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THE CHARLES MOODY HOUSE

This report was written on July 1, 1981

1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the Charles Moody House is located at 830 Providence Road, between Middleton Drive and Huntley Place, Charlotte, North Carolina.

2. Name, address and telephone number of the present owner of the property: The present owner of the property is:

Mr. Lex Marsh
P. O. Box 4329
Charlotte, NC 28204

Telephone: (704) 375-0281

3. Representative photographs of the property: This report contains representative photographs of the property.

4. A map depicting the locations of the property: This report contains a map which depicts the location of the property.

5. Current Deed Book reference to the property: The most recent deed to this property is listed in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 3799 at page 867. The current tax parcel number of this property is 155-051-05.

6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property by Dr. William H. Huffman, Ph.D.

7. A brief architectural sketch of the property: This report contains a brief architectural description of the property by Mr. Jack O. Boyte, A.I.A.

8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the criteria set forth in N.C.G.S. 160A-399.4:

a. Special significance in terms of its history, architecture, and/or cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property known as the Charles Moody House does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations: (1) the Charles Moody House was designed by Louis Asbury, a prominent architect of regional importance; (2) the Charles Moody House is one of the oldest dwellings in Myers Park, the elegant streetcar suburb designed by John Nolen; (3) Charles Philo Moody, the original owner, was a prominent businessman in Charlotte; and (4) the grounds of the Charles Moody House were designed by representatives of John Nolen, one of America's most renowned landscape architects.

b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling and/or association: The Commission judges that the attached architectural description by Jack O. Boyte demonstrates that the property known as the Charles Moody House meets this criterion.

9. Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal: The Commission is aware that designation would allow the owner to apply annually for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the property which becomes "historic property". The current Ad Valorem tax appraisal of the entire 1.110 acre tract is $95,750.00. The Ad Valorem tax appraisal on the improvements is $630.00. The total Ad Valorem tax appraisal is $96,380.00.

Date of preparation of this report: July 1, 1981

Prepared by: Nancy B. Thomas, Assistant Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
3500 Shamrock Drive
Charlotte, NC 28215

Telephone: 704/332-2726

Architectural Description

Among the many splendid houses scattered along the new trolley line in Myers Park, Charlotte's turn of the century prestige neighborhood, was the large red brick Charles Moody residence. The dwelling was built in the early 1900's in an expansive rural setting on Highway 16, a narrow unpaved country lane, near its intersection with the trolley route -- Queens Road.

During the early years of development in this popular new eastern Charlotte subdivision, many architects adapted their work to the emerging Georgian Revival mode. The Charles Moody house embodies faithfully the dominant design features of this style.

The main body of the structure is a simple rectangle seventy-five feet wide and thirty feet deep, typical of the design mode. Featuring a precisely symmetrical front, the Providence Road facade is a carefully balanced three bay composition with one story Doric-columned porches attached at each end.

At the first floor, centered in a projecting bay, is a one story entrance portico. Three slender Doric columns at each corner support a flat balconied canopy with a pedimented center element. In the second level wall above the entrance portico at the balcony roof is a window opening with large twin double hung sash and a multiple light transom. The center bay rises through two stories and extends above the second floor overhanging cornice to a shallow parapet. Over this brick superstructure is a wide dormer featuring a three part Venetian window.

Surmounting a broad molded cornice is a high slate covered tripped roof. Facing front at each side are balanced dormers, also covered with slate shingles. Dormer vents are small multiple light twin casement windows.

Small multilight casement windows flank the entrance portico on the first level. Above are even smaller second floor vents. Side bays in the three bay facade feature tall twin windows on each floor. These large double hung wood units have single light lower and upper sash on the first floor. Second floor windows have multiple light upper sash , an often used motif in Colonial Revival design.

Across the front is a broad tiled floored promenade behind a low bordering brick wall. An entrance path from Providence Road approaches this front platform up two granite steps. Then more granite steps lead to a slightly raised entrance portico which also has a red tile floor. Double paneled wood entrance doors have small lights in upper sections. Door surrounds are simple molded frames set in red brick surrounds.

The exterior wall surfaces on all sides consist of wire cut deep red brick laid in consistent Flemish bond. At the floor lines of the first and second levels there are perimeter bands of brick soldier courses. Over all window and door openings are skillfully crafted jack arches of shaped brick. Tapered granite keystones center in each jack arch. First floor window sills are granite, smoothed above and rough cut on the face. Second floor window sills are brick rowlock. The formal balance of the house is accentuated by pronounced brick quoins at the four corners.

Side and rear elevations have randomly placed double hung sash windows. The end wall porches have flat balconied roofs edged with carefully milled wood balustrades. The north wall porch has been enclosed with multiple light sash, added in recent years to provide office space. Adjacent to this porch at the rear is a slat screened service entrance. Window jambs in all four facades retain cast iron pintles which were installed initially for window blinds. The original blinds are no longer in place.

No effort was made in the overall design composition to retain any semblance of the carefully balanced pattern of the front. Double hung sash windows pierce the rear wall here and there with no noticeable symmetry in size or location. Slightly off center in this facade is a balconied porte cochere. Supported by twin Doric columns which rest on a low granite capped brick wall, this carriage shelter joins the house at a rear entrance. Granite steps lead up to a recessed tile floored entrance platform and a wood paneled entrance door set in a transomed frame. Brick and granite trim are consistent decorative elements on side and rear elevations. A dominant Georgian Revival detail is the fine bracketed overhang on all sides of the roof.

Set well back from a pebble drive which circles behind the house is an original brick veneered carriage house. This two story structure has a spacious interior room at ground level where two, perhaps three, carriages may have been originally housed. Narrow wood paneled doors fold to each side of the drive side opening where vehicles entered. Exterior walls have double hung window sash similar to those in the main house. From the right a small swinging door provides access to an interior stair. Leading to second floor quarters, the stair balustrade is modestly decorative with a molded rail and simple turned balusters. Other interior surfaces lack elaboration. The exterior of the structure is detailed much like the main house. Flemish bond brick veneer rises two floors to a wide, molded overhang. Above is a slate covered tripped roof. At the front there is a featured dormer with a simple Palladian like window.

In recent years the house has been rented by small professional groups whose needs required some interior modifications. Nevertheless, no major alterations have been inflicted on the original classical finishing details.

In plan the house follows a traditional grand foyer concept. the front one enters paired doors to a small hall. From this cloak area another pair of doors open into an impressive vaulted chamber.

From this reception area solid old paneled doors lead to various high ceilinged first floor rooms. Most retain elaborate denticular cornices, carefully molded wood wainscoting and finely crafted fireplace mantels -- all displaying essentially their original characteristics.

Rising at each end of the foyer are stair runs which meet above the entrance way and continue to an expansive second floor balcony. From here more original doors, several with transom windows, lead to large bed chambers and other private quarters. A service stair rises at the rear of the house and connects front and rear hallways at both levels.

The current awareness of the historical significance of planned suburban neighborhoods encourages the preservation of fine old dwellings such as this. Charlotte retains important examples of its early dwellings in several neighborhoods which attracted or followed turn of the century trolley lines. Many of these architectural treasures offer exciting potential for adaptive use, and the Charles Moody house is a prime candidate for this preservation alternative. Its extraordinary architectural composition as well as the quality and skill of the craftsmanship in its construction give the dwelling a compelling presence.

Historical Overview

Dr. William H. Huffman
June, 1981

In February, 1913, Charles Philo Moody (1869-1935) commissioned Louis Asbury, the noted Charlotte architect, to draw up plans for a house to be built on the lot he had purchased in the new suburb of Myers Park the previous year. 1 Asbury's mother, Mattie Moody Asbury, was the sister of Charles P. Moody, and thus the architect was the nephew of the owner. 2

Mr. Moody, the son of George Louis Moody and Sara Black, was born in Lenoir County on March 6, 1869, 3 and moved with his parents to a farm in the Berryhill Township of Mecklenburg County when he was still a child. At the age of 20, Charles Moody went to work for the Johnson Brothers Company in Charlotte, and six years later, in 1895, he went into the retail and wholesale grocery business with two partners. In 1910, he bought out his partners to establish the Charles Moody Company; five years later, he and George Graham organized the Interstate Milling Company with Mr. Moody as president, a position he held until his death. 4 Interstate Milling, located at 10th and the Southern Railway tracks, produced flour, animal feed, table corn meal and grits. It is presently the Archie Daniel Middling Co., a large producer of corn sugar and other products. 5 In addition to the Charles Moody Company and Interstate Milling, Mr. Moody also had business interests in the Spurrier Co. of Gastonia, F. M. Youngblood Co. of Concord, Interstate Wholesale Co. of Augusta, and the Farmers and Merchants Supply Co. of Charlotte. 6

Charles P. Moody and his wife, the former Elizabeth (Bessie) Sloan, raised their four children, Sarah Moody Schenck, Charles Stowe Moody, William Sloan Moody and Mary Neal Moody Ellison in the handsome home at 830 Providence Road. The house, which was built about 1913, was the fifth one in Myers Park, and the family all attended the Myers Park Presbyterian Church nearby. Landscaping for the site was completed before the building of the house by the landscape architect brought in to plan Myers Park; it includes the unusual feature of two California redwood trees on either side of the front yard.

Mr. William S. Moody recalls his father saying that he built the family home for $16,000, and that a few years later, a friend wanted to build a house on the lot behind his Providence Road residence (a lot which Charles Moody had purchased in 1913); the senior Moody thereupon sold the vacant lot for the same price as the amount he has spent building his house. William Moody also recounts that, after the children had grown, his father spent more money converting a downstairs child's room into a handsome library than he had expended to build the entire house.

Because of the tall trees, including hickory and oaks, the heavy construction and high ceilings of the house , the family always enjoyed a cool residence during the long summers. Mary Neal Moody Ellison, who was born in the house in 1915 and married there in 1937, recalls that she used to sit in a swing on the front porch in the summertime eating the home-made ice cream fashioned by the servants. Their genteel city-country living also allowed them to keep ponies, saddle horses, a billy goat (with accompanying wagon) and a vegetable garden.

Sarah Moody was the first to leave the house following her marriage to Mr. John R. Schenck in 1929, which she describes as the second biggest wedding in Myers Park Presbyterian Church. Next to leave was Mrs. Ellison, after her grand wedding at the house in 1937. William Moody was called into the service in 1941, married during the war, and only lived in the house a short time following his return. Bessie Moody lived in the house until a few years before her death in 1962 at the age of 83. 7 In 1949, she deeded the Providence Road property to her son, Stowe Moody, who continued to live in the home until he sold it to Realty Syndicate, Inc., in 1968. 8 Stowe Moody (1909-1975) succeeded his father as president of Interstate Milling Company, and also founded the Stowe Moody gift shops. 9 Six years before he sold it, in 1962, the house was on the Mint Museum Home Tour and the subject of a feature article in the Charlotte Observer in connection with the tour. 10 Marsh Realty Company, the present owner of the house, bought it in 1975, and has kept the structure in good condition with its adaptive use as architectural offices.


NOTES

1 Louis Asbury's record book of commissions, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Deed Book 289, p. 47, 1 Jan. 1912.

2 Interview with Mary Neal Moody Ellison, Charlotte, N.C. 16 June 1981.

3 Meck. Co. Certificate of Death, Book 47, p. 234.

4 Charlotte News, Dec. 20, 1935, p. 2.

5 Interview with William S. Moody, Charlotte, N.C., 16 June 1981.

6 Charlotte News, Dec. 20, 1935, p. 2.

7 Interviews with Mary Moody Ellison and William S. Moody, previously cited; interview with Sarah Moody Schenck, Charlotte, N.C. 16 June 1981.

8 Deed Book 1376, p. 401, 22 June 1949; Deed Book 3033, p. 253, 25 Nov. 1968.

9 Charlotte News, Sept. 9, 1975, p. 2B.

10 Charlotte Observer, Sept. 30, 1962, p. 13E.

11 Deed Book 3799, p. 867, 11 Nov. 1975.


Special Note: Louis H. Asbury (1877-1975) was the son of S. J. and Martha Moody 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. He subsequently matriculated at Trinity College, now Duke University, and graduated from that Institution in 1900. Having acquired his professional training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Asbury returned to Charlotte and established his architectural practice in 1908. In the succeeding decades, Louis H. Asbury assumed a position of prominence and leadership in the architectural profession. He was the first North Carolina member of the American Institute of Architects and played a leading role in organizing the North Carolina Chapter of the A.I.A. But his greatest contribution to the built environment of Charlotte were the many buildings which he fashioned over the years, beginning with the residence of R. M Miller, Jr., on North Tryon Street. Among his more noteworthy designs were the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, the First National Bank Building, the Montaldo's Building, the Law Building, and several of the imposing edifices in Myers Park.