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The Bagley-Mullen House

 

This report was written on May 2, 1979

1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the Bagley-Mullen House is located at 129 N. Poplar St. in Charlotte, N.C.

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

Charles H. Litaker Insurance Co.
129 N. Poplar St.
Charlotte, N.C. 28201

Telephone: 334-4685

3. Representative photographs of the property: Representative photographs of the property included in this report.

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



5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent reference to this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 1230, Page 552. The Tax Parcel number of the property is 078-016-08.

A brief historical sketch of the property:

On October 5, 1892, Edgar Murchison Andrews (1850-1920), a native Charlottean and son of Ezra Hamwood Andrews and Sarah Bolton Andrews purchased property at the corner of N. Poplar St. and Fifth St. in Charlotte, N.C. 1 E. M. Andrews, is best remembered locally for his role in establishing the Andrews Music Co., a corporation which continues to operate in Charlotte. 2 In 1881 he had opened a furniture store on W. Trade St. 3 Soon thereafter, he had brought his brother, Frank H. Andrews, into the business for purposes of managing a music room in which pianos and organs were to be sold. 4 The significance of this activity notwithstanding, it was the second of his business ventures which makes E. M. Andrews a pivotal figure in the architectural history of this community. In the opinion of one observer, E. M. Andrews was "the first man in Charlotte who built nice homes on back streets." 5 Like the majority of towns in North Carolina, Charlotte had expanded initially along its major thoroughfares, Tryon St. and Trade St. The more imposing residences of the community were located on these two streets. 6 Andrews, responding to the growing demand for substantial dwellings to house the many newcomers who settled in Charlotte in the 1880's and 1890's, invested in lots on streets which intersected the major thoroughfares. Here he erected homes for sale. Edward Dilworth Latta, President of the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company and developer of Dilworth (Charlotte's initial streetcar suburb), stated that E M. Andrews did more to make Charlotte a livable city than any ten men of his day. 7 E. M. Andrews moved to Greensboro, NC, c. 1905, where he died on July 13, 1920. 8

E. M. Andrews erected a two and one-half story brick house at the corner of W. Fifth St. and N. Poplar St. The initial owner and resident was Andrew Joyner Bagley (1856-1931), who purchased the house in March 1895. 9 A native of Johnston County, N.C., he came to Charlotte from Shelby, N.C., to accept a position in the freight office of the Carolina Central Railroad. 10 Later he became assistant ticket agent for the Southern Railroad. 11 His wife, Bertha Ward Bagley, died in Charlotte on September 8, 1896. 12 On March 4, 1897, he sold his home and, moved out of the city. He settled in Lincolnton, N.C., where he died on February 26, 1931. 13

The next owner of the house was Walter Nixon Mullen (1853-1910), Elizabeth City, N.C. He had come to Charlotte in the late 1870's and had opened a grocery store on S. Church St. By 1897 he had achieved the accolades of his neighbors, primarily because of his invention of the "Hornet's Nest Liniment," a widely-acclaimed medicinal brew of that day. 14 The Evening Chronicle explained that he "made a lucrative living from the much advertised and meritorious composition." 15 A member of Trinity Methodist Church, Walter Mullen died in the house on February 17, 1910. 16 "He was gentle in manner, kind in speech, unselfish, honest in heart and life, square in his dealings, in exemplary husband and father," The Charlotte News proclaimed. 17 In the opinion of The Evening Chronicle, W. N. Mullen "had been one of the best known most popular citizens of this community." 18

On December 30, 1946, the descendants of, Walter Mullen and his wife, Annie Beatrice Grimes Mullen (1859-1925), sold the house to the Charles H. Litaker Insurance Company. 19 That firm has used the structure as its corporate headquarters.

 

 


NOTES

1 Charlotte Observer (February 13, 1938), sec. 3., p. 7. Mecklenburg County Dead Book 84, p. 142.

2 The Andrews Music Co. is now located in the Eastland Mall Shopping Center in suburban Charlotte, NC.

3 Charlotte Observer (February 139 1938), sec. 3., p. 7. Charlotte City Directory, 1893-94, p. 34.

4 "Frank H. Andrews" a Folder in the Files of the Carolina Room in the Charlotte- Mecklenburg Public Library.

5 Charlotte Observer (February 13, 1938). sec. 3, p 7.

6 See Beers Map, 1877.

7 Charlotte Observer (February 13, 1938). sec. 3, p. 7. 8 Charlotte Observer (July 14, 1920) p. 1. The Charlotte News (July 14, 1920) p. 15.

9 Burial Records of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 1125 p. 107.

10 Burial Records of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte Daily Observer (January 10, 1895), p. 2.

11 Charlotte City-Directory, 1896-97, p. 56.

12 Burial Records of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C. Bagley was a music teacher and operated a boarding house in her residence (Charlotte City Directory, 1896-97, p. 56 ) .

13 Mecklenburg County Deed Book 116, p. 539. Burial Records of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C.

14 Charlotte Observer (February 18, 1910), p. 2.

15 The Evening Chronicle (February 17, 1910), p. 1.

16 Charlotte Observer (February 18, 1910), p. 2.

17 The Charlotte News (February 17, 1910), p. 12.

18 The Evening Chronicle (February 17, 1910), p. 1.

19 Mecklenburg County Deed Book 1230, p. 552. Burial Records of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C., Charlotte News (February 17, 1910), p. 12.

 

7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report contains an architectural description of the property.

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

 

a. Historical and cultural significance: The historical and cultural significance of the property known as the Bagley-Mullen House rests upon three factors. First, the structure was built by E. M. Andrews, a founder of the Andrews Music Company and, even more importantly, a pivotal figure in the architectural history of Charlotte, N.C. Second, the house served as the abode of Walter N. Mullen, a leading entrepreneur of the community. Third, the structure is the only local example of the Chateauresque style of architecture.

b. Suitability for preservation and restoration: The overall exterior integrity of the structure survives. The interior has been substantially altered, but many of the details on the interior are extant. On balance, the structure is suitable for preservation and/or restoration.

c. Educational value: The Bagley-Mullen House has educational value because of the historical and cultural significance of the property.

d. Cost of acquisition, restoration. maintenance or repair: At present, the Commission has no intention of purchasing the fee simple or any lesser included interest in this property. The Commission presently assumes that all costs associated with restoring and preserving the structure will be paid by the owner or subsequent owner of the structure.

e. Possibilities for adaptive or alternative use of the property: Obviously, the property is highly suited for adaptive use. Indeed, it has been the headquarters of an insurance company for over thirty years. Worth noting in this regard is the fact that the property is zoned B3.

f. Appraised value: The current tax appraisal value of the .139 acres of land is $18,150. The current tax appraisal value of the improvements on the property is $10,690. The most recent tax bill on the land and improvements was $490.28. The Commission is aware that the owner could apply annually for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem taxes on those portions of the property which are designated as "historic property."

g. The administrative and financial responsibility of any person or organization willing to underwrite all or a portion of such costs: As stated earlier, the Commission presently has no intention of purchasing the fee simple or any lesser included interest in this property. Furthermore, the Commission presently assumes that all costs associated with the property will be paid by the present or subsequent owner of the property.

 

9. Documentation of and in what ways the property meets the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places: The Commission judges that the property known as the Bagley-Mullen House does meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places. Basic to the Commission's judgment is its knowledge that the National Register of Historic Places, established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, represents the decision of the Federal Government to expand its recognition of historic properties to include those of local, regional and state significance. The Commission believes that the investigation of the Bagley-Mullen House contained herein demonstrates that the property is of local historic importance. Consequently, the Commission judges that the property known as the Bagley-Mullen House does meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places. Specifically, the Commission judges that the property known as the Bagley-Mullen House does meet the criterion that properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places must "embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction."

10. Documentation of why and in what ways the property is of historical importance to Charlotte and/or Mecklenburg County: The property known as the Bagley-Mullen House is historically important to Charlotte for three reasons. First, the structure was built by Edgar Murchison Andrews, a founder of the Andrews Music Co., and even more importantly, a pivotal figure in the architectural history of Charlotte, N.C. Second, the house served as the abode of Walter N. Mullen, a leading entrepreneur of the community. Third, the structure is the only local example of the Chateauresque style of architecture.

 

 

Chain of Title

1. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 1230, Page 552 (December 30, 1946).
Grantor: J. R. & M. R. Mullen, B. F. & C. D. Mullen, Ann S. Mullen, Jessie M. Barbour.
Grantee: Charles H. Litaker Insurance, Inc.

2. Mecklenburg County Will Book Z, Page 418 (1939).
Devisor: E. G. Mullen.
Devisee: Jessie Mullen Barbour.

3. Mecklenburg County Will Book T. Page 154 (September 2, 1925).
Devisor: A. G. Mullen.
Devisee: E. G. Mullen.

4. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 228, Page 504 (February 17, 1908).
Grantor: Walter N. Mullen.
Grantee: A. G. Mullen.

5. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 116, Page 539 (March 4, 1897).
Grantor: A. G. Bagley.
Grantee: Walter N. Mullen.

6. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 112, Page 107 (January 10, 1895)
Grantor: E. M. Andrews.
Grantee: A. G. Bagley.

7. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 84, Page 142 (October 5. 1892).
Grantor: J. R. Collett, agent for Walter Brem.
Grantee: E. M. Andrews.

 

 

Bibliography

An Inventory Of Older Buildings In Mecklenburg County And Charlotte For The Historic Properties Commission.

Beers Map, 1877.

Burial Records of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, N.C.

Charlotte City Directory, 1893-94.

Charlotte City Directory, 1896-97. Estate Records of Mecklenburg County.

"Frank H. Andrews," a Folder in the Files of the Carolina Room in the Charlotte- Mecklenburg Public Library.

Records of the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office.

Records of the Mecklenburg County Tax Office.

Sanborn Insurance Maps of Charlotte, N.C.

Charlotte Daily Observer.

Charlotte News.

Charlotte Observer.

Vital Statistics of Mecklenburg County.

Date of Preparation of this Report: May 29 1979.

Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
139 Middleton Dr.
Charlotte, N.C. 28207

Telephone: (704) 332-2726

 

 

Architectural Description

 

by Dr. Dan L. Morrill

The Bagley- Mullen House (1895) is the only structure in Charlotte, N.C., which is predominantly, French Chateau or Chateauresque in architectural style. Designs of this fashion appeared initially in France in the second quarter of the nineteenth century and were inspired by the architecture of the reign of Francis I (1515-1547). The most imposing edifice of this genre in the United States was designed for George Washington Vanderbilt by Richard Morris Hunt (1827-1895) and erected in Asheville, N.C. between 1890 and 1895. It is reasonable to infer that Edgar Murchison Andrews, who built the Bagley-Mullen House for speculative purposes, selected the Chateaureque style because of its association with the Biltmore House, which was under construction at the same time. Admittedly, however, the Bagley-Mullen House is a modest and somewhat unsophisticated example of this architectural motif. The Chateauresque style is massive and irregular in silhouette. It is characterized by steeply pitched hip or gable roofs with dormers, towers, and tall, elaborately decorated chimneys with corbled caps. While incorporating these elements on the exterior the Bagley-Mullen House exhibits interior features, especially the one surviving mantel on the first floor, which draw their inspiration from Neo-Classical designs. Consequently, like the majority of substantial dwellings erected in Charlotte in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Bagley-Mullen House can be classified as a transitional structure in terms of architectural style.

The Bagley-Mullen House is significant also because of its role in the development of the residential patterns of the built environment or townscape of this community. This was not the first edifice to occupy this site. Previously, three tenement houses, known as Fox's Row had been situated on this and two adjoining lots. The construction of the Bagley-Mullen House by E. M. Andrews illustrates the introduction of more imposing homes on to the back streets of Charlotte, a process which was occurring during the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century in response to the commercial and industrial expansion of the community.

Detailed Description

The Bagley-Mullen House is a two and one-half story brick structure four bays wide and five bays deep with a one-story component across the rear. The main roof is a gabled hip. A pyramidal roof with metal cresting is atop the corner tower on the right front A cross-gable is on the right. A gable roof is at the right rear and a hip roof surmounts the one-story rear component. All are slate. Originally, the house had a wrap-around porch on the front, a rear porch and a second-story porch on the left rear. None are extant. The brickwork is predominantly American or Common Bond and exhibits considerable corbeling. Shouldered segmental arches surmount the majority of windows and are connected to one another by belt courses. A corbel table below the second story window above the main front entrance assumes the appearance of a bracketed window sill. The house has three chimneys, two on the left and one on the right. They also possess considerable corbeling. The remnant of a chimney is located on the one story rear component. The most typical window is a two-over-two double hung sash with large rectangular lights or panes. An oculus window with four granite keystones or voussoirs is situated on the corner tower, as are three pseudo-dormers with flared eaves. There are five entrances to the structure (two on the front, one on the left rear, one at the center rear and a second-story entrance on the right). The main front entrance is the most imposing. It consists of double doors, each having a large light in the upper half and four rectangular panels with raised molded surrounds below. Fluted pilasters with Bull's eye corner blocks and a large pedestal-like base flank the front entrance and surmount an arched two-lighted transom. The metal stairway to the second story is not original. The metal balustrades on both sides of the two front entrances are replacements also.

The interior of the first story has been changed substantially from the original. The stairway to the second story has been removed. An archway to the immediate left of the main front entrance has been enclosed. The three doorways on the left of the center hall are later additions. All but one of the fireplaces have been eliminated. The two bathrooms are not original in terms of scale and fixtures. The floors have been covered with linoleum. The most imposing original features are the Neoclassical mantel in the room on the left front the double doors which connect the front and the middle room on the left. Also noteworthy are the metal fireplace cover in the room on the front left and the wainscoting, composed of bands of vertical reeding posed by plain flush boards which adorns the center hall and several of the rooms. The ceilings on the first story are not original.

The second story retains its essential integrity, except for the removal of the stairway. Especially striking are the symmetrically molded doorway surrounds with corner blocks punctuated with roundels and cap with sawn molding. Also, the bathroom retains its original fixtures. Unfortunately, one of the two mantels on the second story has been removed.