This report was written on 30 July 1996.
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the Craig
House is located at 900 Ardsley Road in Charlotte, North Carolina.
2. Name, address and telephone number of the present owner of the
property: The owners of the property are:
William R. and Virginia B. Story
900 Ardsley Road
Charlotte, North Carolina 28207
3. Representative photographs of the property: This report contains
representative black and white photographs of the property. Color slides
are available at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
4. Maps depicting the location of the property: This report contains
three maps depicting the location of the property.
Click on the map to browse
5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent deed
to this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 3288 on page
499. The tax parcel number of the property is #155-043-05.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains a
brief historical sketch of the property.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains a physical and architectural description of the property.
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets criteria
for designation set forth in in N. C. G. S. 160A-400.5:
a. Special significance in terms of its history, architecture, and/or
cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property known as the
Craig House does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
The Commission bases its judgement on the following considerations:
1) The Craig House was designed by William H. Peeps, an important local
architect. It represents a fine example of early-twentieth century Tudor
Revival architecture in one of Charlotte's earliest and most desirable suburbs.
The house exhibits many characteristic components of the style.
2) David J. Craig, Sr. could afford to build his house in a manner not readily
available to the average middle class American. The well-developed design,
fine details, quality materials and accomplished workmanship all bear
testament to the high caliber of this building.
3) The Craig House was built for a prominent businessman, and was his home for
the last nineteen years of his life. It makes a statement about his image and
standing in the community, and reveals the standard of living available to a
well-to-do businessman in early-twentieth century Charlotte.
4) Mr. Craig's decision to relocate his family and settle in Charlotte
is representative of a period of economic prosperity and population growth
during the 1920s in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Craig's selection of
a local architect and his choice to erect such a large and well-made home
reflects both a financial and personal investment in the community.
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling and/or
association: The Commission contends that the physical and architectural
description which is included in this report demonstrates that the Craig House
meets this criteria.
9 . Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal: The Commission is aware that designation
would allow the owner to apply for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad
Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the property which becomes a
designated "historic landmark." The current total appraised value of the
improvements is $487,060. The current total appraised value of the lot is
$235,000. The current total value is $722,060. The property is zoned R-3.
Date of Preparation of this Report: 30 July 1996.
Prepared by: Mary Beth Gatza
428 North Laurel Avenue, #7
Charlotte, North Carolina 28204
The Craig Family
David Jenkins Craig, Sr. (1877-1948) was born and raised in Gastonia. He
graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1897 and was an active
member of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Oasis
Temple) from 1901 to the time of his death. In 1904, at the age of 27, he
moved to Statesville, where he established himself in business. He went
into partnership with L. P. Henkel and C. V. Henkel, serving as secretary
and treasurer of the Henkel-Craig Live Stock Company. In addition to
dealing in horses, mules and cattle (and later automobiles), they ran a
hack line (horse-drawn taxi) between Lenoir and Blowing Rock, catering to
the tourist trade. During the 1910s, they formed the Blowing Rock
Development Company and acquired the landmark Green Park Hotel (built in
1891). In 1915, the Blowing Rock Development Company constructed a
nine-hole golf course on surrounding acreage. This was no small feat, as the
land they chose was entirely forested. In 1922, an additional nine holes was
cleared. At some point, the Green Park Hotel was expanded and modernized by
Craig and his partners. Craig and his family, however, may not have been
regular guests of the hotel, as they had a cottage of their own in town. 1
Craig wed Vera Copeland (1882-1974), who was originally from Clinton, S.C.
and later from Statesville, N.C. Presumably, it was in Statesville where
they met and married. Together they had three sons: David Jenkins, Jr.
(1907-1985), John Thomas (1910-1987), James Copeland (1914-1988) and a
daughter, Frances. In addition, they took in and raised Frankie Craig, who
was the daughter of Mrs. Craig's sister and brother-in-law, who had died. 2
By 1929, when the Craigs chose to build here, Myers Park was well established
as a fashionable and exclusive neighborhood. The neighborhood was carved out
of farmland once owned by John Springs ("Jack") Myers. Myers's son-in-law,
George Stephens, had a vision and the business acumen to carry it out. He
formed the Stephens Company, purchased the land from his father-in-law and set
about creating Myers Park. The end result was the product of a unique
collaboration between the Stephens Company, city planner John Nolen and
landscape architect Earle Sumner Draper. The neighborhood began to take
physical shape in 1912. Myers Park soon became the favored suburb for
Charlotte's most successful and wealthy businessmen, and growth continued at a
strong and steady pace throughout the next several decades.
The Craigs moved to Charlotte with their children in 1929. No
doubt they waited until after completion of their new house before
relocating. Correspondence dating from November between the architect
and Mr. Craig was addressed to Statesville. After relocating, the
Craigs became active in Myers Park Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Craig
served as president of the women's Bible class. 3 David J., Jr. served on
the session and on the board of deacons. Funeral services for Mrs. Craig,
David J. Jr. and James were held at the church. Services for David J.,
Sr. were conducted at he home, with the pastor of Myers Park Presbyterian
The Craigs' oldest son, David Jenkins Craig, Jr. graduated from the
University of North Carolina Law School in 1932, and had an illustrious
career in Charlotte. He practiced law until 1966, served as a city
recorder's court judge from 1941 to 1944, and was president of the
Mecklenburg County Bar Association from 1960 to 1961. From 1967 to 1974,
he ran the regional office of the American Arbitration Association. He had
a home in Myers Park (1112 Granville Road) and was an elder, deacon and
Sunday School teacher at Myers Park Presbyterian Church. He also served 4
as President of the Charlotte City Club and the Charlotte Country Club.
Mrs. Craig continued to live in the house alone after her husband died and
her children moved away. She remained there until 1971 when she moved to
Sharon Towers, where she died in 1974 at the age of 91. 5
The Story Family
Dr. William R. (Bob) and Virginia Brame (Ginnie) Story, natives of Wilkes
County, N.C., arrived in Charlotte in 1965. They moved here so that
Dr. Story could complete his residency, and thus begin his career as a
urologist. In 1968 he joined the urology practice of McKay, Baird and
Justis (established 1929). After three years in Charlotte, they purchased
the Craig House from the children of David J. Craig Sr. in 1971. Mrs.
Story is the past president of the Delhome Service League of the Mint
Museum and is past chairman and current co-chairman of the Mint Museum
Antiques Show. The Storys have lived in the house for twenty five years
and have raised two children there. They especially enjoy entertaining,
which they find the house particularly well suited for. They have hosted
visiting guest speakers to the Mint Museum, and have celebrated their
daughter's wedding and son's engagement party in the house. Grandchildren
are frequent visitors. The house is beautifully decorated (by Mrs. Story)
and is being well cared for. The Storys would like to see the house
designated as a historic landmark.
1 The Charlotte News, 4 October 1948, p. 1B.
The Charlotte Observer, 4 October 1948, p. 1B.
The Charlotte News, 5 October 1948, p. 14A.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Health Department, Death Certificate #1315.
Barry M. Buxton, A Village Tapestry: The History of Blowing Rock.
(Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium Press, c. 1989), pp. 6, 7, 9, 40, 97.
2 The Charlotte News, 9 September 1974, p. 8A.
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Will Book 6, p. 493.
Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, North Carolina, section Y, lot 51.
Interview with Mrs. David J. Craig Jr., Charlotte, NC, 22 May 1996
3 The Charlotte News, 4 October 1948, p. 1B.
The Charlotte News, 9 September 1974, p. 8A.
The Charlotte Observer, 7 July 1985, p. 16A.
The Charlotte Observer, 6 December 1988, p. 4B.
Thomas F. Clark, Myers Park Presbyterian Church: 1926-1966.
(n.p.: Kingsport Press, 1966), pp. 224, 225, 230.
4 The Charlotte Observer, 7 July 1985, p. 16A.
5 The Charlotte News, 9 September 1974, p. 8A.
Interview with Mrs. William R. Story, 1 May 1996.
Fashionable and exclusive, Charlotte's Myers Park neighborhood created an
exposition for some of the finest residential architecture in the region
during the first decades of the twentieth century. Professional architects
were retained by wealthy individuals to design impressive homes in the latest
styles. Louis Asbury, C. C. Hook, Martin Boyer, Franklin Gordon and William H.
Peeps all had commissions in Myers Park. Colonial Revival, Rectilinear, and
Bungalow/Craftsman styles all were represented here, as they were elsewhere
throughout the city. But it was the Tudor Revival style that flowered in Myers
The earliest Tudor Revival-style residence in Myers Park, and in Charlotte,
was designed by L. L. Hunter and Franklin Gordon in 1915 for E. C. Marshall
(500 Hermitage Road). The style flourished in the years following World
War I, and was well-represented in the neighborhood during the 1920s.
Most of the locally-prominent architects were conversant in the design
idiom, and designed houses in the Tudor Revival style.
Characteristics of the style include steeply-pitched roofs, cross gables,
textured wall surfaces (especially brick and false half-timbering), narrow
or grouped windows and prominent chimneys. Often, a mixture of materials
or textures was central to the design of the structure (such as brick with
stone trim or false half-timbering with stucco). Dark colors were
ubiquitous, sometimes only for trim, but often throughout the entire
Well versed in the Tudor Revival style of residential architecture, William H.
Peeps designed the Craig House in 1929. Peeps was a native of England who had
come to Charlotte in 1911 and established a notable career designing various
buildings in the Queen City. During the 1910s, he drew plans for the Latta
Arcade (S. Tryon St., 1914), the G. C. Galloway House (602 E. Morehead St.,
1914-15), and the C. C. Coddington House (1122 E. Morehead St., 1917-18), all
of which are designated Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties. In 1923, he
designed the J. B. Ivey Department Store (N. Tryon St.), which is currently
undergoing renovation and transformation to multi-family housing. Another
designated Historic Property attributable to Peeps is the Ratcliffe Florist
Shop (431 S. Tryon St., 1929). In Myers Park, Peeps drew plans for a premiere
Tudor Revival style house at 2038 Roswell Avenue for Frank and Mary Lethco in
1928. Perhaps David J. Craig was inspired by this fine residence when he
chose Peeps to design his own home.
The Craig House was designed by William H. Peeps for David J. Craig in
1929. It is a two and one-half story house with a cross-gabled slate roof
and exterior walls of brick veneer and false half-timbering (wood and
stucco). The house sits sideways on its lot--that is, one
end of the house faces the street and the facade faces the driveway (which
runs down the west side of the lot). Since the house is much broader than
it is deep, it would not have fit on the lot if the facade was oriented
toward the street. The awkwardness of having one end face the street is
ameliorated by the presence of a full-width brick colonnade.
This was a clever treatment in that it allows for a porch, which is
normally omitted in the Tudor Revival style.
Structurally, the house is frame, but the exterior has a brick skin on all
of the first story and most of the second story. False half-timbering
decorates part of the second story, a dormer window, and four gable ends.
The masonry cladding gives the home a feeling of solidity. The half-timbering
is called "false" because it is not structural--it is merely applied for
decorative effect. On the Craig House it consists of a pattern of horizontal
and vertical dark wood "timbers" with light-colored stucco in between.
The main (west) facade is seven bays long, divided into three sections.
The center section, which is under a cross-gabled roof, extends out a few
feet from the rest of the facade. This section holds a tripartite stained
glass window (second story) and the front entry. The front
door is fully glazed and surrounded by multi-paned sidelights and
overlights. It is shielded by a metal and glass marquee. Also in this
section is set of four grouped windows looking into the dining room. The
left (north) section of the facade has more grouped windows--one set of two
and two sets of three. It also holds the only dormer window in the house.
The right (south) section of the facade has two single windows. With the
exception of one group of three fixed, multi-paned windows in the left
(north) section of the facade, windows throughout the house are
six-over-one or eight-over-one double-hung sash. The windows are framed by
soldier arches above and cast stone sills below.
The predominant feature of the south elevation, which faces the street, is
a full-width brick colonnade. It is composed of three arched
openings separated by square brick piers. It shields the base of an
exterior brick chimney, and two sets of French doors. The second story
here and gable end are clad with false half-timbering.
The rear (east) facade features a treatment similar to the colonnade on the
south elevation, but only in the one southeast corner bay. Otherwise, this
elevation is brick on the first and second stories and half-timbered in the
ends of the two cross gables.
The north facade is the only side that is covered entirely with brick, even
in the gable end. It features a semi-exterior chimney and a side door.
Windows here are both single and grouped.
Entering the house through the front door, one stands in a small entry
hall. A few steps up lead into a larger, more formal hall with an
interesting hanging light fixture. The main stairway rises up behind you,
and features iron balusters and a birch railing. Ten steps
lead to a landing, which is dominated by a large stained glass window. The
window was probably commissioned by the owner rather than by the architect
(there is no mention of it in the documentation), and has a Latin
inscription "fiat lux," meaning "let there be light."
The living room is to the right as you enter the hall. It is
the largest and most formal room in the house. Taking center stage is the
ornate Classical Revival mantelpiece. It is one piece--cast
out of masonry from a mold. It has a full entablature whose frieze has a
center medallion with a human face peering out, bracketed by floral swags.
Acanthus leaf brackets, and floral and foliate patterns adorn the sides,
and egg-and-dart molding delineates the firebox opening. Like the stained
glass window, there is no specific mention of this item in the
documentation, and was probably acquired by Mr. Craig independently of Mr.
Peeps. The large mirror above the mantel was acquired from the Craig
estate and could have been part of the original decorating scheme. On
either side of the mantelpiece, two sets of French doors lead out onto the
colonnade which shields the south end of the house (the street-facing
elevation). Completing the detailing in the room are a continuous cove
molding and an original light fixture which has a single bulb surrounded by
many hanging crystals.
Walking back out through the hall, a set of French doors leads into the dining
room, which is to the left, toward the front of the house. It is
also a formal room, dominated by a group of four sunny windows and by an
elegant crystal chandelier. A cove molding similar to that in the living room
delineates the ceiling-wall juncture.
Beyond the dining room, moving toward the north end of the house, are three
rooms in linear succession. First is the breakfast room, which features
built-in corner cabinets and a chair rail . Next in line is the butler's
pantry with a U-shaped arrangement of original cabinets. Finally, one
enters the kitchen. It is the only room in the house that has undergone
remodeling. Though the elements are younger than the house, they probably
represent an arrangement similar to the original configuration.
Leaving through the rear of the kitchen, a small enclosed porch leads to
the side door. Turning to the right, one enters the hallway and walks
alongside the rear staircase. It is a closed-string stair with square wood
balusters and a newel and railing made of birch. Passing the stairway, the
hallway continues on through to the main hall. Along the way, three rooms
open off to the left. First is the den, which features a tiled fireplace
with a classically-inspired mantelpiece and a chandelier with five marbled
glass shades. Next to the den, accessed through the hall, is the only
bathroom on the first floor. Back in the hallway, this is a good place to
notice the solid mahogany doors which are found throughout the house. The
last room to visit on the first floor is the library. This
room is completely panelled with chestnut, finished in a rich brown tone.
Three walls are covered with a board-and-batten style panelling, and the fourth
wall features recessed shelves in three groups with arched openings above.
This room also has an interesting original light fixture. It has six bulbs
surrounded by a polychromatic painted metal fixture.
Having come full circle on the tour, one is back in the main hall. From
here, climb the stairs to the second floor. To the right is the master
bedroom. Like the living room below, it is a large and formal room. The
tone is set by a classical mantelpiece which has Adamesque detailing. The master bathroom is off to the left and has separate stalls
for the bathtub and shower. All of the fixtures in this and every second
floor bathroom are original, including the colorful tiles.
There are four other bedrooms on the second floor. All feature mahogany
doors, original light fixtures and picture molding at the ceiling-wall
juncture. The two bedrooms on the back (east) side of the house have
individual bathrooms, while those on the front (west) side share a bathroom
The arrangement of rooms upstairs is similar to that on the first floor. On
the front (west) side, there is a bedroom over the dining room, and one
corresponding to the breakfast room and butler's pantry. Walking through this
second bedroom, one reaches a full-length enclosed sleeping porch (which is
over the kitchen and back porch). Passing through the porch leads to the
hallway which extends from the back stair to the main hall. Two bedrooms open
off of this hallway, each with a private bathroom.
The attic is worth taking a peek at. It is accessed from the rear of the
stair hall. In it, the walls and sloping ceilings are fully sheathed with
wooden panelling. Legend suggests that the Craigs used this room for
entertaining and ballroom dancing. Area residents remember attending a
debutante party in this room.
The basement extends beneath the kitchen, butler's pantry and breakfast
room. It is divided into three sections having separate rooms for
laundry facilities and coal storage. The steam heating plant has been
replaced, but the original door to the incinerator can still be seen along
the outside wall.
An outbuilding on the rear (northeast) corner of the lot holds a two-car
garage and servant's quarters above it. It was designed in
tandem with the house and shares similar design features. The first story
garage section is constructed from the same brick as the house. The second
story, the servants' quarters, is clad with false half-timbering and stucco,
again matching the main house. It has a steeply-pitched roof and an
oversized dormer on the south side. It is entered from the back, the
Site and Landscaping
The lot that the Craig House stands on has about 100 feet of frontage on
Ardsley Road and extends back roughly 200 feet deep. The house is set back
from the road, so there is a substantial front lawn. A driveway runs along
the west side of the property, extending beyond the house and culminates in
a circular drive. The house is oriented to the west, toward the driveway,
rather than facing Ardsley Road. The garage/servants' quarters is in the
rear (northeast) corner of the property.
A brick wall delineates the back yard. This yard is landscaped with trees
and shade loving shrubs, including azalea and rhododendron. No doubt the
landscaping plan and some of the plants are original to the house. Bills
exist from Harkey Brothers Nursery dated February and May 1930. They list
various trees and landscape plants, including eleven lombardy poplars, one
silver maple, four English laurels, one pink dogwood, arborvitae,
ligustrum, photinia, pyracantha and unspecified flowering shrubs. Although
the landscape architect, if any, is unknown, Harkey Brothers must have
enacted the plan, because their bills include figures for stone, flagstone,
topsoil, turf, fertilizer and labor. The sunny spot is along the west side
of the house where the greenhouse once stood. It is planted in colorful
flowering annuals and perennials.
The Craig House is in virtually intact condition. Except for a kitchen
remodeling and the removal of the greenhouse, little or no material has
been added or removed since the day the house was completed.
The owners of the Craig House are unusually fortunate to possess some
original documents pertaining to the construction of the house. These
include specifications, contracts, correspondence, bills for materials, and
bills for the architect's services. Even the application for water service
and receipts for utility deposits are in the file.
Records go back to April 1929, when the lot was staked by an engineer, and
then purchased by Mr. Craig from the estate of C. C. Coddington. In June,
contracts were signed with the general contractor, J. A. Gardner, and with
the plumbing contractor, Henry Hackney. Both gentlemen were from
Charlotte. An estimate of $3845.00 was given by the Statesville
Manufacturing Company for the millwork. Also in June, a proposal for a
heating system was solicited from the A. Z. Price Company of Charlotte.
Their bid was $2875.65, including a load of coal. July 8, an application
for water service was made to the Charlotte Water Works. Interestingly,
this took place before the building permit was granted on July 12, 1929.
Correspondence from the architect dated July 13 mentions that "We will
start to pore [sic] concrete today and will be laying brick in a few days."
Another letter from Peeps on July 18 says "Concrete footings have been poured and will start laying brick
Various bills trickled in and were paid during August, September, October
and November. A six dollar deposit was paid to the Southern Public
Utilities Company on December 9 for electric service. The Craig's likely
settled into their new home before Christmas. A final accounting made by
Peeps of the costs of the Craig House, including the lot, is dated March
15, 1930 and totals $59,638.97. A handwritten note from the architect says
"The above includes all work that was contracted for and passed through my
office, but does not include such items as was added after the house was
completed." He is probably referring to the stained glass window and the
living room mantel, since there is no mention of these items elsewhere in
The architects specifications is a detailed document outlining both general
terms and exact composition of materials. It lists, for instance, the
recipe for the mortar mix and the brand of stucco to be used. It directs
that the floors be white oak, the interior doors be mahogany, the gutters
be copper, and the switchplates be Bakelite. It even includes instructions
for finishing the interior woodwork. This is an especially valuable document
because it verifies that the materials present in the house today are original.
Some landscaping was included in Peeps accounting of the price tag for the
Craig House. There are two bills from Harkey Brothers Nursery, dated
February 20 and May 17, 1930. They list various trees shrubs, plants,
landscape materials and labor.
The Craig House stands as a fine example of a large Tudor Revival home
designed by one of Charlotte's premiere architects of the early twentieth
century. Original documentation dating from the period of construction
proves that virtually all of the fabric present in the house today is
original material as specified by the architect.
The Craig House contains many characteristic components of the Tudor Revival
style, especially dark, textured wall surfaces stone trim, grouped windows, and
a steeply-pitched, cross-gabled roof. On the interior, the fine workmanship
and high quality materials are evidenced throughout the house, including a
large stained glass window, classical mantelpieces, chestnut panelling and
mahogany doors. Although the kitchen has been remodeled, virtually all of the
bathroom fixtures and tile are original. Additionally, all of the light
fixtures are original and all but two are each different from the next.
David Craig was in a high income bracket and could afford to hire an
important architect and build his house in a manner not accessible to the
average middle class American. The house even today reveals a standard of
living available to a well-to-do businessman during the 1920s.