Research Report On
- Name and location of the property:
The property known as Restormel is located at 829 Concord Road in
Davidson, North Carolina.
- Name and address of the current owner: The
current owners of the property are
David and Jamie Dunn
PO Box 1791
Davidson, North Carolina 28036
- Representative photographs of the property:
This report contains
representative photographs of the property.
- Map depicting the location of the property:
following map depicts the location of Restormel.
- Current deed book
reference to the property: The most recent deed to this property is
located in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 9931 on page 508. The tax
parcel number of the property is 00315130.
- A brief historical
sketch of the property: This report contains a brief
historical sketch of the property.
- A brief architectural
description of the property: This report contains a brief
architectural description of the property by Stewart Gray.
- Documentation of how
and in what ways the property meets the criteria for designation set
forth in NCGS 160A-400.5: The Commission judges that the property
known as Restormel does possess special historic
significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases
its judgment on the following considerations:
significance in terms of its historical, architectural, or cultural
Restormel was designed and occupied by Dr. Fraser Hood, who came
to Davidson as a direct result of the growth of Davidson College in the
first quarter of the twentieth century.
The retaining wall on the south elevation
of the property facing Concord Road was constructed from some of the
foundation stones from the original Chambers Building on the campus of
Davidson College, which burned in 1921.
Restormel contains the only known
example in Mecklenburg County of a Rustic Revival log building that is a
secondary structure of a private residence.
- Integrity of
design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling, and/or
The Commission contends that the physical and architectural
description which is included in this report demonstrates that
Restormel meets this
- Ad Valorem tax
appraisal: The current appraised
value of the 2.2 acres on which this property sits is $187,400. The
structures on the property are valued at $455,300. Features on the
property are valued at $2,100. The total value of the property is
Date of Preparation of this report: 25 April, 2006
Prepared by: Kimberly Tweedy and revised by Jennifer Payne
Summary Statement of
Restormel, erected in
1929, possesses special historic significance in Davidson as an illustration
of the symbiotic relationship between the Town of Davidson and Davidson
College. The home was built during a period of expansion for the College in
which the faculty population quadrupled, and this increase in the number of
professors led directly to the evolution of Concord Road and the
construction of faculty homes such as Restormel. In addition, Dr.
Frasier Hood was intimately associated with the drive to expand the
curriculum of Davidson College which led to the school’s accreditation. The
property contains two architectural elements besides the main house that are
architecturally and historically significant. The first, the retaining wall
which lines the southern border of the lot, was constructed from foundation
stones taken from the Old Chambers Building on the campus of Davidson
College. The second, a log structure that sits near the northwest corner of
the property, is the only identified example of a secondary log structure at
the site of a private residence in Mecklenburg County.
The special historic
significance of Restormel, a Colonial Revival style house located at
829 Concord Road, is best understood in terms of the evolution of the Town
of Davidson. Davidson College, which was established in 1835 to educate
young men according to the values of the school’s Presbyterian founders, has
provided the impetus for the evolution and development of the Town of
Davidson. From 1835 to 1874, the town was a relatively isolated college
community; and its growth was almost exclusively linked to the increasing
number of students and faculty who attended or taught at Davidson College.
Davidson became a center of
commerce and industry in Northern Mecklenburg County when the railroad was
reactivated in 1874. The construction of a downtown commercial corridor and
two mills followed, but Davidson College continued to be a major
contributing factor to the growth of the town throughout the first half of
the twentieth century.
Dr. William J. Martin, a
President of Davidson College, was primarily responsible for much of the
twentieth century growth of the College. During his tenure as president,
which lasted from 1912 until 1929, he increased the size of the faculty from
twelve to forty members.
Much of the cause of this growth was based on an expansion of the Davidson
College curriculum from one based in classical studies to one that more
broadly embraced new disciplines in the social sciences. While the College
gained accreditation from the Association of American Colleges, as well as
other bodies which regulate academic quality at the secondary level, the
growth of the curriculum necessitated the expansion of the school’s faculty
One of the new professors
hired by Dr. Martin during this growth period was Dr. Fraser Hood, who
arrived at Davidson College in 1920. Dr. Hood, who had been trained in
psychology at Yale University, was tapped to lead the new department of
psychology. Dr. Hood and his family initially lived in a faculty residence
on North Main Street, as did many of the other faculty members. However,
the growth of the faculty soon outstripped the available houses on North
Main, and by the late 1920s the family was enticed to build a private
residence on Concord Road which they named “Restormel” after an English
castle. Unlike the growth of Main Street which mirrored the early growth of
the College, Concord Road remained relatively untouched until the late
nineteenth and early twentieth century, when the College began to sell lots
to faculty members and faculty families.
Restormel was the only house built past Thompson Street in the early
part of the century, and its occupants were able to take advantage of both
the bucolic setting and the convenience of being close to campus.
Restormel property also
contains two other significant pieces of the built environment of Davidson.
The first is the retaining wall that borders the southern perimeter of the
lot, and which was constructed from foundation stones from the Old Chambers
Building. The Old Chambers building was deigned by renowned architect
Alexander J. Davis in 1858, and was well-known for its grandeur.
The building, which was comparable to the length of a football field, was
“almost unrivalled in the country” for its design, and it reportedly brought
visitors from Davidson from far and wide.
piece of the monumental Old Chambers Building stands in contrast to the much
smaller, although equally significant, secondary log structure that stands
on the northwest of Restormel lot. Rustic Revival log cabins were made popular in the
early twentieth century by a movement that identified such structures with
the frontier past of the country, and was made popular through such outlets
as the architecture of Henry Bacon in Linville, North Carolina, and through
the mass advertising of log structures. In such advertisements, the log
structure represented not only a frontier past, but also the American ideals
of hard work and dedication in order to achieve one’s goals.
The Historic Landmarks Commission has put forth the thesis that Dr. Hood,
who is remembered as “a disciple of joyous living,” as well as a “genial and
gracious man,” may have built the log structure on the Hood property as a
place to entertain guests, as evidenced by the remains of a shuffleboard
which can still be seen in front of the structure.
retains many connections with the growth of Davidson in the early part of
the twentieth century. It was built as a direct response to the growth of
Davidson College under the tenure of William J. Martin, and thus illustrates
the impact of the growth of the College on the built environment of the Town
of Davidson. The retaining wall and log structure on the property serve not
only to add character to the property, but also retain connections with
important pieces of local and national history.
Much of the information in this report was taken from a Survey and
Research Report prepared by Kimberly Tweedy in December, 2005, and
from Jennifer Payne and Dr. Dan L. Morrill, “The Evolution of the
Built Environment of Davidson, NC,” available online at
Mary D. Beaty, A History of Davidson College, ( Davidson:
Briarpatch Press, 1988), 239.
Mary D. Beaty, Davidson: A History of the Town from 1835 to 1937
(Davidson, Briarpatch Press, 1979), 106-110.
Beaty, A History of the Town, 120.
Stewart Gray, “Log Building Construction in Mecklenburg County from
1920 to 1945,” available online at
commands a prominent position in the historic landscape of
Davidson. The house is notable for its size and for the significant
visual impact of the house and grounds, being located on a low rise
on the north side of Concord Road. In contrast to the many
low-slung Craftsman Style houses built in Davidson during the early
years of the twentieth century, the Colonial Revival Style Restormel
signaled a dramatic shift in domestic architecture in the town. The
house is located at what would have been the eastern edge of the
town when the house was built in 1929. Since the house was built,
the town has expanded greatly to the east, and now neighborhood
development surrounds the house. A retaining wall built of native
round stones borders the front of the large two-acre lot.
is a solid brick two-story, side-gabled house. The house appears to
be of solid brick construction with the brick laid in a modified
common-bond with five rows of stretchers laid between rows composed
of alternating stretchers and headers. The principal section of the
house is three bays wide and features a strict symmetry broken only
by the different proportions of the two interior chimneys. The
three-bay-wide façade features a prominent centered entrance
accessed by low stone steps. The doorway is topped with a broken
pediment typical of the Colonial Revival Style. The pediment is
decorated with dentil moulding and is supported with fluted
pilasters. The entrance is recessed slightly, and topped with a
four-light transom. Flush with the exterior is a substantial screen
door, which has also been topped with a transom. The entrance is
flanked with small four-over-one windows with brick sills and
soldier-course headers. Located to either side of the entrance are
obtuse-angled window bays. These windows bays are composed of low
brick walls topped with continuous corbelled sills that support
three six-over-one windows topped with a copper bell-cast roof.
fenestration is composed of three wall dormers aligned with the
first-story fenestration. Each dormer contains a single
eight-over-one window topped with a soldier-course header. The
gables are pierced with four vent holes in a cross pattern. The
eaves feature deep mouldings, and the soffits are decorated with
modillions. The shallow eaves feature copper gutters with prominent
downspouts. Perched on the steeply sloped roof are two gabled
dormers, even spaced between the between the lower fenestration.
The gabled dormers each contain a single four-over-four window
west elevation is pierced by two eight-over-one windows on the
second floor. The large brick gable features a small round-arched
window containing a single six-light sash topped with a four-light
elevation features a two-story wing that once may have been a porch
or sunroom. The second-story room overhangs the lower room on all
three sides. A flat roof with an iron railing tops the wing. In
contrast to the rest of the house, the wing is clad in German
siding. The window openings are filled with replacement eight-light
sash on the fist story, and six-light sash topped with two-light
transoms on the second story. The cantilevered overhang is
decorated with curved brackets.
| East Elevation
|| Rear Elevation
façade, the asymmetrical fenestration of the rear elevation features
a mixture of window sizes and door openings. The same
elements of dormers, modillions, and wall dormers appear to
have been aligned to reflect the interior room layout. The
westernmost bay on the rear is a doorway sheltered by a small gabled
roof supported by brackets.
A detached garage is located to the rear of
the house. Brickwork indicates that the one-story side-gabled
garage may be an original feature of Restormel. A substantial
wing extends from the rear of the garage, and may have served as
servant quarters. The east elevation is sheltered by a shed-roofed
screen porch. The second story is of frame construction.
A log cabin is located in
the northwestern corner of the large lot.
This side-gabled log cabin is the only
identified example of a secondary log
residential building. The building features
round logs with saddle notches, log gables,
exposed rafter ends and board-and-batten door.
The windows, four-light sliding windows,
are notably short.