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VanLandingham Estate Carriage House

This report was written on September 8, 1997

1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the VanLandingham Estate Carriage House is located at 2010 The Plaza in the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the property:
The owners are: Mark and Margaret Gilleskie
2010 The Plaza
Charlotte, NC 28205

3. Representative Photographs of the property: This report contains exterior photographs of the property.

4. Maps depicting the location of the property: This report contains a map depicting the location of the property.

Click on the map to browse

5. Current deed book references to the property: The most recent deed to the VanLandingham Estate is listed in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 5529 at Page 0824. The Tax Parcel Number of the property is 0095-061-01A & 095-061-01B.

6. A brief historical description of the property: This report contains a historical sketch of the property prepared by Sherry J. Joines.

7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report contains an architectural description of the property prepared by Sherry J. Joines.

8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets criteria for designation set forth in N.C.G.S. 160A-400.5:

a. Special significance in terms of history, architecture, and cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property known as the VanLandingham Estate Carriage House does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations: 1) it is an integral feature of the historic estate, providing an important link to the understanding of the lives of the elite and their servants; 2) it is an important feature on the grounds of the estate which are thought to have been designed by landscape architect Leigh Colyer; and 3) it is carefully designed and constructed to match the architecture of the main house, and, therefore, is a good example of a service building built in the Craftsman bungalow style.

b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling, and association: The Commission contends that the architectural description by Sherry J. Joines included in this report demonstrates that the VanLandingham Estate Carriage House meets this criterion.

9. Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal: The current Ad Valorem appraised value of the land is $112,790. The current Ad Valorem appraised value of the house and carriage house is $90,460. The total Ad Valorem appraised value is $298,800. The property is zoned B-2CD.

Date of Preparation of this Report: September 8, 1997

Prepared by: Sherry J. Joines
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
2100 Randolph Road
Charlotte, N.C. 28207

Historical Overview

Sherry J. Joines
September 8, 1997

It is often difficult to trace the exact history of such service structures as the carriage house at the VanLandingham Estate. It is known, however, that the present structure was not constructed with the 1913 - 1914 house. The 1929 Sanborn Fire Insurance map indicates that there were two service buildings on the estate, but neither seems to be the present building. The two structures were located south of the main house. The one closest to the main house appeared in an early photograph to be a small, one-story dwelling with side gable roof and front porch. The second building, also one story, near the southern property edge is marked on the Sanborn map as a garage for three automobiles.

Because the few historic photographs which do show the present carriage house are undated, we must rely, therefore, on the present owner's knowledge. Mr. Gilleskie asserts that the carriage house was constructed in 1931 at a cost of $400. All that can be said with certainty is that the carriage house was constructed prior to 1953. This is evidenced by its appearance on the Sanborn Fire Insurance map of that year. The small dwelling near the main house has vanished, but the three-stall garage at the southern edge of the property is still present.

The new carriage house is marked as having four stalls and being used for both automobiles and as a dwelling. This information supports the theory that the upstairs portion of the carriage house was originally servants' quarters. Since very early photographs indicate that the site was virtually barren after the completion of the house, it is plausible to suggest that Leigh Colyer, the landscape architect thought to have designed the grounds, did not begin his work until the early 1930s. The massive plantings of rhododendron are known to have originated from hybrids placed in the 1930s and 1940s.

Assuming that the drive configuration was laid out by Colyer it would suggest that the carriage house was constructed at this time since it fits neatly into the drive scheme, while the former garage would have been visible from the party lawn created at the south of the house. This lawn would have been on the location of the old one story dwelling, perhaps the original servants' quarters. Obviously, much of this is conjecture. It is difficult to be more precise based on physical inspection, however, due to the care taken to construct the carriage house to match the architecture of the main house.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION

Sherry J. Joines
September 8, 1997

Location Description
The estate is located on four acres of land at the southeast corner of The Plaza and Belvedere Avenue. The main house is roughly centered on the lot facing west towards The Plaza. The carriage house is on the eastern edge of the lot near the Thurmond Place boundary. The carriage house faces north.

Architectural Description
The VanLandingham Estate carriage house is a rectangular building of two stories with an attic space under the building's hipped roof. On the front side of the carriage house roof, a rectangular window in the hipped roof dormer lights the attic space. The building is sheathed in wood shingles which alternate between wide and narrow bands mimicking that of the main house. The building rests on a brick foundation.

The rafters are exposed and their ends, protruding beyond the wide eave overhang, are decoratively cut with an upward facing curve. Two chimneys further accent the building. The larger is on the exterior of the western side. Its stone construction is similar to that found on the main house. Special care was likely taken on this side of the building since it faces the main house. The second chimney is interior. Only about three feet of stone are visible at the top of this chimney, which is located on the rear roof of the building near its eastern end.

The front, or northern facade, is more or less symmetrical. Pairs of wooden doors once allowed entry into each of the four automobile bays. The four bays are paired, separated by a central, human-scale, door. Neither the bay doors, nor the entry door are original. They were badly deteriorated, and replaced during a 1995 - 1996 renovation of the building. The entry door has two vertical panes of glass over a square panel divided into four triangles. Each of the triangles is filled with painted bead board. The remainder of the door is natural wood. The door shown in photographs taken just prior to the renovation had nine lights with two rectangular wooden panels underneath. A small shed canopy is over the entry door in these photographs.

The bay doors are in their original configuration, but they are inoperable. Since the building was rehabilitated for use as a two-story dwelling, the doors were replaced with walls. Trim was applied to recreate the appearance of the original doors. Simple, unmolded boards create the doorframes. Three iron strap hinges hold each of the "doors" while matching iron handles would have been used to open each pair outwardly. The single light windows used in the renovation do not duplicate the six light windows of the original doors. Beneath the windows, the "door" is divided into two triangles by a single diagonal. Each triangle is filled with bead board. Following the pairing of the bay doors, windows are paired above all but one bay. These windows were also replaced during the renovation. They currently are all two lights over one light. The current owner remembers a variety of configurations on the former windows. Only the bay to the west of the entry does not have large paired windows. Instead, it has a smaller single window indicating the location of a bath.

The western side of the building is dominated by an exterior stone chimney. The chimney is located slightly south of the center of this side. Single windows are centered towards on both floors in the space between the chimney and the front corner of the building. The rear or southern facade has been altered the most. It is currently dominated by a one story screened porch which is accessed by three pairs of French doors. Three single windows are evenly spaced on the second floor. The porch only covers about three-quarters of the building leaving a small first floor window under the larger second floor window at the eastern end of this facade. This small window was not indicated on the "Existing Ground Floor" plan drawn in 1995 by John B. Hackler, FAIA. Evidence of other changes are found near the eastern side of the screened porch. A vent has been added about six feet up the side and under it is a rectangle (approximately four feet by six feet) where the shingle sheathing has been patched rather sloppily.

The eastern side of the building is difficult to see as it is very near the property edge and surrounded by fencing and planting. It contains only one window on the first floor near the front corner of the building. The ground falls away to this end leaving about two feet of the brick foundation exposed on this side. The original interior was four open bays on the first floor with a stair leading to the second floor directly in front of the central entry door. Upstairs were three rectangular bedrooms two to the east and one on the western end beside the bathroom. The current first floor living area and kitchen are fairly open. There are two bedrooms upstairs. Further description is unnecessary since the interior will not be designated.

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