Click here to view photo gallery of
the Park Manufacturing Company.
This report was written on December 3, 1980.
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
Park Manufacturing Company is located at 311 Arlington Ave. in Charlotte,
2. Name, address and telephone number of the present owner and
occupant of the property:
The present owner and occupant of the property is:
The Park Manufacturing Company
311 Arlington Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28203
Telephone: (704) 333-9805
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: The most recent
deed to this property is listed in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 129 at page
21. The current Tax Parcel Number of the property is 123-036-01.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property:
Dilworth, Charlotte's initial streetcar suburb, opened on May 20, 1891,
when the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company, locally known as the
Four C's, began selling lots there.1 Originally intended to be a
resort and a residential enclave for the prominent and affluent citizens of
this community, Dilworth acquired an industrial district of considerable
local importance by the mid-1890's.2 Indeed, in October 1895, the
Charlotte Observer called Dilworth the "Manchester of Charlotte."3
Among the manufacturing plants which arose beside the tracks of the
Charlotte, Columbia & Augusta Railroad at the western edge of the suburb was
the factory of the Park Manufacturing Company. Construction began on August
4, 1895.4 The enterprise was not officially incorporated until
March 1898, however.5 Four individuals were primarily responsible
for overseeing the early activities of the Park Manufacturing Company, which
was named for the park-like setting in which its factory was situated.6
They were John R. Pharr (1852-1924), W. E. Moffatt (18551929), W. E. McElroy
(1366-1925) and William Anderson (1854-1938).7
Moffatt had invented a variable-stroke boiler-feed pump and an
accompanying water heater. They constituted the principal products of the
firm in the beginning.8 A native of Chester County, SC, Moffatt
was a deft and imaginative machinist, having learned the trade in the
machine shop of his grandfather, John Simpson.9 Pharr, the
president of the company, had come to Charlotte in 1879 to work for Edward
Dilworth Latta, who operated a retail clothing store and who would later
establish the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company, the developer of
Dilworth. In the opinion of the Charlotte Observer, Pharr was "one of
the most prominent men in Charlotte." A bachelor and the son of Walter W.
Pharr, a Presbyterian minister, John R. Pharr was extremely active in
community affairs. He was an elder at Second Presbyterian Church, and he
served as the treasurer of the General Assembly of the Southern Presbyterian
Church. At the time of his death in August 1924, he was president of the
Mutual Building and Loan Association.10 The Charlotte News
characterized Pharr as "a man of charitable impulses and genial nature.11
W. E. McElroy, a native of Mecklenburg County who died on March 14, 1925,
was the secretary-treasurer of the Park Manufacturing Company.12
William Anderson, the last of the original incorporators of the firm, was a
Scotsman who had migrated to the United States in the early 1870's. He also
made a significant impact upon the development of Charlotte and Mecklenburg
County. In addition to his association with the Park Manufacturing Company,
Anderson served as the superintendent of schools for Mecklenburg County and
as the registrar of Queens College. He was also a member of the Board of
Directors of the American Trust Company.13
On January 11, 1902, the Charlotte Observer reported that the Park
Manufacturing Company was erecting a three-story addition to its factory in
Dilworth. 14 One can reasonably assume that this expansion was a
result of the company's entry into the field of manufacturing elevators,
which has been its major endeavor since the turn of the century. 15
Another event of considerable consequence for the firm occurred in 1905,
when W. E. Moffatt withdrew from the Park Manufacturing Company and
established the Moffatt Machinery Manufacturing Company, which he headed
until his death in January 1929.16 J. C. Crowell (1873-1966), a
native of Monroe, N.C., began to oversee the operations of the Park
Manufacturing Company at about the time of Moffatt's departure, and he
became president of the firm in 1908. Crowell essentially ran the company
from 1905 until he was forced to retire in 1960 for health reasons.
Thereafter, J. Aubrey Chrisman (1903- ), who had joined the corporation in
1932, assumed the responsibility of administering operations. He continues
in that capacity. 17
The factory which the Park Manufacturing Company erected in Dilworth in
1895 and expanded in 1902 is remarkably well preserved. Indeed, it is the
finest example of a late nineteenth-century vernacular brick industrial
plant that survives in Charlotte, NC. Also worth noting is the fact that the
plant continues to produce elevators. The Park Manufacturing Company has
shipped elevators throughout the Southeastern United States from its factory
in Dilworth, and it continues to do so. Dilworth does retain four other
early industrial plants: the Charlotte Trouser Factory, the Atherton Cotton
Mill, the D. A. Tompkins Co. Dilworth Machine Shop and the D. A. Tompkins
Co. Dilworth Foundry. However, none of these serves its original purpose,
and all have experienced substantial modification. On balance, therefore,
the factory of the Park Manufacturing Company is a unique element in the
built environment of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
1 Charlotte News (May 20, 1891), p. 1.
2 The Atherton Cotton Mill opened in April 1893. The Charlotte
Trouser Co. began operations in Dilworth on March 21, 1894. The pace of
industrialization quickened in 1895, when six factories, including the plant
of the Park Manufacturing Co., opened in Dilworth.
3 Charlotte Observer (October 23, 1895), p. 4.
4 Charlotte Observer (August 4, 1895), p. 6.
5 Mecklenburg County Record of Corporations Book 1, p. 62.
6 Charlotte Observer (August 7, 1924) , p. 13.
Charlotte Observer (August 8, 1924) , p. 8 and p. 9. Charlotte News
(August 7, 1924), pp. 1 and 9. Charlotte News (March 16, 1925), p. 2.
Charlotte News (January 29, 1929), p. 19. Charlotte Observer
(January 29, 1929), Sec. 2, p. 1. Charlotte News (June 6, 1938), p.
9. Charlotte Observer (June 7, 1938), Sec. 2, p. 1.
7 Mecklenburg County Record of Corporations Book 1, p. 62.
8 For an illustration of the Moffatt Pump, see the
advertisement of the Park Manufacturing Co. in Charlotte Observer
(May 20, 1896), p. 9.
9 Charlotte Observer (January 29, 1929), Sec. 2, p. 1.
10 Charlotte Observer (August 7, 1924), p. 13.
Charlotte Observer (August 8, 1924), p. 8 and p. 9.
11 Charlotte News (August 7, 1924), pp. 1 and 9.
12 Charlotte News (March 16, 1925), p. 2.
13 Charlotte Observer (June 7, 1938), Sec. 2, p. 1. For
a photograph of William Anderson, see Charlotte News (June 6, 1938),
14 Charlotte Observer (January 11, 1902), p. 5.
15 Interview of Mr. J. Aubrey Chrisman by Dr. Dan L. Morrill
(November 19, 1980). Hereafter cited as Interview.
16 Interview. Mecklenburg County Record of Corporations Book
1, p. 486.
17 Interview. Mecklenburg County Record of Corporations Book
10, p. 641. Charlotte Observer (February 28, 1966), p. 4C.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains an architectural description of the property prepared by Mary Alice
Dixon Hinson, 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 Commission judges that the property
known as the Park Manufacturing Company in Charlotte, NC, does possess
special historic significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The
Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations. The
building is the finest local example of a late nineteenth century
vernacular brick industrial plant. The building has served the same firm
since it was erected in 1895 and expanded in 1902. The building is the
best preserved remnant of the old industrial district in Dilworth,
Charlotte's initial 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
Park Manufacturing Company 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
appraisal on the Park Manufacturing Company is $25,570. The current Ad
Valorem appraisal on the .908 acres of land is $31,640. The most recent Ad
Valorem tax bill for the structure and land was $998.31. The property is
Interview of J. Aubrey Chrisman by Dr. Dan L. Morrill (November 19,
Mecklenburg County Records of Corporations.
Records of the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office.
Records of the Mecklenburg County Tax Office.
Vital Statistics of Mecklenburg County. Date of Preparation of this
Report: December 3, 1980.
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
3500 Shamrock Dr.
Charlotte, N.C. 28215
Telephone: (704) 332-2726