ARCHITECTURE: Design Through Time Part 2
by Dr. Thomas W. Hanchett
V. The Post WWI Revivals:
The 1920s and 1930s saw a solidification of the revivalist trend begun in
the 1900s. This was part of increasingly conservative tastes in architecture
on the national level. It also seems to have reflected a shift in
Charlotte's power structure. The generation of New South leaders, including
D. A. Tompkins, Edward Dilworth Latta, and George Stephens, who had taken
enormous risks to turn the Piedmont into a major industrial region, were
passing their power on to a new generation. The new leaders seemed much less
adventuresome, willing to follow in the directions set by their
predecessors. Their homes and offices reflected this increased interest in
tradition over innovation, in social correctness rather than risk-taking.
Builders serving the middle class continued to erect occasional Bungalow
and Rectilinear hones, but the wealthy and others with a desire to be
up-to-date no longer had any interest in this "styleless" architecture. To
be "Fine Architecture" a building now had to be clothed in an identifiable
historic style, to seem old and romantic and -- the watchword -- quaint. The
more literal the imitation of the past, the better the building was
regarded. Columbia University professor H. Vandervoort Walsh summed up the
national trend somewhat harshly in a 1928 magazine article:
Everywhere today you will see the products of architects who fake their
materials in order to simulate the charm of craftsmanship. Houses two
years old look like two hundred years. . .. The public likes their scenic
effect. There is a sort of refuge in it, as dreams are a refuge from
reality. . .. This trend in architecture has so completely captured our
domestic work, that. . .such homes. . . have become little theatres.
Charlotte's first choice among the residential revivals continued to be
what was loosely referred to as the Colonial. Designers took as their models
the Virginia tidewater and Carolina-Georgia low-country estates built both
before and immediately after the Revolution, and ironically seldom looked to
the Piedmont's early houses. The restoration of Colonial Williamsburg by the
Rockefeller family began in the decade and caught the public imagination in
numerous magazine features. Another important spur to the style's continued
popularity was the new American Wing of New York City's Metropolitan Museum
of Art, which displayed recreated "period rooms" from early mansions all
over the east coast. Increasingly Charlotte matrons boasted about their
antique marble mantels from England, their authentic paneling from
Charleston, and their craftsmen from Williamsburg. 21
The favorite Charlotte house type became the two-story, symmetrical, red
brick Georgian Colonial borrowed from Virginia. Perhaps the finest 1920s
example of this revival style in elite Myers Park is Pinehaven, the
Snyder house on Queens Road near the intersection of Selwyn. The mansion is
now popularly known as Carol Hall from its many years as a Queens College
dormitory, but it was built in 1920 as the residence of J. L. Snyder,
Charlotte's Coca Cola distributor. Architect Martin Boyer, who emerged in
the period as the city's leading revivalist designer, used a relatively
simple Colonial three-part arrangement for the basic outline of the house; a
symmetrical, gable-roofed, five-bay main block flanked by a pair of small
side wings. He then enriched this straightforward exterior with a wealth of
detail, from the modillion cornice, to the fan-lighted entrance, to the
terrace with its carved limestone balustrade.
In addition, Boyer used theatrical tricks to make the mansion appear even
larger than it is. Roof slates get smaller toward the top of the roof to
heighten the illusion of perspective. The small-paned windows decrease in
size with each floor, contributing to the effect. In all, the detail is much
more elaborate than a Colonial builder would have been able to afford, but
it is carefully kept subordinate to the simple Colonial outline, an
indication of Boyer's architectural skill and sophistication.
Charlotteans commissioned hundreds of Colonial houses by local designers.
They also began to seek out nationally known architects for their residences
for the first time. In part this was because such men often had experience
with the old styles at their sources. More importantly, it was a way for the
city's leaders to demonstrate their sophistication, and to show that once
tiny backcountry Charlotte had really joined the league of major cities.
Charles Barton Keen of Philadelphia and Aymar Embury II of New York City
were two such architects. They were leaders in the design of "country
houses," as the wealthy romantically called their suburban mansions in the
1920s, and their names appeared regularly in the large-circulation home and
garden magazines of the day. Both also carefully cultivated ties to the
small group of interlocking families that dominated cultural life in North
Carolina's major cities.
In 1930 the city's oldest golf club, the Charlotte Country Club in
the present-day Plaza-Midwood neighborhood, decided to build a new clubhouse
that would outshine the competing upstart Myers Park Country Club. It turned
naturally to Embury, already known in the state for his sumptuous buildings
at the wealthy Pinehurst resort. 22 Embury's Charlotte design was
a free adaptation of Colonial, Grecian and English motifs, featuring an
imposing colonnade of eight two-story fluted columns across the front
facade. Inside, a collection of period rooms were sheathed in antique carved
pine paneling. At the same time, wealthy club member William States Lee,
Jr., commissioned the architect to build a grand residence nearby, which
still stands at the corner of Eastway Drive and Kilborne Lane.
Charlotte Country Club
Charles Barton Keen contributed three Charlotte mansions. He was the
favorite of North Carolina's new industrial high society beginning in the
l910s. Dozens of Keen houses are to be found in Winston-Salem, including his
1917 Reynolda House for the R. J. Reynolds tobacco family, and a
smaller number are located in elite neighborhoods elsewhere in the state.
His first Charlotte design was a farmhouse renovation for textile
attorney Robert Lassiter and his wife Daisy, who was not coincidentally
daughter of Winston-Salem's Hanes textile family. Their white frame
residence, with delicate new Colonial trim and interiors by Keen, dominated
a full-block site at the Myers Park gates until the dwelling's demolition in
the 1970s. Keen's second Colonial commission featured the red brick, white
trim, and gable roof typical of the Georgian Colonial. Built around 1930 for
Charlotte store-fixture manufacturer H. M. Wade, it featured sumptuous
interiors, including an oval grand hall, with fine woodwork and cabinetry by
craftsmen from Wade's furniture factory. The most notable exterior feature
of the Wade House is Keen's use of tall, extremely thin columns in the inset
two story front porch. Keen, like Embury and other prominent revivalist
architects of the day, was not afraid to use traditional forms as a
springboard to creating fresh new designs.
Keen's 1927 house for realtor Charles Lambeth is an even better example
of this inventiveness. The residence at the corner of Hermitage and Ardsley
Roads is today a neighborhood landmark, architecturally unique yet closely
fitted to surrounding dwellings. Keen accomplished this through the use of
time-honored Georgian massing with a two-story, stepped-gable center block
flanked by two small wings like most 1920s houses in the neighborhood. The
green tile roof and the whitewashed stucco walls recall Mediterranean
precedents, however, and the wall dormers that dominate the front facade,
complete with curving parapets, seem derived from Dutch models.
In other large cities, this type of inventiveness was often pervasive in
upper-class neighborhoods. In nearby Winston-Salem, for instance, Keen's
stout Doric columns, green tile roofs, and whitewashed walls seen in
Reynolda were widely adopted as a local style for wealthy and upper
middle-class homeowners in the period. Charlotte leaders, by contrast,
commissioned few such revivalist experiments, instead preferring to stay
within established styles.
If Charlotte had a characteristic style in the 1920s and 1930s it was the
so-called Tudor Revival. To a greater extent than any other city in the
Carolinas, Charlotteans seized on the farmhouses and baronial estates of
medieval and early renaissance England and France as models for their new
In 1919 House Beautiful magazine had predicted that World War I
would have a great effect on the architecture of the following decade. The
two million young men and women stationed in western Europe would return
"awakened to the possibilities and beauties of the simple homes. . ., the
French and English cottages of the sixteenth century." 24 The
prediction proved true in a wave of new house designs featuring hand-crafted
stucco and timber finishes, picturesquely complex massing, narrow windows
with small panes, no porches, and low roofs without eaves.
Charlotte showed an affinity for English architecture even before
American entry into the war. Possibly at the urging of planner John Nolen, a
disciple of England's Garden City movement, two Tudor Revival homes were
completed in the 1910s in areas that Nolen had planned. The first was the
E. C. Marshall mansion, designed for a top utility executive at 500
Hermitage Road in the heart of Nolen's Myers Park neighborhood. Its steep
gables and "half-timbered" walls by the local firm of L. L. Hunter and
Franklin Gordon foreshadowed a number of Myers Park commissions by Gordon in
the next decade, including one for Nolen's assistant Earle Draper. A smaller
Tudor dwelling was also completed in 1917, perhaps by the same firm, at 1922
Park Avenue, facing Nolen's Independence Park.
After the war's end in 1919, the Tudor Revival style zoomed to great
popularity in Charlotte, though never surpassing the less-complicated
Colonial Revival. No less a personage than the city's leading citizen in the
decade, North Carolina Governor Cameron Morrison (served 1921-25), chose the
Tudor for his residence in 1927.
Morrocroft, designed by New York architect Harrie T. Lindeberg, was
the seat of an immense 3000 acre model farm, a country house in function as
well as name. The ground-hugging asymmetrical design, with its "picturesque
massing, rhythmic spacing of mullioned, multi-paned grouped windows, and
numerous multi-stack chimneys rising from steeply pitched gable roofs," is a
model of the style. 25
Local architects also reveled in the Tudor. Franklin Gordon's baronial
1923 mansion for Earle Sumner Draper at 1621 Queens Road is a full-blown
English manor house, from its rambling servants wing to the inclusion of a
family crest carved in stone on the prominent front chimney. Martin Boyer's
great stone Tudor design for H. C. Jones at 201 Cherokee Road, 1929, is one
Eastover neighborhood's best known landmarks. William Peeps' 1928
Mary Lethco house at 2038 Roswell Avenue near the Myers Park Country Club
shows special inventiveness in its combination of brick, stone, stucco and
wood exterior finishes, not surprising since Peeps was a native of England.
Other noteworthy mansions in the style include the George Wilson house, 1400
Queens Road at the corner of Hopedale, and the Fred Bradshaw residence at
2200 Selwyn Avenue.
The Tudor was even better adapted to small cottages, and a number of
well-to-do Charlotteans hired architects to create compact dwellings in the
style. A good example is the Dr. D. Heath Nestit house at 522 Hermitage
Court. With the exception of an alteration to the front porch, the house was
built all at once in 1921. It was designed, however, to look like a European
farm cottage slowly built up and added to over generations. Roofs are of
mismatched slate laid with deliberate unevenness to provide a feeling of
antiquity. Wings and bay windows jut out at seemingly random angles to
achieve the look of a tiny old house with many additions. Windows are
small-paned, walls are stuccoed, and eaves are small in the European cottage
tradition. The design flowed from the pen of Charlotte's master revivalist,
Martin Boyer, and was considered such a good example of the mode that it was
published nationally in Architecture magazine. 26
Probably the city's best small Tudor house, and certainly its most
visually prominent, is another Boyer design at 2001 Sherwood Road. Located
on a slight rise at the intersection of Kings Drive, Queens Road West,
Sherwood, and East Boulevard, it has marked the Myers Park neighborhood's
East Boulevard entrance since it was opened in the twenties. The dwelling's
roofs were constructed with a built-in bow and covered with brown shingles
to give the appearance of thatch sagging with age.
Architects went to great lengths to achieve an antique, hand-crafted look
in their Tudor houses. National magazines recommended rounding roof edges to
give the bulky appearance of thatch, and the designer of one 1920s cottage
in Charlotte, at 724 Edgehill Road, followed the suggestion. A similar sort
of calculated rusticity may be seen in cotton broker Ira Stone's Tudor
cottage at 1165 Linganore Road in Dilworth. Its builder made the exterior a
crazy-quilt of brick patterns, skillfully laid to appear accidental.
As the city's wealthy leaders put their stamp of approval on the Colonial
Revival and Tudor Revival, Charlotte's middle class began to follow suit.
The Colonial emerged as the overwhelming choice for middle-class housing.
The simple two story Georgian box could be erected much more cheaply and
quickly than the many-winged Tudor, a vital consideration for the
speculative builders who provided the housing for all but the wealthiest
Charlotteans. Seemingly endless rows of variations on the theme line 1920s
and 1930s sidestreets in Myers Park, Dilworth, Eastover and other upper
middle-class areas, punctuated by an occasional Tudor.
The sort of compact dwelling that had been dressed in chunky Bungalow
style trim in the l910s in Charlotte now often appeared in Colonial
clothing. Facades became symmetrical with a central front door and
small-paned Colonial windows. Eaves shrank and porches became small stoops
or were omitted entirely. A good example of the transition from Bungalow to
Colonial may be seen at 2146 Norton Avenue in Myers Park. At the end of the
transition was the Cape Cod Colonial, based on Massachusetts models. 27
It was a one-and-one-half story dwelling whose steep-pitched gable roof had
high clapboard dormers, allowing second floor bedrooms to be nestled under
the roof. Instances of this nationally popular type may be seen at 1727
Dilworth Road East and 1423 Lexington Avenue in the Dilworth neighborhood,
and 2045 Beverly Drive and 1700 Hertford Drive in Myers Park.
A Tudor-influenced treatment of the small middle-class house also
appeared in national magazines in the period, and subsequently showed up on
Charlotte residential streets. The design might be called a "T-gable
bungalow," because of its distinctive roof arrangement. A square or
rectangular one-story house was given a "T" shaped gable roof, with the top
of the "T" at the front of the house. From the street the steep-pitched
front roof gave the dwelling the appearance of being a tiny, quaint cottage,
until one moved around to the side and realized that the rear roof covered a
fair-sized house. Good groups of "T"-gable bungalows may be seen at
1011-1105 Lexington Avenue in Dilworth, or 2037-2049 Greenway Avenue in the
Numerous other revival styles were popular across the United States in
the 1920s and 1930s, but conservative Charlotte seldom experimented with
them. Mrs. Blanche Reynolds Gormajenko, a world traveler and independent
spirit who married a Russian emigre during a tour of Europe, built the
city's only Tuscan Villa. Designed by New York architect William Lawrence
Bottomley, the Providence Road residence resembled a Mediterranean movie set
with its walled courtyard, picturesque massing, and drooping roof of antique
Cuban tiles. A handful of Spanish or Mediterranean Revival residences were
built in Charlotte in the decade. They stood out with their clay tile roofs,
cream-colored walls usually stuccoed, and arched stuccoed window openings or
rectangular openings with heavy hand-hewn wood sills and lintels. A good
example of the style is 2546 Sherwood Road in Myers Park. 28
These houses were rare, however, lone exceptions to the Colonial-Tudor rule.
During the 1920s and 1930s the single family house remained the norm in
Charlotte, but duplexes, quadraplexes, and apartment buildings began to be
constructed in increasing numbers. The city's first apartments had appeared
on East Boulevard in Dilworth in the 1900s, and the two story Robbins
Apartments at 525-531 East Boulevard are believed to be Charlotte's oldest
surviving complex, dating from 1911. 29 The new buildings were
part of a national trend toward multifamily living that had begun around the
turn of the century, much to the alarm of some observers who were sure it
would destroy the American family.
Charlotte joined the movement in earnest in the twenties, evidently in
response to the rapid population influx that came with the textile boom. The
city experienced an unprecedented net gain of 36,337 citizens between 1920
and 1930. 30 Many of the newcomers needed a place to rent,
convenient to public transportation, while they settled into new jobs and
looked for permanent housing. The traditional expedients, hotels and
boarding houses, could no longer handle the swelling numbers.
Anywhere that trolleys ran, multifamily housing sprang up. In the suburbs
duplexes became quite fashionable, appearing regularly in the city's better
neighborhoods. Many of the residences that look to be single family homes on
Greenway Avenue, a block off the old Seventh Street streetcar line in
Elizabeth, and on Henley and Bromley roads, near the Queens Road line in
elite Myers Park, were in fact built for two-family occupancy.
It was also about this time that the Charlotte quadraplex was developed.
Each region of the United States had its characteristic small multifamily
building type in the early twentieth century, from the triple deckers of New
England to the six-flats of Chicago. Charlotte's was the quadraplex, made up
of four long, narrow apartments, stacked two upstairs and two down to create
a deep rectangular mass with a squarish front facade. The two upstairs
apartments were entered from a front center hall, and the downstairs
apartments could be entered from their front porches and/or the stair hall.
Each apartment had its own front porch, and the four porches dominated the
facade no matter what stylistic trim might be applied. Quadraplexes were a
fairly common sight intermixed with single family dwellings in many
middle-class neighborhoods in the era except where deed restrictions barred
multifamily construction. Today an especially good collection may be seen in
Dilworth, a block off the former Dilworth Road West trolley line, at 2104,
2212, 2135, 2147, 2209, 2221, 2241 Park Road.
A number of large apartment buildings survive from the period also. Most
are of one plan, a three or four story rectangular block with a center hall
running the length of each floor, from which apartments open on either side.
These are customarily undecorated brick on three sides, with an elaborately
decorated front facing the street. A number are found on suburban lots
adjacent to streetcar routes, but the prime location was the Center City. In
the 1920s old single family residences within walking distance of the Square
began to be replaced with lucrative apartment houses. Tryon House (built as
the Guthery Apartments) at 508 North Tryon Street, the Jefferson and the
very colorful terra cotta fronted Frederick on North Church Street, and the
Thomas at 219 West Seventh are among the examples that can be seen today.
The Poplar Apartments at 301 West Tenth Street in Fourth Ward,
begun in 1929, signaled acceptance of the new lifestyle by Charlotte's upper
class. The half-million dollar project was intended as thirty-nine New York
style cooperative apartments by its developers, the Wilson Construction
Company of New York, but the onslaught of the Depression forced a switch
from 99-year leases to regular 12 month agreements. The design by the
Charlotte office of Lockwood-Greene, Engineers, was much more elaborate than
neighboring apartments. In plan the Poplar resembled a pair of "+"s joined
side by side, an arrangement that created three light wells on either side
of the building and gave each apartment great amounts of window space. All
facades of the structure were decorated using Elizabethan and Jacobean
decorative motifs, including carved stone arches at the entrance and a
crenelated parapet along the roof. It was the same sort of trim used by the
wealthy in their Tudor Revival homes. The project featured other prestigious
touches, including two of Charlotte's earliest residential elevators, and an
underground parking garage that was among the city's first. The Poplar
proved a fashionable address for Charlotte's well-to-do well into the 1960s
even after much of the surrounding neighborhood had lost its appeal.
For middle and upperclass Charlotteans, the 1920s were a time of romantic
revival residences, of architecture as theatre. In poorer neighborhoods,
however, the boom decade saw the massive building of "shotgun" dwellings, a
house type that owed little to European styles. The so-called shotgun is a
long, narrow, one-story dwelling, always set with its narrow end to the
street, probably nicknamed for its resemblance to a shotgun barrel.
The shotgun house consists of a front porch and two to four rooms lined
up behind one another, with no hall. Folklorist Dr. John Michael Vlach has
traced this unusual form to Haiti, where he believes it was created by
blacks who combined western African and Haitian ideas. 31 Blacks
who migrated to New Orleans brought it with them about 1800, and over the
next century it gradually filtered northward throughout the South.
It is impossible to say when this uniquely African-American house type
arrived in Charlotte, for all the old center city areas where blacks once
lived have been demolished. Newspaper articles and research on some of the
remaining shotguns outside the center city indicate that the 1920s saw the
building of great numbers of shotguns in Charlotte, mostly as rental units
for blacks and occasionally for working-class whites. One center city
shotgun remains today at 810 East Ninth Street in First Ward and scattered
examples can be found in the Belmont and
North Charlotte neighborhoods. The best collection is in
Biddleville-Five Points near Johnson C. Smith University. In the
300-500 blocks of Summit Avenue close-packed 1920s shotguns with their
porches almost at the edge of the narrow street look much as most black
neighborhoods did before urban renewal
Architect-designed Colonial and Tudor mansions in the suburbs, grand in
their new-built antiquity, demonstrated Charlotte's prosperity and urbanity
in the 1920s. An even more potent symbol was the city's rising skyline,
proudly depicted on postcards in the decade. Half a dozen new office and
hotel skyscrapers and dozens of store buildings remade Charlotte's central
Much as the conservative Colonial dominated the suburbs, the NeoClassical
style continued to be the favorite for major downtown buildings, and now
even for minor ones. Developers brought in at least one nationally known
designer to provide several designs. William Lee Stoddart from New York City
added two more floors to the Independence Building, and provided plans for
textile magnate Horace Johnston's Johnston Building and the city's Hotel
Charlotte, a showplace designed to impress visiting textile buyers and
wholesale customers. 32 Both opened in 1924. One tower was sheathed in
limestone, the other in beige brick with white terra cotta trim, and both
featured arches, modillion cornices, and other details inspired by ancient
Local architect Louis Asbury quite familiar with the NeoClassical from
his training at M.I.T., provided the designs for most of the other office
towers in the twenties. His First National Bank at 112 South Tryon
Street, Mayfair Hotel at 237 North Tryon, and Professional
Building at 403 North Tryon, all had the light-colored exterior and
stony trim characteristic of the style. W. G. Rogers, former partner of
Colonial Revival pioneer C. C. Hook, provided another NeoClassical
influenced design for the 1926 Wilder tower at 237 South Tryon. He also
designed the city's first apartment high-rise, the 1920s
Addison apartments at the corner of East Morehead and McDowell
streets in Dilworth.
The NeoClassical style, largely confined to banks, skyscrapers, and
public buildings before World War I, now came to be used increasingly by
Charlotte businessmen for their store buildings. J. B. Ivey and Joseph Efird
commissioned large five-story department stores facing each other across
North Tryon Street in the middle twenties. Efird's store was designed by
Asbury and Ivey's was by Charlottean William H. Peeps, but both had
off-white terra cotta facades that fitted into the NeoClassical tradition.
The size of the stores, even more than their carefully tasteful exteriors,
were an indication that Charlotte had joined the ranks of major retail
centers. Efirds, Iveys, and an expanded Belks around the corner (likewise
NeoClassical), drew shoppers from small towns for miles around, making
Charlotte's downtown the gathering place for the region.
Smaller shops now received dignified NeoClassical trim, too, supplanting
the exuberant sheet-iron Italianate cornices and arched windows found
earlier. On fashionable Tryon Street, carved stone was often used for much
of the facade, for example at 235, 233, and especially 221 North Tryon. Even
the least expensive brick structures on the sidestreets, such as those that
may still be seen in the first block of North Brevard, had square-cut
parapet tops and chaste NeoClassical stone trim.
On rare occasions a businessman would stray from the safe NeoClassical to
experiment with other revival styles. The choice would usually be made with
an eye to what was to be on sale within the new structure. When developer J.
H. Cutter wanted a fanciful movie palace he sent to New York City for top
theatre architect R. E. Hall. Hall's design for the
Carolina Theatre at 226 North Tryon Street, done in collaboration
with local architect C. C. Hook, used four different architectural styles
for the exterior. Applied like stage sets, they give the theatre-goer the
illusion that the massive structure is a quaint collection of smaller
buildings. On Tryon Street, Hall created an Elizabethan brick and stone
storefront, likely chosen for its Shakespearean associations, a French Art
Noveau entrance of carved limestone, and a stucco-walled, tile-roofed
Spanish facade picked for its Southern origins. The Sixth Street side of the
theatre is brick with NeoClassical trim. Inside the lobby has long since
been stripped of its original Turkish finery, but the restrained
NeoClassical pilasters and molding of the auditorium may still be seen.
The Carolina Theatre was rather conservative compared with movie palaces
elsewhere during the era, for instance Atlanta's opulent Moorish style Fox
Theatre. Nonetheless, its architecture clearly announced the fantasy sold
inside, and it was a favorite focus for suburban families' Saturday visits
to the center city. The movie theatre, like the other new building type, the
department store, helped make the blocks around Charlotte's trolley
crossroads the area's social center.
In addition to the Carolina Theatre, two other 1920s experiments with
romantic revival commercial architecture may be seen in the central business
district today. The owners of the Hovis Mortuary opened a new building on a
still posh, largely residential block of North Tryon Street in the
mid-twenties. They asked William Peeps to create a storefront in the
Elizabethan/Jacobean mode. The style, with its strong links to the
fashionable suburban Tudor Revival, was undoubtedly chosen to make the new
building compatible with its surroundings, and also to make the still-novel
concept of a commercial funeral service seem both fashionable and home-like.
An even finer work by Peeps is
Ratcliffe Flowers, erected at 431 South Tryon Street in 1930 and
still occupied by the same concern in the 1980s. It is a well-executed
example of the Mediterranean Revival style, designed to enhance the whimsy
and gaiety of buying flowers. A red Spanish tile false gable tops the
stuccoed front facade. Second-story window arches are supported by thin
columns with spiral tracery and ionic capitals. The first floor shopfront is
recessed within a wide stuccoed arch, drawing the passerby in. The shopfront
features a projecting bronze-edged show window topped by a stained glass
transom and flanked by a pair of massive wooden doors. Inside, the tile
floors, stuccoed walls, carved wooden columns and store fixtures were chosen
to continue the Mediterranean theme. Research published to date on other
towns in the state indicates that Ratcliffe Flowers is likely the finest
example of small-scale commercial architecture in North Carolina.
Charlotteans held to the NeoClassical style for their public edifices
into the 1930s. In 1928 Louis Asbury's County Courthouse joined C. C.
Hook's 1925 City Hall on East Trade Street. The two white-columned limestone
buildings were set back from the street to create a Civic Plaza. It marked
the first time the two institutions shared the same site, and also
represented the movement of the two from the heart of the central business
district. Charlotte's leaders sought the new arrangement because it was the
trend in other big cities. The
1893 Chicago World's Fair, nicknamed the "White City" for its
NeoClassical buildings and well-planned suburban site, had inspired a wave
of "government centers" around new civic plans in major cities all across
the United States. 33
For Charlotte's churches, the 1920s fascination with architectural
revival styles meant increasingly literal interpretations of the Gothic and
Greco-Roman models already in use. Louis Asbury's 1929 Myers Park
Methodist Church marking the intersection of Queens and Providence roads
is a good example of 1920s Gothic. Where earlier Victorian Gothic church
designers had dared to interpret the medieval prototypes in a new material,
brick, Asbury's church had to be sheathed in stone to imitate the European
model exactly. A Romanesque example of the trend could be seen in Pritchard
Memorial Baptist Church, which dominated the first block of South Boulevard
in Dilworth from 1924 until its demolition in 1982 following a major fire.
Where J. M. McMichael's Romanesque Revival churches fifteen years earlier
had loosely followed Roman models, Pritchard Memorial was closely copied
from a single specific Italian prototype, the domed Pantheon which still
stands in Rome.
Myers Park Methodist Church
The 1920s also saw introduction of the Colonial Revival as an acceptable
style for Charlotte churches. One of the first in the city was the 1924
Moravian Chapel in Myers Park, also known as the Little Church on the Lane.
Its use of the style's characteristic red brick and delicate white wooden
trim was dictated by religious custom more than 1920s fashion, however. Most
North Carolina Moravian churches are modeled on the Home Moravian Church in
the religious community of Salem, North Carolina, built in 1800 by the
German immigrants who brought the religion to North Carolina. Few subsequent
Colonial churches in Charlotte reflected as much consideration for North
Carolina's heritage. Most architects used New England or Virginia models,
chosen solely for their picturesque qualities.
V. To the Present:
Once Charlotte discovered the romantic revivals, it was loath to give
them up. The complicated Tudor Revival soon faded from favor, but the simple
beauty of the Colonial Revival continued to grow in popularity. In the 1980s
it is still the favorite for mansions of Charlotte's wealthy citizens, and
is frequently found on new middle-class streets. It has also been somewhat
incongruously adapted to office buildings, gas stations, shopping centers,
and other building types that have no counterpart in Colonial tradition.
Charlotteans seemed most comfortable with the revivals, but elsewhere new
styles were being developed. By the Second World War, major U. S. cities had
largely embraced the new developments --International style office buildings
downtown and plain-trimmed Ranch houses in the suburbs. Charlotte's desire
to appear up-to-date dictated that the city follow suit.
Nationally, in commercial architecture, a handful of architects had begun
working to create new non-revival styles even before the turn of the
century. Designers such as Chicago's Louis Sullivan felt it was foolish to
attempt to clothe skyscrapers and other brand-new building types in ancient
styles. Charlotte paid no attention to Sullivan's modernism, despite the
fact that New South colleague St. Louis was the site of one of Sullivan's
best known office towers.
Charlotte's first brush with the new ideas came a generation after
Sullivan's pioneer efforts, and then largely at the instigation of
outsiders. The Exposition des Arts Decoratifs, held in Paris in 1925,
converted a large number of American architects to the belief that modernity
was preferable to historicity, and this could be achieved through new forms
of decoration. 34 The result was the Art Deco style, also known
in its later, less ornate phase as the Art Moderne. Art Deco designers
strove to create eye-catching ornament, often geometric in theme, that was
derived from no historic form. North Carolina's best known Art Deco landmark
is Winston-Salem's R. J. Reynolds skyscraper, completed in 1927 by the New
York City design firm of Shreve and Lamb. The prizewinning design was so
successful that in 1932 New York investors commissioned Shreve and Lamb to
build a larger edition of the Reynolds Building in New York -- the Empire
State Building. 35
Beginning in 1929, Charlotte got three major buildings in the Art Deco
style. Each was a branch of a large business with headquarters outside the
city. The structures' progressive exteriors speak more of the increasing
interdependence between cities in the era of the large-scale corporation,
than they do to Charlotte's own willingness to adopt new ideas.
In 1929 Southern Bell converted its telephones to the dial system, and
needed a modern new building in Charlotte to house the necessary switching
equipment for the city. The Southern Bell headquarters in Atlanta had
commissioned that city's firm of Marye, Alger, and Vinour to design an
opulently modernistic Art Deco main office, and evidently had the same
architects draw plans for smaller editions to be placed in regional centers
including Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Salisbury, and Charlotte. 36
Though surrounded by later additions, the four-story beige brick main facade
of the Charlotte Southern Bell building remains in excellent original
condition. Limestone spandrel panels above and below the windows create a
marked vertical emphasis, characteristic of the Art Deco. The outstanding
feature of the facade is the carving on the spandrel panels, limestone
window surrounds and entrance. The designs are a blend of abstract curves
and geometric patterns combined with representational low relief sculptures:
an Indian chief on one spandrel, tobacco plants, flamingos, and gryphons on
others. Art-glass lanterns of abstract design highlight the entry. The F. W.
Woolworth dime store chain was the second large outside firm to build a
highly visible Art Deco building in Charlotte. The concern's 1939 store at
112 North Tryon in the heart of downtown is one of hundreds in the style
designed by the company's architects. It features a beige and copper-colored
terra cotta front, designed to maximize verticality. Inside a marble stair
with mirrors and a sweeping railing of gleaming aluminum carry out the
Charlotte's finest example of the Art Deco or Art Moderne is the
Federal Reserve Bank at the corner of South Tryon and Third streets
downtown. Designed by a Richmond architect, the structure was built in 1942
and expanded to its present five story height in 1956. It is sheathed in
limestone with delicately carved fluting between the windows to provide
vertical emphasis. Two oversized carved stone urns guard the clean
Federal Reserve Bank
Once the Art Deco had been introduced to Charlotte, a surprisingly large
number of businessmen adopted it. Downtown examples included the Thomas
Cadillac showroom at 214 North Church Street, the film exchange buildings in
the 300 block of South Church Street, and the facade of 127 East Trade
Street (recently hidden by imitation Victorian brickwork). The city received
a suburban Art Moderne apartment complex in Dilworth, the Myrtle Apartments.
There was also a delightful Myers Park quadraplex variation in the style in
1951. 227 Queens Road sports beige brick walls, attenuated porch columns,
metal frame windows and "porthole" front doors.
These scattered experiments with new architectural forms indicated that,
despite the building slump of the Depression, some Charlotteans were ready
for new architectural ideas. However, they barely hinted at the city's
overwhelming adoption of the International style for its major commercial
and public buildings in the decades after the Second World War. Like Art
Deco, the International style had been largely developed in Europe beginning
in the 1920s. Its adherents believed, however, that new decoration was not
the way to create better buildings. They maintained that a well- designed
building could be beautiful without the addition of expensive trim that
obscured its functional shapes and structure. The style's leading exponent
was the French architect, LeCorbusier, who declared that a house should not
be a theatrical stage set but "a machine for living in." 37
The raw power of International style buildings -- their glass, steel, and
concrete -- was a far cry from the revival architecture that Charlotte had
favored since the turn of the century. Charlotte's acceptance of the new
mode was largely the result of the work of one man, architect A. G. Odell,
Jr. Odell was a North Carolina native who graduated from architecture school
at northern Cornell University and then journeyed to the Ecole des Beaux
Arts of Paris. He returned to the South with a passionate belief in the
rationality and beauty of the new style.
In 1949 Odell set up practice in Charlotte and went to work converting
the city's elite to his way of thinking. Odell had several advantages on his
side. The new style looked so efficient that it could not help but appeal to
men who prided themselves on their hard-nosed business sense. It also was
undeniably up-to-date, a vital argument in a medium-sized city that ached to
be big. Odell's most important initial asset was not in the architecture,
but in his own background. Beginning with great-grandfather John Milton
Odell in 1877, A. G. Odell, Jr.'s forebears had been widely respected
leaders in the development of the cotton industry in North Carolina, helping
found mills in Concord, Salisbury, Durham. as well as the huge Cannon mills
headquartered in Kannapolis. 38 In a society where class
connection still counted for much, young Odell had automatic entry to the
offices of the area's mill owners and businessmen.
Having the ear of the city's leaders was not the same as winning their
repeated business, but Odell's skill as a designer and businessman quickly
made him the region's busiest architect. By 1957, less than ten years after
he had arrived, a newspaper story headlined "He's Changing Our Skyline!" and
noted a dozen downtown projects, including a major expansion of the Belk
department store, the glistening new Public Library, and the city's first
post-Depression skyscraper, the old Wachovia Tower (now Chamber of
Commerce Building) at West Trade and Church streets, which was done in
collaboration with New York City's Harrison Abramovitz, Architects. 39
Odell also boasted several school and factory projects, as well as
Charlottetown Mall, said to be the South's first enclosed shopping center.
The following year the Odell firm won national attention for its
prizewinning design of the city's domed Coliseum, making Odell one of
the best-known exponents of modern architecture in the South.
Odell's firm continues to shape the Charlotte environment to the present
day. Among major projects since 1960 are the Civic Center, the NCNB/Radisson
and Independence Center towers (both in collaboration with outside firms),
Charlotte Douglas Airport, Charlotte Memorial Hospital, and numerous
buildings on the campuses of Johnson C. Smith and the University of North
Carolina at Charlotte. 40 A generation of architects apprenticed in Odell's
office founded firms of their own in the region, one of the best known being
Harry Wolf, whose many prize-winning designs include the 1979 Mecklenburg
The prosperity of the post-war decades in Charlotte meant much new
building, and the major structures reflected International Style models even
when they were not designed by Odell. Sometimes the source of inspiration
was easy to trace. One of the most influential buildings of the 1950s was
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's Lever House skyscraper in New York City, the
first glass and steel tower on prestigious Fifth Avenue. Its strongly
differentiated base and shaft and its vertical steel trim were copied
directly by the designers of both the 1961 George Cutter/Barclays American
building at 201 South Tryon, the 1961-1963 old NCNB Tower across the street
at 200 South Tryon. 41 Its massing may also be seen in the
smaller Mutual Savings and Loan Bank at 330 South Tryon by Charlotte's M. R.
Another influential International style prototype was Walter Gropius'
widely published unbuilt entry in the 1922 competition for Chicago's Tribune
Tower. 42 In Charlotte, the former Equitable Credit building
erected in 1947 at South Tryon and Stonewall streets, diagonally opposite
the offices of the Charlotte Observer, shows Gropius' influence. It is a
pint-sized version of his Tribune tower, complete with horizontal strip
windows framed in concrete, and random concrete "sunshades" jutting out from
In addition to structures directly inspired by International style
landmarks, there are hundreds of other Charlotte buildings built to
International style principles. J. N. Pease Associates, founded by a mill
engineer who came to Charlotte in the 1930s, developed into Odell's main
International style competitor after the war. Pease projects include the
campus of Central Piedmont Community College, and the Edwin Towers elderly
high-rise on Tenth Street in Fourth Ward. Charlotte's Whittington-Brice
Associates contributed the Cameron Brown and Sheraton Hotel towers on South
McDowell Street and the thirty-two story Southern National Center on South
College. These three were part of a 1973-1974 construction boom that
redefined the city's skyline, as were the First Union Bank tower and
architect William B. Little's Wachovia Bank skyscraper on South Tryon
Not only major landmarks, but even some of the most humble structures in
the post-war period reflected the International Style ideals that dated back
to LeCorbusier. A good example was the ubiquitous gasoline station. While in
the 1920s gas stations had mimicked quaint half-timbered, gable-roofed Tudor
cottages, by the 1950s they sported white enamel-panel exteriors with flat
roofs in the clean-cut International mode.
The influence of the ideas of LeCorbusier and the International Style
extended beyond the design of individual buildings in Charlotte in the
decades after the Second World War. As the city boomed with post-war
prosperity, Charlotte architects refashioned the city center and outlying
commercial areas in accordance with Corbusian thought in urban design. The
result was a spread-out city dependent on the automobile.
Before the Second World War, architects had worked carefully to match new
structures with adjoining buildings. Stores were built close to the street
and close together, creating what might almost be considered an "outdoor
room" with store buildings as its walls and the sidewalks and street as its
floor. Charlotte architects seemed to design their buildings with the
understanding that they were small contributions to a greater whole. Even a
towering skyscraper like the old Charlotte National Bank matched its
coloration and belt course lines with the facade and cornices of its smaller
LeCorbusier abandoned this approach. He saw each building as an
independent entity, surrounded by open space. It was he who first proposed a
city of "towers in the park." His radical proposals, including one that
would have leveled central Paris, excited architects. The change may be seen
in Charlotte in the scattered office buildings near Southpark Mall, compared
with the compactly arranged older towers in the center city. It may be seen,
too, in the post-war strip shopping developments strung out along
Independence Boulevard, a contrast to the compact "streetcar strip" of shops
along Central Avenue in the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood.
LeCorbusier's ideas were partly a reaction against the cities he had
grown up with in Europe, which seemed to him not picturesque but simply
disorganized. His proposals were also made in response to the automobile,
then a wonderful new invention with seemingly unlimited, if untested,
potential. He believed that the motorcar would soon replace pedestrian
movement and mass transit. There would be no need to keep things within
walking distance of each other.
For what walking was necessary, LeCorbusier proposed aboveground walkway
systems that left the ground free for roads and parks. J. N. Pease
Associates included just such a walkway system in Charlotte's Government
Center complex in the 1970s. In fact, the whole complex is a realization of
the Corbusian vision, with widely dispersed buildings, some raised on stilts
to allow additional green space and parking as LeCorbusier suggested.
A. G. Odell's 1966 Charlotte Masterplan strongly urged that the center
city be redeveloped along the "towers in the park" line. A walkway system
was to extend above ground from the Government Center to Independence
Square, which is one reason why Odell's International style Civic Center has
only auto entrances and blank walls along most of its street level facade.
Corbusier had also pushed the concept of multi-use high-rise buildings with
mid-level "shopping streets" for pedestrians. Charlotte's Overstreet Mall,
completed in the 1970s with inter-building walkways designed by Odell,
realizes this half-century old vision.
While businessmen commissioned International style offices downtown, many
still preferred to come home to a Georgian or Cape Cod Colonial Revival
house. The years after the Second World War brought a new alternative to
those styles, however, the so-called Ranch house. It was a low, boxy
rectangle with its long side to the street, a one-story form that looked
like no historic building type.
The new house was a product of the same trend toward simplicity seen in
the International style and was also a response to practical forces that
were changing the way Americans lived. The introduction of the minimum wage
made household help less affordable, and Charlotteans now wanted smaller
houses. In addition, the widespread use of central heating meant that houses
no longer needed to be clustered close around their chimneys. People slowly
realized that a rambling, one-story arrangement could make for easier living
than the traditional two-story design with its ever-present stairs to climb.
The European International style leaders, and especially America's Frank
Lloyd Wright, had long been urging these new forms of living. The popular
American household magazines, particularly Ladies Home Journal, had
been printing Wright designs and extolling their merits for many years, and
the flowing living-dining-kitchen spaces of the new Ranch houses often
emulated Wright's projects. In Charlotte, some of International style
innovator A. G. Odell's first commissions were Ranch houses in Eastover and
Myers Park. Most Charlotte architects contributed high-style examples of the
new mode in the 1950s and 1960s. An excellent instance was revivalist Martin
Boyer, who proved he was equally adept at working in the new Wright style as
in the time-honored Tudor or Colonial. Boyer's 1955 house for D. G. Davidson
at 2300 Sherwood Road in Myers Park, for instance, appears to owe its
curving brick walls and overhanging roofs to Wright's "solar hemicycle"
designs of the 1940s. 43
As important as the architects' work was among Charlotte's leaders, the
real movers in selling the Ranch house concept to Charlotteans were the new
large-scale homebuilders. In the late 1930s, when Charlotte came out of the
Depression long enough for a brief building spurt before World War II, the
new house type began to evolve in the middle-class suburbs. The transitional
houses were short, squat, and one or one-and-one-half stories tall with an
eaveless gable roof, resembling a bigger, plainer version of the old
Bungalow. The new dwellings often had a bit of "Tudor" half-timbering over
the door or "Colonial" shutters and a carriage-lamp porch light, but the
overall form resembled nothing in history. Such a-historic massing and
simplicity of detail were very different from the earlier romantic revivals.
John Crosland, whose firm emerged as the major post-WWII homebuilder in
the region, constructed dozens of these dwellings in the last years of the
1930s on streets like Westbrook Drive in Third Ward and Middleton Avenue on
the edge of Eastover. Residences erected by C. D. Spangler on Park Avenue
facing Latta Park in the same period also reflected the trend. After the War
Charles Ervin joined the movement toward large scale house construction. His
first subdivisions, such as Smallwood Homes off West Trade Street near
Johnson C. Smith University, featured simple compact designs similar to
Crosland's prewar developments.
As wartime restrictions on building materials eased, veterans flooded the
Charlotte housing market with ready money from cheap V.A. and F.H.A.
mortgages. The houses became longer and lower, turning into the suburban
Ranch house we know today. One of the first large Ranch developments was
upper middle-class Maryland and Sterling avenues at the southern edge of
Myers Park. Griffith Realty subdivided the land and began selling house lots
about 1949, and by 1952 the streets were a string of one-story houses,
broken occasionally by the familiar two-story Colonial.
The success of developments such as Maryland and Sterling avenues kicked
off three decades of similar construction by both small contractors and
especially by mass homebuilders. Crosland and Ervin were so active that for
many years one or the other was often in the lists of the top ten builders
in the United States. By the 1980s, a broad band of Ranches and Colonials
ringed the city.
In the 1970s and 1980s architectural taste at the national level seems to
be swinging back toward complexity. Architects are proclaiming a "Post
Modern" style whose buildings are "designed around historical memory, local
context, metaphor, spatial ambiguity and an intense concern with
architectural linguistics." 44 At a much simpler level, the same
trend may be seen in fast food restaurants, which have given up the
flat-roofed, white-enameled metal exteriors of the 1950s in favor of
combinations of wood and brick textures and even historical ornament.
Charlotte's housing developers are beginning to recognize the trend, and
newspaper advertisements now feature new "Victorian" dwellings along with
more complex variations on the Ranch and Colonial Revival. Multi-family
developments are no longer simple brick boxes with Colonial or International
style trim. Condominiums in the 1980s typically mix several different
exterior materials. One Charlotte condominium architect, David Furman, has
gone so far as to borrow wood-shingled forms from Victorian architect H. H.
Richardson and from the early twentieth century Bungalow movement. Furman's
elaborate designs for Springfield Square in Fourth Ward and Queens Station
in Myers Park have drawn national attention, a new style that fits well in
turn-of-the century neighborhoods.
Downtown, however, Charlotte's bankers and developers continue to
commission towers with stark glass and steel exteriors in the International
style. In the last ten years, not one new downtown office tower has included
shops opening directly onto the street. Building shapes have gotten more
complicated in response to the new national trend, as can be seen in NCNB's
six-sided 1979 tower or Henry Faison's angular 1983 Independence Center. The
buildings' cold, glistening skins, and their blank street-level facades,
however, show them as a product of 1920s Corbusian thought.
The half-century-old ideal of a spread out, auto-dependent city is still
strong in Charlotte. Downtown demolition continues to create more and more
vacant center city land, and businessmen continue to build isolated
"towers-in-the-park" outside downtown. Charlotte developers have learned to
copy the rhetoric of bigger cities, urging more density and more "people
places," but they seem not to understand the meaning of those concepts.
Increasing the density of development, supposedly to boost pedestrian
movement and mass transit, is used as an excuse for redeveloping existing
neighborhoods but is never applied to the thousands of acres of empty land
immediately adjacent to downtown. The same men who demand that the city
install new benches, trees, and sidewalks to attract pedestrians to downtown
streets simultaneously demolish street-level stores and erect new buildings
with less retail space, all of it arranged to keep shoppers away from the
As in the past, Charlotte in the 1980s is a prosperous and conservative
city. It is still preoccupied with looking ever-bigger and ever-newer, and
the present generation holds little regard for the big, new playthings of
the previous one. Charlotteans continue to base their development decisions
on image and investment, rather than function.
1 Basic sources for this essay are Marcus Whiffen, American
Architecture Since 1780, a Guide to the Styles (Cambridge,
Massachusetts: The M.I.T. Press, 1969), and John J. G. Blumenson,
Identifying American Architecture, a Pictorial Guide to Styles and Terms,
160 -1945 (Nashville: American Association for State and Local History,
Most guides to American building do not yet deal in detail with twentieth
century popular architecture. Discussion of this era is based on extensive
research in popular and professional journals of the period, undertaken for
my paper "The Four Square House in the United States" (unpublished M.A.
paper, University of Chicago Divisional Masters Program, 1981). My
conclusions have recently been echoed in a series on "post-Victorian"
architecture in the Old House Journal, 1982.
2 Jack O. Boyte, "Early Mecklenburg Architecture" (Charlotte:
unpublished photocopy in the files of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic
Properties Commission, n.d.), p. 1.
3 "Rosedale: National Register of Historic Places
Inventory-Nomination Form," 1972, on file at the North Carolina Division of
Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina.
4 Michael Southern, "The I-House as a Carrier of Style in
Three Counties of the Northeastern Piedmont," in Doug Swain, ed. Carolina
Dwelling (Raleigh: North Carolina State University, 1978). Henry Glassie,
Folk Housing in Middle Virginia: a Structural Analysis of Historic
Artifacts (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1975), passim.
Peter R. Kaplan, The Historic Architecture of Cabarrus County, North
Carolina (Concord. Historic Cabarrus, Inc., 1981), p. 327.
5 Quoted in Janette Thomas Greenwood, "Merchants and Farmers
Bank Building: Survey and Research Report" (Charlotte: Charlotte Mecklenburg
Historic Properties Commission, 1982).
6 California Architect and Builder 6 (1885): 182.
7 American Architect and Building News 18 (1885): 104.
8 Carpentry and Building 7 (188S): 188. Based on
material that originally appeared in American Architect and Building News.
9 California Architect and Building News 11 (1890): 10.
The article first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, December, 1889.
10 American Architect and Building News 18 (1885): 20.
See also Carpentry and Building 7 (1885): 188. Charlotte newspapers
carried Nye's columns and may have printed this one. See Charlotte News,
February 6, 1904, for instance.
11 Vincent Scully, Jr., The Shingle Style and the Stick
Style: Architectural Theory and Design from Downing to the Origins of Wright,
rev. ed. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1971), p. 113.
12 Charlotte Daily Observer, September 19, 1894.
13 The term "Rectilinear" was coined by Wilbert R. Hasbrouk
and Paul E. Sprague in A Survey of Historic Architecture of the Village
of Oak Park, Illinois (Oak Park, Illinois: Landmarks Commission, Village
of Oak Park, 1976). pp. 8-14, 16-19. See also Hanchett, "The Four Square
House..." p. 31-33 and passim.
14 Hanchett. See also Clem Labine and Patricia Poore, "The
Comfortable House: Post-Victorian Domestic Architecture," The Old House
Journal, 10:1 (1982): 1-8.
15 Many of the wealthy Rectilinear houses in Charlotte are
symmetrical, center-entry variants of the mode. Charlotte architect George
Washington Maher was a leading proponent of this house type in the late
1890s and early 1900s, widely published in architectural magazines. He later
evolved into a Wright-influenced Prairie School designer. For examples of
his early Rectilinear designs see H. Allen Brooks, The Prairie School:
Frank Lloyd Wright and His Midwest Contemporaries (Toronto: University
of Toronto Press, 1972), pp. 34-36. William J. Rudd, "George W. Maher:
Architect of the Prairie School," Prairie School Review 1 (1964): 9.
16 Clay Lancaster, "The American Bungalow," The Art
Bulletin 40:3 (1958): 241. See also Anthony King, "The Bungalow: an
Indian Contribution to the West," History Today, November 1982:
17 Charlotte Observer, May 26, 1911.
18 Lawrence Wodehouse, "Frank Pierce Milburne (1868-1926), a
Major Southern Architect," The North Carolina Historical Review 50:3
19 Dan L. Morrill, "The Independence Building: Survey and
Research Report" (Charlotte: Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties
20 Building Age 50 (1928): 142.
21 For instance read Kenneth and Blanche Marsh, Charlotte:
Carolina's Queen City (Columbia: R. L. Bryan Co., 1967).
22 Some of Embury's papers, including construction photos of
the clubs at Pinehurst and Charlotte, are in the archives of Syracuse
University, Syracuse, New York.
23 Gwynne Stephens Taylor, From Frontier to Factory: an
Architectural History of Forsyth County North Carolina (Raleigh: North
Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1931), pp. 58-62. For background
on Keen, see Henry F. Whithey and Elsie Rathburn Whithey, Biographical
Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased) (Los Angeles: Hennessey and
Ingalls, 1970), p. 333.
24 House Beautiful 45 (1919): 70.
25 Caroline Mesrobian, "Morrocroft: Survey and Research
Report" (Charlotte: Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission,
26 Miles Boyer, quoted in Nancy Bowman Fischer, "Historical
Research: 522 Hermitage Court, Charlotte, N.C." (student paper presented to
Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Department of History, University of North Carolina at
Charlotte, 1981). Miles Boyer, Martin Boyer's son, has a copy of the
article, and a photocopy is on file at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic
Properties Commission. Martin Boyer's professional papers are in the
Department of Archives and Special Collections at the University of North
Carolina at Charlotte.
27 Ernest A. Connally, "The Cape Cod House: an Introductory
Study" Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 19:2
28.Other Spanish/Mediterranean Revival dwellings in Charlotte
include 1408 Dilworth Road, possibly by Martin Boyer, 1820 Dilworth Road
East, 1321 East Boulevard, 1600 Thomas Avenue, and 2019 Beverly Drive.
29 Dan L. Morrill and Ruth Little-Stokes, "Architectural
Analysis: Dilworth: Charlotte's Initial Streetcar Suburb" (Charlotte:
Dilworth Community Association, 1978), section 1, p. 55.
30 Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, "1950 Census Data"
(Charlotte: Chamber of Commerce, 1950). This report conveniently includes
city-wide and ward data back to 1850.
31 John Michael Vlach, The Afro-American Tradition
(Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1977), pp. 122-138. "The Afro-American
Tradition in Decorative Arts: Notes on the Exhibition" (Cleveland: Cleveland
Museum of Art, 1977), p. 16.
32 For information on Stoddart see Whithey and Whithey, p.
33 Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
(New York: Random House, 1961), pp. 24-25.
34 Whiffen, p. 235.
35 Taylor, pp. 64-65.
36 Kermit B. Marsh, ed., The American Institute of
Architects Guide to Atlanta (Atlanta: A.I.A. Atlanta Chapter, 1975), pp.
37 Vincent Scully, Jr., Modern Architecture: the
Architecture of Democracy (New York: George Braziller, 1974), p. 42. See
also J. M. Richards, An Introduction to Modern Architecture, rev. ed.
(Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1962), p. 80 and passim. A good discussion of
LeCorbusier's architecture and planning ideas with abundant illustrations,
is Peter Blake, The Master Builders: LeCorbusier, Mies Van der Robe,
Frank Lloyd Wright (New York: W. W. Norton Company, 1976).
38 Marjorie W. Young, ed., Textile Leaders of the South
(Anderson, South Carolina: James R. Young, 1963), pp. 156-161.
39 Charlotte Observer, June 2, 1957.
40 Janette Thomas Greenwood, "Designs in Charlotte by A. G.
Odell Associates," 1982. Compiled from telephone interview with Odell
Office. On file at Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission.
41 Richards, p. 114, plate 40. Lescaze and Howe's 1932
Philadelphia Savings Building may also have been a contributing influence on
Charlotte's banking towers. This may be seen especially in the giant neon
"NCNB" that originally decorated the top of the Charlotte bank in the 1960s,
an echo of Lescaze and Howe's monumental "PSFS" sign, plate 40.
42 Carl W. Condit, The Chicago School of Architecture: a
History of Commercial and Public Buildings in the Chicago Area, 1875-1900
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964), fig. 188.
43 William Storrer, The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright:
a Complete Catalog (Cambridge, Massachusetts: M.I.T. Press, 1974), fig.
283. For other examples of Wright's work in this curvilinear mode, see figs.
319, 320, 357, 358, 360, and 570. 44 Time 113: 2 (1979): 52.