W. T. McCOY HOUSE
This report was written on January 6, 1982
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the W.
T. McCoy House is located at 429 East Kingston Avenue in Charlotte, North
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owners and
occupants of the property: The present owners and occupants of the
John B. Geer and Gary Benner
429 East Kingston Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28203
Telephone: (704) 372-4449
3. Representative photographs of the property: This report
contains representative photographs of the property.
4. A map depicting the location of the property: .
5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent
deed to this property is listed in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 3948 at page
706. The current tax parcel number of the property is 123-082-09.
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 Thomas W.
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 W. T. McCoy House does possess special historic significance
in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on
the following considerations: (1) the house was designed by the
architectural firm of Hook and Rogers, designers of seminal influence in
this community; (2) the house exhibits a rare combination of Queen Anne
and Bungalow styles for Charlotte-Mecklenburg; and (3) the house occupies
a pivotal position in terms of the townscape of the oldest portion of
Dilworth, Charlotte's first streetcar suburb.
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 W.
T. McCoy House meets this criterion.
c. 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 .241 acre tract is $3,750.00. The Ad Valorem tax
appraisal on the improvements is $11,190.00. The total Ad Valorem tax
appraisal is $14,940.00. The land is zoned R6MF.
Date of preparation of this report: January 6, 1982
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
3500 Shamrock Drive
Charlotte, NC 28215
Telephone: (704) 332-2726
Dr. William H. Huffman
On the twelfth of April, 1910, William T. McCoy bought the house
presently located at 429 E. Kingston Avenue in Dilworth from the Charlotte
Consolidated Construction Company for the total price of $7,089.20.1
The Four C's had been organized by Edward Dilworth Latta in 1890 to develop
streetcar suburb from 250 acres of farmland just to the southeast of the
city.2 According to the usual practice, the house was contracted
for in 1909, then purchased upon acceptance on the above date. The actual
construction contractors for the Kingston Avenue residence were the R. N.
Hunter Co., and the architect was the firm of Hook and Rogers.3
Charles Christian Hook (1870-1938), the first resident architect of
Charlotte, designed a number of houses in Dilworth in addition to many
important structures throughout Charlotte; the latter included the old
Charlotte City Hall and the
James B. Duke mansion
on Hermitage Road.4
William T. McCoy, who was born December 24, 1876 in Camden, SC, came to
Charlotte in 1895. Four years later, in 1899, he started his own furniture
business, W. T. McCoy and Company, located at 209-211 S. Tryon Street.5
The furniture business flourished, becoming one of the best known in the
area, and in 1923, Mr. McCoy built a new building at 423-425 S. Tryon to
accommodate the expanding trade.6 Because of failing health,
William McCoy retired in 1931 and liquidated the business. Despite his
"quiet nature," he was quite active in business, civic and church affairs.
He was a founding member of the Greater Charlotte Club, which was the
predecessor of the Chamber of Commerce; was president of the Charlotte
Merchant's Association; and served as president of the Southern Furniture
Dealers Association and as a director of the National Furniture Dealers
Association. He was also affiliated with the Charlotte Country Club, the
Myers Park Club, and the Myers Park Presbyterian Church. In addition, Mr.
McCoy was well known as a generous contributor to charitable and
philanthropic causes. He died in Richmond, Virginia, following surgery, on
February 17, 1933, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte.7
Mrs. McCoy, the former Willie Beckton, was born in Charlotte and became
the mother of five children, three of whom died as infants. The two
surviving daughters, Edna and Helen (later Mrs. Richard A. Cannon and Mrs.
Jack Prause, respectively), and the family were able to enjoy the
commodiousness of the house with its large-windowed, high-ceilinged rooms
and second-floor ballroom for many years.8 In 1928, the McCoys
moved from Kingston to a house at 1125 Queens Road, but Mrs. McCoy
reportedly spent the happiest times of her life at the Dilworth home.9
The following year, likely due to ill health, William McCoy deeded his real
estate holdings to his wife.10 Some fifteen years before, he had
suffered an extreme illness and had never fully recovered his strength. The
house on Kingston was rented to various tenants by the McCoys until 1936,
when management of it and six other holdings were placed in the hands of the
American Trust Company, from which Mrs. McCoy received the income.11
Upon her death September 4 1953, she was also buried in Elmwood cemetery in
Well before her death, however, the Kingston Avenue property was sold by
the American Trust Company in 1944. In that year William S. and Bruce Gates
Berryhill acquired the residence at an estate sale. 13 Mr.
Berryhill was an accountant for the firm of Allison Erwin and subsequently
became the accountant and controller for the Wrenn Brothers, who were the
forerunners of Industrial Finance Co. When they moved to Kingston Avenue,
the McCoys enjoyed the area as an established and pleasant residential
neighborhood, but by 1960, deterioration had set in to the extent that they
decided to move, and thus relocated on Park Road. For the ensuing nine
years, the house was rented to various tenants.14
In 1969, the Kingston avenue residence was sold to John and Sally Howie.15
Mr. Howie worked at that time for the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company and
also did house painting and repairs, and Mrs. Howie was a cook for County
Social Services. It was through his work for the Berryhills that later
resulted in Mr. Howie's purchase of the house. About 1971, Mr. Howie
separated two sections of the house by building a dividing wall in the
downstairs hallway, thus converting the house to a duplex. For the first two
years of their ownership, the Howies lived in the house themselves, and
afterward rented the duplexes to various tenants.16
Ruth Little-Stokes, an architectural historian, purchased the house from
the Howies in 1977.17 While pursuing her advanced degree in that
discipline in Chapel Hill, Ms. Little-Stokes leased both apartments of the
house and had a very strong interest in preserving its architectural
integrity.18 In March, 1981, she sold the house to the present
owners, John Geer and Gary Benner, who have exerted considerable effort to
restore the house to as close to its original condition as possible.
1 Deed Book 257, p. 603.
2 "The New South Neighborhoods: Dilworth," CMHPC, May, 1981.
3 Charlotte Evening Chronicle, June 19, 1909, p. 6.
4 Survey and Research Report on the Seaboard Air Line
Terminal, CMHPC, undated.
5 Charlotte Observer, Feb. 19, 1933, p. 6; Charlotte
City Directory, 1911, p. 285.
6 Charlotte News, Feb. 19, 1933, p. 9; Charlotte City
Directory, 1925, p. 629.
8 Interview with Bruce Cates (Mrs. W. S.) Berryhill,
Charlotte, NC, 24 August 1981.
10 Deed Book 735, p. 188, 13 Feb. 1929.
11 Deed Book 884, p. 23, 22 Jan. 1936.
12 Monument in Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte.
13 Deed Book 1137, p. 49, 12 Dec. 1944
14 See Note 8.
15 Deed Book 3115, p. 265, 25 September 1969.
16 Interview with Sally Howie by Ruth Little-Stokes, 2 April
17 Deed Book 3948, p. 706, 1 June 1977.
18 Interview with Ruth Little Stokes by & Sally McMillen, 21
19 Deed Book 4407, p. 331, 9 March 1981; interview with John
Geer and Gary Benner, 23 August 1981.
Thomas W. Hanchett
The W.T. McCoy House is an elegant one-and-one-half story Bungalow
designed by the firm of Hook and Rogers, leading Charlotte architects. Built
1909-1910 by well-to-do furniture store owner William T. McCoy, its plan and
decorative details illustrate the transition then occurring from the
Queen Anne style to the new
Bungalow style. Its prominent location at the corner of East Kingston
and Lyndhurst Avenues, combined with its original design qualities and good
state of preservation, make it an architecturally-important part of the
proposed Dilworth historic district and of Charlotte as a whole.
The home is basically a low rectangular block under a spreading
hip roof. Porches wrap around the sides that face Kingston and Lyndhurst
Avenues. In these characteristics it is distinctively a Bungalow.
Architectural Historian Clay Lancaster has traced the origin of the term
Bungalow back to the East Indian word "bangle", which meant "a low house
with porches all around".1 Americans first borrowed the idea from
the British in the late nineteenth century and around 1900 it caught on with
a bang in sunny California, then spread across the U.S., becoming the most
popular style of the 1910's and 1920's.
Before the Bungalow became popular, the major style in the United States
was the Queen Anne, the climax of the Victorian era. It was characterized by
complex roof shapes, complex wall treatment, and details chosen eclectically
from all eras of the past. Hook and Rogers' design for the W.T. McCoy House
was strongly influenced by this style.
The basic hip roof of the home is complicated by two smaller hip roofs
that extend out over the front (south) and east side porches. There are also
dormered windows poking through the roof planes. Four complex bay
windows with their own complicated roofs pop out of the front, sides, and
rear of the building. The walls of the house are given additional interest
through the use of a wide variety of window types,
Exterior details were chosen to add to the Victorian feeling of varied
textures. The three chimneys are asymmetrically placed. Rafter ends are left
exposed for decorative effect in the eaves. Walls are sheathed in grooved
"German" novelty-siding with corner boards. The main entry vestibule with
its leaded glass
sidelights and transom has a Colonial Revival feel. "The oriel window
bracketed out from the west side, the diamond-paned dormer window casements,
and the composite Ionic porch columns set on weatherboard pedestals are
drawn from English architecture built during the sixteenth and early
seventeenth centuries", according to architectural historian Ruth
Little-Stokes in her architectural analysis of the proposed Dilworth
The interior of the McCoy House also shows the transition from Victorian
to Bungalow, especially in light of earlier homes in the neighborhood. In
her essay, Little-Stokes compares it to the more Victorian 1908 Davidson
House at 321 East Park Avenue. The McCoy House has lower, more "modern"
ceilings and a much more open, flowing plan, typical of twentieth century
design. Its details, however, are strongly Victorian and show a
craftsmanship that reflects owner McCoy's familiarity with fine furniture
The front half of the main floor of the residence is given over to the
"semi-public" spaces. From the vestibule the guest moves through double
doors into a large reception hall. From it one can look into the wide
central hallway that runs back to the bedrooms. To the left of the reception
hall, through a wide archway with no doors, one can see the main parlor.
Moving into the central hallway, the first room to the right is a "back
parlor" with its own door onto the porch, located behind the reception hall.
The first room to the left is an elegant dining room with chest-high dark
wainscoting. Dentil molding atop the wainscoting has been replicated by
the present owners and a fine stained glass window by owner John Geer is the
focal point of the bay at the end of the room. Each of these four main rooms
has a different mantle: oak in the reception hall, painted pine in the main
parlor, Birdseye maple in the back parlor, and oak in the dining room (oak
columns and an overmantel were taken by the Berryhills when they sold the
home). Each mantle has an ornate cast-iron fire door surrounded by ceramic
tile. Most of the original brass hinges, doorknobs, and other hardware
remain in these rooms.
The rear half of the main floor contains the more private spaces of the
house, which were arranged on the assumption that the family would have a
full-time servant. A butler's pantry behind the dining room separates that
room from the kitchen, which has an unusual gently coved ceiling. Behind the
kitchen was a small rear porch, enclosed probably in the 1940's.
In the northeast corner of the residence are three bedrooms, all
interconnected, and two bathrooms. These are grouped around a closet-lined
hall that must have been the province of the maid. The bathrooms were quite
modern for their day, with ceramic tile and legless tubs. Some of the
original fixtures remain.
Nestled next to the butler's pantry and opening off the central hallway
is the enclosed stairwell. Up the stairs is the "ballroom", a large finished
room under the roof that is nearly as large as the entire first floor.
Downstairs is the brick-wall basement. The foundation appears to have been
continuous wall from the start, rather than brick piers as in many homes in
this region. One area of the basement is a plastered room, with its own
outside entrance, that was originally the maid's quarters. The electric bell
system used to signal the maid still extends throughout the house, though it
is no longer working.
Surprisingly few major changes have been made in the home over the last
seventy-one years. Gas sconces were removed from the dining room and
ballroom, the rear porch enclosed, and some changes made to the butler's
pantry in the years before World War II. In 1971 the residence was converted
to a duplex with great care, the only change being the addition of two walls
in the central hallway, done in such a way as to leave the original molding
intact. The present owners have installed a new kitchen and furnace, and
replaced lost bathroom fixtures. They have done a fine job of highlighting
the McCoy Home's intrinsic elegance. With the minor exception of some light
fixtures and heating registers they have not, as is so often the case in
Charlotte, succumbed to the temptation to add new "old" features from other
homes or renovation catalogs.
1 Clay Lancaster, "The American Bungalow", The Art Bulletin
40, no.3 (1958): 241.
2 Ruth Little-Stokes and Dan Morrill, Architectural
Analysis:Dilworth: Charlotte's Initial Streetcar Suburb (Charlotte, NC:
Dilworth Community Association, 1978), pp.41-43.