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,
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.
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
Dr. William H. Huffman
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.
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.
1 Beers Map of Charlotte, 1877.
2 Interview with Mary Galloway Davidson Wilber, 15 October
3 Deed Book 6, p. 666, 21 July 1870; Beers Map of Charlotte,
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.
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,
13 Interview with Mary Wilber, note 2; Mecklenburg Co.
Certificate of Death, Book 60, p. 685.
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
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.