1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
Reynolds-Gourmajenko House is located at 715 Providence Rd., Charlotte, NC
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owners and
occupants of the property:
The present owner of the property is:
J. Chadbourn and Rosemary W. Bolles
435 Hempstead Pl.
Charlotte, NC 28207
Telephone: (704) 377-7042
The present occupant of the property is:
El Villa Restaurant
Mrs. Judy Lindsay
715 Providence Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28207
Telephone: (704) 375-5208
3. Representative photographs of the property: Three photographs
of the exterior of the structure are included in this report.
4. A map depicting the location of the property: This report
contains a map depicting the location of the property.
5. Current Deed Book Reference of the property: Attached you will
find a copy of the state of North Carolina, Mecklenburg County deed listing
of the property, book 2439, page 560.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property:
Blanche Reynolds, a native of Durham, NC, assembled, by purchases made in
1921 and 1923, the property upon which the Reynolds-Gourmajenko House
stands. A woman of refinement, aristocratic tastes, and an independent
spirit, Mrs. Reynolds inherited a considerable estate from Mr. Reynolds upon
his death - an estate generated by the activities of the Southern Cotton Oil
Co. Before beginning construction on the house in 1925, Mrs. Reynolds met
Mr. Alexis Gourmajenko, a Russian emigre, in Italy during a tour of Europe.
The were married and subsequently moved into the hose upon its completion in
1926. On April 26, 1941, the house was deeded to Mrs. Gourmajenko's only
child, Mr. Morgan Ayres Reynolds. On August 30, 1963, Mr. Reynolds and his
wife, sold the house to Mr. J. Chadbourn Rosemary Bolles. Mr. and Mrs.
Bolles currently lease the house to Ms. Judy Lindsay, who operates the El
Villa Restaurant upon the premises.
*NOTE: On October 2, 2013, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks
Commission received a call from Rosalie Reynolds, the Granddaughter of
Blanche and William Reynolds, informing them that William and Blanche built
the house together and construction ended in 1928. Mr. Reynolds died
shortly thereafter in August of 1928. Blanche Morgan Reynolds did not
travel to Europe until after the death of her Husband, Mr. Reynolds.
In 1934, Blanche met Alexis Gourmajenko and they married shortly thereafter,
they were married until his death in 1948. Mrs. Reynolds-Gourmajenko
Mrs. Gourmajenko was a woman who maintained an abiding interest in the
arts. This aspect of her makeup no doubt played an important part in causing
her to select the forceful and dramatic Tuscan Revival style of architecture
for her home. Executed by William L. Bottomley of New York City, a renowned
architect who designed several homes in Richmond, VA, where Mrs.
Gourmajenko's sister lived, the Reynolds-Gourmajenko House exhibits features
common to this exquisite form of revival design. The low-pitched, projecting
roof, composed of tiles imported from Cuba, the walled courtyard with a
circular fountain in the center, the piazzas extending perpendicularly
forward from both sides of the structure of the dwelling, all attest to the
basic Tuscan Revival rendering of the R-G House. The house also possesses a
certain Spanish overtone, but this is not unusual, because Tuscan Revival
was one of the most flexible styles in American Revival architecture. It was
especially popular in the nineteenth century, when it competed for dominance
with the more widespread Gothic Revival. It was a composite style ultimately
derived from the timeless domestic architecture of the Italian Campagna - of
Tuscany, Umbria, Lombardy, and the Veneto - but interpreted in the US with
unrestrained freedom and endless improvisation.
Mrs. Gourmajenko spared no expense on the interior treatment of the
dwelling. Drawings were prepared for the interior elevations of the
principal rooms. These drawings are available from Mr. Davyd Foard Hood, who
is presently writing an MA thesis at the University of Virginia on the
architecture of William L. Bottomley. Mr. William Griffin, an associate of
Mr. Bottomley's, made several trips to Charlotte to supervise personally the
rendering of the interior. Two original paintings were prepared by the head
of the Academy of Art in Rome for placement in the dining room. These
paintings are now in the Paris apartment of Mr. Morgan Ayres Reynolds.
Although the interior elegance of the structure has been tarnished somewhat
by the placement of a restaurant in the building the Reynolds-Gourmajenko
House still retains the spaciousness and refinement associated with Tuscan
7. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria set forth in NCGS 160A-399.4:
a. Historical and cultural significance: The structure would
seem to meet this criterion because the building is an excellent example
of Tuscan Revival architecture. Indeed, there is nothing like it in
Charlotte or Mecklenburg County. Also worth noting is the fact that it was
designed by an architect of considerable reputation.
b. Suitability for preservation and restoration: The building is
in excellent repair, and its overall setting is still intact, including
the magnificent grounds. This building is highly suited for preservation
c. Educational value: The educational value of this structure
centers around the fact that it is the only local example of Tuscan
Revival architecture with this degree of refinement. It also communicates
to the observer the values and tastes of the American aristocracy of an
d. Cost of acquisition, restoration, maintenance, operation or
repair: The Commission has no intention of acquiring this property.
The cost of acquisition would be high. The 1974 tax appraisal for the
house was $184,520.00. This suggests that the property and house would
cost well in excess of $200,00.00. To restore the house to its original
condition would be substantial only for the interior. The maintenance and
operation costs for the structure are currently low enough to allow a
restaurant to operate in the structure. As indicated above, the building
is generally in excellent repair.
e. Possibilities for adaptive or alternative use of the property:
This criterion is easily met by the fact that a restaurant currently
occupies the structure.
f. Appraised value: As noted above, the 1974 appraised value of
the house and property was $184,520.00. The appraised value for the house
itself was $46,290.00. Again, the Commission has no intention of acquiring
g. The administrative and financial responsibility of any person or
organization willing to underwrite all or a portion of such costs:
Since the property will remain in private hands, and since the Commission
has no objection to the current adaptive use of the property, this
criterion does not appear to be applicable.
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria established for inclusion on the National Register: The
Commission recognizes that it has no authority to recommend properties for
inclusion on the National Register. It is required, however, by State
Statute to measure properties which it recommends for local designation
against the criteria for the National Register. Recognizing that the
National Register ordinarily excludes properties that have achieved
significance within the past 50 years, the Commission nonetheless believes
that the Reynolds-Gourmajenko House might qualify for the National Register
on the grounds of Criterion C - (properties) "that embody the distinctive
characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that
represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values...."
The Reynolds-Gourmajenko House would not meet the other criteria for
inclusion in the National Register.
9. Documentation of why and in what ways the property is of historical
importance to Charlotte and/or Mecklenburg County: The historic
significance of the Reynolds-Gourmajenko House for Charlotte and Mecklenburg
County is considerable. As noted above, it is the only local building
designed by William L. Bottomley, and only one other Bottomley structure is
known to exist in North Carolina. Once part of an elegant residential
setting. On balance, the Commission believes that the Reynolds-Gourmajenko
House deserves the protection provided for historic properties by State
Statute, subject to the approval of an ordinance by the appropriate agency
of local government