A Walking Tour Of Myers
Dr. Dan L. Morrill
The tour will take about two hours. It
begins at the intersection of Harvard Place and Queens Road.
Park your vehicle on Harvard Place and walk to the intersection
of Queens Road. Please remain on the sidewalk to observe all
sites on the tour.
John Springs Myers had already
carved off part of his farm to create the
Cherry neighborhood in 1891. His new dream was to turn the
rest of his large cotton farm into an elegant suburb. He must
have spent many evenings discussing the plan with his family and
especially with his son-in-law, George Stephens. Stephens, who
came to Charlotte after graduating from the University of North
Carolina, joined the insurance firm of Walter Brem in 1896.
John Springs Myers
A talented businessman,
Stephens was able to take advantage of the excellent
opportunities that turn-of-the-century Charlotte provided, and
he quickly became involved in several schemes. He and Brem
joined realtor F.C. Abbott and textile banker B.D. Heath in
developing part of
Elizabeth, and in 1901, Stephens, Abbott, and Word H. Wood
set up the Southern States Trust Company (now NationsBank). In
1911, he founded the Stephens Company with Word Wood and A.J.
Draper, and began to turn his father-in-law's dream into a
reality. Moved by the same fashion consciousness as E.D. Latta,
the company hired a city planner to make the plans. They chose
John Nolen, whose design for Independence Park had impressed
Stephens a great deal. It was a good choice, for Nolen later
became one of the nation's top planners with over 400 projects
to his name.
Nolen's vision for Myers Park
was to use the natural curves, gentle hills, and creeks to
create a secluded glen cut off from the city. A major boulevard
would unite the whole and provide trolley service to homes
scattered along winding side roads. The results earned Myers
Park national acclaim as the "finest unified subdivision south
of Baltimore." To the modern visitor, the New South
Neighborhoods appear to have been constructed in the midst of a
forest, but in fact this was not the case. It is hard to imagine
those first years when it must have been plain to new residents
that they were living on former cotton fields, and it was only
hard work that changed the scenery. In Myers Park that work
began in 1915, when Nolen hired the landscape architect Earle
Sumner Draper to turn the almost treeless farmland into a
suburban park. "Willow, oak, tulip poplar, and elm" were
selected to grace the sidewalks and gardens. Early buyers even
had their lots landscaped free of charge. Not a man to let
nature take its own time, James B. Duke insisted that large
trees be planted as well, and summoned one of his estate
gardeners to oversee the task.
The oldest section of Myers
Park is towards the northern area that you will enter first. For
some years the suburb acted as a separate incorporated town. As
houses were erected, wealthy Charlotteans were lured out of the
center city. The first wave came from among the executives of
the eight-year old Southern Public Utilities Company (now Duke
Power), and included its legendary president, James Buchanan
Duke. The next wave of residents included bank presidents and
real estate magnates such as George Stephens himself. Then came
the textile executives such as the famous Springs family. Civic
and commercial leaders also chose to locate their family houses
here, including members of the families that owned the Belk,
Ivey, and Efird department stores, and "Good Roads" Governor
1. Queens Road
streetcars ran down the median of the road. The Charlotte
Observer tells an amusing story of schoolboys greasing the
tracks where Queens Road dipped into the valley on this stretch.
One Halloween night in the mid-1930's both tracks were greased
and a little gunpowder was included in the mixture. "As the
streetcar struggled vainly to get up the hill in either
direction, anonymous groups lighted the gunpowder-grease
mixture. The way those streaks of fire swooshed down the tracks,
under the car, and up the other hill was something to behold. No
damage, just a real great sight."
Queens Road was the backbone of the neighborhood. It was the
streetcar that made Myers Park possible. Unfortunately, as is so
often the case, Charlotte has been "penny wise and pound
foolish." To make way for automobiles, Morehead St. was extended
Dilworth and connected to Queens Road, which has transformed
Nolen's majestic streetcar boulevard into a thoroughfare for
Walk north on Harvard Place and stop in front of the Stephens
House at 522 Harvard Place.
2. George Stephens House
George Stephens built this house for himself in 1915. His
father-in-law's 1867 country home used to stand behind, and for
a time it was used as a garage and servant's quarters. The house
combines Colonial Revival and Bungalow influences. Its
architect, L.L. Hunter, came from nearby Huntersville, and
designed other buildings in the area, including the Carnegie
Library on the Johnson C. Smith University campus. A later owner
of the house was William States Lee, legendary engineer for Duke
Power Company and the grandfather of the recently deceased Bill
Lee. John Springs Myers's farmhouse stood on a hilltop
immediately behind this home.
Continue north on Harvard Place to Ardsley Road. Cross Ardsley
Road and turn right and continue to the intersection of
Hermitage Road. Turn left and observe Lynnwood on your left at
400 Hermitage Road.
Known variously as "Lynnwood," "White Oaks," or just "the big
house," this large Colonial Revival mansion is where James
Buchanan Duke and his family spent several months of each year
between 1919 and his death in 1925. It was one of four family
houses and provided Duke with a place from which to oversee his
thriving utility empire. It also gave his only daughter, Doris,
the opportunity to experience Southern life and society. Duke
enlarged an earlier mansion built here in 1915 by one of his
executives, Z. V. Taylor, so that it included 45 rooms and 12
bathrooms. He chose the architect C. C. Hook to design the
additions and Earle Sumner Draper to landscape the 15-acre
garden. Duke had 12 miles of pipeline laid to the Catawba River
to provide a 150-foot fountain on the grounds--this in itself
became known as a local wonder.
Duke was already a tobacco magnate when he acquired the
fledgling Catawba Power Company of Fort Mill in 1904. Building
dams to harness the power of the river, his Southern Utility
Company facilitated the expansion of the cotton industry in
early twentieth-century Charlotte. It was in this house,
incidentally, that Duke set up the endowments which transformed
Trinity College into Duke University and which benefited several
other institutions including Johnson C. Smith University and
Look across Hermitage Road to the Lambeth House at 435 Hermitage
4. Charles E. Lambeth House
Charles E. Lambeth was a prominent real estate developer and a
symbol of the profession's power in City government. He served
as Charlotte's mayor from 1931 through 1933. Lambeth's wife was
the only daughter of the founder of the Cannon Mills. Lambeth's
white stucco mansion, facing J. S. Myers Park, which is owned by
a private foundation, is in the French Renaissance style. It is
also the work of Charles Barton Keen. Its distinctive green tile
roof is a Keen trademark. It was built in 1927.
Continue along Hermitage Road to the bottom of the hill and
observe Edgehill Park on your left.
5. Edgehill Park
Edgehill Park was the centerpiece of Myers Park. Unlike most
developers, who simply regarded a creek bed as a nuisance, Nolen
seized upon it as an asset - a green space in the middle of the
neighborhood. It still serves that function today and reinforces
the curvilinear street pattern of the neighborhood.
Continue along Hermitage Road and stop at the Cramer House at
200 Hermitage Road.
6. S. W. Cramer, Jr. House
Stuart W. Cramer, Jr. was heir to Stuart Cramer, Sr., pioneer
inventor of mill machinery whose papers are now at the
Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Stuart Cramer, Jr.
ran the family's mills at Cramerton, N.C. in Gaston County for
many years. Martin Boyer, one of Charlotte premier revivalist
architects, designed this Tudor Revival style home. Note the
"half timbering" on the upper story.
Continue along Hermitage Road a short distance and turn right on
to Hermitage Court. The Simmons House is the first house on your
7. Frank Simmons House
Frank M. Simmons was a major Charlotte contractor who developed
Hermitage Court, which, like Myers Park, opened in 1912. This
house was erected in 1913 and is one of the oldest houses in the
neighborhood. Its Neoclassical dimensions and appointments are
reminiscent of affluent turn-of-the-century Charlotte. Note its
grand semi-circular portico with the two-story columns.
direction on Hermitage Road and take your first left on to
Moravian Lane. Continue to the Church on your left.
8. The Little Church On The Lane
Originally known as Myers Park Moravian Church, this is the
oldest church in Myers Park, organized in the early 1920's. The
main sanctuary was designed by William H. Peeps, an Englishman
who came to Charlotte from Michigan soon after 1900. The
Moravians, a Christian denomination which owes has modern roots
in German Pietism, were so skeptical about the church succeeding
in Charlotte that they designed the original building so it
could be easily turned into an apartment house. Herbert Spaugh
was the minister of this church for many years and served as
Chairman of the Charlotte Board of Education. The land for the
church was donated by the Wolhford family, whose house is now a
Continue on Moravian Lane and take a right at Providence Road.
Continue on Providence Road until its intersection with Ardsley
Road. The Thies House is behind the bushes to the right.
9. Ocsar J. Thies House
The Thies family were German immigrants drawn to Charlotte by
the opportunities in gold mining. They built this house outside
of the city in 1898, and when Myers Park had grown up around it
in the late 1910's, remodeled it to its present stuccoed
Colonial Revival appearance. Oscar Thies was an active force in
Charlotte real estate development. His Thies-Smith Realty
Company built many of Myers Park's mansions.
Continue along Providence Road, cross Hermitage Road and you
will see the Jamison House on your right at 802 Providence Road.
This house was erected in Myers Park (1912) and was designed for
hotel owners John and Lucille Jamison by Louis H. Asbury, Sr. It
was built using North Carolina granite laid in a cobweb pattern.
Sadly, before it was completed, Mr. Jamison was killed by a
train in the Mecklenburg community of Newell while out on a
country drive. Mrs. Jamison, however, completed the house and
the family lived there for 63 years. Louis H. Asbury, Sr.
(1877-1975) was the son of Martha Moody Asbury and S. J. Asbury
of Charlotte. In addition to being one of the first carriers for
the Charlotte Observer, the young Asbury assisted his
father, who was a builder of houses in Charlotte in the 1890's.
Asbury graduated from Trinity College, now Duke University, in
1900 and received his architectural training at M.I.T., where he
probably met John Nolen. Asbury returned to Charlotte and
established his architectural practice in 1908. He was the first
North Carolina member of the American Institute of Architects.
Continue along Providence Road, cross Queens Road, look across
Queens Road to your left at Myers Park United Methodist Church.
11. Myers Park United Methodist Church
Louis Asbury, Sr. designed the Myers Park United Methodist
Church that faces you across this intersection of Queens and
Providence roads. Built in 1929, the building closely imitates
medieval Gothic churches in its picturesque tower, stonework,
wall buttressing, and pointed-arch clerestory windows. Although
Asbury recognized the predilection of affluent Charlotteans for
Neoclassical and Neo Colonial motifs, he personally preferred
the Gothic Revival style. Consequently, it is not surprising
that he selected this form for the design of Myers Park United
Methodist Church, of which he was a member and where his funeral
was held in March, 1975. This was originally the location of a
Myers Park community store.
Continue along Queens Road to the McManaway House on your right
at 1700 Queens Road.
12. Rintels-McManaway House
Like "Victoria" on The Plaza in
Plaza-Midwood, the Rintels-McManaway House, was moved to the
suburbs from the center city. It was constructed on West Trade
St. near Graham St. in 1874 as the elegant home of Jacob
Rintels, a Jewish merchant. The house was moved to Myers Park in
1916 and became the home of Dr. Charles McManaway, a prominent
physician. The house is a rare surviving example of the
Victorian Italianate style, with its bracketed cornice, tall
arched windows with decorative crowns, and a shallow roof.
The house has a sad history: the first two owners died when they
were relatively young and at the height of their careers. The
first was a Jewish immigrant and merchant, Jacob Rintels, who
was a partner of Samuel Wittkowsky's in a successful Uptown
wholesale and retail business. Dr. Charles McManaway died two
years after the house was moved. The Charlotte Observer
commented as follows in 1918 on Dr. McManaway's demise.
Brave man and able physician that he was, he faced the
inevitable with heroic courage, knowing only too well the
physical agony that must be his before the end would come.
Days and nights of excruciating suffering followed. His
fellow physicians ministered unto him with heart and skill.
Two weeks ago his condition became desperate, and from that
he literally died daily.
Continue along Queens Road to the Cameron Morrison House at 1830
13. Cameron Morrison House
When this Colonial Revival style residence was constructed in
1919, Cameron Morrison (1869-1953) was president of the
Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. 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.
Morrison moved his law practice to Charlotte in 1905 and
prospered. His first wife, May Tomlison Morrison of Durham,
N.C., died soon after the family moved into their Myers Park
home. In 1920, Morrison defeated O. Max Gardner in the
Democratic primary for Governor and was elected. He was known as
the "Good Roads Governor." He pushed a program of paved highways
that made North Carolina a leader in transportation in the
South. Nor surprisingly, a good number of the newly paved roads
led to Charlotte, aiding the city's growth as a major
distribution center. In 1924, Morrison married Sara Ecker Watts,
millionairess and widow of George W. Watts of Durham. Soon
thereafter, he and his wealthy new wife began the construction
of Morrocroft, to which they moved in 1927.
Continue along Queens Road, cross Radcliffe Ave. and walk on to
the Queens College Campus.
14. Queens College
George Stephens was no doubt copying W.S. Alexander's
enterprising idea (remember Elizabeth College?) when he decided
to attract Presbyterian College for Women from its Uptown
location to a 50-acre lot of its choice in Myers Park. He was
not, however, the only suitor that Presbyterian College for
Women had. Three others, including E.D. Latta, made their own
offers and forced Stephens to increase his offer. Eventually he
won out, and the college moved here in 1914. John Nolen laid out
the plan for the college, renamed Queens College, and
subsequently used the same ideas in other campus designs,
including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. C. C.
Hook designed the first five buildings: Administration, Science
and Art, the Conservatory of Music, and North and South
Cross Selwyn Ave. and Queens Road to your left and look at the
Snyder House, now part of a condominium project, at 1901 Queens
15. J. Luther Snyder House
This magnificent Colonial Revival style home, now part of a
condominium project, was built in 1920 as the home of J. Luther
Snyder. In April, 1902, Snyder, a Virginia native, moved here
from Atlanta, where he had worked for the Coca-Cola Company for
two years, and established the first Coca-Cola bottling plant in
Charlotte. "When I came to Charlotte, the city had 17,000
people, eighteen saloons, two breweries . . . and I had a
terrible time selling soft drinks with that kind of
competition," Snyder remembered many years later. Happily for
Snyder, the temperance movement was sweeping the South, and it
would soon sound the death knell for the breweries and the
saloons. Charlotte was becoming a major textile center; and the
industrial workers, forced to labor for long hours in the
stifling heat. They needed something to drink, and when they
could no longer buy "hard" liquor, they turned to Snyder's
Coca-Cola. The house was designed by Martin Boyer, one of
Charlotte's leading Revivalist architects.
Reverse your direction on Queens Road and continue to the Draper
House at 1621 Queens Road.
Almost opposite the Italianate McManaway house, at 1621 Queens,
is Earle Sumner Draper's own Tudor Revival residence. From his
beginning as on-site supervisor for John Nolen in 1915, Draper
became the leading planner in the southeastern U.S. In 1933, he
left Charlotte to become the chief of planning for the Tennessee
Valley Authority and later acted as a director of the Federal
Housing Administration. Between 1923 and 1933 he lived here with
his wife, Norma, and five children. They enjoyed a typical upper
middle class life-style, employing a cook, a maid, a chauffeur,
and a gardener. Look for the family crest on the chimney face.
After they left, local children thought that the house was
haunted. Draper died in 1994 in Florida.
Continue along Queens Road to its intersection with Providence
Road at the Myers Park United Methodist Church. Cross Queens
Road to your left. Cross Queens Road at the light. Turn left
along Queens Road and continue to its intersection with
Granville Drive. Turn right on Granville Drive and look at the
Moody House, which is the first house on the right just past the
17. Charles Moody House
This home, designed by Louis H. Asbury Sr. and erected in 1913,
was the residence of Charles Moody, the City's leading grain and
feed merchant at the turn of the century. The grain elevators of
his Interstate Milling Company still tower over Fourth Ward in
uptown Charlotte. The house originally stood on Providence Road,
was turned around, and moved to this location in the early
1980's. Note how the placement of the house reinforces the curve
of the street.
Continue along Granville Drive to the Lambeth-Gosset House at
923 Granville Drive, next door to the Moody House.
18. Lambeth-Gossett House
Real estate speculator A. D. Glascock, an active early Myers
Park developer, had this house built for resale in 1916. The
first owner-occupant was another real estate man, Charles
Lambeth, who later served as Charlotte Mayor. In 1921, Benjamin
B. Gossett, a textile and banking leader, purchased the mansion.
Look across the street to the McAden House at 920 Granville
19. H. M. McAden House
Henry McAden was president of Charlotte's First National Bank.
Later owners included members of the Belk and Ivey department
stores families. The present owner is David McConnell, former
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Social and Economic
Council. The imposing design is by Louis H. Asbury, Sr. It
features Neoclassical columns on the exterior, while inside
there are massive carved stone mantels and a sweeping Colonial
Revival grand stair. The Italian gardens to the rear are well
preserved, one of Earle Sumner Draper's best early designs. The
house is one of the most significant in the neighborhood. It
most approximates what might be called the "original Myers Park
look." Henry McAden, by the way, was a man of his word. His bank
failed in the Great Depression, and he had to move to a much
more modest home elsewhere in Myers Park. He eventually paid all
the money he owed, and he celebrated this event by calling in
his neighbors and serving them lemonade and banana sandwiches.
Continue along Granville Drive to its intersection with
Hermitage Road. Turn left on Hermitage Road and look at the
first house on your left, the Wade House at 530 Hermitage Road.
20. H. M. Wade House
Howard Madison Wade was a leading Charlotte manufacturer whose
factory on Graham Street produced custom woodwork and store
fixtures for the region. He built his first house on the site in
1912 but demolished it in 1928 to erect this grander one. The
Colonial Revival style design was devised by noted Philadelphia
architect, Charles Barton Keen. Keen is also known for his
design of the Reynolda House in Winston-Salem. The magnificent
landscape plan was fashioned by Earle Sumner Draper.
Continue along Hermitage Road to the Marshall House at 500
21. E. C. Marshall House
E. C. Marshall was president of the Southern Power Company,
later Duke Power, when he had this house built in 1915. The
Marshall Power Plant is named in his honor. The architect was
Franklin Gordon. It is the earliest known example of the Tudor
Revival style in the City.
Turn left at Ardsley Road, continue to Harvard Place and turn
left and return to your vehicle.