|The Earle Sumner Draper House
1621 Queens Rd.
Sometimes we forget or don't even know the people who create the
beautiful spaces that enrich and enliven our city. Many of us drive
along Queens Road West in Myers Park, for example, and assume that the
majesty of the that tree-lined boulevard just happened. Others
marvel at the splendor of Colville Road (pronounced "Callville") in
Eastover and believe that it just happened.. The grandeur
of such places was meticulously planned by a single human being. His
name was Earle Sumner Draper.
In October, 1915, young landscape architect Earle
Sumner Draper stepped off the train at the Southern Railroad Station on
West Trade St. A recent graduate of the Massachusetts Agricultural
College, Draper had been hired by John Nolen, the designer of Myers
Park, to come to Charlotte to design lots for new homeowners in
Charlotte's most fashionable streetcar suburb.
Draper prospered in Charlotte. In 1917 he established
his own landscape architectural firm. For the next 16 years, Draper and
his associates participated in the boom times that swept the South,
especially during the 1920's. In addition to Eastover and parts of Myers
Park and Elizabeth, Draper designed portions of the campuses at Davidson
and Winthrop, entire mill towns, such as Spindale, N.C., the Homestead
Mill village in western Mecklenburg County, and the new town of
Draper and his wife, Norma, and their three children
moved into their new Tudor Revival style home on Queens Rd. in 1923. The
architect was Franklin Gordon, a Maine native who had come to Charlotte
in 1905. The builder was the Clement Construction Company. That firm
would also build Duke University's gothic stone buildings.
Until the Great Depression, when Draper closed his
business and became the Director of Town Planning and Housing for the
TVA, he and his family enjoyed a sumptuous lifestyle in their home in
Myers Park. The children rode to school in a chauffeur-driven car. A
gardener tended the grounds. A cook prepared the meals, and a maid kept
the house tidy. Draper sold the house in 1944 and established his
permanent residence in Washington, D.C. He retired to Florida in 1965.