OLD ST. PETER'S
This report was written on November 1, 1977
Hospital, ca. 1907
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
Old St. Peter's Hospital (Kenmore Hotel) is located at 225-231 N. Poplar St.
in Charlotte, NC.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner and
occupant of the property:
The occupants of the property are the various guests who occupy the property
on a temporary basis. The telephone number of the Kenmore Hotel is (704)
The owner of the property is:
Realty Fund, Inc.
3801 Larkston Dr.
Charlotte, N.C. 28211
Telephone: (704) 364-4567
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 depicting the location of the property.
5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent
reference to this property is found in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 3547 at
page 206. The Parcel Number of the property is 07801104.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property:
The impetus for the establishment of St. Peter's Hospital was provided by
Benjamin S. Bronson, Rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church on N. Tryon St.
Having preached a sermon in which he urged his congregation to establish a
facility that would provide medical services for the underprivileged of this
community, he witnessed the creation of the St. Peter's Church Aid Society
on January 25, 1875. Mrs. Jane Renwick Smedburg Wilkes, a native of New York
City, directed the efforts of this organization in raising the money
necessary to open Charlotte's first civilian hospital. The facility opened
on January 20, 1876, in two rented rooms in a house on E. Seventh St.
"between College and Railroad." The evidence suggests that this was the
first non-military hospital in North Carolina. Initially known as the
Charlotte Home and Hospital, the facility moved to new temporary quarters on
N. Tryon St. in mid-1876, where the
Old First Baptist Church (Spirit Square) is now located. Mrs. Hamilton
C. Jones, the Vice President of the St. Peter's Church Aid Society during
these early years, described the difficulty with which patients were
initially brought to the hospital:
"It is strange to recall the tremendous struggle which the pioneers
were called upon to make against prejudice; first of the patient, who had
to be almost kidnapped from his relatives, and brought against his own
will as well, and secondly, against the opposition of these who lived in
the neighborhood, who resented the diseases brought into their midst. The
first few patients were brought in under resistance so fierce that one of
the two or three policemen which the town boasted had always to walk
beside the patient, and at times hang around the premises, to intimidate
the rioters who threatened to shoot into the building."
In 1877 a lot at the corner of Sixth St. and Cemetery Ave. (now Poplar
St.) was purchased as the permanent site for the Charlotte Home and
Hospital. Elaborate ceremonial commemorating the laying of the corner stone
of the initial structure took place on the afternoon of June 4, 1877. The
bricks for this building, a one-story edifice with four rooms, were made at
the present site of the Thompson Orphanage Chapel. The hospital opened at
its permanent location on May 30, 1878. Deserving much of the credit for
this achievement was an organization known as the Busy Bee Society. Its
members were students at a local female academy run by a Miss Hattie Moore.
They had raised the money to purchase the lot ($273.42) and had supplied
considerable funds toward the construction of the building itself, which was
located in the rear portion of the lot. The original structure measured
30x30 feet. The first addition to the hospital was completed in March 1882.
It was. a two-story brick structure which contained six rooms and measured
34x30 feet. This ten-room complex was the only hospital which existed in
Charlotte at this time. Good Samaritan Hospital, a facility serving the
brick residents of this community, did not open until 1888 and did not move
to its permanent location until September 1891. Presbyterian Hospital
initiated its activities in a converted hotel on W. Trade St. in January
1903, and Mercy General Hospital opened in a frame structure on East First
St. on February 25, 1906. By the late 1890's the Charlotte Home and Hospital
was becoming a major medical center, where many of the advanced surgical
techniques of that day were first employed in this community. It is
important to note that the hospital served patients from throughout this
region of North Carolina. For example, of the 51 individuals who received
care there in 1887, only ten came from Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Twenty-seven
came from other parts of the state, six from outside of North Carolina, and
two from Ireland. Indicative of the increasing importance of the hospital
was the decision to erect a major addition in 1898. The Charlotte Daily
Observer of June 19, 1898, provided a lengthy description of the new
"The new building was built in front of the old one. It faces Poplar
Street, running back and joining the old building in the rear. The
building is three stories high. It has 30 rooms,and broad porches on three
sides on each floor. Wide halls extend through the center of the building
on the first and second floors, and a smaller one on the third floor. On
the main floor are the doctor's room and drug store, parlor, sick rooms,
linen room, the community room which is endowed-dining room, kitchen and
bath room and matron's room. On the second floor: operating room,
well-arranged as to light and cleanliness, and patient's room preparatory
to operation; the Busy Bees' room, which is furnished in white and is
exceedingly neat; the Odd Fellows' room, furnished in attractive style by
the different lodges of the city; and six sick rooms. The rooms on the
third floor have not been completed, but will be as needed. The building
is finished in the interior in hard pine, the fireplaces are tiled, and
there is a grate in each; it is heated by steam and is supplied with hot
and cold water, electric bells, and elevator. The heating apparatus and
laundry are in the basement and like the arrangements above, are complete
in every particular."
Dedication ceremonies for the expanded facility were held at 6:00 p.m. on
July 15, 1898. The Charlotte Daily Observer reported that several
hundred people had assembled to take part in or witness the services" which
were conducted by Bishop Joseph Blount Chesire. The name of the complex was
now changed to "St. Peter's Hospital." The activities of July 15, 1898,
included a tour of the new building. The guests discovered that the typical
room contained a "white iron bedstead, oak bureau, white iron washstand, two
chairs, grate and pretty tile." Of particular interest to the visitors were
the endowed rooms, especial the Busy Bees' Room. It was painted "white and
blue" and was furnished "with a view to a child's pleasure and comfort."
Another addition to the hospital was completed in March, 1907. Erected in
front of the building which had been dedicated in 1898, the new structure
was three and one-half stories tall and possessed porches along the front or
Poplar St. side of the first three floors. The dedication services for this
twenty-room addition were conducted by Bishop Chesire on April 22, 1907. An
early postcard of the St. Peter's Hospital features a view of the front of
this addition. The Charlotte Observer of March 27, 1922, announced
that contracts would be awarded for some $75,000 worth of work at St.
Peter's hospital. Mr. Louis Asbury, a prominent architect in Charlotte, had
prepared the plans for a project which would transform the complex by
erecting a "nurses' home in the rear of the present structure," constructing
a maternity ward, children's ward, baby's ward, and "doubling the capacity
of the charity wards." The contract for this 56x85 feet, three story and
basement addition to St. Peter's Hospital was awarded to T. C. Thompson &
Bros. on July 10, 1922. The Charlotte Observer of July 11, 1922,
contains a description of the proposed building:
"Included in the building will be space for the nurses' home, occupying
parts of all the floors, with kitchen and dining room in the basement and
reception rooms on the first floor. In addition, the basement will contain
the kitchen and space for preparing food for the patients. The first floor
will be occupied by children's and babies' wards, both private and
charity; private rooms will occupy the second floor space and operating
rooms and the x-ray department will be on the third floor."
Besides the new addition, these portions of the complex which had been
erected in 1898 and 1907 were substantially renovated in 1922. The exteriors
of these earlier edifices assumed their present appearance, and the
interiors of same were altered to a significant degree. Indeed, the cost of
these renovations along was approximately $20,000. The final alterations to
the St. Peter's Hospital occurred in 1935. Approximately $17,000 was spent
on improvements and repairs to the medical complex and to the equipment
contained therein. By this time, however, the Board of Trustees of the
facility began to investigate the possibility of moving the hospital to a
new site. The size of the lot at sixth and Poplar Sts. did not allow for
further expansion. Moreover, the business section of the community was
rapidly spreading into the neighborhood. "To build higher," reported an
article in Southern Hospital of September 1936, "is not practical
because that would necessitate tearing down the present plant, parts of
which are thirty or forty years old." In April 1938 Dr. William Henry Walsh,
a hospital consultant from Chicago, IL, presented a report which surveyed
the medical facilities of this community. His findings caused the citizens
of Charlotte to launch a drive to establish a new hospital. The Board of
Trustees voted to contribute $100,000 to this effort and to close St.
Peter's Hospital upon completion of the new complex. Memorial Hospital
opened on October 8, 1940. The patients in St. Peter's Hospital were
transferred to the new facility, thereby bringing the history of St. Peter's
Hospital to an end. The complex was transformed into a hotel and continues
to serve in that capacity today.
7 A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains an architectural description prepared by Ruth Little-Stokes,
formerly of the Division of Archives and History.
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria set forth in N.C.G.S. 16A-399.4:
a. Historical and cultural significance: The Old St. Peter's
Hospital is historically and culturally significant because of its
association with the medical history of this community from 1878 until
1940. The evidence suggests that this was the first non-military hospital
to operate continuously for general medical purposes in the state of North
Carolina and in the city of Charlotte. The structures which were completed
in 1878 and 1882 were demolished in 1922. The oldest surviving elements of
the present building are located in the middle portion and date from 1898.
The front section of the building was erected in 1907. In 1922 the rear
portion of the building was constructed, and the interiors and exteriors
of the earlier edifices were substantially altered. In short, the
buildings evolved in response to the changing medical needs of this
community and region.
b. Suitability for reservation and restoration: It is reasonable
to assume that extensive research could uncover a substantial amount of
information regarding each of the three components of the complex. In
other words, the structure could be restored to its appearance as of 1922.
Indeed, the exterior of the complex has not been fundamentally altered
since that time. However, the restoration and preservation of the interior
of the edifice should not be a primary objective.
c. Cost of acquisition, restoration, maintenance or repair: At
present the Commission has no intention of purchasing this property. It
assumes that all costs associated with renovating and maintaining the
structure will be paid by the owner or subsequent owners of the property.
d. Educational value: The property has educational value because
of its historic and cultural significance.
e. Possibilities for adaptive or alternative use of the property:
The property is currently being adaptively used as a hotel. It is
highly suited for a variety of adaptive uses.
f. Appraised value: The current tax appraisal value of the
structure itself is $45,230. The current tax appraisal value of the .427
acres of land is $46,550, The cost recent annual tax bill on the building
and land was $1,541.90. The Commission is aware that designation would
allow the owner to apply annually for an automatic deferral of 50% of the
rate upon which the Ad Valorem taxes are calculated.
g. The administrative and financial responsibility of any person or
organization willing to underwrite all or a portion of such costs: As
indicated earlier, at present the Commission has no intention of
purchasing the fee simple or any lesser included interest in this
property. Furthermore, the Commission agrees that all costs associated
with the structure will be met by whatever party now owns or will own the
9. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the
criteria established for listing in the National Resister of Historic
Places: The Commission believes that the property known as the Old St.
Peter's Hospital (Kenmore Hotel) does meet the criteria of the National
Register of Historic Places. Basic to the Commission's position is its
understanding of the purpose of the National Register. Established in 1966,
the National Register represents the decision of the Federal Government to
expand its listing of historic properties to include properties of local,
regional, and state significance. The Commission believes that the Old St.
Peter's Hospital is of local, regional, and state historic significance and
therefore meets the criteria for listing in the National Register of
10. Documentation of why and in what ways the property is of historic
importance to Charlotte and/or Mecklenburg County: The Old St. Peter's
Hospital is historically important to Charlotte and Mecklenburg County
because of its association with the history of medicine in this community.
The evidence suggests that it was the first non-military hospital to operate
continuously for general medical purposes in Charlotte and in the state of
North Carolina. It is true that the oldest portion of the structure dates
from 1898 and that the complex has experienced periodic alteration. However,
these alterations have reflected the changing medical needs of this
community and are therefore contributors to, not detractions from, the
historic significance of the complex.
An Inventory of Older Buildings in Mecklenburg County and Charlotte
for the Historic Properties Commission
Beers Map of Charlotte, 1877.
Charlotte Daily Observer (June 19, 1898, p. 6); (July 16, 1898,
p.6); (April 23, 1907, p.5); (April 18, 1909, Sec. 2, p. 4).
"Church Hospital. Kidnapped Patients," Southern Hospital
(September 1936) pp. 8-13.
Daily Charlotte Observer (June 3, 1877, p.4); (June 5, 1877, p.4).
Records of the Mecklenburg County Tax Office. Parcel Number 07801104.
Sanborn Insurance Maps of Charlotte (1900, p.4); (1905, p.7); (1911,
p.58); (1929, Vol. 1, p.1, 6); (October 8, 1940, Sec. 2,, p. 1)
Date of Preparation of this Report: November 1, 1977
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
139 Middleton Dr.
Charlotte, N.C. 28207
Telephone: (704) 332-2726
The Kenmore Hotel (former St. Peter's Hospital), located on the southwest
corner of Poplar and Sixth Streets, Charlotte, is a large Georgian Revival
style building with warm red brick walls, picturesque stepped gable ends of
Flemish derivation, and simple wooden classical details. The U-shaped
three-story brick building on a partially-raised basement, eight bays wide
and fifteen bays deep, was constructed in three stages 1898, 1907 and 1922.
The oldest portion, located in the center, is the first two stories of the
rear wing, extending seven bays behind the main front block. The three-story
front block, eight bays wide and two bays deep, was added in front of the
1898 structure in 1907, and forms the main facade. The three story front
portico, the third story of the 1898 section, and the L-shaped extension of
the rear wing were added in 1922. The well-maintained building forms a
visual link between the historic landmarks clustered around the "Square" to
the southeast, the heart of Charlotte "inner city", and the Victorian
residential fabric of the Fourth Ward, Charlotte's oldest remaining
neighborhood and now a local historic district, to the north.
At the northeast corner of the main block is a stone cornerstone with the
inscription "1877, 1898, 1907, St. Peter's Hospital." The original one-story
four room brick hospital, constructed in 1877, sat on the rear of the 100 by
200 foot lot. This structure was enlarged in 1882, and in 1898 an L-shaped 2
story brick addition was built in front (east) of the structure. A photo of
this addition, located in the 1902 annual report of St. Peter's Hospital,
shows a simple Neoclassical Revival style building with a pedimented main
facade, three bays wide, and a two-story classical porch extending across
the front and down the south flank. The 1877 and 1882 structure was
demolished in order to construct the 1922 addition. The only visible
exterior remains of the 1898 addition are the brick walls and possibly the
window sash. The 1907 addition, a three-story brick block eight bays wide
and two bays deep, concealed the front of the 1898 building. It is covered
with dark red brick, laid in one-to-five
common bond, and has a lively roofline resulting from the wide,
cross-gable with a glazed lunette which surmounts the center three bays
of the main facade, the three pedimented
dormer windows south of the cross-gable, and the crow-stepped gable
ends, coped with concrete, which conceal the gable ends of the slate roof.
The cross-gable has a boxed molded cornice with modillion, and the remainder
of the main block has identical cornice treatment but lacks modillions.
Matching dormer windows accent the rear of the main block. One interior end
chimney projects from the north gable end. An interior brick chimney with a
corbeled brick cap, located behind the cross-gable, may have originally
belonged to the 1898 structure.
The main entrance, located slightly off-center in the third bay from the
northeast corner, is a handsome trabeated design of stained oak. The double
glazed door has
sidelights and a
transom flanked by fluted Doric pilasters, and a molded surround
eight-over-eight sash windows predominate, with a few four-over-four
casements. All have granite sills, but flat brick arches and granite
lintels are interspersed. The south bay of the main facade is set apart by a
passageway connecting the front yard with the interior enclosed courtyard on
the south side of the rear wing. The passageway has a round-arched front
entrance with a cast-iron gate, and an identical rear arch. At the second
story of this bay is a triple six-over-six sash window within a segmentally
arched opening. Along the south property line is a random stone rail,
approximately 5 feet high. The wall forms the base of the south wall of the
1907 addition, and perhaps predates the 1907 addition. It may be the remains
of a wall which enclosed the front yard of the 1898 building. In 1922,the
three-story porch which stretched across the main facade was replaced by a
classical entrance porch, one bay wide, surmounted by a second and third
story sunporch. At the first level, heavy brick posts support a paneled
frieze and molded dentil cornice. The upper sunporches are enclosed with
Queen Anne style casement windows with transoms, accented with corner Doric
pilasters with strapwork capitals. At the corners of the third story
sunporch are large eave brackets. The 1922 porch, of transitional late
Medieval-early English Renaissance design, blends compatibly with the
earlier Georgian Revival building. The third story added to the rear wing
and the wing extension also fit inconspicuously with the existing building.
This construction consists of red brick veneer, one-over-one sash windows, a
modillion cornice and a hip roof with composition shingles. Like the
exterior, the interior finish reflects continual efforts to provide the most
up-to-date hospital facilities possible. The basic interior plan consists of
a T-shaped hall with flanking rooms. The main stair, apparently a 1907
replacement, is located in the southeast comer of the rear wing, just
opposite the front portico. It consists of a wide wooden open-string stair
rising in two flights through each story from the basement to the third
floor, with a railing with plain balusters and a molded hand rail. In 1922
the stairwell was enclosed at the second and third levels with plaster
partitions with vertically sheathed
wainscots and mesh glass windows.
The elevator west of the stair was probably added at this time. The
corridors of the 1898 and 1907 sections have plastered walls and ceilings,
vertically sheathed wainscots, and door transoms. Most of the doors are
recent replacement, of hollow-core construction. The only differentiation in
visible interior finish between the 1898 and 1907 sections are the door
surrounds, with roundel corner block treatment, and some paneled doors, in
the 1898 section. On the third floor, leading from the hall of the 1907 main
block into the hall of the rear wing is a wide round arch. At the third
story of the rear wing is a 1922 addition, this arched opening may have led
into a sunporch on the roof of the 1898 section. The only interior
decorative finish which remains is the comer fireplace with mantel in the
waiting room located in the north first floor room of the 1907 main block.
The late Victorian design consists of fluted, chamfered pilasters and frieze
and an ornate cast-iron fireplace cover. The 1922 addition is finished
similarly to the older section, but lacks wainscots. The beginning of the
extension is visible on each floor by a gentle drop in floor level of
approximately two feet. On the first floor, the juncture is further
indicated by a wooden classical arch with Doric columns and a paneled
frieze. In the center of the rear extension is a second stair with a metal
railing. On the third floor, two deep skylight wells illuminate the
corridor. The third floor, which housed the operation rooms and auxiliary
spaces, received further modernization in several stages between 1922 and
1940, when it became a hotel.