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Survey and Research Report

on the

Standard Oil of New Jersey Company Complex

and the

Southern Spindle and Flyer Company Building

 

 

Emily Ramsey and Lara Ramsey

November 2003


1.      Name and location of the property: The property known as the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey Complex is located at 907 W. 1st Street in Charlotte, North Carolina. The property known as the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company Building is located at 801 W. 1st Street in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

2.      Name and address of the current owner(s) of the property:

 

The current owner of the Standard Oil Company Complex is:

 

The Charlotte Rescue Mission, Inc.

907 W. 1st Street

Charlotte, NC 28202

 

The current owner of the Southern Spindle & Flyer Co. Building is:

                       

Christian Rehabilitation Center, Inc.

907 W. 1st Street

Charlotte, NC 28202-1103 

 

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

 

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

 

 

5.  Current deed book reference to the property: The most recent deed to the Standard Oil Company Complex can be found in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 2121, page 357. The most recent deed to the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company Building can be found in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 4187, page 625. The property is zoned MUDD.  

 

6.      A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property prepared by Emily Ramsey.

 

7.      A brief architectural description of the property: This report contains a brief architectural description of the property prepared by Lara Ramsey.

 

8.      Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the 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 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission judges that the Standard Oil Company Complex and the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company Building possess special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations:

 

1.      The Standard Oil Company Complex and the adjacent Southern Spindle & Flyer Company Building are physical reminders of Charlotte’s burgeoning cotton economy, and are representative of the wide variety of industries supported by the region’s textile mills.

2.      The Standard Oil Company Complex served as the district office and plant for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (later the Esso Standard Oil Company) from 1913-1957, providing lubricating oils and other products for the region’s textile mills and manufacturing facilities. The plant also served as a major distribution center for a wide variety of Standard Oil of New Jersey petroleum products, including kerosene, gasoline, axel grease, and fuel oils, at a time when Charlotte was just emerging as a major distribution center.

3.      The Southern Spindle & Flyer Company, “the only makers of flyers pressers in the South,” manufactured and repaired spindles, flyers and rollers for the region’s textile mills from its 1st Street plant.

4.      Architecturally, the Standard Oil Company Complex and the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company Building illustrate the move towards more modern industrial fireproof construction methods during the early twentieth century. Although Standard Oil’s steel-frame 1915 office building was structurally more advanced than the wood and brick construction of Southern Spindle & Flyer, both retained the conservative revivalistic designs seen in countless industrial buildings throughout the city.  The Standard Oil warehouse took the innovation a step further, utilizing steel and concrete in its construction and presenting an almost unadorned, more modern exterior.

 

b.      Integrity of design, workmanship, materials, feeling, and association.

The Commission contends that the architectural description prepared by Lara Ramsey demonstrates that the Standard Oil Company Complex and the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company Building meet 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 that becomes a designated “historic landmark.” The current appraised value of the Standard Oil Company Complex is $1,485,000—$585,000 for the buildings, and $900,000 for the land. The Southern Spindle and Flyer Company has a current appraised value of $425,900—$78,400 for the building and other features, and $346,000 for the land.

 

Date of preparation of this report:

November 1, 2003

 

 

Prepared by:

 

Emily Ramsey and Lara Ramsey

2436 North Albany Avenue, Apt. 1

Chicago, IL 60647

 

 

Statement of Significance

Standard Oil Company Complex

and the

Southern Spindle & Flyer Company Building

 

 

Summary

 

The Standard Oil Company of New Jersey Complex and the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company Building, constructed during the 1910s and 1920s, are properties that possess local historic significance as physical reminders of Charlotte’s burgeoning cotton economy and as representative examples of the wide variety of industries supported by the region’s textile mills. With the coming of the railroads in 1852, Charlotte began its transformation from a small inland trading village to a modern industrial New South city. Business and civic leaders in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County answered the call of New South industrialists to “bring the mills to the cotton.”[1] By 1910, Charlotte was the largest city in North Carolina and the heart of a large and profitable textile region covering North and South Carolina as well as large parts of Tennessee and Georgia. By 1915, Mecklenburg County was home to twenty-two textile mills, the success of which spurred a boom in cotton- and textile-related industries.[2] The Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company were among the industries drawn to Charlotte during the early decades of the twentieth century. The two companies could not have been more different. The name Standard Oil epitomized big business at the turn of the century, and became the subject of one of the country’s most famous antitrust cases. Even after the court-ordered breakup of the Standard Oil holding company in 1911, the Baltimore division of Standard Oil of New Jersey alone employed 1259 people at 439 bulk distribution stations across the south by 1917.[3] Southern Spindle & Flyer, in contrast, was a modest, locally owned and operated company that began as a machine shop. Yet, both companies located in Charlotte during the early 1900s to serve and profit from the booming textile industry.

Architecturally, the Standard Oil Company Complex and the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company Building are significant as representative examples of early twentieth-century industrial construction and design. Together, the buildings illustrate the move that some companies were making towards more modern industrial fireproof construction methods. Although Standard Oil’s steel-frame 1915 office  building was structurally more advanced than the wood and brick construction of Southern Spindle & Flyer, both retained the conservative revivalistic designs seen in countless industrial buildings throughout the city.  The Standard Oil warehouse took the innovation a step further, utilizing steel and concrete in its construction and presenting an almost unadorned, more modern exterior. Located in what was originally a dense concentration of industrial buildings along South Cedar Street and the Piedmont and Northern Railroad, the Standard Oil Company Complex and the Southern Spindle & Flyer Building remain as tangible reminders of Charlotte’s industrial past.

Southern Spindle & Flyer is in the foreground.

 

Historical Background Statement

           

The post-bellum history of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County is intimately connected to the development of the southern cotton textile industry. After the Civil War, Charlotte was poised to enter a period of growth and prosperity spurred by industrialization. With four rail lines intersecting in the city by 1860, Charlotte had already developed a strong economy through trade in cotton. These rail lines, which remained operable after the Civil War, and Mecklenburg County’s emergence as the leading cotton producer in the state, gave Charlotte distinct advantages over other towns in the region. New South entrepreneurs like D. A. Tompkins began urging Charlotte business and civic leaders to use the city’s advantageous position and “Bring the Mills to the Cotton.” By the turn of the century, Charlotte and the surrounding region were literally covered with textile mills. By 1902, just twenty-two years after the establishment of Charlotte’s first mill, the Charlotte Cotton Mill, three hundred mills had been built within one hundred miles of Charlotte, representing over half of the looms and spindles operating in the entire South. By 1915, twenty-two cotton textile mills were operating within the city limits. [4]

            The strength of Charlotte’s textile economy attracted a diverse array of industries; a 1926 Greater Charlotte Guide Book boasted that Charlotte was “the commercial and distributing center of the Carolinas,” with over 250 industrial and manufacturing plants.[5]   Industrial businesses in Charlotte were producing “everything from chemicals and window sash to ice cream and caskets.”[6] Much more common than ice cream and casket producers were industries directly related to textiles. Textile mills needed electricity, fuel and lubricating oils, suppliers and skilled mechanics for specialized equipment and machinery, and warehouses in which to store raw cotton and other materials. The Standard Oil Company and the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company provided textile mills with products they needed to run smoothly and efficiently.  

            Standard Oil produced an astounding range of petroleum products that included lubricating oils, gasoline, fuel oil, axle grease, kerosene, and sewing machine oil, in addition to its branded specialty products like Marking Crayons, Handy Ironing Wax, Aladdin Security Oil, Eureka Harness Oil, and Nujol, a medicinal oil.[7] However, a good portion of the company’s early business in Charlotte was in selling industrial oils and greases to textile mills and textile industries. Kerosene, then a major household heating fuel, was also a top selling product. Standard Oil came to Charlotte in 1886, setting up a small “oil house” and office at 701 Johnson Ave.[8] The modest plant was one of a cluster of industrial operations around Smith Street and Johnson. Nearby operations included the Ada Cotton Mill, Standard Ice and Fuel Company, and the N.C. Cotton Oil Company.[9]

At the same time that Standard Oil was establishing its business in Charlotte, the company was also battling accusations that the Standard Oil Trust (organized in 1882 by president John D. Rockefeller) constituted a monopoly in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. In 1892, the Supreme Court of Ohio ordered the dissolution of the trust. Rockefeller responded by merely transferring the assets to a new holding company, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. Public outcry against the company reached a peak in 1906, when the Federal government filed suit against Standard Oil. In 1911, the Supreme Court ruled against the company and ordered the dissolution of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey.[10] The company was broken up by geographic location into 33 separate corporations, which were all put up for sale. The Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (known as the Jersey Company under the trust) retained control of much of the east coast from New Jersey to South Carolina. After the dissolution decree, the Charlotte plant remained one of over 400 bulk stations under the Baltimore district office, which was in charge of distribution in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and the District of Columbia.[11]  That same year, 1911, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey moved its Charlotte office downtown to the Realty Building, where special agent John A. Fricker controlled marketing and sales. Sub agent C.C. Beasely continued to supervise distribution at the Johnson Avenue plant.[12] Standard Oil was doing well in Charlotte, and as business improved the need for more space to expand operations kept the company moving.       

In 1913, the company purchased the Fabrick Development Co. plant, a large parcel with a moderately sized warehouse in the planned community of McNinchville.[13] Standard Oil’s new neighbors were the Armature Winding Company and the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company—both companies that had come to McNinchville around 1905. On August 25, 1914, Standard Oil obtained a building permit for a $45,000 two-story brick building. Builder J. A. Jones, who also maintained an office in the Realty Building, was awarded the contract.[14] The new building was completed by 1915, and housed the company office, which faced 1st Street.  Submerged holding tanks for lubricating oils, industrial grease, kerosene and most likely gasoline were located on the southern corner of the block, along with two tiny pump houses. A railroad spur gave fuel cars easy access to the tanks.[15] 

In 1919, Charlotte became a branch office for Standard Oil of New Jersey, and construction began in 1920 on a new warehouse and garage adjacent to the W. 1st Street Office. According to the September 1 building permit, the two-story brick, steel and concrete structure would be 100 feet long and 150 deep, and cost $85,500. Standard Oil Company was listed as owner, architect and builder.[16] Branch manager Charles Byers and assistant branch manager Clarence Motte replaced special agent John Fricker when the new branch office complex was completed.[17] As a branch office and plant, the Charlotte Standard Oil office handled the sale and distribution of a wide variety of Standard Oil of New Jersey products for the entire state. The office employed highly specialized sales forces—one to solicit orders for specialty brands directly from retailers, one to deal with individual consumers who bought primarily kerosene and gasoline, and a cadre of “smokestack salesmen” who handled the sale of over thirty industrial oils and grease. The office also employed several tank-wagon drivers to deliver bulk products directly to retailers and individual consumers, and a full time mechanic to “advise on particular problems and assist the salesmen.” Jersey branch offices were also in charge of selling peripheral products like candles, wicks and burners, Perfection cook stoves and heaters, and Rayo oil lamps to area retailers.[18] The textile industry had drawn Standard Oil to Charlotte in the 1880s, and the business had profited greatly from the booming textile economy during the first decades of the twentieth century. By 1920 the office had been transformed from modest industrial supplier to a major distribution point for a wide variety of Standard Oil petroleum products. 

 

           

     The Southern Spindle & Flyer Company had been operating in McNinchville for almost a decade when Standard Oil moved its operations to 1st Street. The company had incorporated in 1905 with the intent to “manufacture, overhaul, adapt, and repair cotton mill and other machinery.”[19] Company president Thomas Costello and vice-president William Monty transferred title to a parcel of land on the southern corner of 1st and Clarkson Streets to the company in September 1905. By 1906, Southern Spindle & Flyer was producing spindles, rollers, and flyers for textile companies out of a one-story frame machine shop with a tiny corner office, located on the southern end of their 50’ by 150’ lot.[20] Brisk business allowed the company to gradually acquire the surrounding lots in four separate purchases during the 1910s, and in 1918 Southern Spindle & Flyer began construction of a small one-story brick warehouse on the corner of 1st and Clarkson.[21] William Monty was president and treasurer of the company, assisted by vice-president and secretary W. H. Hutchins. By the late 1920s, the company had expanded its rear machine shop and connected it to the 1918 warehouse with a one-story addition. The warehouse was converted to a front office. The Southern Spindle & Flyer Company served textile mills in the Charlotte region and throughout the South. A 1917 advertisement for the company boasted that the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company was “the only flyer presser maker in the South.” The company manufactured and repaired all varieties of steel rollers, flyer pressers, card room spindles, lifting rods, and cylinder heaters.[22] The Southern Spindle and Flyer Company both benefited from and contributed to Charlotte’s emergence as a booming textile manufacturing center.

            Both Standard Oil and Southern Spindle & Flyer continued to operate on W. 1st Street well into the post-World War II period. By the 1940s, the Standard Oil complex had evolved from a distribution center to divisional sales department, and main office.  This shift was probably due to the changing nature of distribution in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County—while products like lubricating oil and kerosene were originally transported by rail to holding tanks at West 1st Street and then distributed locally, the advent of better roads and large transfer trucks allowed the company to distribute goods from farther afield.[23]   Standard Oil became the Esso Standard Oil Company in 1948, and the company sold its complex in 1959 to the Charlotte Rescue Mission, a non-profit organization.[24] Southern Spindle & Flyer opened a new plant at 1906 N. Brevard in the late 1940s. In 1961, Southern Spindle & Flyer Company president Albert M. Guillet, Jr. officially changed the name of the company to the Almalet Corporation.[25] Five years later, the company finally sold the small operation on W. 1st Street to William and Mary Holbrook. In 1979, the Christian Rehabilitation Center, Inc. (affiliated with the Charlotte Rescue Mission) took over the property.

 

Architectural Context Statement

 

The Standard Oil Company complex and the Southern Spindle and Flyer Company building represent the evolving construction methods used on Mecklenburg County industrial buildings during the first decades of the twentieth century.  Perhaps because of the sheer dominance of cotton textile manufacturers in the industrial landscape of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in the late nineteenth century, many of the city’s other industries—many of which were related to or in some way supported the cotton textile mills—used some of the same designs and methods of construction used in cotton mills.  These standards had, in turn, been taken from the criteria for “slow burning” construction developed by New England manufacturers and insurance companies, and had been recommended by leading New South industrialists like D.A. Tompkins and Stuart Cramer for North Carolina mills.[26]  Mills were to be built of brick, with wall thickness at the top floor of at least 13" and increasing for each lower floor.   Other elements like brick firewalls and sprinkler systems were meant to protect the mills from fire, a real danger with the presence of highly combustible cotton.  Though the walls were brick, thick wood timbers usually made up the framing of the mill buildings.  Tompkins recommended similar materials for warehouse buildings. [27] With the emphasis placed upon economy and safety, relatively little consideration was given to the aesthetics of mill buildings.  Decoration was kept to a minimum, and usually consisted of corbelling around entrances and doors. 

The methods used in mill construction were perfectly suited for other types of industries burgeoning alongside the textile manufacturers.  “Slow burn” construction made sense for most manufacturers, even if their shops were not filled with cotton.  D.A. Tompkins’s Machine Shop at 1900 South Boulevard (1904-5) and the Cole Manufacturing Company (1909) at 1318 Central Avenue utilized masonry construction like that seen in the county’s textile mills; the Textile Mill Supply company, built in 1922 and located at 1300 S. Mint Street, is a later example of this type of industrial construction, with pine posts and beams creating a frame around brick exterior walls.[28]

The Southern Spindle and Flyer Company, constructed in 1918, is typical of this early type of mill construction so popular with industries in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.  The company’s first building on West 1st Street was a one-story, rectangular, frame building with a shed roof, located in the southwestern corner of block and facing South Clarkson.  In 1918, the company built a second building at the northwest corner of the block.  This building, a 30-by-50 foot, one story structure, was to be used as a warehouse.[29]  Constructed of a frame of 4-inch wood studs with brick exterior walls, the small storehouse was, like so many other mills and industrial buildings in the county, a “slow burning” building.  Ornamentation on the warehouse was kept to a minimum, and limited to its façade (north elevation).  This simple, symmetrical façade, decorated with a bracketed metal cornice, shed portico, and stepped brick parapet, is illustrative of the rather austere, conservative exteriors of Charlotte’s industrial buildings. 

Although “slow burning” construction methods continued to be used through the 1930s in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, new methods and materials began to change the way in which industrial buildings were built. Through the 1910s and early 1920s, load-bearing masonry walls and timber posts gave way to steel and concrete frames, eventually evolving into the concrete-frame, brick curtain wall warehouses built in the late 1920s.  These warehouses—Carolina Transfer and Storage, Coca Cola Bottling Company, and Union Storage and Warehouse among them—were virtually fireproof, and the new construction methods allowed for larger expanses of storage space.[30] 

The Standard Oil Company buildings are both early examples of this move toward more modern construction methods and materials.  The company, wanting to consolidate its sales office in the Realty Building (later Independence Building) and its distribution center on Johnson Avenue, first moved to West 1st Street in 1913 and commenced construction of  its first building there the following year.  The two-story office building exhibits the load-bearing brick walls recommended by D.A. Tompkins and Stewart Cramer, measuring 13 inches at the second story, 17 inches  at the first, and 21 inches at the basement level.  However, steel I-beams were used to carry the floors, something not seen in earlier mill complexes and industrial buildings.[31]  Even though the structure itself was slightly more modern than other industrial buildings of its time, the design of the exterior was not.  With its central pedimented entrance and tall, regularly spaced windows topped with flat arches, the classically inspired façade of this first building reflects the use of stripped-down historicism common in most of Charlotte’s industrial buildings.

 

In 1920, Standard Oil built a two-story warehouse just east of the office building on 1st Street.  According to the building permit, the warehouse was constructed of brick, steel, and cement, with two-foot-six-inch foundation walls and chimneys lined with fireproof clay. [32]   Although the permit does not describe in detail how the materials were used in construction, the building was probably built with a steel frame, brick exterior walls, and cement floors and roof.  While not quite as advanced as the brick curtain wall warehouses of the late 1920s, Standard Oil’s 1920 warehouse showed that some companies were beginning to use more modern methods of constructing their buildings.

Unlike the 1914 office building, the warehouse was not ornamented with classically inspired architectural details.  The façade and side elevations of the warehouse were very simply punctuated with a series of large, slightly horizontal windows set inside of rectangular brick insets.  A concrete stringcourse and cornice were the only other elements added to adorn the elevations, which were topped with a simple brick parapet with concrete caps.

In the Standard Oil buildings and the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company building one can see the evolution of Charlotte’s industrial buildings, from the wood posts and load bearing masonry of Southern Spindle and Flyer’s modest warehouse to the steel and concrete of Standard Oil’s structures.  It seems appropriate that Standard Oil of New Jersey, a large company with sales offices and bulk stations in several states, should be among the first in Charlotte to use modern construction methods and materials like steel and concrete, while smaller companies like Southern Spindle & Flyer would stick to tried and true construction methods. 

 

Architectural Description

 

Southern Spindle & Flyer Company

 

The Southern Spindle & Flyer Company building is located at the southeast corner of West 1st Street and what was originally Clarkson Street in what began as the planned development of McNinchville.  A spur of the Piedmont & Northern Railway runs along the southern edge of the lot.  The land slopes down slightly toward the western side of the lot.  To the east of the building are several empty lots, leaving a large expanse of unoccupied land that runs east to S. Cedar Street.  To the west of the property is the Standard Oil Company complex.  A residential development faces the property on the north side of West 1st Street.

The building, which has a roughly “L” shaped footprint, was originally two separate buildings.  The first, a rectangular wood frame machine shop with a sloping shed roof located near the southwest corner of the lot, was built c. 1911.  The second building, a small brick warehouse, was completed seven years later, and was constructed in the northwest corner of the property.  Sometime between 1918 and 1929, Southern Spindle & Flyer built a one-story brick connector between the machine shop and warehouse.[33]  After the connector was built, the warehouse was converted into an office for the company, and the connector was used for storage. 

The façade of the building faces West 1st Street, running east from the northwest corner of the lot approximately 50 feet.  The length of the building, extending south along the former S. Clarkson Street, is approximately 200 feet.  All three sections of the building are single storied; the front office building and connector are both topped with slightly sloping, almost flat roofs, while the frame machine shop at the southern end of the combined structure has a shed roof with a southern slope. 

The façade of the building is the only elevation that contains any decoration. The elevation is covered with deep red face brick laid in common bond. This face brick extends around to what was originally the west elevation (or secondary facade) of the 1918 warehouse/office building, which faced S. Clarkson Street. A modest shed roof with exposed rafter tails covers the central entrance.  Two large wood brackets that flank the entrance support the roof.  Multi-pane sidelights and a three-window, multi-pane transom surround the front door, which has been replaced.  A pair of large, multi-pane windows are centered along the wall on either side of the entrance—these four windows dominate the façade.  Above the entrance and windows, a metal cornice runs along the length of the façade, continuing approximately two feet around the northwest and northeast corners of the building.  A series of small brackets are located underneath the cornice; some of these brackets are missing.  Above the cornice, topping the façade, is a capped brick parapet.  The middle of the parapet is stepped, as are its two corners. 

The side elevations of the building, including the east and west elevations of the 1918 warehouse and connector, are completely unadorned, with the exception of flat, capped parapet wall.  The west elevation originally contained several windows, which have now been bricked in.  The east elevation has been partially covered by a one-story addition that is flush with the façade, extending east from the northern end of the east elevation.  The frame, shed-roof section of the building extends east along the south end of the connector, continuing past its east wall.  In the corner created by the intersection of the frame building and the connector is a small frame lean-to.  Because the authors were not given permission by the owners to go onto the property, the south elevation and southern end of the west elevation (primarily the frame, shed-roof portion of the building) cannot be completely described. 

 

Standard Oil Company of New Jersey Buildings

 

The complex of buildings formerly owned by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey is located along West 1st Street between what was formerly S. Clarkson Street and McNinch Street.  The Southern Spindle & Flyer Company building is located on the lot to the east of the property, and the Armature Winding Company to the west of the property, across McNinch.  A residential development along the north side of West 1st Street faces the buildings.  As with Southern Spindle & Flyer, the Standard Oil property borders a spur of the P & N Railroad along its southern border. 

            The two principal structures on the property, both built by Standard Oil, are located along the northern edge of the block, facing West 1st Street.  The first, constructed in 1914, sits in the middle of the north border of the property, and is set back slightly from the property line.  The brick building is a two-story rectangle, with a basement that is partially revealed along the façade (north elevation) and east elevation as the property slopes down.  Extending 50 feet from east to west and 80 feet from north to south, the building was constructed as an office for the Charlotte sales division of Standard Oil, which had originally been on Johnson Avenue. 

The façade (north elevation) of the building is regular and symmetrical, with classical detailing.  A set of concrete steps leads to a central entrance.  The entrance is topped with a portico supported by two decorative brackets.  The doorway of the entrance is recessed.  A series of tall, slightly narrow windows regularly punctuate the façade at the first and second floors.  Simple sills and flat-arch lintels (probably limestone or concrete painted white) decorate the windows.  Above the second story, a plain metal stringcourse runs along the façade just below a projecting metal cornice.  An unadorned brick parapet rises above the cornice.  The composition of regularly spaced windows, metal stringcourse and cornice are continued along the other elevations of the building, creating a very uniform design.  Although the window openings and surrounds remain, all windows in the building have been replaced with glass block. 

The second building constructed for Standard Oil sits just to the east of the 1914 building, in the northeast corner of the property.  Built in 1920, the building originally functioned as a warehouse and garage.   A much larger building, the warehouse extends 100 feet from east to west and 150 from north to south.  The front (north) section of the building is two stories tall (not including the basement level), with a single-story rear (south) section. The footprint of the building is a slightly modified rectangle—originally, the northwest corner bay of the building was recessed.  The recessed portion of the façade contained the original entrance to the warehouse.  This recessed space has been filled with a one-story entrance addition that replaced the original entrance. 

Like the office building that stands beside it, the Standard Oil warehouse exhibits the same kind of regular composition on its elevations.  The warehouse, however, does not contain the classical details of the office.  The dominant element of the warehouse building is its windows—large, slightly horizontal windows with simple, straight concrete sills and lintels line the first and second floors of the building.  These windows are set in pairs within large recessed brick panels that mimic the shape of the windows (the exception to this pattern occurs in the recessed northwest corner, which has single windows within recessed panels).  All of the windows on the warehouse building have either been bricked in or filled with glass brick. A thick concrete stringcourse runs between the first and second floors on the two-story section of the building; a concrete cornice identical to this stringcourse is located above the second floor on this section of the building, and above the first on the single-story rear section.  Subtly decorative brick corbelling lines the underside of the stringcourse and the cornice.  The parapet is one of the few architectural elements on the warehouse that changes slightly from the façade to the other elevations.  The façade parapet is interrupted by a triangle that rises up in its center, and is decorated with four plain, white crests regularly placed along the length of the parapet wall.  The other elevations do not exhibit this center triangle. A brick connector located between the first and second floors of both buildings links the office building and warehouse.  This connector was constructed when the warehouse was built, and exhibits the same architectural elements used on that building. 

In addition to the office and warehouse complex, several smaller buildings also occupy the property.  Most of these structures are located along the west side of the block, facing McNinch.  In the southwest corner of the block stands a one-story, rectangular, brick building with a stepped parapet and segmented arch windows.  North of this building, set approximately in the middle of the western side of the block, is two-story brick structure, also with a simple parapet and segmented arch windows that appear to have been bricked in.  The detailing on these two buildings suggest that they pre-date the Standard Oil office and warehouse, and may have been part of the Fabrick Development Company, which sold its parcel within the block to Standard Oil.[34]   Other buildings located on the property include: a metal shed built between the two early warehouse buildings in the early 1940s; a small parking lot surrounded by a low concrete block wall in the northwest corner of the block; and a one-story, irregularly shaped brick building in the southeast corner of the property that was constructed sometime between 1946 and 1958. [35]

 

   



[1] Thomas Hanchett, “The Growth of Charlotte: A History” (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, www.cmhpf.org).

 

[2] Ibid.

 

[3] George Sweet Gibb and Evelyn H. Knowlton, The Resurgent Years: 1911-1927, vol. 2 of History of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), (New York, 1955), 182.

 

[4] Sarah Woodward and Sherry Joines Wyatt, “Industry, Transportation, and Education: The New South Development of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County” (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, 2001), http://www.cmhpf.org/surveyindustrialsurvey.htm.  Hanchett, “Growth of Charlotte.” 

 

[5] Greater Charlotte and Greater Gastonia Guide Book (Issued by The Charlotte News, 1926), 11.

 

[6] Ibid.

 

[7] Ralph W. Hidy and Muriel E. Hidy, Pioneering in Big Business: 1882-1911, vol. 1 of History of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), (New York, 1955), 292.  Gibb & Knowlton, 185.

 

[8] Deed between Chess Carley Co. and Standard Oil co., dated 12-11-1886 and recorded in Mecklenburg Co. Deed Book 52, p. 114.

 

[9] 1900 Sanborn Map of Charlotte, p. 19.

 

[10] Tasha Vincent, “Antitrust, Again,” Infoplease.com (October 1998), http://www.infoplease.com/spot/antitrust1.html

 

[11] Gibb & Knowlton, 181.  By 1920, there were six branch office: Washington, DC; Norfolk, VA; Richmond, VA; Charlotte, NC; Charleston, WV; and Charleston, SC. 

 

[12] Charlotte City Directory (1911), p. 383.

 

[13] Deed between Fabrick Development Corp. and Standard Oil, dated 7-5-1913 and recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 312, p. 323.  Deed between Alva C. & Miriam M. Springs and Standard Oil dated 7-5-1913 and recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 314,  p.438.

 

[14] Charlotte Building Permit dated August 25, 1914.

 

[15] 1929 Sanborn Map of Charlotte, p.318.

 

[16] Charlotte Building Permit dated Sept. 1, 1920.

 

[17] 1921 Charlotte City Directory, p. 611.

 

[18] Gibb & Knowlton, 184-185.

 

[19] Incorporation Record of the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company, as stated in the 1911 name change record in the Mecklenburg County Record of Incorporations. Although the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company officially changed its name to the Dixie Spindle & Flyer Company in 1911, the name never stuck. A 1917 company advertisement in the Charlotte City Directory uses the original company name. 

 

[20] Deed between William Monty & Thomas Costello (grantors) and the Southern Spindle & Flyer Company, date September 10, 1905 and recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 216, p.45. 

1906 Charlotte City Directory, p.395.  Map of McNinchville, dated 1909 and recorded in Mecklenburg County Map Book 230, p.46.

 

[21] Charlotte Building Permit dated May 8, 1918. “New Warehouse for So. Spindle & Flyer,” The Charlotte News, May 8, 1918, p. 2.

 

[22] 1917 Charlotte City Directory, p. 481.

 

[24] 1948 Charlotte City Directory, p. 280. Deed between ESSO Standard Oil Company and Charlotte Rescue Mission, Inc. dated December 14, 1959 and recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 2121, p.357.

 

[25] Mecklenburg County Records of Incorporation, Book 54, p. 633.

 

[27] Ibid.

 

[28] Dan L. Morrill, “Textile Mill Supply Company Building,” survey and research report prepared for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, 1998.

 

[29] Charlotte Building Permit date May 8, 1918.

 

[31] Charlotte Building Permit dated August 25, 1914.

 

[32] Charlotte Building Permit dated Sept. 1, 1920.

 

[33] Charlotte Building Permit date May 8, 1918.  1911 Sanborn Map of Charlotte, p. 85.  1929 Sanborn Map of Charlotte, p.318.

 

[34] Deed between Fabrick Development Corp. and Standard Oil, dated 7-5-1913 and recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 312, p. 323.

 

[35] 1946 Sanborn Map of Charlotte, p. 318.  1958-1961 Sanborn Map of Charlotte, p. 318.