square-in-section and carries a splayed pyramidal cap.
Identical landing newels feature bulbous pendant drops.
The recess of the stair forms a ground story inglenook directly across
from the main entrance. Built-in cherry seating contributes to the
definition of this alcove which, in turn, acts to subdivide the volume of
space in the central entrance hall. The stair, inglenook, and entrance hall
form a sophisticated architectural unit; it is the volumetric and functional
core of the house. Its rich wooden paneling and warm oak flooring
effectively complement the textural wealth of the house's rusticated
The second story contains three main rooms, all facing south, one rear
sun-porch, and several smaller rooms and a bath in the northwest. Unlike the
rustic masonry mantels below, the second story mantels are wooden
Neoclassical compositions. In the eastern front room the mantel has
flat-paneled pilasters and a flat-paneled frieze above a white tile
surround. In the western front room the mantel is exceptionally bold. Two
Doric columns stand fully in-the-round in front of a white tile
surround. The columns support an idiosyncratic vernacular version of a
classical frieze: bas-relief medallions are juxtaposed between triglyphs
above pronounced guttae.
Doors throughout the second story are intact. Each is ornamented by a
single long flat-panel accented by a cut glass doorknob. Doors to the
principal rooms carry plate glass transoms. Simply molded architraves
harmonize with the molded handrail above the open stair well.
Not only is the Jamison House a most distinguished structure in its own
right, but it is also an integral part of the architectural fabric of Myers
Park. The continued preservation of the house is absolutely critical to the
maintenance of human scale, which has already suffered severe erosion as a
consequence of the heavy traffic carried by the portion of Providence Road
on which the house fronts. The Mutual Savings and Loan Association is to be
commended for setting high standards of preservation and for combining those
standards with a successful business venture in adaptive reuse.
Dr. William H. Huffman
The Jamison house, a handsome stone residence at 802 Providence Road in
Myers Park was one of the earliest homes to be constructed in that streetcar
suburb. The house was begun by John McKee Jamison in the spring of 1912 on
two lots he had purchased from the Stephens Company on September 1, 1911 for
$8,352.00. The Stephens Company was the firm owned by George Stephens, who
was the exclusive developer of the 1,400 acre plantation of his
father-in-law, John Springs Myers.
John M. Jamison was in the hotel business, and at the time of the start
of construction of his house, he owned and managed the Stonewall Hotel in
downtown Charlotte, which he had built a few years earlier, and was a
director of the Commercial National Bank. He also owned the Vance Hotel in
Henderson, held an interest in the Huffine Hotel in Greensboro, was
president of the Bagwell Real Estate Company in Hamlet, and was one of the
South's most widely known and respected hotel owners.
Mr. Jamison was born on December 25, 1865, the son of John M. Jamison and
Sarah Alexander in the Steele Creek township, and was raised in Long Creek
in the county.3 In 1894, he and a partner, Thomas Gresham, opened
a restaurant in Monroe. Following the success of this venture, they moved to
Hamlet and opened the Seaboard Airline Hotel, which they operated until
about 1906. After selling his Hamlet interests Mr. Jamison moved to
Greensboro, where he acquired his interest in the Huffine Hotel. In 1908,
Mr. Jamison came to Charlotte and established the Stonewall Hotel near the
Southern Railway Station on Trade Street, and moved his family into the
house at 500 W. Trade, now the Folger Building.4
While living in Hamlet, the Jamisons had a local architect draw up plans
for a large stone house, but they did not get the opportunity to build it
until moving to Charlotte and purchasing nearly two acres in Myers Park as a
homesite. In the spring of 1912, Mr. J. A. Wilson, a contractor friend of
Mr. Jamison's from Hamlet, was commissioned to construct the house of North
Carolina granite for the price of $30,000.00.5
On June 27, 1912, Mr. Jamison took out an insurance policy of $50,000.00
for the benefit of the Stonewall Hotel Company. The following day, he took
his wife, sons John and Paul, and Mrs. Bagwell, wife of a business associate
in Hamlet, and her son, out for a ride in one of Charlotte's first
automobiles. The party rode out in the morning to visit the site of the home
construction in Myers Park which by then had progressed to a completed
foundation. Since it was a fine day, they decided to take a spin out in the
country, and proceeded out the Newell Road, where tragedy struck the group.
The auto stalled on the Southern Railway crossing at Newell in the path of
an oncoming train, and the car was struck while Mr. Jamison was attempting
to open the door for Mrs. Bagwell; the others had gotten out in time. In the
collision, Mr. Jamison was killed and the Bagwells critically injured;
Charlotte has lost one of its leading citizens at the age of forty-seven.6
Lucille Price Whitley Jamison, wife of the hotelier and a descendent of
the Price and Davidson families, carried on the construction of the house.
The following year, 1913, she and her five children moved into the newly
completed structure, which was only the third house to be built in Myers
Park. The first house in the suburb was built by H. M. Wade, which was
subsequently torn down during the 1920s and replaced by the brick structure
presently at 530 Hermitage Road. The Glasscocks built the second house in
Myers Park, but this residence was later destroyed by fire. Thus the Jamison
house is the oldest original house in Myers Park.7 At the time of
its construction, Providence Road was unpaved, and the opposite side of the
road from the house contained some old country houses. The street car line
came only to the corner of Providence and Queens Road.
During their sixty-three-year ownership, the Jamisons enjoyed living in
their comfortable and spacious home, which was kept cool by the shade of the
trees and the thick stone walls. Mrs. Jamison lived in the house until
shortly before her death in 1967 at the age of 95. Of the children, the
oldest girl, Lucille, continued to live in the Providence residence until
she died in 1963; the eldest son, John, left about 1922 to go into the
cotton business in Philadelphia; the next oldest, Paul, became an attorney
in Charlotte and stayed in the stone house until he passed away in 1975;
Martha, the next to youngest, married Mr. Hugh W. Causey in 1935 and took up
residence in their own home; and the youngest, Sarah Lois (Sally) Jamison,
lived in the house until it was sold to its present owner, Mutual Savings
and Loan Association.9
In December, 1975, Mutual bought the property with the view toward
converting the house into a branch office of the company.10 Their
conversion efforts, begun in 1977, were undertaken with great care to
maintain as much of the original architecture of the house as possible. The
result is an excellent example of responsible adaptive use of a historical
building which preserves the major architectural heritage of the structure.
1 Mecklenburg County, NC, Deed Book 283, p. 66.
2 Charlotte News, June 28, 1912, p. 1.
3 Ibid.; Mecklenburg County Vital Records: Deaths, Book 2, p.
4 Charlotte Observer, June 29, 1912, p. 6.
5 Interview with Martha Jamison Causey, Charlotte, NC, May 11,
1981; Charlotte Observer, June 29, 1912, p. 6.
8 Memorandum dated May 11, 1981 by Jane Saunders, Legal
Assistant, Fleming, Robinson, Bradshaw and Hinson, Charlotte, NC.
9 Interview with Martha Jamison Causey, Charlotte, N.C. May
10 Mecklenburg County, NC, Deed Book 3811. p. 801.
11 Interview with Elizabeth South, Branch Manager, Mutual
Savings and Loan