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Blakeney House Progress

NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY THE JAMES A BLAKENEY HOUSE. If you make the Blakeney House your home you will save over $90,000 on your North Carolina Income Tax. If you buy the Blakeney House and rent it for five years you will save over $60,000 on your Federal Income Tax and $60,000 on your North Carolina Income Tax. You will have one of our finest historic homes in one of Charlotte's best residential districts. What more could you want? Get in touch with us today.

This is Jerry Beeler. He is in charge of putting a new foundation under the house. You can see the jacks behind him that are holding up the porch roof while repairs are under way.

Workmen working at the rear of the house make sure the Blakeney House will be level.

This picture shows the new foundation that will be going along the front of the Blakeney House. The Blakeney House is a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Endangered Properties

The Historic Landmarks Commission is involved in discussions to attempt to assure the preservation of two important historic landmarks in Uptown Charlotte -- Latta Arcade and the Ratcliffe Flower Shop. Representatives of the Commission have met with officials of Cornerstone Properties and the Crosland Group to see if preservation covenants can be established to guarantee that the Latta Arcade will not be torn down, that nothing will be built above it, and that the building will be properly maintained. Those discussions are on-going. The Harris Group and J. A. Jones Construction Company are vying to become the developers of a Convention Hotel. They plan to locate the building in the block where the Ratcliffe Flower Shop is located. The Historic Landmarks Commission will be reviewing plans that show how the Ratcliffe building will be incorporated into the hotel.

You will be hearing about the Commission's efforts to assist in developing a preservation strategy for the Thies House on Providence Road. Here is the situation. The Commission first considered recommending the Thies House for historic landmark designation in 1988. Because there was no immediate threat to the house, and because the owner did not favor designation, the Commission tabled the matter.

Thies House

When reports began circulating that Childress Klein had signed a 50 year lease on the property and planned to demolish the Thies House, the Commission decided to revisit the issue. Specifically, at its August meeting, the Commission voted to direct staff to update the Survey and Research Report on the Thies House and present it to the Commisson at its September meeting. On September 14th, the Commission could vote to recommend or not to recommend historic landmark designation for the Thies House. It could also vote to impose a delay of demolition for up to 180 days or until City Council votes upon the Commission's recommendation, whichever occurs first. The sole purpose of the Commission's consideration of this issue is to allow time to investigate all reasonable alternatives to destroying the Thies House and its historic setting.

A Fascinating Visit

On September 10th Dan Morrill met Ralph Neely at the site of his great grandfather's plantation at the corner of Carowinds Boulevard and Highway 49. It was a fascinating visit. Neely gave Dr. Morrill a picture of his great grandfather, John Starr Neely (1817-1887), and his great grandmother, Jane Martha Price Neely (1828-1897).

John Starr Neely

Jane Martha Price Neely

John Neely served as a guard at the Confederate prison in Salisbury, was captured by Stoneman's raiders in April 1865, was taken to Camp Chase in Ohio, and walked home after the war. Ralph Neely also had a faded picture of the old plantation house, which was torn down many years ago by Carowinds developer Pat Hall.

Note the location of the row of slave houses that used to stand to the rear of the main house. Dr. Morrill also obtained a copy of John Neely's Bible, in which he recorded the birth dates of his slaves.

"Louisa was born August 23rd, 1855." "Francis was born January 20th 1856." The list ends in 1864, when John Neely left from Salisbury. Freedom for the slaves came the following year.

Ralph Neely took Dr. Morrill to the site of the Neely Plantation Slave Cemetery. It is nestled in a grove of trees in the midst of a plush office park. Dr. Morrill plans to visit the site in the next few days to take some photographs. Be sure a look for the pictures. They will be posted soon.

Meeting Action

The Historic Landmarks Commission took several important steps at its meeting on September 14th.

The Commission voted to seek Board of County Commission approval to purchase and upfit the Gluyas House on Mount Holly - Huntersville Road.

The Commission voted to recommend the Thies House for designation as a historic landmark but not to impose a delay on demolition at this time. Childress Klein, who has leased the property for 50 years, has agreed not to demolish the house until November 1st in hopes it can reach an agreement with nearby residents of the Myers Park neighborhood.

The Commission voted to seek a determination of State-wide significance for the Ratcliffe Flower Shop. Such determination would allow the Commission to deny the owner the right to demolish the building. Also, the Harris Group is working with the Commission to devise a design that would allow a new Convention Hotel to incorporate the Ratcliffe Flower Shop.

The Commission voted to remove the Wilson Building at S. Tryon and 3rd Streets from the Study List of prospective historic landmarks. The Commission will work with Cornerstone Properties to develop a series of agreements preventing the demolition of the Latta Arcade.


Affordable Tree Service has been removing the damaged trees at the Patterson Street Houses.

Paul Fomberg of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History tours the Croft Schoolhouse.

Allen Brooks, Project Architect, leans out an upstairs window of the Croft Schoolhouse. It is obvious that we have a lot of work to do.


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission Marks Silver Anniversary

August 9 the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission held a reception to mark the 25th anniversary of its first meeting. Several hundred invited guests came to celebrate and hear comments from speakers including Consulting Director Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Chairman Lindsay Welch Daniel, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer David Brook, Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Wheeler, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Parks Helms, and U. S. Representative Melvin Watt.

Some photos of the event...

Congressman Mel Watt, Dan and Mary Lynn Morrill.

Commission Chairman Lindsay Daniel recognizes Van Hill, former Chairman, for his working to obtain a permanent Commission office in the Ratcliffe-Otterbourg House.

Commission Vice Chairman Dave Ritch, County Commissioner Parks Helms, Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Wheeler.

Former Commissioner Patrick Hamrick and Commission Chairman Lindsay Daniel.

Guests gather to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Historic Landmarks Commisssion

Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer David Brook and his family.

See the photo gallery with more pictures of the celebration...

1950's Survey

The Historic Landmarks Commission is seeking financial support to conduct an inventory of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg's architecture from 1945 until 1960. Part of the reason for this effort is the Commission's realization that much of the design of this era has fallen out of public favor. Also, it was a period of enormous change in Charlotte, such as the building of Independence Boulevard and the opening of Interstate 85. Please send us your thoughts and comments on this effort.

Ovens Auditorium

Independence Arena (old Charlotte Colisuem)

Property Updates

Actual work begins on the James A. Blakeney House on Monday, August 17th. At long last, the renovation of this important remnant of South Mecklenburg's rural past will get underway. Watch the news section closely. We will have many photographs of the workers bringing the Blakeney House back to life. Also, County Public Service and Information will be featuring the house on its monthly news programs. Watch Cable Channel 16.

The first worker arrived at the Blakeney House on August 19th. He's Rick Lapinsky. He toured the site to plan the arrival of work crews the next week.

Allen Brooks, Project Architect, and Ellyn Baeszler, Project Administrative Assistant, visited the Croft Schoolhouse on August 14th. They are identifying the historic artifacts in the building. They include an old buggy. Over the next several weeks we will be determining what needs to be done to stabilize the building. It has been sadly neglected over the years.

The Commission is still negotiating with the owners of the Gluyas House on Mt. Holly - Huntersville Road. We hope to purchase this property as part of our on-going rural historic preservation program in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Fountain Returns

Last summer we reported that the Commission would help preserve the horse fountain that was moved to Elmwood Cemetery from its original home at South Boulevard and Morehead St. Well, it's going back to Morehead St., in front of the American City Building. It was originally installed by the National Humane Alliance so all the horses around town could get a drink of water.

JULY 1998

Storm Damage

Severe storms passed through Mecklenburg County in early July. The house at 517 Patterson Street, being restored by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Preservation Foundation, suffered damage as a large tree fell on the property, damaging the structure.

Contracts Awarded

On July 13th, the Historic Landmarks Commission awarded the construction contract for the restoration of the James Blakeney House to Mann Contractors. Actual work should begin by the first week in August. Mann Contractors, headed by Joe Mann, did the work on the Funderburk Grist Mill and Blacksmith Shop in Matthews and knows how to do things right. The upfit of the exterior of the house should be finished by the end of November. Anybody wanting to buy this magnificent Queen Anne style home should contact the Historic Landmarks Commission.

Blakeney House

The Historic Landmarks Commission voted on July 13th to award the design contract for the restoration of the Croft Schoolhouse to AB Architecture. The Commission will buy the Croft Schoolhouse this month, and emergency stabalization should begin soon thereafter. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, meaning that large income tax reductions will be available to the buyer.

Croft Schoolhouse

Endangered Uptown Buildings Identified

The Historic Landmarks Commission has identified the most endangered historic landmarks in Uptown Charlotte. They include the Ratcliffe Flower Shop, the Latta Arcade, the Wilson Building, the Frederick Apartments, the Carolina Theater, the William Treloar House, and the Mecklenburg Investment Company Building. Two of the properties are being processed for historic landmark designation -- the Wilson Building and the Frederick Apartments. The rest already are historic landmarks.

Mecklenburg Investment Company Building

Work in Progress:

Work continues on the adaptive re-use of the old 1st ARP Church in uptown Charlotte. Structural steel is now in place and work is expected to be complete in 1999.

Rededication at Independence Park

A most impressive ceremony was held on July 4th to rededicate Independence Park and the Lillian Arhelger Memorial. Frank Thies, Sr., Lillian Arhelger's brother-in-law, cut the ribbon at the opening ceremonies for the Memorial. The Fountain will be operating soon. Go for a visit.

Lillian Arhelger

Scenes from the rededication...

LEFT: The Arhelger Memorial RIGHT: The reflecting pool

LEFT: Frank Thies, Sr., Lillian's brother-in-law,cutting the ribbon at the redeciation July 4th RIGHT: The Thies family