This report was written on October 3, 1979
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as
Morrocroft is located at 2525 Richardson Drive in Charlotte, NC.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner and
occupant of the property:
The present owner of the property is:
James J. Harris & Angelia M. Hazels
Charlotte, NC 28222
Telephone: (704) 366-0925
3. Representative photographs of the property: Representative
photographs of the property are included in this report.
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: The most recent
reference to this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Will Book 7,
page 552. The Tax Parcel Number of the property is 177-078-04.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property:
Morrocroft was completed in 1927 as the home of Governor Cameron Morrison
(1869-1953) and his second wife, Sara Eckerd Watts Morrson.1 A
native of Richmond County, North Carolina, Morrison was an adroit and
flamboyant politician. His initial forays into the public arena occurred in
the 1890's, when as a young attorney he headed the Red Shirt movement in
Richmond County, a collection of citizens dedicated to the principles of
white supremacy as a prerequisite for the progressive development of North
Carolina. The only elective office which Morrison held during these years
was as Mayor of Rockingham, NC, in 1893.2
Morrison moved his law practice to Charlotte, NC, in 1905. The
Charlotte Observer described him as a young man of ability who possessed
a clear, musical voice. On December 6, 1905, Morrison married Lottie May
Tomlinson of Durham, NC, who was to be the mother of an only child, Aphelia
Lawrence Morrison. Mrs. Morrison died in Presbyterian Hospital on November
12, 1919. A graduate of the Women's College of Baltimore, MD, and Peace
Institute in Raleigh, NC, Mrs. Morrison had been active in local civic
affairs. During World War I, she had served as captain of a Red Cross
canteen team at Camp Greene, a large military training facility in
Charlotte.4 In 1920, Morrison opposed O. Max Gardner, Lieutenant
Governor of North Carolina, in the Democratic primary for Governor. A
principal ally of Morrison's in this campaign was Senator Furnifold Simmons.
Morrison was victorious, and in January, 1921, he became the Governor of
North Carolina.5 In an address which he delivered on January 28,
1921, Governor Morrison emanated the progressive and assertive spirit which
was to characterize his administration:
"We do not want to move and have our being as a crippled, weak and
halting State, but we want to stand up like a mighty giant of progress and
go forward in the upbuilding of our State and the glorification of our
It was customary for the chief executives of North Carolina to make bold
promises at the outset of their terms, but Cameron Morrison did a better
than average job in fulfilling his pledge to the people. He is remembered
best as the "Good Roads Governor." To bring North Carolina "out of the mud,"
Morrison secured funds for a massive road building program. His objective
was to construct paved highways to every county seat in the state. Governor
Morrison also labored to upgrade the educational system throughout North
Carolina. Allocations to the public institutions of higher learning were
increased substantially during his administration. For example, fourteen
buildings were erected on the campus of the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill between 1921 and 1925, the years during which he served as
Governor. Moreover, Morrison committed financial resources to the
establishment of excellent primary and secondary schools at the local level.
Another of Morrison's major accomplishments was the improvement of medical
facilities, especially those involved in the treatment of the mentally and
That Governor Morrison placed education high on a list of priorities is
not surprising. It is reasonable to infer that two considerations prompted
him to do so. First, as a child in Richmond County, he had experienced the
consequence of an inadequate public school system. Indeed, the school at
Rockingham was open for only two months each year. Consequently, Morrison
was compelled to obtain instruction from private teachers, from M. C.
McCaskill at Orbs Springs, NC, and from William Carroll at Rockingham.
Moreover, financial considerations prevented his matriculation at the
University of North Carolina. He received his legal training in the office
of Robert P. Dick in Greensboro, NC. Second, Morrison regarded himself as a
student and admirer of Thomas Jefferson. "Democracy rests upon the principle
of exact and equal justice to all, and regardless of class or station in
life," he proclaimed in a speech in New York City in 1924.9
In keeping with his Jeffersonian proclivities, Morrison believed that the
existence of an educated citizenry was indispensable to the survival of the
American republic. Indeed, he believed that those black citizens who could
demonstrate their ability to grasp and appreciate public issues should be
permitted to exercise the full rights of citizenship. Illustrative of
Governor Morrison's position on this matter was the fact that he channeled
substantial resources to the improvement of the black colleges of North
Carolina.10 Also noteworthy is the fact that the poll tax was
unpolled during his administration.11 Governor Morrison's
personal life changed abruptly on April 2, 1924, when he journeyed to
Durham, NC, and married Sara Eckerd Watts, millionairess and widow of George
W. Regatta. A native of Syracuse, N.Y., and a trained nurse, she had married
Watts, a noted financier and philanthropist, on October 25, 1917.12
Following the termination of Morrison's tenure as Governor, the Morrisons
moved to Charlotte and undertook the establishment of Morrocroft, an elegant
residence and experiment farm of approximately three thousand acres just
outside of the city. Completed in 1927, the house and attendant outbuildings
were designed by Harrie Thomas Lindeberg, a prominent New York architect who
specialized in the delineation of baronial country houses. Governor Morrison
became known locally as the "Esquire of Morrocroft."l4
Consistent with the New South philosophy which undergirded his system of
values, Morrison labored to make his estate a model farm which would reflect
the most advanced principles of scientific agriculture and thereby encourage
the farmers of North Carolina to do likewise. He raised chickens, turkeys,
hogs, and established one of the finest herds of Jersey cattle in the United
States. Morrocroft also possessed large fields of grain, vegetables, and
fruits.l5 The significance of his agricultural pursuits
notwithstanding, Morrison continued to participate actively in the affairs
of the Democratic Party. On December 13, 1930, Governor O. Max Gardner
surprised many political pundits by appointing Morrison to the United States
Senate to serve out the term of Senator Lee S. Overman, who had recently
died.16 In 1932, however, Morrison was unsuccessful in his
campaign against Robert R. Reynolds, an Asheville attorney.17
Reynolds used his opponent's wealth as an effective political and oratorical
weapon, accusing Governor Morrison of eating caviar and using a gold
spittoon.18 In 1942, the voters of the Tenth Congressional
District elected Morrison to the House of Representatives. He did not run
for reelection. Instead, he campaigned in 1944 to return to the United
States Senate. Again, he was unsuccessful, this time losing to Clyde R. Hoey
of Shelby, NC.19 Governor Morrison did not run for public office
again. His involvement in politics did not abate, however. He headed the
North Carolina delegation to the National Convention of the Democratic Party
in Chicago in 1952. His speech urging the delegates to preserve party unity
appeared on national television.20 That Governor Morrison
practiced what he preached was affirmed by the fact that he supported
enthusiastically the candidacy of Adlai Stevenson for the Presidency.
Indeed, the last political speech of his career, presented in Freedom Park
in Charlotte, echoed his devotion to the Democratic Party which he had
advocated as a young attorney in Richmond County in the 1890's.
"Of course there have been actions taken by Democratic Administrations
of which I have not wholly approved. Of course, there have been, and still
are, individuals within the Democratic Party whom I would much rather have
seen elsewhere. But we must never let anything swerve us from the only
honorable course, and that is the true loyalty to the Democratic Party,
now, as in the past, and forever."2l
Governor Cameron Morrison died on August 21, 1953, of a heart attack at
the age of eighty-three. His death occurred in Quebec, Canada, while on a
trip with his grandson, James J. Harris, Jr. Mrs. Morrison predeceased her
husband, having expired in 1950.22 Mrs. Morrison was a talented
and exceptional human being. She was a member of Second Presbyterian Church.23
"Mrs. Morrison fights the devil through the Presbyterian church, and I try
to give him a few good licks through the Democratic Party," Governor
Morrison once remarked.24 Mrs. Morrison served on the Board of
the Charlotte YWCA and the Stonewall Jackson Training School. Moreover, she
was generous in her support of Queens College in Charlotte, where Morrison
Hall was named in her honor.25 Mrs. Morrison bequeathed
Morrocroft to her step-daughter, Angelia Lawrence Morrison Harris, and to
her step-daughter's husband, James J. Harris.26 Mr. Harris, an
insurance executive, was born in Athens, GA, on May 13, 1907. He and Mrs.
Harris were married on October 6, 1934. Over the years, Mr. and Mr. Harris
have disposed of the majority of Morrocroft Estate. The house now
constitutes the centerpiece of a tract of 16.5 acres.27
1 The Charlotte News (September 14, 1979), p. 3C.
The Charlotte Observer (April 3, 1924), p. 1.
2 Beth G. Crabtree, North Carolina Governors 1885-1968
(State Department of Archive and History, Raleigh, 2nd printing rev.) pp.
120-121. Hereafter cited as Crabtree. The Charlotte Observer (March
3, 1920), p. 13.
3 The Charlotte Observer (February 27, 1905), p. 5.
4 The Charlotte Observer (November 13, 1919), p. 2.
5 Cameron Morrison, An address delivered by the Honorable
Frank P. Graham to a Joint Session of the North Carolina General Assembly,
March 31, 1955. Hereafter cited as Graham.
6 William H. Richardson & D. L. Corbitt, comp. & ed.,
Public Papers And Letters Of Cameron Morrison. Governor of North Carolina.
l92l-1925 (Edwards & Broughton Co., Raleigh, 1927), pp. 17-18.
7 Crabtree. Graham. William S. Powell, North Carolina: A
Bicentennial History (W. W. Norton & Co., New York, for the American
Association of State and Local History, 1977), p. 184, 193, 196.
8 Graham. The Charlotte Observer (March 3, 1920), p.
9 Graham. "Morrison, Cameron Family," a folder in the vertica1
files of the Carolina Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library.
Hereafter cited as Family.
12 The Charlotte Observer (April 3, 1924), p. 1.
13 "Morrocroft, An Architectural Description" (August 18,
1979) by Carolina Mesrobian for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic
17 The Charlotte News (August 21, 1953), p. 10A.
18 Orison, Cameron. Old Clippings, a folder in the vertical
files of the Carolina Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg-Public Library.
19 The Charlotte Observer (August 21, 1953), p. 1.
20 The Charlotte News (August 21, 1953), p. ICE.
22 The Charlotte Observer (August 21, 1953), p. 1.
24 Ibid. Governor Morrison characterized his own career in the
following manner: "The Lord has just used a knotty-headed old Scotchman who
uses his fists, instead of the standard kind of statesman." The Charlotte
News (August 21, 1953), p. 10b.
26 Mecklenburg County Will Book 7, page 552. 27. History of
North Carolina, Volume III, Family and Personal History (Lewis
Historical Publishing Co., Inc.)
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains an architectural description of the property prepared by Carolina
Mesrobian, architectural historian.
8. Documentation of way and in what ways the em Perth 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: Special historic significance in terms of
Charlotte-Mecklenburg and North Carolina. The Commission bases its
judgment on the following considerations 1) Morrocroft was the home of
Cameron Morrison, Governor of North Carolina from 1921 until 1925, 2) the
house and attendant outbuildings were designed by Harris Thomas Lindeberg,
and 3) the house formed the centerpiece of an experimental farm.
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials. feeling
and/or association: The Commission judges that the architectural
description included herein demonstrated that the property known as
Morrocroft 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 tax appraisal on the
16.5 acres of land is $330,000. The current tax appraisal on the
improvements is $311,030. The most recent tax bill on the property was
The Charlotte News.
The Charlotte Observer.
Beth G. Crabtree, North Carolina Governors 1585-1968 (State
Department of Archives and History, Raleigh.
Frank P. Graham, "Cameron Morrison, An Address by the Honorable Frank P.
Graham." "Morrison, Cameron Family," a folder in the vertical files of the
Carolina Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library.
"Morrison Cameron: Old Clippings" a folder in the vertical files of the
Carolina Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public library.
William S. Powell, North Carolina. A Bicentennial History (W. W.
Norton & Co., New York, for The American Association of State and Local
Records of the Mecklenburg County Clerk of Superior Court.
Records of the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office.
Records of the Mecklenburg County Tax Office.
William H. Richardson & D. B. Corbett, comp. & ed., Public Papers And
Letters of Cameron Morrison, Governor of North Carolina, 1921-1925
Edwards & Broughton Co., Raleigh, 1927).
Date of preparation of this report: October 3, 1979
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
139 Middleton Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28207
Telephone: (704) 332-2726
Morrocroft was designed by the New York architect Harrie Thomas Lindeberg
(1881? - 1959) for former North Carolina governor Cameron Morrison (served
1921 - 1925) in 1927. Lindeberg, who published a book on his domestic
architecture in 1940, designed a number of baronial country houses in the
United States for such clients as the Doubleday, Pillsbury, Dupont and
Vanderbilt families. Clients in North Carolina included Martin L. Cannon of
Charlotte, Mrs. L. J. Morehead of Salem, the Asheville Country Club, and
several residents of Biltmore Forest.1
Lindeberg's prevalent modes of domestic architecture were the Colonial
and Tudor country manor house styles. Morrocroft (a combination of the
family surname Morrison and the Scottish word for house)2 was
built in the
Tudor style. The asymmetry, picturesque massing, rhythmic spacing of
mullioned, multi-paned grouped windows, and numerous multi-stack chimneys
rising from steeply pitched
gable roofs are tangible manifestations of the credo on domestic
architecture compiled by Lindeberg and his senior partner, Lewis Colt Albro,
in 1912.3 Harmony between house and environment was also of the
utmost importance to Lindeberg's total concept of design for Morrocroft, set
on the rise of a gradually sloping tract of land, at one time surveyed at
3000 acres of farmland. Portions of the estate were developed from the
1950's on for residential communities, Cotswold , Sharon Road, and Southpark
Shopping Centers and an industrial park on Fairview Road. Although the house
is surrounded at present by approximately 15 acres, much of the carefully
planned landscaping is still intact.
The present grounds contain the main house and service court, garage, a
brick garden house to the south of the house, the brick floor of a
summerhouse located to the northwest of the house and a large frame grounds
facility. According to the resident caretaker, Mr. Harkey, the latter
building was moved to its present site northwest of the house in the early
1970s. The entrance to the grounds from Richardson Drive is bounded by brick
walls carrying large decorative lead turkeys with full spread tails. These
birds originally faced Sharon Road and were moved as civilization encroached
on the estate. The drive, as illustrated in a 1927 house and partial grounds
plan, divides into two paths, one leading to a walled service court attached
to the right side of the house and a free standing garage standing to the
north of the main complex; the other terminating in an oval drive in front
of the main entrance, the front being oriented to the northeast.
Landscaping consists of a large number of English boxwood of several
sizes and varieties. Small boxwood line the drives and a garden wall
extending from the right side of the house, while the front of the house is
lined with formal massings of large boxwood. A flagstone terrace leads from
the southeast facade to a boxwood and brick lined lawn which terminates in a
shallow-basined fountain with four spouts. What appears to have been a rose
garden with brick paths radiating from a central nucleus lies due south of
the house. The terraced rear (southwest) looks over a vast expanse of lawn
to Sharon Road. Symmetrical, curved boxwood hedges line the grassy path and
steps leading to the terrace and the main entrance of this facade. A
shallow-basined pool with one spout formally defines each side of the lower
entrance path. The northwest side of the house faces a dogwood forest. A
wide variety of veteran trees shade the house and gardens. Trees include the
magnolia, yellow poplar, American holly, ginkgo, Carolina hickory, black
locust, white ash, flowering fruits and white willow and live oak.
Exterior, The Manor House (excluding the Service Court)
Morrocroft is characterized by a main two story block (two and-one half
stories on the rear facade) with rambling one and one half story side wings
which extend either parallel or at a right angle to the main block. Breaks
in the wall surfaces which create solids and voids, diverse roof lines and
projections from the central block such as the front entrance bay, an oriel
window, and a one story office complete with its own roof and chimney
provide asymmetrical and picturesque qualities. The house is comprised of
narrow ochre and earth colored bricks said to have been made in Holland.5
Bondwork is a random, running type, stretchers being the more prevalent,
with occasional headers. The steep, gable roofs which provide a vertical
accent to the house have terracotta shingles. Heavy metal gutters with
ornamental down spout clasps surround the house. The sprawling, horizontal
massing of Morrocroft is further balanced by seven brick chimneys, six of
which define the end walls of the wings, the seventh being centrally located
in the main wing. The majority of the chimneys has three octagonal brick
stacks with corbeled caps. Two chimneys on the service yard side have three
clay pot stacks. Fenestration, while diverse in size and placement, is made
homogeneous by the use of subtlety-tinted English leaded glass. Large
sandstone or wooden mullions divide the windows into a number of lights;
each light is divided into a number of small, diamond or rectangular shared
panes by numerous cames. The glazing is thin and irregular, qualities which
help diffract the colors of the stained glass windows and are basically of
French, wall-faced pedimented dormer, or the standard Grouped casement type.
Frames are either of sandstone or wood painted brown.
Front Facade (northeast)
The front facade may be divided into several sections: the two story main
block comprised of five bays; a one and one half story, two bay wing
projecting at a right angle from the northwest side of the main block; a one
story two bay wide by one bay deep office which projects from the right
angle formed by the wings; and a one and one half story, three bay wing
continuing from the main section to the southeast.
The front entrance of Morrocroft (facing to the northeast) is articulated
by a two story, gabled bay projecting from the central wing of the house.
Walls are slightly battered. The vestibule is entered by a central doorless
opening with a wide sandstone frame and sandstone Tudor arch with flared
sides. Wrought iron and glass lantern with supporting bracket hangs over the
entrance. The second story is pierced by a four light, leaded
casement window, each light containing diamond shaped panes formed by
cames. The southeast side of the entrance porch contains a similar window
with two lights centrally placed on the first story and a small casement
window on the second story near where the vestibule and main wing intersect.
The interior of the vestibule is faced with large well-dressed sandstone
blocks, has a wooden ceiling with exposed beams from which a lantern is
suspended, and a slate floor. The northwest interior side contains a shallow
niche with lintel. The door, with outer screen, is of wrought iron and glass
and bears a stylized peacock framed by a leafy spiral vine pattern. Frame is
of metal which forms a cable pattern; sill is of bronze.
A long wrought iron bell handle is located on the left side of the
interior entranceway. The bay to the southeast of the projecting porch is
pierced by a ground story sandstone frame window with four lights and
transom while the second story contains a window with three lights. The
southeast wing of Morrocroft is set back from the front wall of the main
block, allowing room for a French window with transom on the first story, a
window with two lights on the second story and a small casement window on
the third story, all having sandstone mullions and surrounds. The bay
northwest of the entrance projects slightly from the main block and is
articulated by an oriel window situated between the first and second
stories. A frieze running above the window's twelve lights with diamond
shaded panes bears grapevines whose fruit is being enjoyed by birds and
animals. Below the glazing a larger four panel frieze contains harvest
scenes and the daily activities of the country folk. These panels are
enhanced by a molding of twisted cable and three rosettes. Below and to the
right of the oriel window is a decorative diamond shaped grille bearing a
squirrel surrounded by leafy vines and set into brick cut into a diaper
pattern. The northwest side of this projecting bay is pierced by a casement
window with two lights on the ground story.
The remaining bays in the main block consist of a bay pierced by a four
light casement window with transom on the ground story and a three light
window on the second story; a double light casement window is located on
both stories of the end bay. The one and one half story wing which is at a
right angle to the main block is marked by a narrow single casement window
and a double light casement window on the first story, each with wood
surrounds. A three light, wall face dormer window with wood surrounds and
soldier course is centrally located above the first story fenestration. A
high, wide garden wall extends from this wing; the brick is thin but is of a
slightly darker color than the brick used for the house. Two brick steps
lead to a centrally placed archway capped by a decorative brick keystone.
The wood door has four panels and a wrought iron unglazed fan light with
tracery. Low brick borders define the boxwood beds in front of the wall. A
single story office with a steeply sloping gable roof and an end wall
chimney projects from the intersection of the main block and the side wing.
Its entrance facade, which faces southeast, contains a three panel frame
door with upper glazed lights and a three light casement window with wood
surrounds. The one and one half story wing on the southeast side of the main
sections of the house is symmetrically articulated, it having three evenly
spaced French windows with stationary transoms, interior screens and
sandstone surrounds. Two double light, brick faced dormer windows with wood
surrounds and soldier course are situated above the first and third ground
Southeast (Terrace and Garden) Facade
Two glazed floor length windows with sandstone frames, overhead wall
lanterns, and exterior screen doors comprise the first story. The second
story is pierced by two single casement windows with sandstone surrounds. An
end-wall chimney with three brick stacks courses through the central section
of this facade.
Southwest (Rear) Facade, facing Sharon Rd.
This facade may be divided into three sections. The main block's (four
bays) and southeast wing's (three bays) bay and fenestration arrangement
correspond roughly to that of the front facade. A one and one half story
northwest wing contains two bays. The southeast wing of this facade contains
three French windows with fixed transom, sandstone frames and interior
screen doors. The attic floor is articulated by a double light dormer window
with wood surrounds on the first and third bays. These flank a tiny wood
frame casement window located directly under the eaves. The southeastern
most bay of the main block contains a first story four light casement window
with transom and a three light casement window with double transom on the
second floor. frames and mullions are sandstone. This bay projects from the
common wall line of the main block to include a first story French window
with transom and a second story double light casement window on its
northwest side. A French window with transom and narrow glazed side doors
with transoms and inner screen doors corresponds in placement to the
entrance bay on the front facade. The adjoining bay contains a first story
five light casement window with transom. A bracketed lantern extends from
the wall between these bays. Metal rollers placed at intervals between the
first and second story indicate an awning covered the terrace in this
section at one time.
The second story portion over these two bays is sheathed in shingle
siding and is pierced by a two light casement window, and a narrow casement
window situated near the projection of a bay on the northwest end of the
main block. The attic story of the shingle-sided section contains three
evenly spaced true dormer windows. Wood surrounds and mullions characterize
the fenestration of the second and attic stories. A six-sectioned ground
story bay window with transom comprises the final bay of the main block.
This bay projects slightly from the main block. Fenestration has sandstone
frame and mullions. The northwest one and one half story wing of Morrocroft
is set back from the main block. The right angle formed by the intersection
of these sections contains a side entrance porch formed by one free standing
and two engaged wooden piers with brick pier bases. Pegged wooden braces
extend from these piers to support a second story balcony with turned
balusters and three piers with perched, wood stylized vultures. The entrance
from this porch is located on the northwest end of the main block of the
house and consists of a wooden door with six panels and an exterior screen
door. A two light casement window is located on the second story, directly
over the entrance, while a smaller two light casement window defines the
third story. Both have sandstone mullions and surrounds. The wing northwest
of the main block of the house contains a pedimented door set into the roof
leading onto the second story balcony. The lower half of the door with
exterior screen door is frame, the upper portion being glazed. The remaining
bays in this wing are pierced by a three light casement window and a four
light casement window on the ground story and two pedimented dormer windows
with two and three lights respectively. Fenestration in these bays has wood
surrounds and mullions. The northwest end of this wing is one bay deep and
contains a first story double light casement window which has been boarded
over and a narrow casement window on the second story. A wide end wall
chimney with three clay pots also articulates this end.
Service Wing Complex
A rectangular walled service court forms the extreme northwest side of
the manor house and may be entered from the grounds both on the northeast
(driveway) side and through a small pedestrian arched entrance (with
exaggerated brick keystone) on its northwest side. The interior of the court
contains a central paved area. The southeast side (rear side of the front
brick garden wall) contains a shingle roof carport which is not original to
the house. The 1927 plan of the residence allocated this area to a drying
yard. Steps to a large full basement are located on the northeast end of the
service building. The building complex itself is composed of the rear facade
of the wing which extends at a right angle from the main block, a servants'
hall which projects from the joining of the two wings at their northwest
side, and an added laundry facility extension which completes the southwest
side of the court. The right angle one and one half story wing (southeast
side of the court) contains three bays. The first is pierced by a ground
story four light casement window and an attic three light dormer window,
both with wood surrounds and mullions. This bay was originally designated as
a laundry room as shown by the plan. A rectangular screened porch comprises
the area in front of the second and third bays, filling in the area formed
by the junction of the southeast and southwest sides of the court. A screen
door, facing northwest, leads into the porch. The house proper is entered by
a three panel, upper glazed door in the second bay of this wing. A double
light casement window comprises the third bay of this window. A small four
light casement attic window is located above this area. The southwest one
story facade of the court consists of two bays: an entrance door end a
double light casement window.
Wood frames are employed consistently. This section of the court
(southwest) was extended at a later date to include a nine bay laundry
facility which has a lower, shingle gable roof. The laundry section is built
of wood painted dark brown to match the trim of the main house and is half
timbered with wood insets (to simulate true half timber construction) on the
lower section. Seven of the bays are pierced by casement windows; two
contain entrances. The third and seventh bays contain a tri-paneled frame
door with upper glazed section and an exterior screen door. These entrances
are reached by two brick steps and side rails and have bracketed gabled
overdoors with simulated half timbered pediments. Windows have double lights
with the exception of the sixth bay which is articulated by a three light
casement window. Wood mullions are painted brown. The northwest, exterior
end wall of the court has been altered to contain a small casement window
with brick header to illuminate the laundry room. The southwest exterior
side of the court consists of the rear of the laundry and the servants'
hall. The rear of the laundry contains a louvered vent; a three light
casement window comprises the rear bay of this servants' hall.
Interior of the Manor House
The exterior of Morrocroft, as would befit a manor house, is stately and
imposing. Its interior, while fitted with dignified and rich detailing,
possesses a human-scale quality which survives the house a true domestic
character. Lindeberg purposefully sought to include the domestic element in
the design of his large country houses. In the introduction to Lindeberg's
and Albro's publication, Domestic Architecture, the large dwelling
and the cottage are compared: "Even the large house in the country should
not merely be a place for the reception of visitors; it should be a dwelling
for a family, and it should express the domestic feeling, as surely and
straightforwardly as the cottage."6 The first floor of the
residence contains an entrance hall, living room, sun-room, library,
stairhall, powder room, and dining room. The kitchen complete with pantry
and cold room, a servants' hall, laundry, and office are also located on
this floor. No staircases lead to a second story comprised of six bedrooms
with baths, a boudoir, linen room, and pressing room. There is an
extraordinary amount of closet and shelf space or this floor. A staircase
leads from the second floor hall to a third story located in the central
block of the house. It contains a bedroom with bath and two large cedar
lined storage rooms.
A large rectangular hall may be entered both from the front vestibule and
the rear terrace side of the house. The most singular feature of this room
is the front entrance wall, two thirds of which is paneled in Norwegian
pine; the upper portion is plaster as are the other walls and ceiling. The
door is trimmed with pine, has cable trim surround, and is framed by fluted
pilasters carrying an entablature with broken pediment. The frieze is
decorated by a central, fluted keystone flanked by carved swans; the
pediment is enriched with a shell pattern and leaf and tongue. A pine mantel
fireplace with rectangular opening and a carved over mantel with carved
volutes and a broken pediment is located in the northwest wall. The frieze
is comprised of cross-banded sheaths of wheat and a central swag. The dentil
work and triglyphs and metope decorate the cornice. The shouldered
architrave is framed with bead and reel borders, while the inner surround
and hearth are of black-green marble. The interior of the fireplace is
terracotta molded into the shape of shamrocks. The hall's plaster cornice
bears a floral decoration. The baseboard is pine. Wide oak pegged boards
comprise the floor.
A large, rectangular living room may be entered from two six panel doors
in the southeast wall of the hall. Door hardware consists of polished steel
box locks engraved with a floral motif, melon shaped knob (pull on opposite
side of door), and a long key and chain. A white marble mantel is centrally
located in the southeast wall of this room. Its rectangular opening is
framed by pilasters with garlands and acanthus decorated capitals. The
center tablet of the frieze is in fairly high relief and is decorated with
an allegorical depiction of Cupid bound. A nymph holding Cupid's bow and two
figures running toward them with garlands complete this panel. It is flanked
by foliated scrolls and small panels bearing love birds. The hearth is of
black slate, while the interior of the fireplace is comprised of thin bricks
set in a
herring bone pattern with thick bands of mortar. The room has a deep
cornice which includes a band of acanthus leaves and high relief daisy
heads, cable pattern with rosettes, and molding of leaf and tongue. The
paneled walls are wood painted to resemble plasterwork; baseboard has a
stylized foliated border. The oak floor is parquet. A French window with
stationary transom and sandstone surrounds in the living room's southeast
wall opens into a rectangular sun-room. The 1927 plan shows part of this
area was to be used as a flower room; in actuality the room was never
realized. The most distinctive feature of the sunroom is the large,
multi-tinted glass, leaded trench windows which instill the room with a
soft, muted light. A white and earthy red marble fireplace, in projecting
chimney breast is located in the center of the southeast wall. The frieze is
comprised of a central oval tablet of white marble trimmed in red marble
which bears the head of Bacchus flanked with horns of plenty. Enriched ovolo
(egg and dart), and stylized leafy borders and wheat ear drops also decorate
the frieze. The hearth is black slate; the interior of the fireplace is
incised black metal. The sunroom's cornice contains decorative brackets with
soffits bearings rosettes and a molding of enriched ovolo. The floor is of
wide pegged oak planks.
The hall with spiral staircase is entered from the northwest side of the
entrance hall. A slender, polished steel rail with delicate ornamented
balusters set into the sides of the wood steps leads to the second floor
hall. The stairwell is illuminated by a large, tinted-and-diamond panel
oriel window which is flanked by heating grilles bearing highly decorative
ironwork. The cornice in the first floor hall bears the cable motif. The
floor is pegged plank. The Norwegian pine paneled library leads from the
southwest wall of the stairhall. Walls are lined with cable trimmed
bookcases and lower storage areas (over door shelves as well). The southwest
wall contains a large window with transom, and sandstone mullions and frame.
Window screens, as found throughout the house, can be hidden in the frames.
A pine mantel, which is similar to the mantel in the entrance hall, is
located in the southeast wall. The mantel has a rectangular opening with a
black-green marble surround, shouldered architrave, carved foliated frieze
and cornice, and a simple overmantel panel. Hearth is of marble slab, while
the interior of the fireplace is constructed in the brick herring-bone
pattern. The library's cornice work consists of pronounced dentil work, and
enriched ovolo. Plank floor is pegged. The rectangular dining room with
southwest wall bay window is reached from the northwest wall of the
stairhall. Walls are paneled wood painted to simulate plasterwork, as found
in the living room. The wall finish consists of gold leaf enriched ovolo,
enriched cyma reversa, and foliated cornice, a gold leaf chair rail with a
leafy border bearing rosettes, and gold leaf panel trim with the cable
motif. The floor is parquet. Hardware on the six panel doors is similar to
the living room doors. A white marble mantel with rectangular opening and
ochre and tan marble surround framed by pilasters bearing a ribbon and
garland decoration is located in the northwest wall. The frieze bears a
center tablet in relief with a scene of putti letting a bird escape from a
box; this is flanked by swans, putti with birds, and a lower, fluted border.
The paneled overmantel with ovolo and floral cold leaf trims has a broken
pediment which terminates in volutes flanking a decorative shell; both are
painted in gold leaf. The kitchen complex spans a substantial area of the
first floor and includes a "large pantry and cold room." The kitchen and
pantry counter tops are red, while floors are fashioned in black and white
linoleum squares. Remodeling would appear to date from the 1960s.
A one room office may be entered from either hall or an exterior door;
the 1927 plan does not show the opening in the office's northwest wall,
although it appears original to the house. The door hardware consists of
metal plates in the shape of a frontier man with coonskin cap, musket and
powder horn, and a cabled handle. The paneled wall cabinets and simple wood
cornice and baseboard line the office. The floor is pegged plank. The
northeast wall contains a fireplace flanked by open shelves and under
cabinets. The simple wood mantel has a rectangular opening, dentil work
trim, a black slate hearth and trick herring, bone pattern interior.
The southeast section of this floor contains the master bedrooms and a
boudoir which locks offer the formal gardens. The boudoir was converted into
an "ideal dressing room" by the Morrisons' daughter, Mrs. James J. Harris.7
The only feature that the 1927 plan does not show is the large, double
folding door bath alcove located in the northwest wall. The tub and alcove
walls are sheathed in pink marble with gray veining. A small chandelier
hangs overhead. Smaller window alcoves in the southwest and northeast walls
contain respectively a pink, gray-veined marble sink with ornamental gold
sea creature fixtures and a mirrored dressing table held by stylized floral
brackets. Wall cabinets, shelves, and closets line the walls. A projecting
gray marble mantel with white veining and curved opening comprises the
center of the southeast wall. Pilasters are cable fluted with upper
cartouche, while the center of the frieze bears a decorative shell. The
hearth is gray and white marble with a white marble inset.
A hall from the boudoir leads into what was originally Mrs. Morrison's
bedroom. This room overlooks the spacious lawn on the southwest side of the
house. Its dominant feature is a white marble fireplace with rectangular
opening, bead and reel surround, and pilasters with terms on high pedestals.
The frieze contains a center relief panel with seated allegorical figures.
This tablet is flanked by fluting and end love birds. Other decorative
molding includes acanthus and beading. The hearth is black slate, and the
fireplace interior is black incised metal. What was originally Mrs.
Morrison's bedroom is located at the front of the house. Its floor has been
left uncarpeted and consists of small hardwood boards. This flooring is
probably standard to the second floor. The bathroom with parquet veneer
floor lies directly over the front vestibule. Its white marble sink with
metal and Lucite fixtures is employed in the remaining bathrooms on this
A hall which runs the length of the northwest half of Morrocroft links
the remaining four bedrooms, linen room and pressing room. Plaster cornice
work in the cart of the hall reached directly from the spiral staircase is
elaborate and consists of a border of various flowers such as the rose and
fleur de lis. This molding is sandwiched by the cable motif. Trim continues
on the ceiling which bears a foliated scroll pattern. Noteworthy features in
the remaining bedrooms include marble or wooden fireplaces The bedroom which
faces the spiral staircase landing has a southeast wall pine mantel with
rectangular opening and black slate surround. Pilasters are decorated with
wheat ear drops and upper acanthus consoles; the frieze bears a central
carved shell flanked by foliated scrolls and bead and reel. The cornice work
has the egg, and dart and stylized leaf motifs. The hearth is black slate,
while the fireplace interior is composed of tricks laid in the herring bone
pattern. The bedroom, located beside a staircase leading to the third floor,
contains a northwest mantel of white marble panel of the gray and green
marble panel inserts. She center, white marble panel of the frieze is
decorated with crossed flaming torches and twisted ribbon; the frieze ends
bears the same motif on a smaller scale. The hearth is black slate. The
fireplace interior is brick laid in the herring bone pattern.
The northwest wings of this story are reached by a two step down break in
the main hallway at the point where the third floor staircase rises; the
hall ceiling becomes lower. This section of the house may also be reached
from the ground floor by a single flight back staircase. The pine balustrade
on the second floor consists of turned balusters, simple handrail and turned
acorn posts. The west corner bedroom has a northwest wall mantel of
variegated gray, red, and white marble with rectangular opening, pilasters
with cabled fluting, and frieze adorned with interlocked circles. The same
type marble comprises the hearth. The northeast corner bedroom has a mantel
in the northeast wall, which consists of a similar multi-colored marble and
shape as the above mantel. Pilasters bear wheat ear drops, while the central
panel of the frieze contains a stylized flower. The hearth is white marble,
bordered by gray, red; white veined marble panels. Ceilings shapes and
heights in the manor house are varied. While the first floor has traditional
flat ceiling, the second floor master bedroom, boudoir, and the northeast
end bedroom have plaster barrel vault ceilings. A section of the second
floor hall is also barrel vaulted. Ceiling heights in the main rooms and
hall or the first floor are 10'9''; kitchen and office ceilings are 9' and
8'7" respectively. Second floor ceiling heights are: boudoir, 9'2"; master
bedroom, 12'6"; central southeast side bedroom, 9'2"; remaining three
bedrooms and linen room, all 9', and pressing room, 8'11". Bathroom ceiling
heights are 8'11", while the halls range from 9'8" to 8'6" to 7'10".
Admittance to the third floor could not be obtained from the owners for
A one and one half story brick garage with steep gable located on the
grounds to the north of the house. A central, one story bay with gable roof
projects at a right angle from the southeast side of the main block. The
brick, terracotta shingles and gutters are similar to the manor house: the
structure appears to have been built at the same time as the house. The land
rises to the southeast.
The garage door side of the building (northwest) contains three bays. The
wide middle bay on the ground story is comprised of a set of hinged doors
flanked by two side doors; the smaller end bays also contain hinged doors.
Each section of the doors has three wood panels painted brown with an upper
glazed portion. Three evenly spaced double light dormer windows and a small
dormer window located between the second and third bays characterize the
attic story. Window frames and mullions are wood painted brown.
The northeast facade is marked by an exterior single flight brick
staircase with brick side. A three panel, upper glazed door is located in an
opening in the side of the stairs on ground level. The remaining bay on this
story has a double light casement window. A small flight of stairs with
metal rail leads to a basement door. The attic story contains a
centrally-located door flanked on each side by a casement window. The main
block roof on the rear (southeast) facade slopes and flares to a point 4'9"
from the ground level. A single stack chimney with corbel cap is located in
the main block to the right of the projecting bay. The right end bay of the
main block (under the chimney) is pierced by a round level double light
casement basement window. The left end bay of this block contains a small
ground level casement window placed near the junction of the main block and
projecting bay. The central, projecting bay contains a low set, six light
casement window with wood mullions and surround. The southwest, one and one
half story facade has two bays. The left bay is pierced by a four light
casement window on the ground floor and an attic double light casement
window. A double light casement window is situated near ground level in the
The red brick raised floor of a summerhouse is located on the northwest
side of the manor house. Small metal post holes are found at intervals alone
the edge of the cruciform shared floor. According to the caretaker the
structure had a terracotta roof supported by wooden posts and was screened.
Large awnings could be rolled down for shelter from the sun or inclement
A single bay, square sided brick garden house with composition shingle,
hip roof stands on the grounds due south of the main house. The brick,
although similar to that of the manor house, is not identical and is laid in
running (stretcher) bond. The brickwork, symmetrical design and detailing
indicate the structure is not original to the property. The entrance facade
(north) contains a centrally-placed archway with four panel wood door. The
east facade contains an arched window which has been boarded over. A three
light window with stationary center light and side casements pierces the
south wall, while the west wall is blank. The red brick interior has a
ceiling with exposed beams which radiate to a circular boss.
1 Harrie T. Lindeberg, Domestic Architecture of H. T.
Lindeberg, with an Introduction by Royal Cortissoz, New York: William
Helburn, Inc., 1940. See the list of clients, pp. 305-310, Morrocroft is
illustrated on page 71.
2 Barbara McAden, "Family's English Manor Gains Lighter Look",
The Charlotte Observer, September 29, 1963, Section D, p. 1.
3 L, C. Albro and H. B. Lindeberg, Domestic Architecture,
Cambridge, MA: University Press, for private distribution by the authors,
1912, Introduction, Albro and Lindeberg were partners from 1906 to 1914. See
the acknowledgement in Lindeberg Domestic Architecture.
4 Lindeberg, p. 70.
6 Albro and Lindeberg, Introduction.
7 McAden, p.1.