HOUSE AND FARM - DEMOLISHED
This report was written on 23 August 1991
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
Parks-Jetton House and Farm is located at the western end of Neck Road,
Charlotte, in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
2. Name address and telephone number of the present owner of the
property: The owner of the property is:
Crescent Resources, Inc.
P. O. Box 30817, Suite 1300
Charlotte, North Carolina 28230
Telephone: (704) 373-3012
Tax Parcel Number: 013-161-01
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 maps which depict the location of the property.
5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent
deed to Tax Parcel Number 013-161-01 is listed in Mecklenburg County Deed
Book 3146 at page 175.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains
a brief historical sketch of the property prepared by Ms. Paula M. Stathakis.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains a brief architectural description of the property prepared by Ms.
Nora M. Black.
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 the Parks-Jetton House and Farm does possess special significance in
terms of Charlotte and . Mecklenburg County. The Commission bases its
judgment on the following considerations: 1) the Parks-Jetton House was
built in 1905; 2) the Parks-Jetton House is believed to have been built by
John Ellis McAulay, a prominent Hopewell carpenter; 3) the family of John
Lindsay Parks, Jr., helped settle the land enclosed by the bend of the
Catawba River; 4) the Jetton family, who leased the farm after its sale to
Crescent Resources, Inc., is a good example of the yeoman farmers of
northern Mecklenburg County; 5) the Parks-Jetton House and Farm is
architecturally significant as a late vernacular interpretation of the
I-house; and 6) the Parks-Jetton Farm contains several examples of early
20th century farm buildings.
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling,
and / or association: The Commission contends that the architectural
description by Ms. Nora M. Black included in this report demonstrates that
the Parks-Jetton House and Farm meets this criterion.
9. 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 appraised value of the
improvements is $15,330. The current appraised value of Tax Parcel
013-161-01 (1157.77 acres) is $4,634,430. The total appraised value of the
property is $4,649,760. The property is zoned RR. It is anticipated that the
house and a maximum of forty acres will be considered for prospective
Date of Preparation of this Report: 23 August 1991
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill in conjunction with Ms. Nora M.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
1225 South Caldwell Street, Box D
Charlotte, North Carolina 28203
Telephone: 704/ 376-9115
Paula M. Stathakis
The house known as the Parks-Jetton House was built c.1905 by the
grandson of John Lindsay Parks Sr. According to Charles William Sommerville,
author of The History of Hopewell Church, John Lindsay Parks Sr.
moved from Cabarrus County to Mecklenburg County c. 1868. 1 While
in Cabarrus County, the 1850 census agricultural schedule shows John L.
Parks (Sr.) as the owner of a 275 acre farm. This farm was a prosperous and
diverse enterprise. Parks Sr. owned horses, mules, and dairy cows, and he
also raised 37 head of beef cattle, 32 sheep and 25 swine. He harvested 1000
bushels of corn in 1849 to feed these animals. Parks Sr. also grew buckwheat
(130 bushels), oats (400 bushels), potatoes (20 bushels Irish, 30 bushels
sweet), peas and beans (150 bushels), hay (13 tons) and cotton (11 400 lb.
bales). This data suggests that Parks Sr. made the most of his 175 acres of
By 1860, John Lindsay Parks Sr. had increased his holdings to 850 acres;
400 improved, 450 in woodlands. The cash value of his farm increased from
$2000.00 to $12000.00. He shifted his crop emphasis to cotton and produced
40 400 lb. bales, nearly a 30% increase from 1850. 3 Parks Sr.
was not listed as a slave owner in the 1850 Slave Census, but in 1860 he was
registered as the owner of 13 slaves ( 8 under age 10). 4
The Civil War did not appear to have had adverse effects on John Lindsay
Parks Sr.'s finances. By the 1870s, he had accumulated large tracts along
the Catawba River in the Hopewell section. Parks Sr. purchased the homestead
of Robert Davidson,
Holly Bend. This Federal style plantation house, constructed between
1795-1800, still stands on Neck Road. 5 He also purchased a 282
acre tract below Holly Bend near the river. John Lindsay Parks Sr. lived in
Holly Bend and his son William Beaty Parks occupied the 28 acre site which
was later known as the John Lindsay Parks homestead. 6
From Holly Bend, Parks Sr. worked 800-900 acres. He devoted most of his
land to corn and cotton, a practice prevalent among post-bellum Southern
farmers. In 1880 he produced 80 bales of cotton and 3800 bushels of corn. He
also raised orchard products and livestock. He employed 221 laborers to tend
to these crops.7
John Lindsay Parks Sr. probably had a cotton gin and saw mill on the
premises of the Holly Bend estate. 8 Sommerville wrote that the
ginning was done by "mules and darkies" until improved methods were
introduced. 9 The estate of John Lindsay Parks Sr. does not
account for a cotton gin or a saw mill, but the receipts listed in the final
settlement of the estate show payments made to his estate from the sale of
cotton seed and from ginning fees. There receipts, dating from 1906-1908
show the same farmers using the gin repeatedly. 10 The frequency
of the same gin customers suggests that either Parks Sr.'s gin was never a
large enterprise, especially since this gin was not located near a railroad
depot, or that by the time of his death in 1905, his ginning business
John Lindsay Parks Sr. appeared to be financially secure on his grand
acreage on the Catawba. He hired over 200 laborers. Evidence strongly
suggests that he operated a cotton gin and he is known to have dabbled in
money lending for his neighbors, holding their crops and land as collateral
against the loans. 12 However by the late 1880s, Parks Sr. had
his share of economic difficulties. The details of his misfortunes are
sketchy. One sign that he had problems is a Deed of Trust in which he was
indebted to Mrs. Susan Wallace and Miss Mary K. Gilkey for $1300.00, a debt
that he never paid off in his lifetime. The collateral for this loan was the
282 acre tract occupied by his son William. The debt was cleared by his
grandson John Lindsay Parks when he acquired this land in 1905. 13
This 282 acre tract was once part of Robert Davidson's Holly Bend estate. It
was sold as a separate tract by Davidson's nephew, also named Robert, to
James Osborne who later sold this tract as well as the tract containing
Holly Bend to John Lindsay Parks Sr.
William Beaty Parks lived on the 282 acre tract with his wife Nancy Alice
Gluyas and their twelve children. W.B. Parks concentrated in forest
products. He had a total of 464 acres, 68% of which was in woodland. He
raised no cotton, but he kept 320 laborers in his employ in 1879 and he was
one of the rare farmers who maintained working oxen. In 1880, W.B. Parks
harvested 225 cords of wood from 320 acres of woodland, a fairly heavy
cutting, especially if he cut from mature woodland. 14 He is also
listed in the 1880 census of manufactures as the owner of a saw mill in Long
John Lindsay Parks, son of William Beaty Parks and grandson of John
Lindsay Parks Sr., purchased the property his father lived on from his
grandfather in 1905. 16 The house that originally stood on the
property burned and was rebuilt in 1905 for Parks Sr. by Hopewell carpenter
John Ellis McAulay. McAulay was a "country carpenter"' not a contractor, and
built several houses in the Hopewell area. 17 John Lindsay Parks
and his wife, Luella Temple (married 1904) lived in this house with their
two children. Luella died in 1913. J.L. Parks remarried in 1917 to Cora
Colson from Norwood, N.C. They had five children. Aside from farming, J. L.
Parks served as a County Commissioner from 1914-1920. 18 Cora
Colson Parks was educated at Presbyterian (now Queens) College She was a
musician, taught music in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools, and was
an organist at
Hopewell Presbyterian Church for twenty years.
In 1920 the Parks family sold their property to Catawba Manufacturing and
Electric Power Company. 20 The agreement negotiated between John
Lindsay Parks and Catawba Manufacturing and Electric Power Company
stipulated that J.L.Parks would sell three tracts totaling 357 acres for
$75.00 per acre. This arrangement should have paid J.L.Parks $26,775.00.
John Lindsay Parks, the second Parks generation to live on and work this
land left no record of how he felt about having to leave the area. He kept
the Holly Bend property until 1930 when he lost it in a foreclosure. 21
The current resident of the John Lindsay Parks House, Burnett Jetton
remarked that J.L. Parks and his wife Cora were "good people" who suffered a
very difficult financial period in the 1920s. After they sold their property
in Hopewell, the J.L. Parks family ran a boarding house in Charlotte on
Church Street and also ran a hotel in Albemarle for some time. 22
They ended up back in Charlotte and resided at 808 Kenilworth Avenue until
their deaths. 23
The Jetton family has rented the John Lindsay Parlous House since it was
purchased by Catawba Manufacturing and Electric Power Company. William
Franklin Jetton (1861-1926) and his wire Leonora Sifford (1870-1961) and
their eight children were originally from Bethel Church in Lincoln County.
24 The outbuildings that now occupy the site are the work of
William Franklin Jetton and his son Burnett, who now occupies the property.
Perhaps the best insight into the rural and agricultural life of the area
is through the recollections of Burnett Jetton, whose family farmed much in
the same way that the Parks family had done. The Jettons raised cotton,
corn, wheat, oats and hay on this land, which was relatively good farmland
compared to the soil at Holly Bend, which Jetton said had eroded into "red
gullies". The soil on the Jetton tract is more "loamy". 26 Jetton
figures that he plowed through a good eight inches of loam before he hit
clay. Thin land was supplemented by the use of fertilizer which he or his
father bought every spring on credit. Guano, or "jewaner" as Jetton and
other farmers of his generation call is, was obtainable at the Royster and
McAbe Plant in Charlotte or from merchants in Huntersville. Sometimes
farmers would pool their resources and order a carload of fertilizer from
the manufacturer to be sent to Caldwell Station. The use of guano was
prevalent in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially
among farmers who grew cotton as their cash crop.
In the early twentieth century, cotton gins were capable of pressing 500
lb. bales. A farmer was lucky if he could get one bale to the acre. However,
Jetton said there was not much of "that kind of land" around. Farmers
devoted most of their acreage to the cash crop which left less land for
subsistence crops. During this period, most farmers lived on credit and it
was difficult for them to make ends meet. Even if a farmer had most of his
land in cotton, most of the money he made from the sale of this crop was
paid to the merchants with whom he had credit. In the 1920s when the price
of cotton got as low as six cents a pound most farmers rarely had cash left
over after they settled their debts. It was therefore important for farmers
to strike the difficult balance of maximizing land use for their cash crop
and leaving enough to raise some livestock and food crops. Although Jetton
is in his nineties, he emphatically says that the farmer worked hard but
only merchants were prosperous. 27
The Jettons and other farmers in the area could take their cotton to a
number of gins. William Franklin Jetton purchased shares in gins in
Huntersville and in Cornelius. A gin was also located on Beatties Ford Road
approximately one mile north of Neck Road known as Stillwell's gin.
Stillwell owned the land that the gin occupied and a grocery store there.
The gin was not near a railroad, so Stillwell was not personally involved as
a middleman between farmers and cotton brokers. Instead. agents from cotton
brokerages in Charlotte came to Stillwell's (as well as to other gins in the
area) to buy cotton from individual farmers. Jetton remembers one such
brokerage, McIver and Parks, was interested in long lint cotton and would
cut a small hole into the bale to extract cotton for examination. There were
always agents from other firms, and farmers could shop around for the best
price; a broker could make a sale by offering a half a cent more than his
In their effort to be self-sustaining, the Jettons raised or made almost
everything they needed except coffee. salt, sugar and lard. They grew
sorghum to make molasses. Burnett Jetton recalled that in his youth, several
molasses mills operated in the county. The manufacture of molasses was done
entirely by individual farmers and the helpers they took with them to these
mills. After cutting the cane with scythes and stripping it, each farmer had
to haul the cane and enough wood to process it to the mill. The cane was
ground by a device powered by a mule "hitched to a pole". A helper was
essential for skimming the molasses as the mixture cooked because the liquid
had to be kept clear during processing. All of this was tedious work which
Jetton remembers as backbreaking. The owners of the molasses mills were paid
in quantities of molasses instead of cash.
The Jettons also raised wheat, often as much as ten acres. They took
their wheat to a mill in Mooresville. Initially, farmers could leave a
specified amount of wheat at this mill and return as often as necessary to
get flour; no money was exchanged. This practice was later discontinued,
farmers sold their wheat to the mill and purchased the flour when they
Rural life was hard, but not without moments of recreation. The main form
of entertainment were square dances. Burnett Jetton played banjo in a small
band with John Flanager and Henry Kearns. They played at many square dances
some as far away as Newell, and made $7.00-$8.00 a week as musicians. The
dances were usually on Saturday night: they began around 7:00 and were over
before midnight. In addition to the musicians, a caller "called figures",
something like "in behind in a single swing back in front in a double swing"
all of which made perfect sense to the dancers who followed his
instructions. Square dances were generally held at someone's home; food was
not provided, but some people would bring a bottle with them. Jetton's most
vivid square dance memory was of a dance held at
Long Creek School. The gym was packed with Hopewell residents including
most of the deacons from Hopewell Presbyterian Church. The next day, Rev.
Burwell, minister at Hopewell Presbyterian Church preached against dancing
and against that dance in particular. For ten years after that incident,
there were no square dances in Hopewell.
Even work, when it was a group activity, could be made into a social
gathering. Corn shuckings were popular in the Hopewell section. Farmers
invited neighbors to help shuck corn, and in return the farmer provided his
neighbors with a "big supper". Corn shuckings were large events as 200-300
bushels of corn had to be cleaned, and some engaged in friendly competition
to see who could shuck the most corn in the least time. Most farmers were
able to have "supper shuckings" but the poor farmers could only afford to
have "candy shuckings". Instead of a meal, the poor farmer passed out candy
as a treat for those who helped him. Jetton, remembers having only one
shucking. He preferred to put his corn up with the shucks on because he
believed that the corn kept better that way, and the mules ate the shucks
without complaining. 29
The kind of rural life described by Burnett Jetton began to disappear in
the 1930s. Cotton production declined, and fewer people were willing or able
to survive on their farms during the depression. Jetton went to work for the
County Police in 1936. Country merchants were gradually put out of business
by large grocery chains which did business on a credit basis. Burnett Jetton
still rents the 40 acres from Crescent Land and Timber, but he does not farm
anymore. The land surrounding the Jetton farm is now a wildlife preserve.
1 Charles William Somerville. The History of Hopewell
Presbyterian Church For 175 Years From the Assigned Date of its Founding,
1762, (Charlotte: Observer Printing House., 1939) p. 171.
2 1850 Census. Agricultural Schedule. Cabarrus County.
3 1860 Census. Agricultural Schedule, Cabarrus County.
4 1860 Census. Slave Schedule. Cabarrus County.
5 Deed 8-98, October 1872.
6 Deed 8-97. Filed 1-1874. Both deeds 8-97 and 8-98 refer to
the tracts purchased by John Lindsay Parks Sr. as the "Neck Place".
7 1880 Census. Agricultural Schedule. Mecklenburg County.
8 See Sommerville, The History of Hopewell Church p.
171. This information was confirmed by Burnett Jetton, current resident of
the John Lindsay Parks house. Interview with Burnett Jetton, August 5, 1991.
However, the 1880 Census Manufactures Schedule does not show a cotton gin
owned by John Lindsay Parks. At least this name does not appear in any of
the legible sections of this microfilm. It does show that William Beaty
Parks operated a saw mill. The microfilm copy of the 1880 Manufactures
Schedule is of such poor quality that it is conceivable that John Lindsay
Parks was recorded as the owner-operator of a gin, but the general
illegibility of this document makes it virtually impossible to read. The
original manuscript Copy in in the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh
and may be in better shape than this copy. No disclaimer was included in the
microfilm copy to suggest that the overall poor quality of the copy was due
to the deteriorated condition of the original. If this is not the case, then
the copy is simply a sloppy job and as such is of little use to anyone.
9 Sommerville, The History of Hopewell Church, 171.
10 Many of the repeat users were relatives: his son William
Beatty Parks, his son-in-law R.M. Allison, and his grandson, William Gluyas
Parks, and Calvin Ross Parks.
11 Estate of John Lindsay Parks. Annual Accounts 13:107. Final
Settlements 4:442. Clerk Estates Mecklenburg County Courthouse. The Final
Settlements also show that John Lindsay Parks Sr. was attended by Dr. W.P.
Craven, a country doctor and farmer in the Long Creek area For more
information on Craven, see the National Register of Historic Places form for
Dr Walter Pharr Craven House.
12 Deed 20-44a, 2-28-1879; Deed 49-229, 11-15-1889. Register
of Deeds, Mecklenburg County Courthouse.
13 Deed of Trust 49-494, 12-9-1885. Resister of Deeds,
Mecklenburg County Courthouse.
14 1880 Census. Agricultural Schedule, Mecklenburg County.
15 1880 Census. Manufactures Schedule. Mecklenburg County.
16 Deed 198-256, 1-15-1905. J.L. Parks paid $3500.00 for the
property plus $1900.00 to remove the lien.
17 Sommerville, The History of Hopewell Church , pp.
157, 158, 209.
18 Obituary for John Lindsay Parks, Charlotte Observer
2-12-1956. While a commissioner, Parks was prominent in a group then known
as the Better Roads Commission.
19 Obituary for Cora Colson Parks, Charlotte Observer
8-18-1966. Burnett Jetton remembers that Cora Parks helped him learn to play
20 Agreement 435-28, 8-6-1920, Deed 438-135, 12-28-1920.
Register of Deeds, Mecklenburg County Courthouse. Catawba Manufacturing and
Electric Power Company is now Duke Power. The property is owned by Crescent
Resources, the real estate subsidiary of Duke Power.
21 National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination
Form, Holly Bend. It is not clear how John Lindsay Parks encountered such
severe financial difficulties. Most of his misfortunes were probably related
to the overall national difficulties. A natural disaster that he could not
avoid was the flood of 1916. Burnett Jetton remembers this flood which wiped
out all crops that were planted near the river or near creeks. Jetton also
said that debris washing downstream, such as bales of cotton, houses and
trees, clogged bridges and exacerbated the problem.
22 Interview with Burnett Jetton, 8-5-1991.
23 Death Certificates: John Lindsay Parks #237 2-11-4956; Cora
Colson Parks #1022 5-17-1966. Obituaries for John Lindsay Parks,
Charlotte Observer 2-12-1956, and Cora Colson Parks. Charlotte
24 Their children were MacLane, Martin, Bessie, Willie,
Chester, Burnett, Gaddis, and Edna. Burnett is the only surviving sibling.
The Jetton family rented 40 acres from Catawba Manufacturing and Electric
25 Jetton remembers the eroded soil from his youth.
Considering that the land around Holly Bend had been under constant
cultivation since the time the Davidson family owned it and that the use of
fertilizers was not widespread until the late nineteenth century, this
memory of red gullies is probably accurate. John Lindsay Parks Sr. may have
run into some of his bad luck at a point when the soil was too exhausted to
produce to its normal capacity.
26 The soil on this tract may have been in better condition
because it was kept in woodlands and was put to more diverse use than the
neighboring Holly Bend tract.
27 Jetton and other farmers felt the squeeze from what
historian Steven Hahn calls the "Vortex of the Cotton Economy'. See Steven
Hahn, The Roots of Southern Populism (New York and Oxford: Oxford
University Press), 1983.
28 W.F. Jetton was paid dividends depending on available
funds. When farmers stopped raising cotton, W.F. Jetton sold his shares in
these gins and got out of these ventures at par.
29 All of the above information about rural life and the
Jetton family's tenure on the John Lindsay Parks land is taken from an
interview with Burnett Jetton, 8-5-1991.
by Ms. Nora M. Black
The Parks-Jetton House is located on the western end of Neck Road in the
Long Creek Township of Mecklenburg County. The front or east facade of the
house faces Neck Road; the rear or west facade overlooks a field and
associated outbuildings. One house, twelve outbuildings, and one house
trailer remain in a cluster near Neck Road. The house and associated
outbuildings are located on a tract of forty acres leased by Mr. W. Burnett
Jetton. The tract is part of Tax Parcel Number 013-161-01 which is a 1157.77
acre tract owned by Crescent Resources.
The Parks-Jetton House is an example of a two-story, extended I-house
with center hall. The I-house was fairly common in the post-railroad years
between approximately 1850 to 1890. This period, often referred to as the
National Folk House period, coincided with the spread of the railroad
throughout the United States. 1 The Parks-Jetton House was
constructed somewhat later in a period when Victorian Houses of the Folk
Victorian era (ca. 1870-1910) 2 were common in the farm
communities of North Carolina; however, most of those later I-houses were
enriched with Folk Victorian decoration on the front porch and at the eaves.
The Parks-Jetton House lacks any decoration beyond the turned porch posts
and the carved front door; therefore, it appears to be a throwback to the
earlier style of construction. Over the years, the house has changed little.
The ground plan of the Parks-Jetton House is a compound, U-plan. The
house presents a symmetrical elevation to the road. The two-story facade
dominates the front view because of the low pitched roof. The ground plan of
the two-story section of the house nearest Neck Road is that of a
side-gabled structure three units wide. A one-story tripped roof porch
runs.the length of the front of the house. This front or public side of the
house lacks the decorative details that many houses of this era would have
had to enliven plain, utilitarian facades.
gable-roofed, one-story wings at the rear of the house form the rest of
the U-shape of the ground plan. The south wing is two rooms deep while the
north wing is only one room deep. Between the two wings is a back porch that
was enclosed to form a room many years ago. The porch/room fills in the
interior of the U-shape. The south gable-roofed wing has a smaller
gable-roofed addition on the west end.
The siding is lapped horizontal boards with wide vertical corner boards.
According to Mr. Jetton, the siding was white-washed in the 1930's; he
doesn't recall an application of white-wash since that time. 3
Most of the siding is original; some original siding has been replaced
because of deterioration. In a few areas on the back of the house, pieces of
paneling and other materials cover deteriorated sections. The foundation
consists of original brick piers.
The roof has a low pitch; the green asphalt roofing material was
installed after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The original roof was "crimped tin"
but it had rusted through.4 The tripped roof front porch has very
old asphalt shingles. The gables have a wide overhang; the wide eave
overhang is boxed.
Many of the windows in the Parks-Jetton House contain the original leaded
glass; most are 2/2 double hung wooden
sash. Some broken windows have been replaced with new glass. Many of the
windows have been covered with pieces of paneling or plywood to prevent the
entry of vandals and thieves. The window surrounds are wide boards and not
elaborate; however, they do have decorative moldings to form a cornice. The
only exceptions to the 2/2 windows are three 6-pane rectangular windows in
the small addition at the rear of the south wing.
The side-gabled (front) section of the house is one unit deep by three
units wide. The front elevation is divided into two bays having symmetrical
single windows and one center bay with a door on the first floor and a
window on the second floor. Each gable end has two windows - a single, 2/2
window centered on each story. The side-gabled section of the house has two
masonry chimneys on the back facade exiting the house at the peak of each
rear gable wing. This arrangement allows each of the two chimneys to serve
three rooms - one room upstairs, one room downstairs in the side-gabled
front section and one room in each gable wing
The north one-story wing to the rear of the side-gabled section forms one
room that the Jettons used as a bedroom. The main part of the south
one-story wing is two rooms deep by one room wide; it contains the dining
room and the kitchen. The additional small wing at the rear of the south
wing consists of one unit that is open on the north side and one enclosed
unit used for storage.
The entry porch on the front facade is a one-story
hip-roofed porch with six turned wooden posts. A narrow band of vertical
boards forms a cornice protected by the wide boxed eaves of the porch roof.
The turned wooden posts sit directly on the porch flooring; they have no
bases. The porch has wooden flooring of same width boards; much of the wood
is deteriorated. The porch celling is made of beaded board. An unshielded
bulb in a ceramic fixture is centered in the porch ceiling. There are no
steps leading to the porch. The wooden enframement surrounding the single
door consist of wide boards painted white. A screen door has a wooden frame
painted white. The door consists of nine panels. The panels are a
rectangular carved wooden panel at the top, a square pane of glass, another
rectangular carved wooden panel matching the top panel, and six small square
carved panels arranged in horizontal rows of three each. The carving is a
stylized flower in each of the six square panels and a branch in each of the
two rectangular panels.
The interior has not been changed or modernized to any great degree. The
rooms have beaded-board ceilings, picture moldings, window and door
surrounds with a deeply carved reed design, and original woodwork. Original
hardware and door knobs are still in place on many of the doors. Hardwood
floors throughout the house are generally of equal width oak boards although
some floors have been covered with linoleum. Walls are plaster; gypsum
wallboard was used for partitions in a small bath located at the west end of
The original fireplace surrounds are still in place; they are simple
arrangements of mantles supported by turned engaged posts. When the Jetton
family moved into the house in 1920, all heat was provided by open
fireplaces. In the late 1920's, the fireplaces were closed and wood stoves
were installed. 5 The stoves have been removed, but the
fireplaces have not been reopened for use. An oil space heater provides the
heat for the two rooms that Mr. Jetton uses.
The first floor consists of the center passage hallway that runs from the
front door to a back door to the enclosed rear porch/room. Upon entering the
front door, the Jettons had their living room in the front room on the
right. Their front bedroom was to the left. 6 At the rear of the
center passage hallway, a door to the right opened into a bedroom while the
opposite door on the left led to the dining room. The open stairway has the
original balustrade and an unusual arrangement of two newel posts. It begins
near the rear of the center passage hallway and lands in the upstairs
hallway between two bedrooms. The rear door of the center passage hallway
leads to the enclosed porch/room. The entrance to the kitchen is on the
south wall of the rear portion of the enclosed porch/room. The kitchen can
also be entered from a door on the west wall of the dining room. The door on
the west wall of the porch/room leads to a small bathroom installed by Mr.
The one-story south wing on the rear facade provided a kitchen and dining
room. At one time, a fireplace on the east wall of the dining room shared
the chimney of the front bedroom fireplace. In the dining room, there are
closets on each side of the former fireplace for storage of china and
glassware. The kitchen, located in the west end of the south wing, has a
sink in the southwest corner. A door on the north wall of the kitchen opens
to a closet sized pantry.
The Jettons used kerosene lamps to provide light during the first twenty
years of their tenancy of the Parks-Jetton House. Electricity did not come
to the Neck Road area until the early 1940's; then it was provided by
Crescent REA. 8 Because they were not installed when the house
was first constructed, light fixtures vary throughout the house. Most are
single unshielded bulbs in ceramic fixtures.
Twelve outbuildings and one house trailer are located west and northwest
of the Parks-Jetton House. The house trailer has been parked west of the
house since World War II; it has not been inhabited in some time. Just north
of the house trailer is a gable front building that was used as a garage for
a T-Model Ford. As cars grew bigger, they would not fit in the tight
quarters. The Jettons boarded up the car entrance, added a door and a window
and used the building for storage.
All the outbuildings to the west and southwest of the house (with the
exception of the log portion of one building) were constructed by Mr. Jetton
and his family, primarily in the 1930's and 1940's. Several of these
outbuildings were used by Mr. Jetton in his business, that of rebuilding
T-Model Fords. The outbuildings to the northwest were constructed in the
1950's and the 1970's.
Starting at the southwest of the Parks-Jetton House, the outbuildings are
arranged in a semi-circle around the house. The most southwest of the
buildings is a late 1930's gable-roof garage with auto entry on the north
gable end. The gable end has a sliding board door and a small 6-pane
rectangular window above the door. It has siding of horizontal lapped boards
and a metal roof.
Continuing in the semi-circle, just northwest of the garage is a brooder
house for chicks. It has horizontal lapped siding and a
shed roof. Nearby is a hog pen with horizontal siding and a shed roof
supported on pole rafters. Both of these buildings have metal roofs.
Almost due west at some distance from the house is a building that served
as the primary workshop for the T-Model Ford rebuilding business. The
building has a center work room covered with horizontal lapped siding. On
each side of the work room, shed-roofed areas provided protection for the
cars during reconstruction. The sides of the shed areas are supported on
poles and covered with horizontal lapped siding.
Just northeast of the workshop are the remains of a granary. This
building has log sills set on fieldstone piers. The shed roof has collapsed,
but the vertical board walls still stand.
The next building in the semicircle is a log structure with a shed
addition on each side. The roof of the log section collapsed into the center
of the building several years ago. The square cut logs were assembled using
half-dovetail corner notching system. It was a center passage building
with rooms on either side. Mr. Jetton said the building was used for storage
of the harness for the mules and was called the "Jerry Room." 9
North of the Parks-Jetton House is a three car garage with a storage
area. The building has a metal roof and horizontal board siding. The storage
area door is made of vertical boards.
There are four additional outbuildings located in a pasture northwest of
the house. The oldest is a collapsed shed at the far north of the pasture. A
large two-story, frame barn was built in approximately 1954. The last two
buildings, both constructed in the 1970's, are an outhouse and a boy scout
meeting shed with a partially completed brick chimney.
The Parks-Jetton House and Farm can provide information about farm living
conditions at the first part of the 20th century in Mecklenburg County.
Additionally, it can provide insight into the ways that yeoman farmers such
as the Jetton family supplemented their farm income with other enterprises
ranging from police work to the restoration of antique cars.
1 Virginia & Lee McAlester, A Field Guide to American
Houses (New York, 1986), 88-90, 96-97.
2 Ibid, 308-310, 314-315.
3 Interview with Mr. W. Burnett Jetton, the current
leaseholder of the Parks-Jetton House and Farm, 27 July 1991.