Dr. J. J. Rone
This report was written on September 6, 1983
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
Dr. J. J. Rone House is located on Route 1, Marvin Road, in Pineville, North
2. Name, address and telephone number of the present owner and
occupant of the property: The present owners and occupants of the
Mr. and Mrs. Sam Rone Ardrey
Route 1 P.O. Box 503 B
Pineville, N.C. 28134
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 3144 at page
226. The Tax Parcel Number of the property is-229-031-09.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains
a brief historic sketch of the property prepared by Dr. William H. Huffman.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains an architectural description of the property prepared 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 Dr. J. J. Rone House does possess special significance in
terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on the
following considerations: 1) the Dr. J. J. Rone House, constructed in 1886
in the nearby community of Marvin, North Carolina, is an especially
elegant local example of late 19th Century vernacular architecture; 2) the
initial owner, Dr. J. J. Rone, was a leading physician in Marvin and the
surrounding countryside, including the present location of the house, at
the time of the construction of the Dr. J. J. Rone House; and 3) the
current owners, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Rone Ardrey, have faithfully restored the
house and have thereby made a substantial contribution to the cultural
richness of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling
and/or association: The Commission contends that the attached
architectural description by Mr. Thomas W. Hanchett demonstrates that the
Dr. J. J. Rone 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." Current appraised value of the .884 acres of land is
$9,000. The current appraised value of the building is $29,320. The total
current appraised value is $38,320. The property is zoned R15.
Date of Preparation of this Report: September 6, 1983
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
218 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
Dr. William H. Huffman
The charming country home of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Ardrey, presently located
about seven miles south of Pineville in the county, was originally built by
Dr. J. J. Rone, a country physician of rural Union County, N.C.
James John Rone was born in 1855, 1 the son of Loyd K. Rone
(1817-1886) and Elizabeth Clementine Howie Rone (1829-1862). L. K. Rone was
a farmer and owner of real estate in the area of the village of Marvin,
which is located in the extreme western corner of Union County about two
miles southeast of the Mecklenburg County line. 2 After receiving
his undergraduate degree from Erskine College, Dr. Rone studied medicine at
the Medical College of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, from
which he graduated in 1884. Following his graduation and residency studies,
he returned to Marvin to practice medicine in that rural community. 3
By one account, he started practice on November 12, 1889. In the late
1870's, Dr. Rone had married Mary Levinia McIlwain, who was the daughter of
another long-time local family, Dr. and Mrs. W. A. McIlwain. The two met and
fell in love while both were attending Erskine College.
About 1886, Dr. Rone built his grand country house next to the Banks
Presbyterian Church in Marvin on the New Town Road. It was an imposing
structure in the village of Marvin, and became a center of social activity
for the community as well. Mrs. Rone kept abreast of the latest fashion in
clothes, and the household had the reputation of providing the best in
Southern hospitality to its guests, which sometimes included local children
who would feign illness in order to be kept at the house for observation and
treatment just to take advantage of the fine care. The Rones also partly
raised their own two daughters there, Blanche (later Mrs. James Potts Ardrey
of Pineville, 1878-1956), and Anabel (1879-1898), who suffered an untimely
death at the age of nineteen. 4
About 1891, Dr. Rone and his family moved to Pineville, where he built a
house (which burned and was rebuilt) and had some 17 acres of land. 5
He practiced medicine in that community until 1896, when, following a
written request from an ill classmate to take over his practice, Dr. Rone
and his family moved to the town of Doe Run, in St. Francois County,
Missouri (about 50 miles south of St. Louis). He practiced medicine for a
time in nearby Desloge, Mo. The two daughters graduated from Carleton
College in adjacent Farmington; Blanche was a graduate in music, and taught
that subject and piano for a number of years. Tragedy struck the family when
Annabel died in 1898, while only 19, and Dr. Rone himself died the following
year. After laying her husband to rest in a Masonic cemetery in St. Francois
County, Mrs. Rone, accompanied by Blanche, returned to the homestead in
Pineville, where she lived the rest of her days. 6
In Marvin, Dr. Rone's practice was taken over by Dr. William Herbert
Crowell (1866-1933), who was a native of Steele Creek in Mecklenburg County.
7 The country home of Dr. Rone, however, had been sold to two
sisters and a brother, Sallie A. Ross, Maggie A. Ross, and Dennis C. Ross,
who managed their extensive farm holdings in the area, and lived in the
house until their respective deaths after the turn of the century. 8
In their nearly identical wills probated on the same day in May, 1920, the
Ross sisters left the Rone house to the Banks Presbyterian Church next door.
The Banks Church used the house for a variety of purposes over the years,
but in 1964, the trustees decided to build a new structure on the site, and
thus the house was in danger of being torn down. Dr. Rone's fine country
manse was rescued by Sam and Jennie Ardrey, the present owners, who
purchased the. house from the church in 1964. In September of that year,
they moved it to its present location in a pastoral setting in the southern
part of the county, at the end of a long, winding drive leading from the
Marvin Road. After extensive renovation efforts and the installation of
furnishings which recapture a feeling of its nineteenth-century origins, the
Ardreys moved in during June, 1965, and thereby the J. J. Rone house once
again recaptured its place as a rural manor, the home of a country gentleman
and his family. 10
1 Union County Men of Medicine (Charlotte: Union County
Medical Society Auxiliary, Monroe, N.C., 1968), p. 42.
2 Monuments in Marvin United Methodist Church cemetery;
interview with Lavinia Kell and Janie Moss Ardrey, 30 September, 1981.
3 Union County Men of Medicine, p. 42.
4 Interview with Lavinia Kell and Janie Moss Ardrey, cited
above; Dr. Rone inherited the property from his father's intestate estate:
Union County Deed Book 20, p. 701.
5 Ibid.; Mecklenburg County Deed Book 77, p. 330, 9 March
6 Interview with Lavinia Kell and Janie Moss Ardrey, cited
7 Union County Men of Medicine, p. 44.
8 Union County Deed Book 20, p. 701, 6 February 1888; Deed
Book 23, p. 443, August 1892.
9 Union County Will Book 4, pp. 252 and 256, probated 26 May
10 Interview with Janie Moss Ardrey, 27 September 1981.
Thomas W. Hanchett
The Dr. J. J. Rone House is a good example of what folklorists call an"I"
house; the most common nineteenth-century house type in the Carolinas. Built
in 1886 by the grandfather of the current owner, the two-story
frame structure shows some Victorian influences in its elaborate front
porch, but generally reflects the persistence of the simple forms and
decoration popular before the Civil War. The house originally dominated the
tiny crossroads community of Marvin until it was moved to this completely
rural site in 1964 to escape demolition.
The "I" house is a long, narrow dwelling that looks like a sans serif "I"
when viewed from above. Most have a central stair hall flanked by a room on
each side on each floor, for a total of four rooms. The symmetrical form
came to favor along with the classically inspired Federal style sometime
after the Revolutionary War, and persisted in rural Southern areas into the
The Rone house is composed of a two-story main wing, an "I" house in
form, with a
hip roof and a pair of exterior end chimneys. A one story wing is hidden
at the rear, which has a hip roof and originally had a central chimney
between its two rooms. The roofs with their asphalt shingles, and the
chimneys, stepped at the eave line, both date from the 1964 move. Eaves are
boxed and walls are sheathed in clapboard with simple cornerboards, except
for a section of more elaborate "German" siding in the front porch area. The
central front door is flanked by narrow sidelights, as is the door to the
porch above it. This tripartite entryway form is characteristic of
Windows throughout the house are
six-over-six pane double-hung sash, also a pre-Civil War practice.
The conservative simplicity of exterior form and decoration is broken
sharply by the~elaborate front porch. Four square-tapered, two story wooden
columns support a broad roof that extends across almost the entire front of
the dwelling. Under the roof is a two-story freestanding front porch with
turned columns, turned balusters, a turned spindle-frieze, and scroll-sawn
brackets. This porch is structurally completely separate from the
square-tapered columns that support the roof that shelters it. This complex
form, and the ornate machine-produced woodwork, reflect big-city Victorian
ideals, the "modern architecture" of the period. They show that Dr. Rone,
though enough of a country doctor to build a residence whose overall form
echoed those of his neighbors, nevertheless had an awareness of new trends
outside his rural community and was willing to try them.
The interior of Dr. Rone's house is more traditional than his porch. The
stairs in the narrow central hall have simple square balusters. There are
two rooms on the first floor, plus the two rooms in the rear floor. Doors
close off each space. Sliding doors that were beginning period. Window and
door surrounds are wide and plain, without Victorian corner blocks or
elaborate molding. The two downstairs mantels are built up of flat boards
with only the slightest hint of enrichment. Many doors retain their cast
iron panel locks with porcelain knobs.
The clean simplicity of decoration is not a fault, but an indication of
prevailing tastes. This is shown clearly in the horizontal matchboarding of
the walls in the stair hall and main parlor. Pine boards were carefully
planed to provide smooth wall and ceiling surfaces. Unusual triangular
molding strips were nailed into the corners to make a smooth transition from
wall to wall and wall to ceiling. This matchboarding and the elaborate front
porch are the two outstanding architectural features of the J. J. Rone
Over the years minor changes have been made to the house. Upstairs the
mantels and fireplaces are no longer in evidence, and a small bathroom has
been added in the stair hall. Downstairs a one-story bathroom addition runs
behind the main wing, and an enclosed porch runs along the rear wing. The
rear wing has received new windows and kitchen equipment, the central
chimney has been removed, and the door from the wing into the front parlor
has been widened into an archway. The front facade of the house and its
major spaces are unaffected by these alterations.
The owners of the Rone house, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Ardrey, now enjoy a view
of rolling Piedmont farmland from their front porch. Behind the house are a
number of period outbuildings, including a log dwelling from near
Burlington, North Carolina, and a well house and session house from the more