Survey And Research
Barnum and Sarah Sustare
1. Name and location
of the property: The property known as the Barnum and Sarah
Sustare House is located at 13700 Idlewild Road in Matthews, N.C.
2. Name, address, and
telephone number of contact for the current owners of the property:
Stuart Phelps and Charity Hope Brown Phelps
13700 Idlewild Road
Matthews, N.C. 28105
Telephone: (704) 201-9020
photographs of the property: This report contains representative
photographs of the property.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW
4. A map depicting
the location of the property: This report contains a map depicting the
location of the property. The UTM coordinates of the property
are 17 529508.7E 17 3888281.9N.
Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent deed to
this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 23078 at Page 538.
brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains a brief
historical sketch of the property prepared by Dr. Dan L. Morrill.
brief architectural and physical description of the property: This
report contains a brief architectural and physical description of the
property prepared by Stewart Gray.
Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the 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 Barnum and Sarah Sustare House possesses special
significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases
its judgment on the following considerations:
1) The Barnum and Sarah Sustare
House is a rare remnant of the rural built environment which once
characterized this section of Idlewild Road.
2) The Barnum and Sarah Sustare
House shows the hand of a professional builder, especially in the extensive
use of store-bought millwork.
3) Barnum Sustare, the original owner
of the Barnum and Sarah Sustare House, was a prominent citizens of eastern
Mecklenburg County, including the town of Matthews, N.C.
b. Integrity of design,
setting, workmanship, materials, feeling and/or association: The
Commission contends that the architectural and physical description prepared
by Stewart Gray demonstrates that the Barnum and Sarah Sustare House meets
Valorem Tax Appraisal: The Commission is aware that designation would
allow the owners to apply for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem
taxes on all or any portion of the property which becomes a "historic
landmark." The appraised value of the property is $258,900. The Tax Parcel
Number of the property is 21526105. The most recent annual
property tax bill on the property was $3,667.98.
10. Amount of Property
Proposed for historic landmark designation. The interior of the
house, the exterior of the house, and the entire 5.22 tax parcel.
Date of Preparation of this Report: September
A Brief History Of The
Barnum and Sarah Sustare House
Dr. Dan L. Morrill
The Barnum and Sarah Sustare House, a
Queen Anne style domicile located on the south side of Idlewild Road in
Matthews, N.C., was originally the centerpiece of an approximately 40-acre
farm. The house is a remnant of the once-rural built environment of
eastern Mecklenburg County that has become predominantly suburbanized since
the house was erected, most likely at the turn of the last century.1 The
special significance of the Barnum and Sarah Sustare House can only be
understood within the context of Mecklenburg County. There are no
other extant farm era houses on this section of Idlewild Road, which has
been a major thoroughfare at least from the late 1800s. Additionally,
the house shows the hand of a professional builder, especially in the
extensive use of store-bought millwork -- a testimonial to the economic
standing of the first owners of the house.
Barnum and Sarah Sustare taken in Norfolk, VA. in
June of 1940, which would have made Barnum 78 and Sarah 73. They
were married on April 15, 1889. Source: Carol Lorraine
The initial owners were Barnum A.
Sustare (1862-1951) and his wife, Sarah Ferguson Sustare (1867-1962).2 Born
in Lancaster County, S.C., Barnum Sustare migrated at the age of 12 with his
widowed mother to Mecklenburg County in 1874 -- a move most likely induced
by the completion of the Carolina Central Railway just two years before.3
It is reasonable to assume that the family sought to benefit from the more
robust economic infrastructure provided by Matthews and the railroad running
Holly Elizabeth Hemby Sustare (1837-1902), mother
of Barnum A. Sustare, moved with her children to Mecklenburg
County in 1872. Her husband had been killed in 1862 in the Civil
Carol Lorraine Sutton
Eastern Mecklenburg County was
profoundly impacted by the opening of the Carolina Central Railway between
Charlotte and Wilmington in 1872. A depot was constructed near a
former stagecoach stop called Fullwood Station; and an agricultural support
community, named Matthews, grew up nearby and was incorporated in 1879.5
Matthews and its attendant amenities, which included a bank, mercantile
stores, a cotton mill, and a grist mill, facilitated the cultivation of cash
crops, especially cotton, in the surrounding countryside. 6
Barnum Sustare was an innovative
entrepreneur. In addition to farming, Sustare actively participated in the
business and civic affairs of Matthews, eventually relocating there.
He was a trustee and stockholder in the Bank of Matthews and served
for many years as a town aldermen and member of the school board.
Having helped organize Mount Harmony Baptist Church before moving to town,
Sustare became a deacon of Matthews Baptist Church.7 Most
interestingly, Sustare developed a recreational and entertainment center
just north of the central business district of Matthews, appropriately known
as "Sustare's."8 It consisted of a swimming pool, a refreshment stand, a faux
beach, and a place to dance and listen to music.9 Beginning in the
1940s, Sustare's became one of a number of inland venues where Carolina
Beach Music was played.10 Barnum Sustare, called
a "prominent businessman and farmer" by the Charlotte Observer, died
on March 13, 1951.11 His wife, Sarah, expired
in June 1962.12 Both are buried in the cemetery
at Mount Harmany Baptist Church.
The history of the Barnum and Sarah
Sustare House is rather straightforward. The house and a portion of
the original farm remained in the
hands of members of the family until June 1981, when it was sold to
Jim and Pamela Humphrey.12 By then agricultural
use of the land had ended. The Humphreys in turn conveyed the
house and 5.22 acres of land to the present owners, Stuart Phelps
(1973- ) and Charity Hope Brown
Phelps (1975- ) in November 2007.13
Stuart Phelps, a native of Sulphur, Louisiana, is a G.I.S. analyst.
Charity Phelps was born in Cumberland, Kentucky and is the daughter Dr. Joe
B. Brown, minister of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte.
Stuart and Charity Phelps, who were married on August 28, 1999, maintain the
house as their residence and have completed a major addition to the house.14