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 BURTON GALLOWAY HOUSE

This report was written on December 1, 1982

1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the J. Burton Galloway House is located at 702 N. Brevard Street, in Charlotte, N.C.

2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the property: The present owner and occupant of the property is:

Mrs. S. C. Wilber
702 N. Brevard Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

Telephone: 704/375 4528

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 a map which depicts the location of the property.

5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: There is no current deed book listing in the County Tax Office. The Tax Parcel Number of the property is: 080 072 02.

6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property prepared by Dr. William H. Huffman, Ph.D.

7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report contains an architectural description at the property prepared Thomas Hanchett, architectural historian.

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 Historic Properties Commission judges that the property known as the J. Burton Galloway House does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations: (1) the J. Burton Galloway House, built in 1870, is the oldest house in First Ward and most probably the oldest house in Uptown Charlotte; (2) descendants of the original owner reside in the J. Burton Galloway House, a unique occurrence in Uptown Charlotte; (3) the grounds of the J. Burton Galloway House retain early outbuildings, fences, and curbing; (4) the J. Burton Galloway House is a rare local example of an urban Victorian cottage.

b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling, and/or association: The Commission contends that the attached statement of architectural significance prepared by Thomas W. Hanchett, architectural historian, demonstrates that the J. Burton Galloway 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 land is $14,990. The current appraised value of the house is $1,890.

Date of preparation of this report: December 1, 1982.

Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
218 N. Tryon Street
Charlotte, N.C. 28202

Telephone: 704/376 9115

 

 

Historical Overview

 

Dr. William H. Huffman
December, 1981

The Galloway House, located at the corner of 702 N. Brevard and 10th Streets, is the sole remaining house of what was once a pleasant neighborhood of similarly modest but charming dwellings in Charlotte's First Ward. One block to the east was the Grove Male Academy, and a block in the opposite direction one would find the Charlotte Female Institute. The short 700 block of North Brevard contained four houses on the Galloway's side, while across the street six neighboring homes were nestled together by 1877. 1

The sturdy Galloway house was built in 1870 by Mr. James Burton Galloway (1834- 1892). 2 He had purchased the lot in July, 1870, from William F. Phifer and his wife, Mary Martha White Phifer, who owned considerable property in that part of the city. 3 The Phifers were descended from a family which first came to Mecklenburg County in 1737 from Switzerland. 4

The Galloways were originally from the Mallard Creek area of the county, and the young J. B. moved to Charlotte before the Civil War. On April 23, 1858, Anne Catherine Tanner (1838 1919), who was born in Halifax County, Virginia, and Mr. Galloway were married, following which they took up residence in Charlotte. When the Civil War broke out, James Galloway got a job as a mechanic at the Navy Depot (located at the present site of the Civic Center). To keep it secure from capture, naval machinery in need of repair was transported by wagon from the Norfolk navy yard to the Charlotte depot where the necessary work was done. Mrs. Galloway contributed to the effort by walking over to the nearby D. H. Hill school, which was then an armory, and sewing and mending Confederate uniforms. Near the end of the war, Anne Galloway was visiting a sister in Jackson, Tennessee, when rumors of Sherman's coming caused them to kill their hogs, load up two covered wagons, one loaded with the meat in a pie safe and the other with household goods, and make a three week journey by way of South Carolina to Salisbury, where the Tanners had moved from Virginia. Later back in Charlotte, J. B. had taken a job in a saloon at 5th and College Streets, where one day two of Sherman's men came in with a silver plated copper basket which they had stolen in Atlanta, and swapped it for whiskey. When he proudly brought it home, his wife wanted nothing to do with it, but the basket still remains in the family home. Another story which was passed down concerned the day when Anne Galloway was sitting on her front porch after the war, when two men in Union uniforms came up the sandy walk and said they were trying to make their way back north, and needed something to eat. One had an accordion and the other a fiddle, and the lady of the house told them if they would play "Dixie," she would see about helping them out. After the men obliged as requested, Mrs. Galloway gave them some ham biscuits and 25 apiece. 6

After the war, J. B. Galloway took up the trade of brick mason and brick maker. He and his crew made the bricks in a yard where the former Charlottetown Mall, now Midtown Square, is located. Most days Mrs. Galloway would pack a picnic lunch and carry it down to the brickyard at midday. 7 Thus by 1870, the Galloways were enjoying a modest measure of prosperity, and that year proved to be an exceptional one in their lives. Mrs. Galloway had gone to stay with relatives in Halifax Co., Virginia, where their only child, Lillie Mae, was born on May 18, 1870. 8 In Charlotte, J. B. Galloway had the lumber cut and dried for a new house on North Brevard Street, and after its completion, Mrs. Galloway and the young baby returned to take up residence in the newly built home. Behind the house there was a barn for the mules and the chickens. 9

For the next twenty odd years, the family lived comfortably in their Victorian house and enjoyed the well being of the pleasant neighborhood in First Ward. On September 10, 1891, the twenty one year old Lillie Mae Galloway married Edward W. Davidson, and the newly married couple also made their home at the N. Brevard Street residence. The following year, about March or April, Mr. Galloway was injured in a fall from a wagon, which caused his health to fail. He subsequently died at the 10th and "B" Street house on November 14, 1892 at the age of 58. 11

Anne Galloway continued to live in the family home until her own death in 1919 at the age of 81. 12

Edward William (1867-1942) and Lillie Mae Galloway Davidson (1870-1942) raised three children in the First Ward home: Virginia Parks Davidson (Mrs. Douglas J. Burbage, 1893-1979); Mary Galloway Davidson (Mrs. S. C. Wilber, b. 22 June 1899); and Robert Franklin Davidson (b. 1903). Edward Davidson, who was descended from a brother of General Davidson of local fame and a machinist by trade, died a little over two months after his wife passed away in 1942. 13 Mary Davidson Wilber and R. Franklin Davidson still make their home at the charming Brevard Street house built by their grandfather over one hundred ten years ago. It is a house which serves as a clear reminder of what that neighborhood was once like in Charlotte's late nineteenth and pre World War II twentieth century history.

 


NOTES

1 Beers Map of Charlotte, 1877.

2 Interview with Mary Galloway Davidson Wilber, 15 October 1981.

3 Deed Book 6, p. 666, 21 July 1870; Beers Map of Charlotte, 1877.

4 Charles H. Phifer, The Genealogy and History of the Phifer Family (Charlotte: Privately Printed, 1910), p. 33.

5 Galloway family Bible in possession of Mary Davidson Wilber.

6 Interview with Mary Wilber, note 2.

7 Ibid.

8 Charlotte Observer, Jan. 29, 1942, p. 6; Meck. Co. Certificate of Death, Book 60, p. 480.

9 Interview with Mary Wilber, note 2.

10 Mecklenburg Co. Marriage Register, 1889 1898.

11 Charlotte Observer, Nov. 14, 1892, p. 4; Mecklenburg Times, Nov. 18, 1892, p. 3.

12 Charlotte Observer, Oct. 2, 1919, p. 3; Charlotte News, Oct. 2, 1919, p. 15; Mecklenburg Co. Certificate of Death, Book 9, p. 652.

13 Interview with Mary Wilber, note 2; Mecklenburg Co. Certificate of Death, Book 60, p. 685.

 

 

Architectural Description

 

Thomas W. Hanchett

Built in 1870, the James Burton Galloway house is today the oldest intact structure of any kind within the central city, and it is the earliest dwelling in Charlotte built as an urban residence. The one story frame structure is a good example of a Victorian cottage, complete with wooden "gingerbread" trim. The Galloway house is Charlotte's best architectural reminder of what small town life was like here in the nineteenth century.

The front section of the house is what Carolina architectural historians call a one story "triple A". It is a long gable roofed form with the gable ends at the sides of the structure, and a decorative third gable at the center of the front facade. The shallow eaves are boxed and have a simple frieze. In the side gables the eave treatment is extended to form "returns", a motif begun in the Federal period and continued through the early post bellum era in North Carolina. Walls are sided with cupboard and have corner boards and a molding topped baseboard.

While the side gables show lingering influence of pre Civil War architectural tastes, the front of the house is exuberantly up to date Victorian. The front gable is finished in four separate panels of tongue and groove siding laid horizontally, vertically and diagonally for decorative effect. At the center of the gable is an attic vent edged in wooden "filigree work", probably produced on one of the new mechanical scroll saws perfected in the period.

The wide porch shading the front of the house has similar Victorian motifs. Its center gable has vertical tongue and groove siding and a wreath like scroll sawn ornament. The eaves of the porch's shed roof are boxed and sport a frieze similar to that on the main house. Paired porch columns are topped with elaborate scroll sawn brackets, and scroll sawn balusters support the porch railings. The Galloway house is a rare instance in Charlotte where all the porch trim survives intact.

Under the porch roof are two large front windows with wooden shutters. The windows are double hung six over six pane sash. At the center of the facade is the entrance. It features a wooden surround trimmed with molding, and sidelights of textured glass. The front door has a single large window over two small lower panels.

At the rear of the front block of the house are two parallel wings, both of which appear to date from the nineteenth century and may be original. At the junction of each wing with the main house is a large chimney topped by a corbeled brick cap, a favorite Victorian motif. According to Davyd Foard Hood of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History, the one story double wing house form was fairly common in North Carolina from the mid 1870s through the 1890s: the Galloway house is thus a very early example of this house type.

As family size increased and needs changed over the years additions were made to the rear of the house. Each wing appears to have been extended twice.

When James and Anne Galloway had their home erected in 1870, they chose a site near the edge of the village of Charlotte, a spot befitting the modest income of a mechanic and brick mason. Today the house, shaded by huge trees, still occupies its original Brevard Street site and looks from the street much as it must have when Anne Galloway still lived there. Brevard Street is no longer the edge of a town of 4,400 people, however, but near the center of a city of over 300,000 residents. The Galloway house is an important symbol of Charlotte's small town Victorian heritage.