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Survey and Research Report

On The Morningside Apartments

 

 

  

1.         Name and location of the property: The property known as Morningside Apartments is located at 2500 McClintock Road in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

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

            The present owners of the property are: 

            Morningside Apartments III, LLC

            2500 McClintock Road Suite 2

            Charlotte, NC  28205-5260 

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.         Current deed book reference to the property: The most recent deed to this property is recorded in the Mecklenburg County Deed Book 8407 on Pages 821-823.  The tax parcel numbers for the property are 12903123, 12902103, 12903601, and 12903702. 

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

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

8.         Documentation of why and 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 Morningside Apartments does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.  The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations: 

1)  Dwight L. Phillips (1905-1973), Charlotte developer and builder of Morningside Apartments, was a leading contractor in the construction and development of apartments, housing developments, and shopping centers in Charlotte, and military installations in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Cherry Point Marine Air Station, Hunter Air Force Base in Savannah, Georgia, and Air Force Bases in Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina.  Phillips built the Charlotte Merchandise Mart and Freedom Drive Shopping Center in Charlotte, and the thirty-two-story Wachovia Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

2)  Morningside Apartments are a significant local example of efforts by the Federal government through the FHA mortgage loan guarantee program to promote the welfare of society, and to develop and design the physical structure of a community.  The Federal government established these programs in response to the significant challenges facing society in the twentieth century, including the critical shortage of housing after World War II and the challenges wrought by urbanization and industrialization in the country in the first half of that century. Morningside’s association with the government’s involvement in multi-family affordable housing during this important period is significant. 

3) Morningside Apartments provide a good example of the "garden apartment" or “superblock” multi-family rental housing property type, which has roots in the English Garden City Movement and German Superblock concepts respectively. These two movements developed in Europe in response to the need for massive housing after World War I and to the forces of urbanization and industrialization at the turn of the twentieth century. The core idea was that multi-family housing units should be placed in a garden-like, open setting featuring common courtyards that would stimulate interaction between the residents and emphasize a sense of community for the new urban society. 

b.   Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling and/or association:  The Commission contends that the physical and architectural descriptions included in this report demonstrate that the Morningside Apartments meet these criteria. 

9.         Ad Valorem tax appraisal: The writer 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 improvements of Parcel ID 12903123 is $790,000.  The current total appraised value of the lot is $434,500.  The current total appraised value of the features is $9,800.  The current total value is $1,235,100.   

The current total appraised value of the improvements of Parcel ID 12902103 is $228,000.  The current appraised value of the lot is $161,200.  The current total appraised value of the features is $2,700.  The current total value is $392,700.   

The current total appraised value of the improvements of Parcel ID 12903601 is $982,400.  The current total appraised value of the lot is $495,500.  The current total appraised value of the features is $200.  The current total value is $1,478,100.   

The current total appraised value of the improvements of Parcel ID 12903702 is $404,200.  The current total appraised value of the lot is $321,000.  The current total appraised value of the features is $300.  The current total value is $725,800. 

Date of the preparation of this report: January 23, 2006 

Prepared by:  Jason L. Harpe and Brad Guth

410 South Cedar St.

Lincolnton, NC  28092

(704) 742-3182

asso6377@bellsouth.net

 Historical Overview

 

Summary Statement of Significance

 Morningside Apartments possess special historical, social, and cultural significance that can be best understood in the broader context of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s population and physical growth, housing needs and construction, and expansion management during the post-World War II period.  The development and construction of Morningside Apartments is part of a collective response by the Federal government and local officials in Charlotte to the housing needs of soldiers returning from World War II, and the resulting increase in marriages and birth rates of the "Baby Boomer" generation.  Dwight L. Phillips, commercial and residential developer, built Morningside Apartments in 1949-1950 with approval from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to alleviate the housing shortages and meet Charlotte’s growing need for apartments during the post-World War II period.  Morningside Apartments provide a representative example of the “superblock” type of apartment buildings that can be found in various part of Charlotte, with examples including Selwyn Village and Cotswold Homes, and was one of five large-scale housing projects in North Carolina that received approval from the FHA in 1949. 

Background and Context 

As World War II came to a close in 1945, Charlotteans struggled to reconcile the gains and losses that were manifest in a rejuvenated economy that soared out of the economic destitution of the Great Depression, an increase in patriotism, participation in various programs and efforts on the homefront, and the loss of almost 600 Charlotteans in service to their country in various branches of the military.  Men and women of different races, religious affiliations, and economic stations assessed the effects of the war in numerous ways, and were divided in their opinions of the war as the “best of times,” or the “worst of times.”  The war effort in Charlotte was full of paradoxes, contradictions and inequalities.  Many Charlotteans struggled with the absence of family members who served in the armed forces, and suffered through the emotional devastation of learning that their loved ones were held captive in Prisoner of War camps in a foreign land.  Others fought to maintain their strength and stability, and determine their future plight and uncertain direction after losing family members or welcoming them back with debilitating physical or psychological ailments.[1]

 During the post-war years, Charlotte prospered economically with suburban expansion, improvements in transportation, and governmental funding for new construction of housing developments, shopping centers, public housing, and highways.  Charlotte’s diversified economic infrastructure of manufacturing, wholesaling/transportation, and banking afforded the city the opportunity to remain adaptable and receptive to the needs of a growing population, and offered enterprising businessmen the chance to succeed financially and control the local political arena.[2]  Charlotte was affected by wartime shortages of housing and building materials for construction of new civilian housing.  In addition, the war adversely affected the construction of new housing by enlisting builders and developers for the war effort.  The lack of sufficient builders and resources placed a strain on construction companies to build government housing projects.[3]

 Charlotte’s city officials welcomed the city’s anticipated growth and urgent need for housing by relaxing building restrictions, and assuring developers, real estate firms, and contractors that the City would approve plans in a timely manner and promptly direct municipal crews to lay water and sewer lines.  The promptness of Charlotte’s city officials’ new policy was attributable to their optimistic outlook on the city’s economic development, but did not negate the housing shortage in Charlotte.  These shortages were pervasive throughout the United States, and the Federal Government stepped up to remedy this problem with the establishment of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA).  These programs illustrate the Federal government’s commitment to ensuring that military servicemen of World War II could return from the war and procure a home of their own.  Both the VA and FHA programs provided mortgage aid to the new homeowners.  Those that did not qualify for the VA programs applied to the FHA for aid, and by the mid-1950s could apply for additional mortgage insurance through one or both of the programs.[4]

 Charlotte had taken advantage of Federal funding during the 1930s under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and Civil Works Administration to grade and pave streets in the northeast and southeast sections of Charlotte.  Additionally, Charlotte’s civic leaders utilized FERA and CWA workers to build American Legion Memorial Stadium on Independence Park, and disassemble the U.S. Mint on Mint Street in downtown and reconstruct it in Eastover as the Mint Museum of Art.  Memorial Hospital, situated two miles from downtown between Dilworth and Myers Park, was another project funded by the Federal government under FDR.[5]

The Federal government’s funding for public projects in Charlotte from the 1930s to the 1950s contributed to the city’s reshaping into segregated segments along racial and class lines.  As Charlotte’s city officials more actively promoted urban development, planning, and zoning, they made decisions that reorganized the city’s landscape into sectors.  By the 1940s in Charlotte, historian Tom Hanchett notes, “wealthy whites lived--and shopped--in southeast Charlotte, while African-Americans concentrated on the northwest side, and low- and moderate-income whites resided to the northeast and southwest.”[6]  This reorganization affected downtown Charlotte’s pivotal position as the traditional nucleus of public buildings and community facilities.

 Charlotte was also affected by the building boom of the 1940s that produced substantial population growth in the city’s suburbs.  New people moving into the Charlotte area and the increased parameters of the city limits contributed to the community's transformation, because people found the suburban lifestyle more desirable.  Annexation was another contributor to Charlotte’s suburban transformation, and the city limits expanded in 1949, 1960, 1965, and again in the 1970s.[7] This growth brought opportunity and prosperity to residential and commercial developers such as Lex Marsh, C.D. Spangler, Charles Ervin, John Crosland, and Dwight L. Phillips.  During the post-World War II period, these developers increased the size of their construction companies and capitalized on the advantages they held over smaller-scale developers.  The Federal Housing Administration supplied funding to large developers who specialized in homogeneous suburbs. To maintain homogeneity in these suburbs, developers were encouraged to include restrictions in deeds to prevent the incursion of unsuited racial and social classes.[8]  John Crosland included these restrictions in the deed to Morningside Hills that he sold to Dwight L. and Lousie Phillips in 1947.  These developers also took advantage of the financial incentives provided by the Federal government for the construction of suburban shopping centers.  Under these incentives developers such as Dwight L. Phillips built apartments, shopping centers, and residential housing throughout Charlotte. 

Dwight L. Phillips and Morningside Apartments

 Dwight Ledwell Phillips (1905-1973) built Morningside Apartments in the Chantilly section of Charlotte in 1949-1950.  The son of James Lee and Elizabeth Ledwell Phillips, Dwight was an auctioneer during the 1930s, and became a leading residential and commercial developer in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Jacksonville, North Carolina, and Norfolk, Virginia, from the 1940s to the 1970s.  His father worked as a grocer off South Tryon Street, now Independence Boulevard, and served on the County school building committee in Charlotte.  The Phillips family ran a dairy farm in Charlotte until 1933.[9] 

Phillips’s interest in industrial and business pursuits began at an early age, as he completed school at the age of fifteen and worked on the family farm.  In 1936 he organized and formed his own building business.[10]  The following year he started acquiring property in various sections of Charlotte, and began building houses in the Chantilly section with John Crosland.[11]  Phillips’s involvement with Crosland continued throughout the 1940s, with Crosland selling Dwight and Louise Phillips property in 1947 where Phillips built Morningside Apartments in 1949-1950.[12]

 During World War II  Phillips’s building firm had the good fortune of securing government contracts to build military installations.  He built over 800 homes at the United States Air Force Base at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and over 600 homes at the Air Force Base in Charleston, South Carolina.  Phillips’s other military buildings took shape in Savannah, Georgia, at Jacksonville, North Carolina, near Camp Lejeune, and the Cherry Point Air Station. 

 During the 1950s, Phillips’s projects met Charlotte’s growing need for public housing and the ever-increasing development of commercial ventures.  From 1952 to 1960 Phillips invested in and built over $30 million in public housing.[13]  In 1954 he sold to the City of Charlotte twenty-three acres on Independence Boulevard as the site for the  Charlotte Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium.  To provide lodging for visitors to the new coliseum and auditorium, Phillips built a 176-room hotel called the Coliseum Inn.  Currently, the hotel is operated by the D.L. Phillips Company as Ramada Inn.[14]  He built the Charlotte Merchandise Mart in 1961 after determining that Charlotte needed a facility for manufacturers of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing to display their products to owners of area department stores.  The Merchandise Mart continues to meet the various needs and interests of Charlotteans with events such as the Southern Ideal Home Show, Southern Women’s Show, and baseball card and model railroad shows.[15]  Phillips owned property near the Charlotte Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium where he opened the Coliseum Motor Courts in 1955.  He owned and leased to the City of Charlotte a nineteen and one-half acre unpaved parking lot adjacent to the Merchandise Mart under a twenty- year contract of $10,000 each year.[16] 

 In addition to Morningside Apartments, Phillips constructed other apartment complexes in Charlotte such as Williamsburg Village, Briar Creek (now Doral Apartments), and Cavalier.[17]  The company also built the low-income housing complex Roseland Apartments.[18]  Phillips’s investments and developments included other commercial ventures that came to fruition after World War II.  In addition to his other projects in Charlotte, Phillips and his firm D.L. Phillips Builders constructed Chantilly Shopping Center, the Story Restaurant building, Hutchison Avenue Shopping Center, the Scotland Hill development, and Freedom Drive Shopping Center.[19]  At one time Phillips maintained financial holdings and control in nineteen other corporations.  One of these corporations, the Chaney Development Company, purchased over 250 acres that is now part of U.S. Highway 21.  Phillips was a partner in the $12 million nuclear reactor that was built in Anson County and was an investor in the Westport development at Lake Norman during the late 1960s.[20]  Known locally as the father of the modern skyscraper, Phillips’s most monumental development project was the thirty-two-story Wachovia Center for Wachovia Bank and Trust Company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.[21] 

 Dwight Phillips’s influence extended beyond economics in Charlotte to the civic and political arena.  He was a member and large contributor to Calvary United Methodist Church in Charlotte and an active and long-time member of the Democratic Party in Mecklenburg County.  During the late 1950s and early 1960s he was a leading candidate for the chairmanship of Charlotte’s Democratic Party, and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.  Phillips, along with Tom Little and Paul Younts, led Stan Brookshire’s candidacy for mayor of Charlotte in 1961.[22]  He was a strong supporter of John Larkins for Governor of North Carolina and Lyndon B. Johnson for President.[23]

 Dwight and Louise Phillips purchased from the John Crosland Company in 1947, Block 12 on Morningside Drive.[24]  D.L. Phillips and Builders encountered the remnants of Jim Crow in the restrictions that the John Crosland Company had placed in the deeds of trust when selling property in suburban neighborhoods and along streets such as Morningside Drive.  George Stephens, along with his various partners, had introduced to Charlotteans the practice of establishing restrictive deed covenants. These legal instruments excluded lower class whites by establishing high costs and by prohibiting selling to anyone of the "negro race."  These restrictions assured that neighborhoods would be socially and racially homogeneous.[25] 

 Restrictions placed in the deeds to property owned by the John Crosland Company limited the erection, altercation, or placement of residential buildings to none other than one detached single family dwelling not to exceed two and one-half stories, with a private garage for no more than two cars, and servants’ quarters.  Other restrictions required submission of plans by the builder for review by a developer, a successor in title, or a committee appointed by the developer.  In addition, the proposed dwelling could cost no less that $3,000, with the ground floor square footage equaling no less than 900 square feet for a one story dwelling, and no less than 700 square feet for a one and one-half or two story dwelling.  The restrictions forbade any “noxious” or offensive trade or activity on any lot, and prevented owners from occupying as a temporary or permanent residence any trailer, basement, tent, shack, garage, barn of other outbuilding erected on the property.  To ensure the propagation of these covenants, the company included a binder enabling future owners to extend the covenants for successive periods of ten years after they expired on January 1, 1965.[26]

D. L. Phillips and Louise Phillips sold 16.88 acres, at the time called Morningside Hills, to Morningside Apartments, Incorporated on May 10, 1949.  D. L. Phillips Builders started Morningside Apartments, Inc. between 1947 and 1949 to manage the apartment complex that their company built between 1949 and 1950.[27]  In May 1949 Phillips’s apartment project at Morningside Hills, containing 216 units, received final approval by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) office in Greensboro.  This project was one of five large-scale housing projects in North Carolina to receive approval from the FHA.  The other FHA approved projects included Hillcrest Manor in High Point, and Greenway apartments, Miller Park apartments, and Ardmore Terrace apartments in Winston-Salem.[28]  Less than one year later, on April 22, 1950, the Phillips’s sold to Morningside Apartments, Inc. another parcel of property adjoining the United States Veterans Hospital site and Morningside Apartments that measured 9.608 acres.[29] 

 The original tenants who occupied Morningside Apartments in 1951 held a variety of professional positions in Charlotte.  These families, bachelors, and widows comprised a portion of Charlotte’s white working class that resided in an area removed from the city’s center and commuted to their jobs by car, bus, or on foot.  Over fifty-percent of the residents were employed in the sales industry, and worked as office managers, secretaries, and supervisors.  Robert A. Bradley occupied the first apartment at Morningside, and worked as a manufacturer’s agent.  Powell S. Huitt was the assistant department manager at Chevrolet Motors.  Georgia D. Robinson was the office manager at George S. Goodyear Company. 

Aerial view of Morningside Apartments, ca. 2004, from Google Earth.

 William F. Alexander was the advertising layout man at the Charlotte Observer.  Harry B. Rogers, Phifer Fullenwider, Marshall Newland, Peter J. Curley, and Hal N. Briggs worked as salesmen at businesses such as RKO Radio Pictures, Walker Martin Inc., Carolina Heating and Appliance, Berry Brothers Paint, and Curtiss Candy.  Numerous widows resided at Morningside Apartments to take advantage of the affordable housing, and worked mainly as secretaries.  Mrs. Mildred C. Baker, widow of George A. Baker, worked as a secretary at LW Driscoll, Inc.  Several men who lived with their families at Morningside owned and managed their own businesses.  Steward C. Davis was the president and manager of Simpson Photo Services; William C. Spoon was the manager of Spoon’s Wholesale Meats; and Able P. Santos was the manager of World Travel Services.[30]

 Upon D. L. Phillips’s death in December 1973, his son-in-law, Tom P. Phillips, succeeded D. L. as president of the D. L. Phillips Company.  Tom Phillips and other officers and directors of the Morningside Apartments, Inc. that included Russell A. Phillips, H.G. Phillips, Wylie E. McGarity, John C. Rosser, and Louise E. Phillips, dissolved the corporation on September 28, 1977.  The current owner of the apartment complex, Morningside Apartments, III, LLC, acquired two tracts from Morningside Apartments, Ltd. on December 19, 1995, that includes the original two tracts of 9.608 and 16.88 acres that D. L. and Louise Phillips sold to Morningside Apartments in 1949 and 1950.[31]

  

                  Architectural Description

Summary

 Morningside Apartments is comprised of 42 buildings containing a total of 336 one, two and three-bedroom units.  Built in a park-like setting throughout a contiguous 26-acre area in southeast Charlotte, Morningside Apartments was constructed from 1949 to 1950 by noted local builder Dwight L. Phillips.  The project was built in a Modern style that exhibits minimal decorative architectural detailing based on classical precedents including a wide band of trim below the eaves, broken triangular pediments, decorative door surrounds, six-panel doors, iron hand rails, corner brick quoins, full height entry porches with square columns, roof-line decorative iron balustrades and side-gables with cornice returns and some hipped roofs.  All windows are metal casement windows in a variety of sizes and pane configurations with brick sills and lintels.

 Morningside was designed with significant open green space between the buildings and planted with trees and shrubs.  The complex is a good example of the "garden apartment" or “superblock” multi-family rental housing property type, which has roots in the English Garden City Movement and German Superblock concepts respectively. These two movements developed in Europe in response to the need for massive housing after World War I and to the forces of urbanization and industrialization at the turn of the twentieth century. The core idea was that multi-family housing units should be placed in a garden-like, open setting featuring common courtyards that would stimulate interaction between the residents and emphasize a sense of community for the new urban society.

 Integrity

 The FHA-approved development was built to provide housing for the low to moderate-income household.  It continues to fulfill this function.  There have been no additions or changes to the exterior of these buildings since they were built and all appear to be in original condition and fairly well maintained.  Even the doors and windows appear to be the originals.  It is believed that the character defining green open spaces and the communal grassy courtyards maintain their original appearance.

Location and Setting

 The complex is located four blocks southeast from the Plaza-Midwood area of Charlotte.  It is to the south of Central Avenue and borders Veterans Park.  Four main public streets McClintock Road, Hanover Street, Iris Drive and Ivey Drive are incorporated in the site plan as well as two alleyways and twelve cul-de-sacs with parking on the interior of the blocks.  The complex is within easy walking distance of many different retail businesses, churches and public recreation facilities.

 Method of Construction, Size and Significant Features

 Walkways lead from the street into the courtyard and then to the building entrances.  Parking is at the back of all buildings.  There are ten distinct building types: 

1)      Type 1:  A two story building four units wide with eight two-bedroom apartments grouped around two common enclosed staircases that connect two upstairs apartments with two lower apartments.  Two exterior metal staircases at the rear of the building connect the rear entrances of the two upstairs apartments.  A brick stoop connects the rear entrances of the lower apartments.  Unique identifying features include a broken triangular pediment above the front entry doors and decorative door surrounds.  There are a total of nine buildings of this type in the complex.  

2)      Type 2:  A two story building three units wide with six two bedroom apartments grouped around two common enclosed staircases that connect only one upper and lower apartment and the other one connects two upstairs apartments with two lower apartments.  Two exterior metal staircases at the rear of the building connect the rear entrances of the upstairs apartments and a brick stoop connects the rear entrances of the lower apartments.  Unique identifying features include a flat pediment above the front entry doors and decorative door surrounds.  There are a total of sixteen buildings of this type in the complex. 

3)      Type 3: A two story building six units wide with twelve two-bedroom apartments grouped around three common enclosed staircases that connect two upstairs apartments with two lower apartments.  Three exterior metal staircases at the rear of the building connect the rear entrances of the two upstairs apartments and a brick stoop connects the rear entrances of the lower apartments.  Unique identifying features include a broken triangular pediment above the center front entry door and flat pediment above the two flanking front entry doors.  There are a total of four buildings of this type in the complex. 

4)      Type 4: A two story building eight units wide with eight three-bedroom townhouses.  Unique identifying features include a full height entry porch with square columns and roofline decorative iron balustrades.  There are two buildings of this type in the complex. 

5)      Type 5: A two story building six units wide with six three-bedroom townhouses.  Unique identifying features include an individual brick stoop for each unit with iron railing and shed roof with decorative iron scrollwork supports.  There is one building of this type in the complex.   

6)      Type 6:  A two story building two units wide with two three-bedroom townhouses.  Unique identifying features include an individual brick stoop for each unit with iron railing and shed roof with decorative iron scrollwork supports.  There is one building of this type in the complex. 

7)      Type 7: A two story building eight units wide with sixteen one-bedroom apartments grouped around four common enclosed staircases that connect two upstairs apartments with the entrances to two lower apartments.  Four exterior metal staircases at the rear of the building connect the rear entrances of two upstairs apartments and a brick stoop connects the rear entrances of the lower apartments.  Unique identifying features include a flat pediment above the entry doors and decorative door surrounds.  A simple brick keystone arch crowns the casement windows above the front entry doors.  There are three buildings of this type in the complex. 

8)      Type 8: A two story building with twelve one-bedroom apartments grouped around three enclosed staircases that connect two upstairs apartments with the entrances to two lower apartments.  Three exterior metal staircases at the rear of the building connect the rear entrances of two upstairs apartments and a brick stoop connects the rear entrances of the lower apartments. Unique identifying features include a flat pediment above the entry doors and decorative door surrounds.  A simple brick keystone arch crowns the casement windows above the front entry doors.  There is one buildings of this type in the complex. 

9)      Type 9: A two story building four units wide with eight one-bedroom apartments grouped around two enclosed staircases that connect two upstairs apartments with the entrances to two lower apartments. Two exterior metal staircases at the rear of the building connect the rear entrances of two upstairs apartments and a brick stoop connects the entrances of the lower apartments.  There are four buildings of this type in the complex. 

10)  Type 10: A two story building two units wide with four one-bedroom apartments grouped around one enclosed staircases that connect two upstairs apartments with the entrances to two lower apartments. An exterior metal staircase at the rear of the building connects the rear entrances of the two upstairs apartments and a brick stoop connects the entrances of the lower apartments.  There is one buildings of this type in the complex. 

Many of the front entrances have concrete stoops with brick surrounds and iron railings. 

The individual apartment buildings comprising a building block are combined to form a "U" or "L" shape to avoid monotony. The buildings are joined side by side or at right angles with others to form building blocks. The site plan combines "U" and "L" shaped plans along with linear plans.  

Morningside has moderately pitched asphalt-shingled roofs with end gables, with the exception of the buildings flanking the center buildings.  The end adjacent to the center building is hipped while the open end is gabled.  The facades of the buildings are minimally adorned.  They are brick in a running bond pattern.  Above each entrance is a casement window.  They provide a flood of light for the second floor landings.

Interiors 

 The floor plans of the apartments feature convenient and logical arrangements with rooms of modern proportions, including a well-planned and efficient kitchen, a relatively large living room, and a hall leading to bedrooms and bath areas.  The apartments contain the original hardwood floors.  The kitchens are closed off from the living room by one door and also feature a service door.  One unique feature of the two-bedroom units is the large window (60 x 36), which brings in a flood of light into the kitchen.  There are modern built-in wood cabinets.  Living rooms generally face grassy courtyards, and enjoy the generous light provided by large windows.  The apartments retain their original plain and simple construction.  The bathrooms contain the original 4-inch square ceramic wall tiles laid in a two-tone black and white sanitary color scheme. The floor tile is original as well.  The floors are hardwood and appear to be intact, and the rooms have simple baseboards and no crown moldings.

 Significance

 Morningside is a significant  example of efforts by the Federal government through the FHA mortgage loan guarantee program to promote the welfare of society, and to develop and design the physical structure of a community.  The Federal government established these programs in response to the significant challenges facing society in the twentieth century, including the critical shortage of housing after World War II and the challenges wrought by urbanization and industrialization in our country in the first half of that century. Morningside’s association with the government’s unprecedented involvement in multi-family affordable housing during this important period is significant and represents the very best of the efforts made to address an important social problem.

 Morningside is also significant as a significant example of the large multi-family garden apartment property type in Charlotte based on the planning and design principles of the Garden City movement.  This community planning movement would shape both housing design and community site planning in the twentieth century. 


[1] Stephen H. Dew, The Queen City at War: Charlotte, North Carolina, During World War II, 1939-1945 (Lanham: University Press of America, 2001).

[2] Thomas W. Hanchett, Sorting Out of the New South City: Race, Class, and Urban Development in Charlotte, 1875-1975 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998): 225-226.

[3] www.landmarkscommission.org/postww2survey.htm.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Hanchett, Sorting Out of the New South City, 228.

[6] Ibid., 224.

[7] www.landmarkscommission.org/postww2survey.htm.

[8] Hanchett, Sorting Out of the New South City, 232.

[9] The Charlotte Observer, April 21, 1960.

[10] The Charlotte Observer, May 5, 1958.  Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

[11] The Charlotte News, December 24, 1973, and The Charlotte Observer, April 21, 1960. Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

[12] Mecklenburg Register of Deeds, Book 1242, Pages 78-79.

[13] The Charlotte Observer, April 21, 1960.

[14] Dr. Dan L. Morrill.  Historic Charlotte: An Illustrated History of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. (San Antonio: Historical Publishing Network, 2001): 146.

[15] Ibid.  The Merchandise Mart’s original plan included 280,00 square feet, built on eighteen and one-half acres beside the Charlotte Coliseum.  In addition, the plans included thirty-five hundred parking spaces that served the Merchandise mart and coliseum.  The facility received three large additions in 1970 and 1990, totaling over 330,000 square feet.  Currently, the facility offers exhibition space for events, and offices for various businesses.

[16] The Charlotte Observer, April 21, 1960.

[17] Interview with Tom Phillips, January 14, 2006.

[18] The Charlotte News, December 24, 1973.

[19] The Charlotte Observer, April 21, 1960.

[20] The Charlotte Observer, May 5, 1958.

[21] The Charlotte News, December 24, 1973.

[22] Alex Coffin.  Belk and Brookshire: Businessmen in City Hall (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994): 10.

[23] The Charlotte Observer, April 21, 1960.

[24] This parcel in included with other blocks along Morningside as shown on a map prepared for the Crosland Company by A.V. Blankenship on March 7, 1940. 

[25] www.danandmary.com/hisofcharlottechap9new.htm.  Thomas W. Hanchett.  Sorting out of the New South City (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998). 

[26] Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds, Book 1008, Page 397.

[27] Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds, Book 1354, Page 298.

[28] The Charlotte Observer, May 18, 1949.  Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room.  Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

[29] Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds, Book 1410, Page 520.

[30] Charlotte City Directory, 1951.  Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room.  Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

[31] Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds, Book 8407, Page 821.