MYERS PARK STREETCAR WAITING STATIONS
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Observer Article on the Myers Park Streetcar Waiting Station
This report was written on June 4, 1980.
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
Myers Park Streetcar Waiting Stations are situated at two locations. Two are
at the intersection of East Fourth Street and Queens Road in Charlotte. One
is at the intersection of Hermitage Road and Queens Rd. in Charlotte.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the
property: The property is situated in the public right-of-way and is,
therefore, owned by:
The City of Charlotte
600 E. Trade St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Telephone: (704) 374-2241
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 which depicts the location of the property.
5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: There is no deed
recorded on this specific property. There is no Tax Parcel Number assigned
to this specific property.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property:
The growth and expansion of Charlotte in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries were intimately bound up with the installation and
development of its
streetcar network. Streetcars initially appeared in charlotte in January
1887, when a horse-drawn system commenced operations.1 It was the
Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company, locally known as the Four Cs
which revolutionized the transportation facilities of Charlotte, however. In
February 1891, the Four Cs signed a $40,000 contract with the Edison
Electric Co. to construct an electric streetcar on trolley system.2
Work began in march and terminated on May 18, 1891, when the first trolley
departed from Independence Square, the intersection of Trade and Tryon Sts.
in the heart of Charlotte.3 The system consisted of two lines,
one from the Richmond and Danville Railroad Depot Carolina Central Railroad
Depot on N. Tryon St. to Latta Park in
Dilworth, the streetcar suburb which the Four Cs opened May 20, 1891.4
The accessibility of residential property to the trolley system became
indispensable for successful real estate ventures in Charlotte after 1891.
The initial expansion of the electric streetcar network occurred in
September 1900, when a line opened which extended through Fourth Ward to
Elmwood Cemetery on the western edge of the city.5 In May 1901,
the Four Cs began service on a line which meandered through
or the northeastern quadrant of Charlotte.6 In
March 1902, trolleys initiated service to Piedmont Park, Charlotte's second
streetcar suburb.7 On December 13, 1902, the Charlotte
Consolidated Construction Company opened a streetcar line which extended
approximately three-fourths of a mile from the intersection of East Ave.
(now E. Trade St.) and McDowell St. along Elizabeth Ave. to a point three
hundred feet west of the main building of Elizabeth College, thereby
providing a powerful impetus for the growth of
Elizabeth as an affluent residential district.8
The Elizabeth College streetcar line enhanced the prospects for real
estate development in the surrounding countryside including the farms along
Providence Rd. Among the more prominent residents of this area was J. S.
Myers, whose farm embraced approximately 1200 acres. In 1902, his daughter,
Sophie, married George Stephens. This was to be a propitious connection for
George Stephens was a talented, sensitive and gregarious man. A native of
Guilford Co., North Carolina, he entered the University of North Carolina in
1892, where he excelled as a student and as an athlete. Indeed, he was
offered a contract as a professional baseball player because of his prowess
as a pitcher. Stephens decided instead to move to Charlotte following his
graduation in the mid 1890s. Having written his senior thesis on the subject
of road paving materials, he was attracted to Mecklenburg County because of
its reputation for good roads.10 In 1899, he joined with F. C.
Abbott in establishing Abbott & Stephens, a real estate firm. In 1901,
Stephens became vice-president of tile Piedmont Realty Co., the developers
of Piedmont Park. Also in 1901, he, Abbott, B. D. Heath and Word H. Wood
founded the Southern States Trust Co., later the American Trust Co., of
which Stephens became president following F. C. Abbott's withdrawal from the
company in 1902.11
In 1905, George Stephens brought John Nolen (1869-1937), who was to
become one of America's premier landscape architects and comprehensive
planners, to Charlotte to design
Independence Park, the first public park in the city. Interestingly,
this was Nolen's initial job. He was still a student in the School of
Landscape Architecture at Harvard University.12 During his
sojourn in Charlotte, Nolen commented that Stephen's father-in-law, J. S. or
"Jack" Myers, resided on a farm which had enormous potential as a
residential development. It is reasonable to infer that this observation,
coming as it did from such an impressive source, made a profound impression
upon George Stephens. Jack Myers had long dreamed that his 1200-acre farm
might become a fashionable residential development. However, he lacked the
business skill that was necessary to achieve this objective. That was the
ingredient which his talented, astute, and earnest son-in-law, George
Stephens was to provide.
In 1911, George Stephens became the founder and president of the Stephens
Co., a real estate firm committed to transforming the Myers Farm and certain
contiguous parcels into a lavish, sophisticated suburb.14 Not
surprising, Stephens selected John Nolen as the landscape architect who
would design Myers Park. On November 6, 1911, the Charlotte Evening
Chronicle reported that Nolen had had "the tract in hand for some time."
According to the Chronicle of December 30, 1911, the scope of
Myers Park was "one of the biggest ever undertaken in this section of
the South."16 "In residential developments of this character we
get a good idea of what can be done by municipalities in beautifying the
cities of the country," John Nolen asserted.17 On March 13, 1912,
the Charlotte Observer exclaimed that Myers Park could be "a suburb
of surpassing elegance and attractiveness."18 This expectation
would be fulfilled.
Among the essential amenities of Myers Park was a streetcar line. Grading
for the line was well under way by February 1912, and trolleys began serving
the suburbs on September 1, 1912.19 The Myers Park line branched
off from the Elizabeth College line at the intersection of Elizabeth Ave.
and Hawthorne Ln. and extended southward into the suburb, entering Myers
Park at the intersection of E. Fourth St. and Queens Rd.20 On
August 29, 1912, the Charlotte Observer announced that the Stephens
Co. would erect a "combination gate and waiting station on any car line in
the South," the Charlotte Observer asserted.22 The
contractor, J. A. Gardner, brought granite from Winnsboro, SC for the job.
The waiting station and gate were completed by late September or early
October 1912.23 The waiting station at the intersection of Queens
Rd. and Hermitage Rd. was erected soon thereafter. 24 One cannot
definitively attribute these structures to John Nolen. However, logic
suggests that he would have designed landscape features of this order of
magnitude. In the opinion of the Charlotte Observer, the entrance
gate was waiting stations typified the elegance of Myers Park. "The
expenditure of money which the Stephens Company is putting into the feature,
largely ornamental, is an illustration of the care which is being taken to
secure artistic finish in every detail," the newspaper stated.25
Myers Park prospered. John Nolen sent landscape architects to Charlotte
to prepare site plans for the purchasers of lots in the suburb. The Stephens
Co. provided this service, thereby underscoring its commitment to excellence
in fashioning its streetcar suburb. In 1915, Earl S. Draper, an associate of
Nolen's, located in Charlotte and oversaw the planting of trees along the
streets of Myers Park. George Stephens resigned as president of the Stephens
Co. in July 1922 and moved to Asheville, NC.25 Streetcar service
in Charlotte terminated on March 12, 1938.27 Sometime thereafter,
the entrance gate to Myers Park was demolished.28 However, the
waiting stations at the entrance and the one at Hermitage Rd. and Queens Rd.
1 The Charlotte Home Democrat (January 7, 1887), p. 3.
2 The Charlotte News (February 12, 1891), p. 1.
3 The Charlotte News (March 17, 1891), p. 3. The
Charlotte News (May 19, 1891), p. 1.
4 The Charlotte News (May 21, 1891), p. 1. The
Morning Star (Wilmington, NC) (May 22, 1891), p. 1.
5 The Charlotte Observer (September 20, 1900), p. 5.
6 The Charlotte Observer (May I5, 1901), p. 5.
7 The Charlotte Observer (March 21, 1902), p. 5.
8 The Charlotte Observer (December 13, 1902), p. 6.
9 "Charlotte - Real Estate and Subdivisions. Myers Park" a
folder in the vertical files of the Carolina Room of the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library. Hereafter cited as Myers Park.
"Stephens, George (Mr. and Mrs.)" a folder in the vertical files of the
Carolina Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library. Hereafter cited
11 F. C. Abbott, Fifty Years in Charlotte Real Estate
(Charlotte, N.C., n.d.). A monograph in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public
Library. For additional information on Word H. Wood, see Dr. Dan L. Morrill,
"Survey and Research Report on the Wood-Platt House" (prepared on October
30, 1978, for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission).
12 Myers Park. Robert Livingston Schlyler, ed., Edward
T. James, assoc. ed., Dictionary of American Biography (Charles
Scribner's Sons, New York, 1958), Vol. 22 (Supplement Two), pp. 490-491.
13 Myers Park. Stephens.
14 For the major acquisitions of the Stephens Co., see
Mecklenburg County Deed Books 268, p. 353; 277, p. 189; 268, p. 597; 280, p.
41; 280, p. 201; 277, p. 638; 276, p. 496; 283, p. 222; 276, p. 508; 283, p.
337; 280, p. 491. For maps or the locations of the waiting stations, see
Mecklenburg County Map Book 230 p. 122 & 124.
15 Charlotte Evening Chronicle (November 6, 1911), p. 6
16 Charlotte Evening Chronicle (December 30, 1911), p.
17 The Charlotte Observer (March 21, 1912), p. 7.
18 The Charlotte Observer (March 13, 1912), p. 6.
19 The Charlotte Observer (February 8, 1912), p. 6.
(September 2, 1912), p. 5.
20 Charlotte Evening Chronicle (November 6, 1911), p.
6. Initially known as the Boulevard, Queens Road acquired its name in
February 1913 in honor of Queens College, which would be locate at the
southern terminus of the thoroughfare (Charlotte Observer [February
1, 1913], p. 7). John Nolen also designed the Queens College Campus (Charlotte
Observer [March 22, 1912], p. 6).
21 The Charlotte Observer (August 29, 1912), p. 6.
22 The Charlotte Observer (September 2, 1912), p. 5.
23 The Charlotte Observer (August 29, 1912), p. 6.
24 The Charlotte Observer (October 10, 1912), p. 5.
Technically, Hermitage Court was not part of Myers Park. It was developed by
the Simmons Co., not the Stephens Co.
25 The Charlotte Observer (August 29, 1912), p. 6.
26 Myers Park. Stephens.
27 The Charlotte Observer (March 13, 1938), p. 1.
28 For a photograph of the entrance gate, see William T.
Simmons and L. Brooks Lindsay, Charlotte and Mecklenburg County: A
Pictorial History, (Donning Co., Norfolk, VA., n.d.), p. 59. It should
be noted that this volume contains many errors.
29 Local residents recall that there were other waiting
stations on the Myers Park line. None, however, survive.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains an architectural description of the property prepared by Jack O.
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria set forth in N.C.G.S.160A-399.4:
a. Special significance in terms of its history, architecture,
and/or cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property
known as the Myers Park Streetcar Waiting Stations does possess special
significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its
judgment on the following considerations: 1) they conform to the plan
devised by John Nolen, a landscape architect of national renown; 2) they
have strong associative ties with George Stephens, an individual of local
and regional importance; 3) they are the only surviving elements of the
Myers Park streetcar line and, except for a substantially altered
streetcar barn in Dilworth, of the entire Charlotte streetcar system,
which served this community from May 1891 until March 1938.
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling,
and/or association: The Commission judges that the architectural
description included herein demonstrates that the property known as the
Myers Park Streetcar Waiting Stations meets this criterion.
9. Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal: The Commission is aware that
designation would allow the owner to apply annually for an automatic
deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the
property which becomes "historic property." The subject property is owned by
the City of Charlotte and is, therefore, not subject to Ad Valorem taxes.
F. C. Abbott, Fifty Years In Charlotte Real Estate (Charlotte, NC,
Charlotte Evening Chronicle.
The Charlotte Home Democrat.
The Charlotte News
The Charlotte Observer
"Charlotte - Real Estate and Subdivisions. Myers Park. "A folder in the
vertical files of the Carolina Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public
The Morning Star (Wilmington, NC).
Dr. Dan L. Morrill, "Survey and Research Report on the Wood-Platt House."
(Prepared on October 30, 1978, for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic
Records of the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office.
Records of the Mecklenburg County Tax Office.
Robert Livingston Schlyler, ed., Edward T. James, assoc. ed.,
Dictionary of American Biography (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York,
1958), Vol. 22 (Supplement Two).
William T. Simmons and L. Brooks Lindsay Charlotte and Mecklenburg
County: A Pictorial History (Donning Co., Norfolk, VA, n.d.).
"Stephens, George (Mr. and Mrs.)" a folder in the vertical files of the
Carolina Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library.
Date of preparation of this report: June 4, 1980.
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
3500 Shamrock Dr.
Charlotte, NC 22215
By Jack O. Boyte
On the southeastern fringe of Charlotte a new residential subdivision was
spread across rolling farm land in the first decade of this century. This
neighborhood called "Myers Park" was designed by landscape architect John
Nolen to include convenience as well as beauty and comfort. A primary
convenience, advertised by the developers, was easy access to the new
electric trolley which snaked through the subdivision in a landscaped
median. No house lot was to be more than two blocks from the street car.
Furthermore, shelters were erected at regular intervals along the line to
protect waiting commuters; a line which reached as far as the Queens College
campus. Three of the original shelters remain much as they were when new in
1912. Two of these shelters identify the original subdivision gateway at the
intersection of East Fourth Street and Queens Road. Here there was a large
center trolley shed, since demolished, through which double tracks entered
the grass median. Smaller sheds at each side of the divided street covered
the paved walks. These flanking shelters anchor semi-circular low stone
walls which flare out further to give a grand scale to this main Myers Park
entrance. On the east side of the intersection at Queens and Hermitage Roads
is the third shelter, also remarkably preserved with most original material
The three shelters have uniform design and detailing. The one remaining
at Hermitage Road was intended to provide a covered bench waiting area,
while those at Fourth Street are larger, more impressive gateway canopies.
The structures have broad over hanging wooden roofs, twelve feet wide and
eight feet front to back, resting on two large granite pillars. Unusual
features on the Fourth Street shelter piers are small stone lugs projecting
from three sides to support wood roof overhang knee brackets. Built of rough
ashlar, the sturdy piers rise more than eight feet to a bracketed
rectangular frame. Above this is a low tripped roof covered with sawn cedar
shingles. While not original, the wood roof surfaces have weathered to a
soft gray patina consistent with the shelters' years.
The wood superstructure is framed of finished 4 x 4s and 4 x 6s. Rafter
ends are exposed and chamfered to align with a narrow fascia on the roof
perimeter. There is a painted ceiling of 4 inch boards, beaded at the edge
and center in the typical turn of the century manner. A small crown mold
trims the ceiling edges.
The granite blocks, rough cut from the popular "blue" Winnsboro stone of
the time, vary in size and shape. Chiseled edges abut in generally uniform
joints which are tooled with a square edged rustication line designed to
emphasize random coursing. The stone cork in the shelter pillars and curved
gate walls is an exceptional example of the skilled stone masonry common at
the turn of the century, and the original surfaces show no apparent
The shelters have been carefully, and fortunately, preserved since the
last trolley ran nearly forty years ago. Few changes have occurred, though
the piers at Fourth Street have poorly built shoulder additions which should
be removed, and one ceiling has been repaired with plywood instead of beaded
ceiling boards. Otherwise, these fine little structures are in good
condition and are significant architectural remnants from a colorful era in
Charlotte's recent history.
Addendum to the Survey and Research Report on the
Myers Park Streetcar Waiting Stations
The Hermitage Court Gateways
1. Brief historical sketch of the property:
On February 28, 1912, the Charlotte Observer announced that Floyd
M. Simmons of the Simmons Company, a local real estate firm, had purchased a
tract of land which was contiguous with Myers Park, the elegant streetcar
suburb which the Stephens Company had recently begun. John Nolen
(1869-1937), the landscape architect for Myers Park, also designed Simmons'
development, which was named "Hermitage Court."1 Hermitage Court
opened on October 10, 1912.2 Among the amenities of the suburb
were massive entrance gates at either end of the boulevard.3 "It
is believed by the developers these gateways will lend a tone and
exclusiveness to the suburb which could be derived in no other way," the
Charlotte Observer reported on March 21, 1912.4 Construction
of the gateways was in progress by early September 1912.5 They
were finished before the official opening of Hermitage Court on October 10,
1912. The Charlotte Observer was expansive in its description of
these edifices: "At either entrance to Hermitage Court is a handsome granite
gateway, pointed with red cement mortar, the work on these was done by two
Scotchmen who came here for the purpose from Aberdeen Scotland last June. On
one gate appears the inscription, "Ye Easte Gayte," and on the other, "Ye
Weste Gayte." Many are designed after the entrance ways to Andrew Jackson's
old home near Nashville."6
1 Charlotte Observer (February 28, 1912), p. 6.
2 Charlotte Observer (October 10, 1912), p. 5.
3 For an early photograph of the western gate, see
Charlotte Observer (November 3, 1912), p. 9.
4 Charlotte Observer (March 21, 1912), p. 6.
5 Charlotte Observer (September 2, 1912), p. 5.
6 Charlotte Observer (October 10, 1912), p. 5.
Date of preparation of this Addendum: July 2, 1980
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
3500 Shamrock Dr.
Charlotte, N.C. 28215
Telephone: (704) 332-2726
Jack O. Boyte
A short distance beyond the imposing "Myers Park" entrance, a new
subdivision was also opened in 1912 whose gateways matched the masonry
design of the main "Myers Park" gate as well as the nearby trolley shelter
at the intersection of Queens and Hermitage Roads. Borrowing the adjoining
street name, as well as the granite "Myers Park" entrance details, Hermitage
Court connected Hermitage Road to Highway 16 (Providence Road) which ran
parallel to Queens Road about a half mile to the east. The new development
had unique east and west gates. At each end of the long median divided
street, the sidewalks and drives were flanked by massive granite piers and
low curved walls which guarded and defined the new subdivision. This
extraordinary stone work remains today undisturbed and still an impressive
From Hermitage Road one may walk into Hermitage Court between tall blue
granite pillars at either side. Or vehicles can enter one way drives left or
right which are also flanked by tall stone piers. The walkway gate piers are
three feet square and rise seven feet to sloped stone peaks. In the center,
a landscaped median with twin pillars and a connecting, low, undulating wall
complete the impressive gateway. These center piers are four feet square and
rise more than nine feet to stone caps which also slope up to low peaks. At
the top are remnants of brass brackets which give evidence that at an
earlier time the center piers were crowned with decorative lanterns. Small
round granite wheel bumpers protrude from the base of all curb side piers.
At the east end of Hermitage Court is another gateway of massive granite
pillars and low walls. This gateway faces Providence Road with the same
impressive masonry details as those at the Queens-Hermitage Road end. The
stone work in the twin entrances is similar to that found in the original
trolley line gates and shelters. The rough face
random granite ashlar is the same, and the joints show the same careful
workmanship. However, pink colored mortar appears on the Hermitage Court
stonework whereas, it is ordinary gray in the earlier Myers Park
These remarkable old gateways represent a time when impressive entrance
details were regularly used to define important boundaries. County lines,
for entrance, were often graced with such structures. As rare survivors of
that time and as significant elements in the early development of suburban
"Myers Park," the Hermitage Court granite gates are important architectural