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SURVEY AND RESEARCH REPORT

 ON

 The McQuay House

 

 

1.  Name and location of the property:  The property known as the McQuay House is located at 3200 Tuckaseegee  Road, Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

2.  Name and address of the present owner of the property is: 

 

Edgar McQuay

      1112 3rd Avenue NW

      Conover, N.C. 28613

      (828) 464-3279

 

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

 

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

 

5.  UTM coordinate:  17 510556E  3900220N

 

6.  Current deed book and tax parcel information for the property:

The most recent deed to this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book

17354 on page 629. The Tax Parcel Number of the property is 06504211.

 

7.  A brief historical sketch of the property:  This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property.

 

8.  A brief architectural description of the property:  This report contains a brief architectural description of the property.

 

9.  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 McQuay House does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.  The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations:

 

1.      The McQuay House, originally the home of Robert E. McQuay, was built by his brother, John B. McQuay, in 1882.  The domicile served as a farmhouse on a 13 acre parcel of land, and exists as a physical reminder of the rural landscape of Mecklenburg County in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

 

2.      The McQuay House features Folk Victorian architectural elements, which were inspired by the Queen Anne Style and popular during the 1880s.  The wraparound porch, added in the early 1920s, represents the free classical style, which was a common decorative detailing subtype among Queen Anne homes. The property's existing outbuildings include a gabled, wood garage, and a dilapidated chicken house.

 

3.   The McQuay House, located approximately two miles from the center of center city Charlotte, is now surrounded by residential development on all sides.  Despite the home’s altered surroundings, the McQuay House still retains the physical integrity of a rural domicile.

 

 

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 McQuay House meets this criterion.

 

  10.  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 a designated "historic landmark." The current total appraised value of the McQuay House is $73,200.00.  The current total appraised value of the house is $58,700.00.  The current total appraised value of the lot is $8,100.00.  The current total value of the outbuildings is $6,400.00.

   11.  Portion of the property recommended for designation:  The exterior and interior of the McQuay House, and the property associated with the tax parcel are recommended for historic designation.

Date of preparation of this report: May 2005

 

Prepared by: Paul Archambault  and Dr. Dan L. Morrill
 

  

Historical Overview

 

     The McQuay House, located on Tuckaseegee Road in Charlotte, N.C., was built in 1882 by John B. McQuay for his brother, Robert E. McQuay.  Members of the McQuay Family continuously occupied the house from 1882 until 2002.[1]  At the time of its construction, the dwelling sat on a thirteen-acre farm and was situated approximately two miles from the center of Charlotte.[2]  The home presently sits on a two-acre lot but serves as a reminder of the rural lifestyle and landscape that existed in Mecklenburg County in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Developmental pressures have virtually destroyed much of Mecklenburg County’s rural built environment.  The growth and prosperity of Charlotte and its environs in the late 1800s and early 1900s, resulting largely from the rise of the railroad, textile mills, and banks, created an increase in urbanization and a decline of rural communities. The McQuay House, therefore, possesses special significance as an artifact of Mecklenburg County’s rural heritage.

     The McQuay property has a compelling history.  Thomas Hale McQuay, great-great grandfather of the present owner, Edgar E. McQuay, purchased 110 acres of land in 1817 where the McQuay House currently stands. The builder of the house was Robert E. McQuay, son of James and Margaret McQuay, who was born in 1851 and grew up working on the McQuay farm.  In 1881, Robert married Virginia Rhyne of Gaston County and a year later constructed the present Folk Victorian home with the assistance of John McQuay, his brother.[3]  The cross-gabled dwelling, inspired by the Queen Anne style, was popular among farmsteads during the late nineteenth century and was feasible to construct because the railroad system in Mecklenburg County made embellished pre-cut lumber more available to builders of the traditional folk house forms.[4]

     Robert McQuay made his living by growing produce for sale in Charlotte.  The primary crops cultivated on the farm were corn, fruit, and a variety of vegetables.  Robert was also an apiculturist.  He constructed bee boxes to extract honey from the hives for profit at the market. The family also raised animals, including cows and chickens.  Robert and the family often traveled two miles to the market in Charlotte to sell the produce and vegetables which he grew on the farm.  The McQuays were able to maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle from the 1880s until the 1930s and make a modest living from the sale of their crops.[5] 

     Edgar H. McQuay, son of Robert and Virginia, was born in 1897 and began laboring on the farm at an early age.  In 1904, the death of Edgar’s father caused Edgar to leave school after only four years and help support his mother and sister, Nona.  To supplement his income,  Edgar worked at nearby Lakewood Park from 1910 until 1915.  The park, constructed by Edward Dilworth Latta  in 1910, was located behind the farm and served as a major amusement center for white Charlotteans.  It contained facilities for swimming, boating, a merry-go-round, various rides, a dance pavilion, and a zoo.  The streetcar extended its line to Lakewood Park to bring visitors from the city.[6] 

    By 1910, approximately one-half of the residents of  Mecklenburg County  lived within the Charlotte city limits.[7]   Farmers in Charlotte’s surrounding countryside understandably began to sell their land to developers, because it proved to be more profitable.  Also, the destruction of cotton crops by the boll weevil prompted many farmers to pursue more stable jobs in the factories.[8]   Edgar H. McQuay secured employment with the Ford Motor Company in 1915 to increase his income.[9]  In 1925, Edgar began working in Ford's new assembly plant on Statesville Road where Model Ts and Model As were built.[10]  Edgar was able to maintain his job throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s because of his hard work ethic and good reputation with the company.

 Edgar H. and Maude McQuay reared two girls and two boys.  The McQuay children, in their spare time, performed routine farming and household duties in the early morning and evening.  Edgar E. McQuay, born in 1928, recalls helping his father construct bee boxes in the wood shop.[11]  The children attended grades one through six at the Glenwood Elementary School, which was located within the city limits.  Edgar remembers attending the city school free of charge, because of the proximity of the family’s homeplace to Charlotte. The McQuay House, according to the Charlotte City Directory, became part of Charlotte in 1939.  After leaving Glenwood School, Edgar E., and his siblings, James, Martha, and Juanita, attended grades seven through eleven at the Thomasboro High School, which was located on Bradford Drive.[12]

   The growth of the McQuay Family in the 1920s and 1930s caused Edgar, Sr. to make several changes to the house. In the 1910s, electricity was added; and outbuildings were constructed on the property, which included a barn, garage, and chicken houses.   The domicile originally featured a simple shed roof porch over the main entrance; but in the late 1910s and early 1920s, Edgar completed a wraparound porch with classical columns.  In addition, he added a kitchen, back porch (“sleeping porch”), and pump house at the rear of the dwelling.  A bathroom was built in the 1940s and subsequently converted into a kitchen, which was completed with a stove, sink, and cabinets in 1948.[13] 

   The Agricultural Adjustment Administration Act, part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, reduced crop acreage and livestock production, and as a result affected the economic viability of the McQuay Farm.[14]  The family began to disperse and eventually sold eleven acres in the 1940s to developers after the death of Edgar H. McQuay in 1938 and his mother in 1946.   Edgar, Sr.’s married sister, Nona Stone, built a home and resided directly west of the McQuay House where the Solo gas station and convenience store are presently located.  Juanita McQuay moved into a duplex west of her aunt’s house on the corner of Tuckaseegee Road and McQuay Road after she married Jack Treat.[15] Edgar, Jr. and younger brother, James, left home in the 1950s for military service and college at North Carolina State for engineering and horticulture, respectively.  Juanita moved to Steele Creek with her husband; but Maude and her daughter, Martha, remained in the house.  Maude died in 1981, and willed the home and property to her daughter. Martha worked for Southern Bell Telephone Company until her retirement and resided in the dwelling until 2002, when she moved to Park Road and conveyed the property to Edgar.[16] 

Edgar E. McQuay graduated from Thomasboro High School in 1945 and left home for college at North Carolina State.  He paid his way through school with the G.I. Bill, because work was limited with the returning World War II veterans. He received a degree in engineering at N.C. State, and moved to Sharon, PA from 1951 until 1956 to work at Westinghouse.[17]  Edgar returned to Charlotte and received a job at Douglas Aircraft Company where they assembled missiles.[18]  Douglas Aircraft was located in the same building where the Ford Motor Company had existed and where Edgar, Sr. had worked over thirty years earlier. 

Edgar lived at the McQuay House for a year and made several changes to the home’s front entrance, hallway, front bedroom, and sleeping porch. He married Barbara Jean Williams in February 1958, and later had a son and daughter. In 1959, they moved to Conover when he was hired at General Electric.  They continue to reside there today.  His brother, James, received a job in the horticulture department at Duke University and lives in Durham, N.C. [19]

  

Physical Description

 

Site Description

 

The McQuay House is located  in Mecklenburg County at 3200 Tuckaseegee Road, approximately two miles west of center city Charlotte.  The house sits on a two-acre lot and is situated approximately one hundred feet north of Tuckaseegee Road.  A gravel driveway, which extends to the rear of the dwelling, is located directly west of the house. Several trees, bushes, and shrubs adorn the front yard.  Outbuildings include a wood, gable-roofed garage, which sits approximately twenty feet northeast of the domicile, two dilapidated chicken houses behind the garage, and a gable-roofed pump house, which is attached to the rear of the home.  A patch of woods stands between the rear of the house and a  residential development, and a large lot owned by Edgar E. McQuay, bordered on the east by Opal Street, is located directly east of the abode.    The Solo gas station and convenient store, and McQuay Avenue sit directly west of the McQuay property.

 

Architectural Description

 

Exterior

 

The McQuay House is a one-and-a-half story, Folk Victorian, cross-gabled house with Queen Anne Style elements, and is three-bays wide and two-bays deep.  The dwelling is covered with wood siding, and rests on brick piers, which have been infilled with block. The facade’s moderately pitched roof features two patterned, wood-shingled gables with rectangular, wooden vents.  The larger gable is aligned with the west elevation, and a lower gable rests above and between the front entrance and one-over-one, sash window.  The front-end gable protrudes slightly from the facade, which features two, original one-over-one, sash windows, and a metal replacement door with a decorative, wood surround, and rectangular, transom windows on both sides, which were added by Edgar E. McQuay in 1957.  A wraparound porch, added in the late 1910s and early 1920s, stretches along most of the front facade, and extends to the center of the east elevation.  The porch roof is supported by full height, white, classical columns, with porch railings in between the columns.  A low-pitched, gable rises from the porch roof above the concrete steps, which are surrounded by an original, fieldstone foundation on both sides.  The original porch roof was a simple, shed roof above a wooden door with a deocrative glass border.

 

The east elevation features two, one-over-one, sash windows with an exterior chimney located in between them.  The wraparound porch extends to the end of the east elevation.  A shed roof addition, which features three replacement windows, extends from the rear of the east elevation, and wraps around to the back porch.  The addition was constructed by Edgar H. McQuay in the 1920s, and served as a screened porch, or more commonly known to the McQuay Family as the “sleeping porch.”   Edgar E. McQuay converted this addition into a room for his sister, Juanita, and her husband, Jack Treat, in 1945-1946, and into a bathroom in 1948.

 

The west elevation includes two, two-over-two sash windows, and several additions, which extend from its rear elevation.  A one-room gable-and-end addition, which served as the kitchen and bathroom, extends from the rear elevation.  It was constructed by Edgar H. McQuay in the late 1910s and early 1920s to accommodate the growing family.  The shed roof extension near the kitchen, which served as the bathroom, was later converted as additional kitchen space in 1948.  Maude McQuay had it refurbished, and it included a sink, oven, and cabinets.  Edgar E. McQuay moved the bathroom to the “sleeping porch” addition the same year. 

 

The rear elevation features a gabled pump house with three bracketed ends, and a shed roof porch supported by square, wood posts.  The porch has a stone foundation, and includes a replacement door, which originally was a window at the rear of the house.  The well used by Robert and Virginia McQuay in the late nineteenth century was located directly behind the house, and later was surrounded by the stone foundation and covered by the porch’s concrete surface.   Another well was dug in the early 1900s by Edgar H. McQuay, and later covered by the present wood, gable-roofed wellhouse.  The well was used by the family until the 1940s.  The remainder of the rear elevation of the house includes concrete steps, which extend from the shed porch, and the enclosed porch where the bathroom is located. 

 

Interior

 

The domicile, originally a hall-and-parlor with a master bedroom and a dining room/kitchen, experienced several changes from the 1910s until the late 1950s.  The pine floor in the master bedroom and the dining room, baseboards, door and window surrounds, and fireplace mantles are original. Edgar E. McQuay lowered the ceiling from eleven feet two inches to eight-and-half feet in the late 1940s.  Some of the architectural features in the home’s interior have been damaged because of vandalism during the abode’s vacancy during the past two years

 

The front entrance of the dwelling leads into a sitting room, which used to be the hallway.  In 1957, Edgar E. McQuay removed the west wall of the hallway, reducing the size of the master bedroom, and enlarging the hall space to accommodate guests in the sitting room.  Edgar, in addition, added a closet, which is west of the front entrance.  The room’s original pine floor was replaced with an oak floor.

 

The master bedroom, located west of the sitting room, includes two closets, two windows, and a fireplace, which is double-sided.  The chimney used for the fireplace was destroyed by a storm.  This room functioned as the family bedroom from 1882 until the 1940s, and Maude McQuay occupied the bedroom after her children moved from the home.  The fireplace, on the north wall of the room, has a ceramic tile surround, and once had an oak mantle with a large mirror above it.  However, during the past two years, the mirror was damaged and the mantle was stolen from the domicile.  Directly to the west of the fireplace is an original closet, which was a novelty feature of new homes in the 1880s.  An additional closet was added on the east wall in the 1950s.  A one-over-one, sash window, and a two-over-two, sash window are located on the south wall and west wall, respectively.  The bedroom door and closet door are original, and the walls are covered with wood paneling.

 

Located to the east of the sitting room is the entrance to the parlor.  It features two, one-over-one, sash windows on the east wall with a fireplace, and a one-over-one sash window on the south wall.  The fireplace includes an original, decorative, wood mantle.  The room, used for the family’s special events, served as the location for Juanita McQuay and Jack Treat’s wedding ceremony.  Edgar E. McQuay converted the parlor into a bedroom for his older sister, Martha, and added a closet on the room’s north wall in 1957.

 

The dining room and its entrance are located north of the sitting room and master bedroom.  This room once functioned as the kitchen and gathering place for family meals, and as the bedroom for Robert’s mother, Virginia.  When Edgar and Maude’s family grew in the 1920s and 1930s, a kitchen was added to the north wall of the room (rear of the house). The fireplace surrounded by a decorative, wood mantle, located on the south wall, served as the dwelling’s primary cooking area, and a coal burning stove was later added.  Edgar E. McQuay remembers the meals prepared in the room, as well as heating water on the stove for bathing. The dining room also features an original closet, located to the west of the fireplace, a two-over-two, sash window on the west wall, and the entrance to the bathroom and additional bedroom. 

 

The entrance to the kitchen is located on the north wall of the dining room.  The kitchen, added in the late 1910s and early 1920s, included cabinets, a large table, and benches for meals.  In addition, it later served as a laundry room. The walls feature three- foot, wood baseboards, a multi-paned, wood door (originally a window) on the north wall leading to the back porch, and a multi-paned, wood door on the east wall.  A bathroom was added to the west of the kitchen, and was later refurbished to accommodate cabinets, a stove, and sink.  The bathroom was moved to the “sleeping porch” in 1948.

 

Edgar E. McQuay converted the “sleeping porch” to a bathroom and bedroom, which was built for his sister, Juanita, and her husband, Jack in the 1940s.  The bedroom features a closet, and two replacement windows on the east wall and north (rear) wall.  In between the bathroom and bedroom is a small hallway with cabinets, and features an original door, which leads to the sitting room.  Before the addition of the screened porch, this door served as the rear entrance of the house.

 

 


 

[1] Edgar E. McQuay, Interview, January 4, 2005.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] McAlester, Lee and Virginia. A Field Guide to American Houses.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 310.

 

[5] Edgar E. McQuay, Interview, January 4, 2005.

 

[6] Ibid.

[7] Blythe, LeGette and Brockmann, Charles R. Hornet’s Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg

                County, p. 262.

[8] Hanchett, Thomas, and Sumner, Ryan.  Images of America: Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont

                Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2003, p. 36.

[9] Edgar E. McQuay, Interview, January 4, 2005.

 

 

[10] Hanchett, Thomas, and Sumner, Ryan.  Images of America: Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont

                Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2003, p. 89.

[11] Edgar E. McQuay, Interview, January 4, 2005.

 

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Historic Rural Resources in Mecklenburg County, North, Carolina.” (Modern Era)

[15] Edgar E. McQuay, Interview, January 4, 2005.

 

 

[16] Mecklenburg County Deed Book 14265, Page 502.

[17] Edgar E. McQuay, Interview, January 4, 2005.

 

 

 

[18] Blythe, LeGette and Brockmann, Charles R. Hornet’s Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg

                County, p. 301.

 

[19] Edgar E. McQuay, Interview, January 4, 2005.