AND RESEARCH REPORT
Woodlawn Avenue Duplex
1. Name and
location of the property: The property known as the Woodlawn
Avenue Duplex is located at 210 South Irwin
Ave, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Its
location is 17 513226E 3898947N
2. Name and address
of the present owner of the property:
T Hardy Investment
PO Box 621085
Charlotte, NC 28262
photographs of the property: This report contains representative
photographs of the property.
depicting the location of the property: This report contains a map
depicting the location of the property.
deed book and tax parcel information for the property:
The Tax Parcel
Number of the property is
The most recent deed reference to this property is
recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book
6. A brief
historical sketch of the property: This report contains a brief
historical sketch of the property.
7. A brief
architectural and physical description of the property: This report
contains a brief architectural description of the property.
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 its history, architecture, and/or cultural importance: The
Commission judges that the property known as the Woodlawn Avenue Duplex
does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations:
1) The Woodlawn
Avenue Duplex is a prominent reminder of the early 20th
century residential nature of Charlotte, and is thus an important
artifact that can help us understand the city’s built environment
which has been radically altered by both the commercial development of
Charlotte after World War II, urban renewal, and the recent phenomenal
commercial and residential development of the Uptown.
2) The Woodlawn
Avenue Duplex is a well-preserved example of a small two-story duplex,
which was once a common component of the Uptown residential landscape
but is now the among the rarest of the historic building types.
3) The Woodlawn
Avenue Duplex demonstrates both the diversity of residential building
types and the social and economic diversity that once existed in the
city neighborhoods but was not found in much of the residential
development in Charlotte after World War II.
4) The Woodlawn
Avenue Duplex is one of the few surviving buildings that were part of
Woodlawn, an early streetcar suburb.
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 Woodlawn Avenue
Duplex in Charlotte, N.C. meets this criterion.
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 designated as a
Date of preparation
of this report: December 2006
Prepared by: Stewart
Historical Context Statement for the Woodlawn Avenue
Residential Housing in the Center City
Once largely residential,
Charlotte’s urban core now contains a much-reduced collection of
historic residential buildings. Due to Urban Renewal during the
1960s and 1970s, entire residential neighborhoods near the city’s urban
core have been obliterated. Second Ward, which consisted of
roughly a quarter of the city in the 19th century, now
contains only housing in modern apartment buildings currently being
constructed, The Brooklyn neighborhood occupied much of Second Ward and
was once arguably the cultural center of the city’s African-American
community. Today only a school gymnasium, one commercial building,
and a church survive. Blandville, an African-American neighborhood
that existed to the south of Morehead Street, was also negatively
impacted by Urban Renewal. The building of a new expressway,
warehouses, shops, and factories contributed to the conversion of the Blandville neighborhood into a strictly industrial/commercial area.
Of the hundreds of homes that once populated Blandville, only one house
with integrity still exists.
|| House on Dunbar Street in
This phenomenon of neighborhood
eradication in Charlotte was not limited to black neighborhoods.
In the 19th Century, the homes of the city’s wealthiest and
most influential citizens lined its two dominant streets, Trade and
Tryon. Many of these homes survived into the middle years of the
20th century. None now exists. A collection of
historic homes dating from the late nineteenth century has survived in
the Fourth Ward and are part of the locally designated Fourth Ward
Historic District. But outside Fourth Ward, historic residential
buildings in the Urban Core are rare. The
William Bratton House was built around 1923
in Charlotte's First Ward. The home of a Duke Power engineer, it
was situated amid a streetscape of single-family houses and duplexes
built for middle and upper-middle class whites. Today, it is the
only surviving residential building along North Brevard Street.
The house, now an office, faces east on a flat lot, bordered by vacant
lots and parking lots. Only one other pre-World War II home has
survived in the Ward, which once featured hundreds of homes.
Bratton House, ca. 1923
The near-complete loss of historic
residential buildings in the Center City makes it difficult for the
public to understand the pre-World War II history of Charlotte based on
the current built environment. This scarcity of historic
resources endows the surviving neighborhoods and exceptional individual
buildings in those neighborhoods with special significance if they have
retained their integrity.
The development of the Woodlawn
Neighborhood was part of the phenomenal growth that Charlotte
experienced in the early years of the twentieth century. Between
1900 and 1910, the city’s population grew 82%, from18,091 to 34,014.
In response, the city expanded physically, with its boundaries moving
outward to incorporate former farmland. From 1885 to 1907, the
city’s area grew 570%. This incredible growth continued with the
city’s population reaching 82,675 by 1930.
To accommodate the new citizens, real estate developers such as F. C.
Abbott, George Stephens and B. D. Heath built neighborhoods that were
linked to the city by the expanding streetcar systems.
Some of these neighborhoods, such as Myers Park, Wilmore, and Washington
Heights, have survived. Others, such as Oakhurst (now in Plaza Midwood), Piedmont Park (now part of Elizabeth), and Woodlawn (now
considered part of Irwin Park or Third Ward) were absorbed into larger
neighborhoods and have lost their distinct historic identities.
Woodlawn resulted from a decision by
the Continental Manufacturing Company to develop its surplus land in
Charlotte’s Third Ward into a residential neighborhood.
Development began around 1907. Although located inside one of the
City’s original four wards, the neighborhood was promoted as a suburb,
perhaps due to the developing success of Charlotte’s first true
Dilworth. Streetcar lines radiated out from the center of the
city, and along these lines neighborhoods called “streetcar suburbs”
sprang up. Woodlawn was one of these neighborhoods, and it was
served by the West Trade Street streetcar line. The close-in nature of
the neighborhood may have been one of its selling points. A 1911
advertisement proclaimed "Woodlawn is the nearest suburb to the business
part of the city, yet NONE is prettier."
Woodlawn was never a large
neighborhood. Originally platted along just four streets, it
appears that soon after the small neighborhood was built it began to
loose its original identity. The 1911 Sanborn Maps show the small
neighborhood labeled as Woodlawn. Virginia Woolard, who grew up in
the neighborhood on Grove Street in the 1940s, does not recall that her
neighborhood ever had a name.
Instead one would simply refer to the street name to
identify where they lived. Still, the original identity of the
neighborhood was retained to some extent with the name of its principal
street, Woodlawn Avenue. This final link to the historic name of
the neighborhood was lost when the curving Woodlawn Avenue was renamed.
A short street, Woodlawn Avenue never contained more than 22 buildings.
In 1953 a new road named Woodlawn Road appeared in the city directory.
It also contained around 20 homes. But this new road was located
to the south of the city where suburban development exploded after World
War II. By 1959, hundreds of new homes lined Woodlawn Road, which
became a major thoroughfare feeding the city’s new suburban residential,
and commercial development. The two blocks that had been labeled
Woodlawn Avenue were renamed Irwin Avenue South, to avoid confusion with
the robust roadway to the south.
The Woodlawn Avenue Apartments is a
duplex with distinct upstairs and downstairs units. While some
good examples of early-twentieth-century duplexes survive in the
outlying suburbs of Elizabeth, Dilworth, and Plaza Midwood, the story
in the city’s historic core is quite different. A survey of
Charlotte’s Center City conducted by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic
Landmarks Commission in 2004 identified fifty-two individual properties
that could potentially be designated as historic landmarks. Of
these, only two were duplexes: the Woodlawn Avenue Apartments, and the
North Myers Street Duplex. This low number is especially dramatic
when a review of Sanborn Maps shows that duplexes, as well as
quadraplexes, were a common feature in the Center City. Identified
in the 2004 survey, the North Myers Street Duplex is an important
reminder of the historic residential nature of First Ward.
Unfortunately, the historical context of the building has been lost, as
it is now the sole survivor of a residential neighborhood and is now,
like the William Bratton House,
surrounded by vacant lots, parking lots, and sprawling late 20th-
and 21st-century commercial buildings. In contrast, the
Woodlawn Apartments is located amidst a small collection of surviving
single-family homes. The remnant of the Woodlawn neighborhood
around the Woodlawn Apartments concretely demonstrates what the old
directories and fire insurance maps indicate that duplexes and other
multi-family residential buildings were commonly intermingled with
single-family homes in early twentieth-century neighborhoods.
|Myers Street Duplex
||Woodlawn Avenue Duplex
Sanborn maps from
1953 indicate that duplexes were still a common building type in the
Center City landscape at least until the middle years of the 20th
century. In First Ward the block formed by 8th and 9th
Streets and North Brevard and Caldwell streets contained twenty-seven
closely spaced residential buildings. Of those, at least 15 appear
to have been duplexes. Not all residential sections contained such
a high percentage of duplexes. In the city’s Fourth Ward, the
block surrounded by 9th and 8th streets, Graham
and Smith Streets contained 21 residential buildings with five of those
being duplexes. A review of the Sanborn maps clearly indicates
that nearly every single block of residential buildings in the four
wards once contained duplexes.
In Charlotte, this historic housing
pattern was largely abandoned after World War II when the new suburban
neighborhoods were strictly segregated into either single-family or
Built between 1926
the Woodlawn Avenue Duplex was very much part of the “everyday”
architecture of Charlotte’s urban core before World War II.
Blue-collar and lower level white-collar workers lived there for much of
the 20th Century. In 1934, 208 Woodlawn, the upper unit
of the duplex, was occupied by Harry and Mary Fine. Harry was
listed as a clerk with the Southern Public Utilities Company, which
later became Duke Power. Downstairs in 210 Woodlawn lived William
and Frances Craig. William’s occupation is listed as Traveling
Salesman. The Fines and the Craigs lived in a neighborhood
principally of singles-family houses. The only other multi-family
buildings in the small Woodlawn Neighborhood were the quadraplex next
door and the four-unit Woodlawn Terrace Apartments. More
transitory than their neighbors who generally owned their own homes,
the tenants in the duplex were different by 1942. That year “credit
manager” James Strawn lived in 208 Woodlawn and machinist Herbert Crouch
and his wife Diamond lived in 210.
The Woodlawn Avenue
Duplex continued to function as a duplex through the 1960s even as the
nature of the neighborhood changed. Like most of Third Ward, the
Woodlawn neighborhood saw an outflow of white residents as the suburbs
of the city expanded. Facing a dwindling supply of housing in the
city’s Urban Core, black Charlotteans moved into the once segregated
While many of the
original neighborhood homes have survived, the Woodlawn Duplex is the
only multi-family residential building in the neighborhood to have
survived with a good degree of integrity. The neighboring
quadraplex has been significantly altered, and the Woodlawn Terrace
Apartments have been lost. A wider survey of Third Ward indicates
that the Woodlawn Duplex is the only surviving duplex in the entire
In the context of a
vastly changed city, the Woodlawn Duplex is an important artifact that
can help us understand the early 20th
century residential nature of Charlotte. It is a prominent relic
of a reduced neighborhood whose original identity has been lost.
It is helpful in understanding the many small neighborhoods that were
absorbed into larger ones. It is representative of a once-common
housing type that that has disappeared completely from Charlotte’s
center city neighborhoods.
Before 2005 Renovation
The Woodlawn Duplex is a
two-story brick-veneered building. Although detailing is
restrained, the ca. 1928 duplex appears to be a late, vernacular example
of the Mission Style, with the shaped parapet and arched porch being the
most distinguishing elements. The exposed rafter ends of the duplex’s
porch roofs fit with the style and would have been a feature familiar to
Charlotte’s builders who, up until World War II, continued to utilize
elements of the Craftsman Style. Another link with the local
tenacity of the Craftsman Style is the duplex’s bracketed shed-roof over
the entrance. This is an element found on several Craftsman Style
duplexes and quadraplexes in the fairly intact Charlotte suburbs of
Dilworth and Elizabeth.
The building faces east and is
four bays wide with a two-story porch centered on the façade. The lower
story of the porch features two brick posts connected with
segmental-arches that appear to be supported by curved boxed-in wooden
lintels. In contrast to the masonry lower porch, the upper story
features square wooden posts that support a built-up exposed beam that
in turn supports the shed roof’s rafters. The rafter ends are
fancifully sawn with double curves. The porch ceiling and in-fill walls
are covered with original tongue-and-groove narrow boards.
The façade is
veneered with wire-cut brick. A watertable is delineated with a
soldier-course of brick resting on a solid brick foundation that has
been stuccoed smooth. All exterior doors and windows have been
replaced. Wall openings on the second story are aligned with those
on the first. On both stories the southernmost bay contains double
metal casement windows that replaced original metal casements. The
windows feature simple brick sills, and soldier-courses delineate the
lintels. On both stories, the porch shelters a door opening and
another double-window opening. The northernmost bay contains the
main entrance to the duplex. A shed roof shelters the door and is
supported by two large brackets with curved braces. The rafter
ends are also sawn with a single curve. The door was originally
bordered with multi-pane sidelights, which have been replaced with
single-light sidelights. This doorway was originally only the entrance
to the upper apartment of the duplex. The original entrance to the
lower apartment was accessed through the porch. Metal railing now
blocks this entrance, and both apartments share a single entrance.
Above the doorway is a single metal casement.
The façade features
a parapet with flat and curvilinear coping. The raised center
section of the parapet is highlighted with a cross pattern in the
The side elevations
lack the architectural features of the façade. The south elevation
is pierced by four window openings. The north elevation is pierced
by a small window opening set between the upper and lower stories that
lights the stairwell.
A narrow alley runs
behind the building. Sanborn maps indicate that the duplex originally
had automobile parking in the basement. The bays for the auto
parking are now obscured with stucco. Unlike on the other elevations,
the fenestration on the rear of the building has been somewhat altered.
An original short window has been infilled, and one double-window
opening has been reduced to the size of a single window opening.