Map of Eastover
The Eastover neighborhood was begun in 1927 by Charlotte's E. C. Griffith Company. 1 Its earliest curving drives were the work of Earle Sumner Draper, perhaps the premier urban planner in the Southeastern United States in the early twentieth century. From its founding to the present day, Eastover has been the home of many of the financiers, cotton brokers, lawyers, and other leaders who have directed the growth of Charlotte and the surrounding Piedmont industrial area.
Eastover is located southeast of the center city, across Providence Road from the earlier prestigious neighborhood of Myers Park. Eastover occupies a very gently rolling hillside which slopes down to Briar Creek. Except for the city's Mint Museum of Art, the Eastover Elementary School, a pair of multi-family buildings, and a single church, the neighborhood consists almost entirely of large single-family residences, some 550 in number. Though the fine dwellings that once lined Providence Road itself have given way to commercial development since World War II, the rest of the neighborhood retains its well-kept residential character.
Cherokee Road forms the neighborhood's backbone, a gently undulating curve that sweeps out from Laurel Avenue near Providence Road and eventually curves back to Providence several blocks south. Cherokee Road, parallel Colville Road, and intersecting Eastover Road are the sites of the neighborhood's largest early residences. Secondary streets -- Biltmore, Scotland, and the first block of Hempstead, among others -- are lined with two-story upper-middle income dwellings on slightly smaller lots.
The early architecture of the Eastover neighborhood is overwhelmingly red-brick Georgian revival, with scattered examples of Tudor Revival. Unbuilt sites remained in the neighborhood into the 1980s, slowly filling with houses similar to the earlier residences, though a few examples of modern architecture can be found. Newer blocks of the development, including Twiford Place and parts of Museum Drive and Hempstead Place, are lined with substantial one-story Ranch style houses and one-and-a-half and two-story traditional dwellings.
The development of Eastover can be traced to four separate yet interrelated phases of growth. Beginning in 1927, the E. C. Griffith Company developed land to the north of present-day Eastover Drive, which included portions of Cherokee and Colville roads and Fenton and Hempstead places. This was the original Eastover subdivision. In the 1940s and steadily continuing into the 1950s and 1960s, the area to the south of Eastover Drive, including the remaining blocks of Cherokee and Colville roads and Hempstead Place, and the newly platted Cherokee Place and Lewellyn Place, was developed by the Griffith Company as an extension of the Eastover subdivision. 2
Contemporary with the earliest Griffith development in Eastover was the growth of Pharrsdale. 3 Identified on a 1929 map as the "subdivision of property of Miss Sarah Pharr," Pharrsdale was developed by Lex Marsh, Jr. The design, by Earle Sumner Draper, continued Colville and Cherokee roads to Providence Road, and added Scotland Avenue and Biltmore Drive.
Between Cherokee and Providence roads is a series of straight streets lined with smaller bungalows and cottages for middle-income buyers. Each of these streets -- Avondale Avenue, Cottage Place, Middleton Drive, Perrin Place, Huntley Place and Bolling Road -- occupies a long, narrow strip of land that was originally a tenant farm. Each one of these streets was developed individually; Cottage Place, the oldest, predates Griffith's Eastover and was platted in 1921.
Griffith's development of Eastover along Providence Road in 1927 was not an isolated event. It was a culmination of a slow shift among the city's well-to-do residents from the center city to the southeast sector of Charlotte. And it continued a tradition of neighborhood planning in Charlotte that dated back to the 1890s.
For much of the city's history, wealthy Charlotteans had preferred to live on the edge of the town's business district, within an easy walk of their workplaces and shopping. Large residences lined the main Trade, Tryon, College, and Church streets. No particular side of downtown was more fashionable than another; fine houses were as likely to be on North Tryon as South Tryon, on West Trade as likely as East.
This pattern began to change with the introduction of the electric streetcar in 1891. 4 Suddenly anyone who could afford the nickel fare could live in a "country home" at the edge of the city and still commute downtown to work. Charlotte's upper- and middle-income citizens moved outward into the new suburbs of Dilworth, Elizabeth, Myers Park, Chatham Estates along The Plaza, and Club Acres around the Charlotte Country Club. The more fashionable suburbs tended to be south or east of town, due in part to the fact that the city's only railroad bridges for many years were on East Trade Street and East Morehead Street, an important consideration in the days when dozens of daily trains blocked the tracks surrounding the business district.
From the very first, Charlotte suburbs benefited from professional planning. Dilworth, the earliest, continued the center city's grid pattern but introduced a system of wide boulevards near the edge of the development, a central park, and later even a small industrial district. Its planner is believed to have been Joseph Forsyth Johnston of New York City who is known to have provided the design for Latta Park at the neighborhood's center. 5
Charlotte's next planned suburbs were both announced in 1911. The extension of Dilworth and the new area called Myers Park brought nationally famous city planners to Charlotte. The Olmsted Brothers of Boston helped introduce curving streets and planned landscaping to Charlotte with their design of Dilworth Road and surrounding streets for Latta. 6 Even more impressive was Myers Park along Providence Road southeast of town, where developer George Stephens had planner John Nolen lay out some 1200 acres. The neighborhood's sweeping boulevards, greenway parks, and meticulously planned plantings earned it promotional acclaim as "The finest unified suburban development south of Baltimore." 7 The Olmsted and Nolen projects set high standards for upper-class Charlotte neighborhoods that still influence real estate developers here today. To sell to the well-to-do, one now had to provide a well-planned development.
The creation of Myers Park confirmed wealthy Charlotteans' emerging bias toward the southeastern edge of the city. Even before the construction of Myers Park began in 1912, Providence Road had been fashionable, though considered too far from town for easy travel. J. S. Myers had begun to assemble land along the country road as early as the 1870s and operated one of the county's largest cotton farms. The front yard of his house, near present-day Ardsley Road, was a tree-shaded showplace of flowers and shrubs by the turn of the century, and Charlotteans nicknamed it Myers Park. In 1897 real estate man O. J. Thies built a large Colonial Revival style country house near the Myers property, which may still be seen at 544 Providence Road. 8 When it became known that Myers and his son-in-law Stephens were planning their new suburb along the west side of the road, demand for Providence Road homesites increased. By the end of the twenties, almost all of the long narrow tenant farms that Myers had once owned along the road had become the sites of fine houses.
Subsequent commercial redevelopment of Providence Road after World War II has resulted in demolition of many of the dwellings, but a few survive to indicate what the street must have been like in its heyday. On the Myers Park side of the road, the O. J. Thies house at Providence and Ardsley roads continues to be used as a residence by the Thies family. Nearby at 802 Providence Road, the stone house built for hotel owner J. M. Jamison (1912) is now a branch bank for Mutual Savings and Loan. 9 The Charles Moody brick house (1913) that stood next to it for many years, built for the founder of the Interstate Milling Company, has recently been moved back to 945 Granville Road. 10
On the east side of Providence Road, where Eastover would soon appear, retailer Thomas L. Gilmer built a rambling Colonial Revival-influenced residence in 1911. 11 It was moved nearby to 512-514 Fenton Place in 1938; the site is presently occupied by the Manor Theatre. Further down Providence Road, just south of Queens Road, stand a pair of residences from the same period that retain their original sites and landscaping and give the best feeling for how the whole avenue once looked. The Mission style brick Levi-Christian house (ca. 1910) and the Colonial Revival style frame John Love house (ca. 1910) both sit far back from the road on large, landscaped lots. Contrast this with the present appearance of two houses between present-day Huntley Place and Perrin Place. Both were erected by developer T. E. Hemby in the 1920s, one a brick Colonial Revival, the other a wood frame example of the same architectural style. 12 Today, the large front lawns of both have given way to automobile service stations. A compromise between these two extremes may be seen in the treatment of the Reynolds-Gourmajenko house (1925-1926) at 715 Providence Road. An evocative example of Tuscan Villa architecture, the house and its walled front court have been incorporated in a specialty shopping complex known as Villa Square. 13
The Initial Eastover Subdivision
In 1927, as a near decade-long nationwide building boom neared its peak, Charlotte's E. C. Griffith Company announced plans for a posh new suburb along the east side of Providence Road to be named Eastover. The land had previously been part of two dairy farms. The largest parcel, consisting of some 273 acres, had been the heart of the Mc D. Watkins farm. 14 An additional 43 acres came from Miss Cora Vail, whose father had operated another dairy farm in the late nineteenth century in the area of present-day Vail Avenue. 15 The Griffith lands did not front directly on Providence Road but were separated from it by the row of large houses that occupied the former tenant farms along the road. With some difficulty, the Griffith Company was able to arrange access via what is now Laurel Avenue, which had been created much earlier as part of the Crescent Heights suburb. 16
E.C. Griffith had by 1927 made a name for himself as a successful local real estate developer, but a project like Eastover was far beyond what he had ever attempted. His first development had been Dartmouth Place, a one-block middle-income project created as a subdivision of Myers Park. In the teens he started a larger middle-income neighborhood called Wesley Heights between West Trade Street and West Morehead Street on the city's west side, and soon developed an industrial district along the railroad nearby. About 1920 Griffith took over the development of Rosemont, a middle-class section of present-day Elizabeth. 17 All were well-executed but unimaginative in their grid-street planning.
Griffith envisioned Eastover as a competitor to Myers Park. The decade and a half since the older neighborhood's founding had seen rapid growth in Charlotte's population, from about thirty-five thousand to approximately seventy thousand residents, and in its economic standing. 18 By the late 1920s, the New South City was "the center of a textile manufacturing territory having 770 mills . . . and consuming more cotton than any other section of the world." 19 The year 1927 was the one in which the piedmont North and South Carolina officially surpassed the older New England area in cotton cloth production. 20 Charlotteans not only owned numerous mills and brokered much of the cotton for the region, but also provided many of its bankers, lawyers, insurance men, stockbrokers, and leading retailers. Griffith saw in this burgeoning upper-income group a potential market for a new suburb, despite the fact that Myers Park was not nearly fully developed yet.
To attract residents to his project, Griffith knew he would have to offer a level of neighborhood planning that matched Myers Park. To provide the Eastover plan he hired Earle Sumner Draper, who had been closely involved with the Myers Park project. Draper had come South in 1915 from what is now the University of Massachusetts to work as John Nolen's field supervisor in Myers Park. 21 In 1917, recognizing the opportunities for a planner in the booming textile region, he opened his own firm with Nolen's blessing. E. S. Draper and Associates soon had branches in Atlanta, Washington, and New York, and by the early 1930s had designed some one hundred suburbs all over the South. In Myers Park, Draper had taken over revisions to the original Nolen plan. His most memorable change was to build Queens Road West -planned as a series of picturesque small curves by Nolen -- as a single long sweeping radius. Said Draper, "I didn't feel you wanted to introduce a curve . . . just for the sake of putting a curve in. You have to have some reason to." 22
Draper carried his scheme of grand curvature over from Myers Park to Griffith's Eastover. Sweeping Cherokee and Colville roads echo Queens Road West. Also like Myers Park, which initially had a single stone-portalled grand entrance, Eastover was designed to be a self-contained enclave. Draper discouraged through-traffic in Eastover by creating only two access points, the first off Providence Road at Laurel, and the second at East Fourth Street (now called Randolph Road). An early brochure described the entrances:
Brick entrance gates, now demolished are said to have stood at the two entries to Eastover.
Griffith's promotional literature for the new neighborhood made the most of its planning, though it never mentioned Draper by name:
The advertisements were designed to appeal to the emotional as well as the practical side of the potential Eastover resident:
A key part of the planning of this community was the creation of land-use controls to ensure that Eastover would develop as Griffith and Draper proposed. In 1927 the idea of zoning -- government-enforced land-use controls -- was quite new, and Charlotte would not adopt such a system until after World War II. The best alternative was the use of restrictive covenants written into lot deeds, and Griffith's advertising proudly proclaimed that Eastover was:
Buyers had to meet a minimum house cost, ranging from $4,000 to $15,000 (in 1927 dollars) depending on the location of the lot. Property was to be used for residential purposes only, and "shall be occupied and used only by members of the Caucasian race, domestic servants in the employ of occupants excepted." 27 Garages, outbuildings, and servants' quarters were required to conform to the architectural style of the main dwelling. Apartment houses, defined as any structure housing two or more families, were expressly forbidden. In all, the Eastover deed restrictions took up most of two typeset pages.
In one important way, Eastover was quite unlike Myers Park. The streetcar was the lifeline of the earlier development, with its main Queens Road boulevard carefully designed to accommodate the trolley tracks. In 1927, trolleys were still an important part of Charlotte's transit picture, and would continue to be until they were replaced by buses in 1938. 28 But E. C. Griffith evidently made no effort to secure trolley service for his new neighborhood. The closest stops were at Queens and Providence or Queens and Hermitage, several blocks walk from the Eastover gates. The citizens of the new development were expected to all have automobiles, and Eastover thus became Charlotte's first exclusive automobile suburb.
In the process, it helped set in place the development pattern that had begun with Myers Park. Freed from the distance constraints of trolley track construction, developers in the automobile age could now build suburbs anywhere, rather than clustering them in an efficient ring around the center city. Eastover, together with Myers Park, firmly established the southeast edge of Charlotte as the city's prime residential area. Most subsequent upper-income developments were built out along the Providence Road corridor, including Foxcroft in the 1950s and the Carmel Road-Sharon Road-Raintree developments of the 1970s and 1980s. Today's city has a pronounced southeasterly bulge, a characteristic that has its beginnings with Griffith's Eastover.
In the Eastover neighborhood itself today, the initial Griffith subdivision remains the centerpiece and contains the area's most substantial residences. The first homes in Griffith's Eastover were built in 1928. By 1932, forty-two residences were located along Cherokee, Colville and Eastover (originally Greenwood) roads and Fenton and Hempstead places. The architectural styles which dominate the initial Eastover development reflect the taste of the city's well-to-do during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. The Colonial Revival predominates and the English Tudor also makes strong inroads.
Interestingly, Item Two of the Eastover restrictions stated that "no residence of Spanish Architecture or design shall be erected upon said lots of land." 29 According to Clarence Todd, a long-time member of the E. C. Griffith Company, Mr. Griffith felt that the Spanish style would be inconsistent with the Georgian Colonial and English Tudor theme which he was attempting to develop. According to Todd, the style was felt to be inappropriate to the neighborhood and the historic and cultural traditions of the region. 30 Another source suggests that Griffith believed that Spanish architecture presented a cheap appearance. 31 Although the terms of the deeds did not require adoption of a specific style, advertisements for Eastover seemed favorably disposed toward Colonial motifs. 32
E.C. Griffith's own residence, designed by architect Martin Boyer and built in 1929, set the tone for the neighborhood. A two-story portico commands the front elevation of the Griffith house and shelters the central three bays. A fanlight is present above the main entrance and in the front gable. Interior detailing incorporates Georgian motifs. Though the structure is not unusually large, Boyer sited it on a slight rise at the intersection of Cherokee Road and Eastover Road to give it a commanding position over the surrounding landscape; Griffith's Eastover appears to radiate from this point. Early neighborhood brochures included the residence and identified it as "a colonial type... one of several attractive residences now being erected by Eastover owners." 33 Southern Architect and Building News featured the house in its April, 1929 issue. 34
Also displayed prominently in promotional literature was the brick colonial design nearby at 260 Cherokee Road. Built for Alex I. James, Jr., president of the Community Book Shop, and his wife Viola, it was described in promotional literature as a "Georgian type, this beautiful residence now under construction in Eastover has the charm and atmosphere of an ideal home." 35 An oversized leaded glass fanlight and sidelights dominate the entrance of the symmetrically-arranged five-bay main facade. Gable-roofed dormers punctuate the front roofline and flank a center gable, which features a bulls-eye window.
Numerous variations on the Colonial style followed. Among them was the brick residence designed in 1931 for John Paul Lucas, Jr., and his wife Alice at 265 Cherokee Road. 36 Martin Boyer created a five-bay, symmetrically-arranged main block framed by pilasters and flanked on either side by two-story gable-roofed wings of unequal height. The groupings of two interior chimneys may have been inspired by those of Stratford Hall, Robert E. Lee's ancestral home in Virginia. Lucas was an important part of the electric utility industry that was helping to draw textile mills to the piedmont. He served as vice president of Southern Public Utilities Company and North Carolina Public Service Company when he moved into his new house.
While most Eastover colonial houses were brick, an occasional frame dwelling may be seen. Such is the two-story weatherboarded design at 165 Cherokee Road, erected in 1930 for A. Lloyd Goode. Goode was an active builder and real estate developer in the city, known for such projects as the construction of First Baptist Church (now Spirit Square) downtown, and the development of Fenton Place on the edge of the Eastover neighborhood. In 1930 the city directory listed him as a secretary of the Goode Construction Company and president of the Park Place Pharmacy. Goode's weatherboarded residence has a five-bay symmetrical front defined by fluted pilasters which rise to an Adamesque style swag-and-ribbon frieze and modillion cornice. A round-arched entrance with a central keystone frames the recessed front door, flanked by leaded glass sidelights and surmounted by a fanlight.
A free colonial style was overwhelmingly the most popular architectural style in Eastover. Perhaps inspired by the national attention being given the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg in the 1920s and 1930s, wealthy Charlotteans enthusiastically adopted the mode. The only competitor to the colonial was the so-called Tudor Revival, based on English cottage and manor precedents that had been brought back to America after World War I. Eastover includes several significant houses in the Tudor Revival style.
The most noteworthy is the massive stone Hamilton C. Jones III house at Cherokee Road and Fenton Place. Its design, by Martin Boyer, shows him to be a masterful architect, capable of working in more than just the Colonial style. Construction on the house began in 1929, but the project was not finished until 1931. 37 Irregular massing and fenestration characterize the exterior. Half-timbered gable ends, octagonal chimney pots, and an asymmetrically placed oriel exemplify the Tudor influence. Inside, the major doorways are framed in Tudor arches, and mantels and decoration are derived from English medieval sources.
The presence of Hamilton and Bessie Erwin Jones in Eastover indicates the level of prestige which Eastover had quickly gained, even over Myers Park. Jones was one of the city's top lawyers and a Democratic political leader, serving one term as state senator in the 1920s before being elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1946. His wife was a member of Durham's prominent Erwin textile family. Most telling was the fact that Jones was a nephew of John Springs Myers, the developer of Myers Park; Jones' mother had been one of the first two dozen residences in that neighborhood. 38
At least two architects besides Martin Boyer contributed prominent Tudor Revival designs to Eastover. M. R. Marsh designed 345 Eastover Road in 1934 for Peter D. Burks, an insurance executive, and his wife Gladys. 39 It is unusually symmetrical for the style, but has the requisite Tudor arched entrance, topped by a bracketed and half-timbered gable. At the opposite extreme is the rambling residence at 322 Eastover Road, constructed in 1929 by J. Norman Pease as his own home. 40 The design features a circular two-story tower, dormers, and bays. Gable-roofed ells project in different directions from the nearly concealed high hip-roofed main block.
Only one of the large houses built before the Second World War in Eastover made a break with the predominant revival styles. The Herman Horton Residence at Colville and Eastover roads has a strong horizontal emphasis that owes more to the International style than to any previous historical mode. It was designed by noted Miami-based architect Russell Pancost and erected in 1938-1939. 41 The free-flowing rhythm of his cream-colored structure is enhanced by a second-story wrought iron loggia on the main facade, and one-story circular projections on the front and side elevations. In addition to its unusual architecture, the dwelling is of historic interest because its owner was founder of Horton Motor Lines, said to be the largest individually-owned trucking concern in the United States. 42 Herman Horton's presence in Eastover signified the addition of the new industry to Charlotte's economy in the 1920s and 1930s, which would eventually see Charlotte as one of the busiest trucking centers in the United States. 43
While the most elaborate dwellings dominated Cherokee, Colville, and Eastover roads, slightly smaller residences for upper-middle income buyers could be found on the side streets of Griffith's original Eastover, including Fenton Place, and the first block of Hempstead Place. Lots were narrower and houses set closer together, but the popularity of the two-story Tudor Revival and colonial houses remained steadfast. One of the more interesting of the smaller scale Tudor Revival residences is 263 Hempstead Place, constructed in 1933 for Peter W. D. Jones and his wife Courtnay. Jones was one of the many insurance executives in the city who sold coverage to the city's homeowners and industrialists, and particularly to the owners of the fire-prone cotton mills in the surrounding region. The city directory listed him as vice president and secretary of the Piedmont Fire Insurance Company, as well as secretary of Aetna Fire Insurance Company and the World Fire and Marine Insurance Company. The gable ends and second story of his brick house are stuccoed and painted to simulate half-timbering. Patterned brick and stonework highlight the asymmetrically arranged chimneys on the front and side elevations and on the projecting gable-roofed entrance hall. Two diamond paned casement windows are placed above the main entrance.
The stately residence at 246 Fenton Place was constructed in 1933 by Martin Boyer and served briefly as his own residence. The Boyer house is a smaller, simplified rendition of the numerous substantial Georgian residences erected for the architect's wealthy Charlotte clients. A two-story Tuscan columned portico shelters the center three bays. The front entrance, which recalls Georgian motifs, is simply detailed and surmounted by a segmental arched transom.
As mapped in 1927, the undeveloped area of Eastover to the south of Eastover Road was to continue the established pattern of curved streets and substantial house sites. As developed after 1933, however, this southern extension, with its continuation of Hempstead Place, Colville Road, Cherokee Road, and the creation of Cherokee Place and Lewellyn Place, departs from Draper's established pattern. It follows a standard grid, providing for smaller lots and more residential units. Museum Drive, which extends from Eastover Road to Twiford Place, was platted in 1956 and confirmed this rectangular grid arrangement of nearly straight streets. Avenues which had notable curvature and sweep in the initial Eastover development are here straightened and lengthened, simultaneously increasing the number of house sites and altering the neighborhood's aesthetics. While notable house lots do exist on the extensions of Colville and Cherokee roads and, to a lesser extent, Hempstead Place, there is significant difference between the size of house lots in the initial and subsequent E. C. Griffith developments in Eastover. In the original Eastover development, house lots on the main roads are significantly larger than those of the smaller, less traveled streets. There is less of a differentiation between lot size on the main and subordinate streets in the later Eastover development.
In this second Eastover development, the Colonial Revival style, as patterned after the brick residences of the Virginia Tidewater, remained the most popular mode of building. A standard building pattern emerged during a construction period which began about 1940 and lasted for three decades. Many of the residences constructed during this period are two stories in height, three bays wide and symmetrically arranged. Swan's neck or angled pediments and Federal style fanlights are popularly used. Single step or paved shoulder chimneys were generally placed at the side elevations. Each house was usually surmounted by a gable roof although the hip roof is also used.
The house at 645 Hempstead ranks among the area's most notable residences. The house was constructed in 1940 for John L. Morehead, the vice president of the Charlotte Country Club, and his wife Louise Morehead. The central entrance is set beneath a fanlight and framed by molded pilasters which rise to a triglyph frieze. Arch-headed openings, which connect the main house to a side garage and patio, are framed by pilasters.
An examination of this area's streetscape indicates the continued popularity of substantial although architecturally repetitive colonial style houses. Three nearby dwellings will illustrate the point. Number 661 Hempstead was constructed in 1958 by Halcourt T. Cosby and his wife Martha; Cosby was the owner of Cosby and Thomas Yarns, one of the city's numerous small textile concerns. In 1963, Alf Boone, president of A. G. Boone trucking, and his wife Ann constructed a house at 675 Hempstead Place. William A. Davis, Jr., and his wife Georgetta built 623 Hempstead Place in 1964; Davis was president of Davis-Harkness Company, dealers of steel products. Each of the three houses is two stories in height, encircled by a denticulated cornice and surmounted by a hip roof. All present a symmetrical five bay front elevation. Only the slight variation in decorative detailing lends individuality to each residence. Although only these three houses are cited as examples, this pattern is applicable to numerous contemporary structures which line the streets of Eastover.
While the influence of the Later Georgian Revival remained strong, other architectural movements began to assert themselves, albeit slowly. One of Eastover's most interesting residences is 661 Colville Road. It was constructed in 1941 for Jonathan Gullick, president of Interstate Securities Company, one of the region's most active financial organizations. A. Raymond Ellis of Hartford, Connecticut, served as the principal architect. The house's stucco exterior and red tile roof strongly contrast with the red brick walls and gray slate roofs of its adjacent neighbors. The warm Mediterranean flavor provides a welcome relief in the sedate neighborhood. Above the main entrance, the grouping of the central window and columns recalls a Renaissance loggia. While the deed restrictions clearly stated that no houses of Spanish architecture would be permitted, this Spanish/Mediterranean residence was constructed with the full approval of the E. C. Griffith Company. 44
The growth of the Eastover area historically identified as Pharrsdale is contemporary with the beginning of the development process by the E. C. Griffith Company. Pharrsdale, the subdivision of the property of Miss Sarah Pharr, includes present-day Biltmore Drive, Scotland Avenue, the western end of Colville Road and the eastern (odd numbered) side of the 1200-1700 blocks of Providence Road. Now considered a part of Eastover, the neighborhood was developed by the Lex Marsh Company, independently of Griffith's suburb. Landscape architect Earle Sumner Draper was hired by Marsh to provide a street plan. Confined by the already existing Providence Road, Draper provided a plan which is a slight variation of the basic grid. While the street plan was a far cry from the sweeping curves of Griffith's Eastover, Draper was confronted with existing space limitations. 45
The development of Pharrsdale would be notably affected by outside forces. The coming of the Great Depression brought about a severe drop in the price of lots, although they still remained at a price unaffordable for many potential residents. Lots on Biltmore Drive, which sold for between $2000 and $2500 in the late 1920s were selling for approximately $500 in the early 1930s. According to Marsh, "Biltmore Drive lots lost 90% of their value within two and a half years." 46 The land was acquired by American Bank and Trust Company which foreclosed on the Lex Marsh Company; Biltmore Drive lots which sold for $2300 could now be had for $200. Although some houses were built in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Pharrsdale did not experience a substantial period of growth until the late 1930s, as the nation began to rebound from the economic malaise. Here again, simple colonial forms and, to a lesser extent, the details of the Tudor Revival predominate. The majority of homes are of brick construction, two stories in height and three bays wide. While the Pharrsdale development does not possess the imposing residences which characterize Griffith's original Eastover, it is nonetheless a substantial mid-twentieth century neighborhood. In contrast to Griffith's Eastover, Pharrsdale would be occupied by the owners and operators of smaller companies or individuals who had not yet achieved the upper echelon of financial and social success. Lot sizes are smaller than in Griffith's development, permitting more houses per block.
Though Pharrsdale did not boast as many Charlotte leaders as the early Eastover section, it was nevertheless home to several noteworthy individuals. Funeral director Ben Douglas built a two-story Colonial Revival dwelling at 1325 Providence Road in Pharrsdale in the early 1930s. He served as mayor of Charlotte from 1933 to 1941, and is credited with such major projects as Independence Boulevard, Charlotte Memorial Hospital, Memorial Stadium, and the city's first public housing projects. Charlotte/Douglas International Airport is named in his honor. Nearby, at 1345 Biltmore Drive (1936), is the Dutch Colonial Revival residence of Mercer Blankenship, Sr. A prominent local lawyer, he was the Charlotte City Solicitor during the 1940s, and served twice in the North Carolina State legislature, in 1937-1938 and 1956. Other-influential residents have included Citizens Savings and Loan bank president Zeb Strawn at 1215 Biltmore Drive (1937), developer Lex Marsh, Jr., next door at 1217 Biltmore (1938), and fellow developer James H. Carson at 1205 Biltmore (1938).
Most early Pharrsdale dwellings were repetitive variations on the Colonial and Tudor themes favored by conservative Charlotteans throughout the twentieth century. One house in the neighborhood, however, made a radical break with that architectural pattern. The dwelling at 1606 Scotland Avenue, constructed in 1938, may be Charlotte's first residence in the International style. It is a two-story flatroofed block without a hint of historical detail. Severe industrial-sash windows light the main rooms, while smaller windows are placed elsewhere in the facade, as dictated by interior needs rather than concerns for symmetry. Except for conversion of the attached garage to an extra room, the white weatherboard exterior appears to be in good original condition. Though it is not known who the architect of this modern structure was, its first occupants were James W. Posey, listed in the city directory as a circulation manager, and his wife Louella.
One Block Streets Between Cherokee and Providence Roads
A series of streets, seven in total, are located in an area delineated by Providence Road to the west and south and Cherokee Road to the north and east. Now considered a part of the Eastover neighborhood, these short streets were not a part of the original Eastover subdivision. Each was planned as a separate, unrelated development, although similarities in plot and building size are evident. Architecturally, the structures are less grandiose than those in the original Eastover subdivision. They conform to the popular building modes of the middle-class housing in the era in which each was developed. The earlier residences display Bungalow, Tudor, and Colonial motifs. In the later residences, the colonial and Ranch styles dominate the streetscape.
On Cottage Place, the oldest of these streets, three houses were in existence by 1921 although the land was not officially platted until 1924; 47 the plat map does not list the name of the developer. Altondale Avenue was also platted in 1924. It was developed by Drs. Jas. R. Alexander and Latta R. Johnston and divided into twenty-four similar sized plots of land. 48 By 1926, twenty-two houses had been erected.
An extension to the existing Fenton Place (designed by Earle Sumner Draper as part of the Eastover plan for the E. C. Griffith Company) was platted in 1930 by the Goode Realty Company. 49 This extension ran straight back from Providence Road near Cherokee Road to enable it to connect with the existing Fenton Place. The majority of the seventeen residences in this Fenton Place extension date from the late 1920s and early 1930s. Incidentally, A. L. Goode, an associate of the Goode Construction Company, built and occupied a residence at 165 Cherokee Road, at the intersection of Cherokee Place and Fenton Place.
No houses existed on Middleton Drive when the street was first listed in the 1938 edition of the Charlotte city directory. By 1939, nineteen structures had been erected. With the exception of the western portion of the street fronting Providence Road, Middleton was platted in 1938 by Middleton Homes, Inc. 50 Middleton Drive is believed to be one of the oldest of the numerous residential developments planned by the John Crosland Company.
Huntley Place was platted in 1939 by civil engineer A. V. Blankenship. 51 Huntley Place differs from the remainder of this area's streets in that it had two separate owners; the north side of the street is referred to as the property of T. E. Hemby while the south side is identified as the L. L. Hackney property. The earliest homes date from the early 1940s.
Perrin Place was first listed in the Charlotte city directory in 1942. The street was developed in the early 1950s by Perrin Quarles' Perrin Home Realty Company with inexpensive one-story cottages and attached units. 52 All but three of the fifty-two properties listed in the 1951 city directory were listed as rental housing. The Perrin Place homes were demolished in the early 1970s to permit construction of one of Charlotte's earliest condominium complexes. The eclectic two-story brick townhouses line both sides of the street.
Bolling Road runs off Huntley Place and ends in a cul-de-sac. It is the only street in this development which does not open onto Providence Road. The earliest plat map of Bolling Road, dated 1952, lists the land as the property of W. S. Woodspon. 53
Departures from Single Family Development
Although the neighborhood is dominated by one-family residential units, Eastover is also home to two apartment complexes, one church, and two public institutions, the Eastover School and the Mint Museum of Art. The general plan of Griffith's Eastover provided that "the less desirable parts . . .and certain parts contiguous . . . should be used for less highly restricted property including apartments on certain lots." 54 The general plan also made provisions for non-residential structures including an art museum, school, church and fire station "which said non-residential structures were deemed necessary and desirable for such a development." 55 Each of these nonconforming structures is today located on a fringe area of the neighborhood.
Eastover Road gently curves downward from Cherokee Road to its terminus at Hempstead Place, at which it faces the Mint Museum Of Art. Although Eastover was planned as a residential neighborhood, the location of the Mint Museum of Art within its boundaries has certainly helped to enhance the neighborhood's reputation and position. The United States Mint was originally constructed in uptown Charlotte, near the intersection of West Trade and Mint streets, on the site presently occupied by the United States Post Office and Courthouse. The building was designed in 1837 by William Strickland of Philadelphia, the well-known and highly regarded proponent of the Greek Revival style, and was constructed to serve the gold mines of North and South Carolina. 56 At the time of its construction, the Piedmont region was the largest producer of gold in the United States. The Mint was used for its intended purpose until 1861. After the Civil War, it housed the United States Assay Office until 1913 and was home to a variety of functions, including a Federal Court House and subsequently the headquarters of the Red Cross Society and the Charlotte Women's Club.
In 1933, the Mint was scheduled for demolition to permit expansion of the United States Post Office. When all plans to save the structure on its original site failed, the building was disassembled under the supervision of architect Martin Boyer. 57 The E. C. Griffith Company donated the present Eastover site; the Civil Works Administration, one of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal agencies, financed a portion of the rebuilding. The reconstructed structure opened in 1936 as the Mint Museum of Art and from that time has been a major force in the cultural life of Charlotte. The Mint Museum was designated an official historic property by the Charlotte City Council in 1975. 58
The Eastover School, located at 500 Cherokee Road, has long served an important role in the education of the area's young people. The original portion of the Colonial Revival school was built in 1935 and housed six classrooms and a library. Its founding is contemporary with the establishment of the Eastover neighborhood. Labor and funding were provided by the Works Progress Administration (WPA); the E. C. Griffith Company donated the land. The structure was enlarged in 1941 with the addition of an auditorium, five classrooms and other necessary facilities; the Colonial Revival theme was carried over in this alteration. Several subsequent remodelings have respected the school's character. 59
The Alson Court Apartments, at the intersection of Colville Road and Laurel Avenue, were built in 1940 and were the first departure from the one-family residential unit. Subordinate two-story gable roof buildings are grouped around the three-and-a-half-story main block to form a U-shaped complex. Geographically opposite, at the intersection of Cherokee and Providence Road, stands 800 Cherokee, which was designed by Charlotte architecture firm Dellinger-Lee Associates and built in 1976. 60 The asymmetrically arranged complex, an interesting mixture of flat and rounded shapes, has served as the residence of some of Charlotte's most prominent young and old citizens.
The Westminster Presbyterian Church, which is located across from the Alson Court Apartments, was completed in 1958. The congregation was founded in August, 1951 and had previously met at the Veterans Club Building on East Morehead Street and later at Queens College. The present house of worship is a substantial, if architecturally conservative, variation on the International style. It was designed by J. A. Stenhouse of J. N. Pease Associates. 61
Post-World War II to Present
In the post-World War II era, Eastover has continued to serve as a residential magnet for the economically and socially prominent of Charlotte. The neighborhood attracted many whose parents and grandparents had been members of the upper crust of earlier developments. Belk Department Store chain founder William Henry Belk, for example, had erected a substantial residence in the Elizabeth neighborhood in 1918. In 1955, two of his sons moved into nearby houses in Eastover. Irwin Belk, president of Belk Store Buying Services, and his wife Carol occupied a two-story brick dwelling at 400 Eastover Road. Henderson and Ann Belk lived around the corner at 534 Hempstead Place.
Building activity has continued both on vacant lots along otherwise established blocks, and in new areas, including Museum Drive and extensions of Hempstead Place, Colville Road, and Scotland Avenue. The 600 through 800 blocks of Colville, the 700 block of Cherokee, and the 500 through 800 blocks of Hempstead were largely developed between 1945 and 1970. Each reflects not only the economic prosperity of the era but also the architectural styles which found favor with the middle and upper classes. The post-war fascination with the suburban Ranch style house is strongly evident. Recent years have also produced several noteworthy late Colonial Revival residences. The most recent colonial cluster centers around Museum Drive, which was opened to development in the 1950s, and on the 1970's Scotland Avenue extension, between Cherokee Road and Colville Road.
The flush eaves and symmetrically arranged seven bay front elevation of 610 Museum Drive recall the substantial weatherboarded dwellings of mid-eighteenth century New England and the Middle Colonies. The house was constructed by John J. Hanes, a vice-president of the R. S. Dickson Company, and his wife Florence. Eighteenth century detailing highlights the equally substantial 459 Hempstead Place, which was constructed in 1965 by William H. and Jane Williamson, Jr. Williamson was a partner of Reynolds and Company, members of the New York Stock Exchange. The publication Charlotte: Carolina's Queen City took proud note of the dwelling's ties to the Virginia tidewater region:
While the revival styles continue to dominate, modernism began to exert more influence in the post-World War II decades. Whereas only the James Posey house at 1606 Scotland Avenue (1938) and the Herman Horton residence at 352 Eastover Road (1938-39) represented the International style before the War, several residences today clearly, and at times delightfully, depart from their more conservative surroundings. The influence of renowned modern architect Frank Lloyd Wright, for example, is strongly evident in 435 Colville Road, a house constructed in 1951 for textile machinery executive Morris Speizman and his wife Sylvia. Edelbaum and Webster of New York City served as the architects. The design's horizontal forms, lack of ornamentation, and the overall integration of the house site and landscaping mark the residence as a fine although late example of Wright's Prairie School. The influence of Wright's thinking may also be seen in the flowing horizontal rhythms of the ubiquitous ranch style houses popular among recent Eastover homebuilders.
The contrast between revivalism and modernism in present-day Eastover is most acute on Hungerford Place, a new street parallel to Museum Drive near Briar Creek. A sedate five-bay late Georgian Revival house was constructed there in 1983 for William Cooper, an attorney, and his wife Sally. The massive brick residence carefully reproduces traditional eighteenth century forms and detailing. A houselot away are the glistening white walls of the William G. Staton house, designed by Charlotte architect Hal Tribble the same year. The asymmetrical massing and strip windows of the Staton house are decidedly modern in appearance.
A key factor in the continued desirability of Eastover as a prime residential area for Charlotte's leading citizens has been the work of the Eastover Residents Association. Formed in 1962, it is said to be Charlotte's oldest neighborhood organization. 63
Spearheaded by longtime resident Erwin Jones, the organization was initially established in reaction to a proposal by developer Chadbourn Bolles to demolish the Reynolds-Gourmajenko house and build a ten-story condominium on its Providence Road site. Eastover residents viewed the proposal as a threat to the aesthetics and scale of the neighborhood. The organization was formed to "preserve and further develop Eastover as a prime residential neighborhood." Among the issues the group has fought are the continued commercial encroachment along Providence Road and the proposal to erect an access road from Randolph Road to the Mint Museum and through to Hempstead Place. 64
The Eastover neighborhood, after a half century of existence, continues to show the results of careful planning and nurturing. It remains one of Charlotte's finest residential enclaves, a tribute to the pre-World War II suburban ideal.
1 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Map Book 3, p. 317.
2 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Map Book 4, p. 367.
3 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Map Book 3, p. 237.
4 Dan L. Morrill and Ruth Little-Stokes, "Architectural Analysis: Dilworth: Charlotte's Initial Streetcar Suburb" (Charlotte: Dilworth Community Association, 1978), section 2, p. 2. See also, Dan L. Morrill, "Edward Dilworth Latta and the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company (1890-1925): Builders of New South Charlotte," 1983, unpublished manuscript in the files of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission.
5 Morrill and Little-Stokes, section 2, pp. 7-8.
6 For more on the Olmsted Brothers in Charlotte, see the chapters entitled "Charlotte's Neighborhood Planning Tradition" and "Dilworth: the 1911 Expansion" in the present manuscript.
7 Manufacturers Record, July 4, 1912 and November 3, 1921. For more on Nolen in Charlotte see the chapters entitled "Charlotte's Neighborhood Planning Tradition" and "Myers Park: Charlotte's Finest Planned Suburb" in the present manuscript.
8 Frank Thies, Sr., interview with Thomas W. Hanchett and Mary Kratt, July, 1984.
9 William H. Huffman, "The John Jamison House: Survey and Research Report" (Charlotte: Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1981).
10 William H. Huffman, "The Charles Moody House: Survey and Research Report" (Charlotte: Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1981).
11 Data on individual houses in the Eastover survey area were developed by taking inventory of structures extant in 1984, then checking city directories in the collections of the Carolina Room of the Charlotte Public Library and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to determine year of construction and name and profession of original occupant. The vertical files at the Carolina Room were examined for additional historical and biographical material. Where other sources were consulted, they will be indicated by footnotes. Dates of construction for Eastover residences are generally accurate within two years.
12 Frank Thies, Jr., interview with Joseph Schuchman, Charlotte, North Carolina, May, 1984.
13 Dan L. Morrill, "The Reynolds-Gourmajenko House: Survey and Research Report" (Charlotte: Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1977).
14 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Deed Book 614, p. 593.
15 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Deed Book 660, p. 25.
16 Earle Sumner Draper, interview with Thomas W. Hanchett at Vero Beach, Florida, August, 1982.
17 For more on Griffith in Rosemont see the chapter entitled "Elizabeth: Changes and Continuity in Charlotte's Second Streetcar Suburb" in the present manuscript.
18 Figures are approximated: Charlotte had 34,014 people at the 1910 federal census, 46,338 in 1920, and 82,675 in 1930. Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, "1950 Census Data" (Charlotte: Chamber of Commerce, 1950). This report conveniently includes city-wide and ward data back to 1850.
19 "Miller's Official Charlotte, NC, City Directory" (Asheville: The Miller Press, 1929), p. 8.
20 Broadus Mitchell and George Sinclair Mitchell, The Industrial Revolution in the South (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1983 ), p. 3. In 1927 the South had 62% of the mills in the United States, and the value of the product of North Carolina alone surpassed that of the former leading state, Massachusetts.
21 For detailed information on Draper's career see the chapters entitled "Charlotte's Neighborhood Planning Tradition" and "Myers Park: Charlotte's Finest Planned Suburb" in the present manuscript.
22 Draper, interview with Hanchett, August, 1982.
23 "Eastover, a Residential District Developed for the Discriminating Homebuilder," 1927. Sales brochure in the files of the E. C. Griffith Company.
27 "Eastover Restriction Agreement," undated, in the files of the E. C. Griffith Company.
28 Dan L. Morrill, "Myers Park Streetcar Waiting Stations: Survey and Research Report" (Charlotte: Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1980).
29 "Eastover Restriction Agreement."
30 Clarence Todd, interview with Joseph Schuchman in Charlotte, February, 1984. Todd is a long-time member of the Griffith firm and was active in the initial development of Eastover.
31 Cynthia Pharr Whiting, interview with Joseph Schuchman in Charlotte, February, 1984. Due to longstanding family ties and employment with the Lawyers Title Insurance Company of Charlotte, Mrs. Whiting is quite knowledgeable about neighborhood development through the city.
32 "Eastover, a Residential District . . .." 1927 sales brochure.
34 A copy of the article is in the files of the E. C. Griffith Company.
35 "Eastover, a Residential District . . .." 1927 sales brochure.
36 Information courtesy of UNCC student Rob Mulloy, "Research Project: 265 Cherokee Road, Charlotte, NC," a paper presented to Dr. Dan Morrill, Historic Preservation, Winter, 1983.
37 Information supplied by Mr. and Mrs. James Risser, current owners of 265 Cherokee Road, in a letter to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, September 30, 1982, requesting the house be considered for designation as a historic property.
38 The Myers Park residence (1913) of Mrs. Hamilton C. Jones stands in 1984 at 944 Granville Road.
39 Information courtesy of UNCC student Laurie LaPorte, "Research Project: 345 Eastover Road, Charlotte, N.C.," a paper presented to Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Historic Preservation, Winter, 1983.
40 Information courtesy of UNCC student Loretta Hooton, "Research Project: 322 Eastover Road, Charlotte, N.C.," a paper presented to Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Historic Preservation, Winter, 1983. Hooton interviewed Pease's son, who remembered growing up in the house when it was surrounded by fields. One field had an old barn which held a pair of World War I vintage biplanes, which gave the young boy a great thrill when they took off directly over his house.
41 Information courtesy of UNCC student John Fuller, "Research Project: 352 Eastover Road, Charlotte, N.C.," a paper presented to Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Historic Preservation, Winter, 1983.
42 Horton's obituary appeared in the Charlotte Observer , May 2, 1959. For more on Charlotte as a trucking center, see Roy Covington, "Truck Stop," Charlotte Magazine, July-August, 1969, P. 18, and other clippings-in the "Charlotte Trucking" vertical file in the Carolina Room of the Charlotte Public Library.
44 Jonathan Gullick, telephone interview with Joseph Schuchman, February, 1984. Guilick was the original owner of 661 Colville Road.
45 Lex Marsh, Jr., interview with Joseph Schuchman in Charlotte, March, 1984. Lex Marsh, Jr., is head of Lex Marsh Real Estate and the developer of the Pharrsdale subdivision.
47 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Map Book 332, p. 374.
48 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Map Book 332, p. 392.
49 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Map Book 3, p. 578.
50 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Map Book 4, p. 243.
51 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Deed Book 967, p. 573; Map Book 4, p. 321.
52 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Deed Book 1166, p. 371. Mary Norton Kratt and Thomas W. Hanchett, "The Myers Park Neighborhood," 1984, draft manuscript in the possession of Kratt.
53 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Deed Book 1580, p. 397.
54 "Eastover Restriction Agreement."
56 "Report to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission from the Mint Museum of Art," 1975, on file at the Properties Commission.
57 For information on Boyer and his work with the Mint, see the Charlotte Observer, March 26, 1977.
58 "Report..... from the Mint Museum of Art," 1975.
59 Information on the Eastover School courtesy of Mary Lynn Morrill, teachers' aide at the school, based on historical information gathered by her and other staff members.
60 Dellinger-Lee Associates, telephone interview with Thomas W. Hanchett, February, 1984.
61 Archives of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
62 Kenneth and Blanche Marsh, Charlotte: Carolina's Queen City (Columbia: R. L. Bryan Company, 1967), pp. 183-185.
63 Erwin Jones, interview with Joseph Schuchman in Charlotte, March, 1984. Jones conceived the idea of the Eastover Residents Association, basing it on two neighborhood organizations then operating in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. Incidentally, Jones is the son of Hamilton Jones, who occupied the Martin Boyer-designed Tudor Revival mansion at 201 Cherokee Road.
SIGNIFICANT SITES IN THE EASTOVER NEIGHBORHOOD
The Hamilton C. Jones House, Eastover's finest example of the Tudor style, was built for Hamilton C. Jones, a prominent Charlotte lawyer and politician, and his wife Bessie (Erwin) Jones. The design is the work of Charlotte architect Martin Boyer; Blythe & Isenhour were the general contractors. Construction began in 1929 and was completed in 1931. The exterior is faced in russet-colored granite and characterized by asymmetrical massing and fenestration. Stuccoed and half-timbered gable ends, an oriel (on the Fenton Place elevation), and patterned brickwork exemplify the Tudor influence. Octagonal chimney pots rise above the clay tile gable roof. The interior is handsomely arranged and follows a center hall plan. Openings are framed by a Tudor arch. A horseshoe open string staircase, with wrought iron railing, rises from the center hall. Mantle forms and detailing were inspired by the English decorative arts of the late Middle Ages.
Hamilton Chamberlain Jones (1884-1957), a native Charlottean, graduated from the University of North Carolina and later received a law degree from Columbia University in New York City. Jones served as assistant U.S. District Attorney in Charlotte, and as judge of the City's Recorder's Court and the first Juvenile Court, the later of which he was instrumental in establishing. He was a onetime chairman of the Mecklenburg Democratic Executive Committee and president of the North Carolina Bar Association and the Charlotte Rotary Club. Jones was elected to the North Carolina Senate for two terms and, from 1946 to 1952, he represented the tenth congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. His father, Hamilton C. Jones Jr., had moved to Charlotte in 1867, served as state senator in 1870 and was appointed U.S. District Attorney for the Western District by President Grover Cleveland in 1885. His mother, Sophia C. (Myers) Jones was the sister of John Springs Myers, the owner of the land which became the Myers Park neighborhood.
Mrs. Jones, the former Bessie Smedes Erwin( -1966) was noted for her philanthrophic work; she donated her services to, among other organizations, Good Samaritan Hospital, Thompson Orphanage, and St. Peter's Episcopal Church. The house remained in the Jones Family until 1979 when it was sold by their son, William Erwin Jones, to James and Virginia Risser, the present owners. Mr. Risser is the president of the U.S. Bottlers Machinery Company.
From its earliest days, Eastover has been the home to many of Charlotte's financial leaders. Jonathan Gullick, president of the Interstate Securities Corporation, and his wife Lena had this substantial residence constructed in 1941 at a cost of approximately $28,000. A Raymond Ellis of Hartford, Connecticut served as the principal architect; the Charlotte firm of Sandifer and King worked as the supervising architects. Ellis was hired after the Gullick's had seen an example of his work, entitled a miniature Italian villa, in an issue of the Women's Home Companion magazine. The house is elegantly detailed; its overall design recalls a Spanish or Mediterranean villa, rather ironic in that the deed for this land, as for all of E.C. Griffith's Eastover, specifically prohibited houses of Spanish design.
The hip roof main block is flanked by symmetrically placed wings at each side. The stucco exterior and red tile roof is a notable contrast from the adjacent red brick, slate roofed houses. A single bay columned porch shelters the main entrance. Above this entrance, round arch windows, flanked by columns, recall a Renaissance loggia. Casement windows are the primary fenestration treatment.
The property was occupied by Jonathan and Lena Gullick until 1969, when it was purchased by Wilson Cross, vice-president of the Riegal Paper Corporation, and his wife Martha. The present owners, Robert and Betty Jo Gilley, acquired the property from the Cross family in 1971; Mr. Gilley is vice-president of Culbertson Gilley Hubbard lnc., insurance agents.
Situated on a slight rise at the intersection of Cherokee and Eastover Roads, the E.C. Griffith House holds a commanding position in the Eastover neighborhood. Charlotte architect Martin Boyer designed this stately Colonial Revival house about 1928 for Edward Colville Griffith and his wife Frances. Griffith was the president of the E.C. Griffith Company, the developers of Eastover. The E.C. Griffith House is one of the development's earliest residences; its adaptation of the eighteenth century architecture of the Virginia Tidewater set the design tone for the entire neighborhood. The initial Eastover development appears to radiate from this house, which was identified in a promotional brochure as a "Colonial Type - This is one of several attractive residences now being erected by Eastover owners." The April, 1929 issue of Southern Architect and Building News included a feature on Mr. Griffith's residence. In 1932, Griffith sold the house to Herbert F. Kincey, president of the Wilber-Kincey Theatre Company, which owned and operated motion picture theatres in the southeastern United States. The Kincey family resided in this house until 1982, when it was purchased by the present owners, Francis and Virginia Kemp.
A two story entrance portico dominates the front elevation and shelters the center three bays. A fanlight is present above the main entrance and in the front gable. Single step shoulder chimneys are centrally placed in the gable ends of the single pile main block. The house is sheathed in weatherboards; tile is the primary roofing material. The interior is symmetrically arranged and follows a center hall plan. An open string half turn stair, with a simply detailed newel post and banisters, rises from the hall, which displays a denticulated cornice. Splayed molded mantles are present in the living and dining rooms, which flank the hall. The dining room is encircled by a paneled wainscot. Interior openings are set in a molded surround.
The streets of present day Eastover are lined with many fine examples of Colonial and Tudor style homes favored by conservative Charlotteans. Making a sharp break with this revivalist tradition is the Florida style house at 352 Eastover Road, which was constructed in 1938-39 for Herman Horton and his wife Daisy. Russell Pancoast, a Miami-based architect and a personal friend of the Horton's, designed the residence; the overall appearance was based upon several Pancoast residences which the Hortons had seen one of their many trips to the Sunshine State. Blythe & Isenhour of Charlotte were the general contractors. The free flowing rhythm of the structure is enhanced by a second story wrought iron loggia on the main facade and the one-story circular projections on the front and side elevations. There is a strong emphasis on horizontality, particularly on the Colville Road (east) elevation, on which a low one-story walkway connects the main house to a similarly detailed garage at rear; the Eastover deed restrictions specifically required that outbuildings be architecturally compatible with the main house. The house is roofed with slate.
Herman Horton was born in Americus, Georgia, In 19l3, he moved to Charlotte and operated a tire vulcanizing and retreading business, Horton established Horton Motor Lines in 1917, which helped make Charlotte a national trucking center. The business expanded and, according to the Charlotte Observer, was for many years considered the largest individually owned trucking concern in the United States, Horton's expertise brought about significant business and government contacts. In 1939, he was a United States representative at the International Labor Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland. During the Second World War, Horton was an advisor to the Federal Office of Price Administration and the War Production Board. Horton was a founding member and the first president of the North Carolina Motor Carriers Association. Horton Motor Lines joined with six New England based trucking companies in 1941 to form Associated Transport; Herman Horton served as the company's chairman until his death in 1959.
According to local tradition, Horton was once asked why such a large house as 352 Eastover Road had only three bedrooms. He replied that one was for himself, one for his wife and the third for his two sons; that left none for any of his relatives to visit him.
The Hortons sold 352 Eastover Road in 1958 to Frank Larson Jr., an engineer, and his wife Vivian. In 1966, the house was acquired from the Larsons by George and Rose Wilkinson, the present owners. George Wilkinson was formerly employed with the & Edy Investment Company and later with the Lane Paper Company and is presently retired. He is the son of noted Charlottean William Cook Wilkinson, one of the south's most prominent financial and industrial leaders, in whose honor Charlotte's Wilkinson Boulevard is named.
The house at 322 Eastover Road is one of Eastover's most architecturally notable residences. The property has been owned by some of Charlotte's most prominent citizens including architect J. Norman Pease(1885- ), George Stephens, the developer of Myers Park, and locally noted art patron Harry Dalton.
The house is deeply recessed from the street and occupies the summit of a large landscaped lot. It was constructed in 1928 by J. Norman Pease and his wife Edie Hunter Pease (1890-1972). Lockwood Green & Company were the architects; Pease was the manager of the firm and may have prepared the plans himself. This modified Tudor residence is asymetrically arranged. Gable roof ells and dormers project from the largely obscured hip roof main block. The main entrance is contained within a two story circular tower. The recessed entry is framed by pilasters which rise to an angular pediment, a hint at the Colonial Revival style in an otherwise Tudor inspired dwelling. The brick and weatherboarded house is surmounted by a tile roof.
Lot 3, Block 6 of Eastover was sold by the E.C. Griffith Company to J. Norman Pease on March 26, 1928. Pease moved to Charlotte during the 1920's to take a position with Lockwood, Greene & Company. He was transferred by the firm to New York City, thus his occupancy of the house was brief. Pease returned to Charlotte in 1935, forming a partnership with James Stenhouse. One of the firm's earliest commissions was an extension to Ivey's Department Store on North Tryon Street. Later commissions included Myers Park High School, Fort Bragg, Central Piedmont Community College and several buildings on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. J.N. Pease Associates remains active to the present day.
The house was sold by the Pease Family in 1932 to George Stephens and his wife Sophie (Myers) Stephens; it served as rental property under the Stephens' ownership. Between 1936 and 1959, title to the house changed several times. The present owners, Harry Dalton, a prominent Charlotte businessman, and his wife Mary acquired the property in 1959. The Daltons are avid collectors of paintings, furniture, books and manuscripts; their multi-million dollar art collection has been donated to the Mint Museum of Art.
The Thornwell Tilton Gilmer House is a surviving element of the residential development in the early twentieth century along Providence Road. Thornwell Tilton Gilmer was the owner of the Gilmer Shoe Company, reputedly one of the oldest shoe companies in Charlotte. He and his wife, Mary (King) Gilmer had occupied a house located near the intersection of Travis and Elizabeth avenues in the Elizabeth neighborhood. Like several contemporaries, the Gilmers purchased land out of town on Providence Road, then a growing residential neighborhood. This substantial weatherboarded residence, which is two-and-a-half stories in height and incorporates Colonial Revival motifs, was built in 1911. According to family tradition, George King, a brother of Mary Gilmer and a Charlotte cotton broker by profession, provided the plans for the house. In 1938, due to the growing commercialism on Providence Road, the Gilmer House was moved around the corner to its present Fenton Place location. Green Gables, a drive-in restaurant, was constructed on the Providence Road site. The Manor Theatre, the present occupant, replaced Green Gables and dates from about 1941.
A hip roof porch, with Tuscan columns and a denticulated cornice, runs across the first story of the five bay front elevation. The central entrance is flanked by rectangular Greek Revival style sidelights and surmounted by a leaded glass fanlight, which recalls Federal style detailing. 6/6 and 8/8 sash are widely used; exterior openings are framed by plain surrounds. Palladian windows are centrally placed in the gables of the double pile main block. Symmetrically arranged eyebrow dormers punctuate the front roofline. The house remained in the Gilmer Family until the mid 1970's. It had been converted into a duplex prior to its 1938 relocation and remains so at the present.
The house at 1606 Scotland Avenue stands in sharp contrast to the more sedate Colonial and Tudor Revival residences which predominate in the Pharrsdale development. Based upon information from the Charlotte City Directory, the house is believed to date from 1938 and is contemporary with the initial growth of Pharrsdale. Although the Pharrsdale subdivision was platted in the late 1920's, the economic difficulties of the Great Depression restricted serious development until the late 1930's. This residence may be Charlotte's earliest International style house; the architect is, as yet, unknown. The two story block is without a hint of historic detail although the slight curvature and banding of the entrance hood recalls the Art Deco influence. The flat main roof block is encircled by a slight parapet. Severe industrial-sash windows light the main rooms, while smaller windows are placed elsewhere on the elevation, as directed by interior needs rather than a concern for symmetry. Except for the conversion of the attached garage to an extra room, the exterior appears to be in good original condition.
The house's first occupants were James Posey, who is professionally identified in the city directory as a circulation manager, and his wife Louella. The Posey family retained ownership until 1947; from 1947 until 1954, there were several changes of title. In 1954, the property was acquired by T.J. Hawthorne and remains in the Hawthorne Family. T.J. Hawthorne, at the time of the house purchase, was listed as the president of Hawthorne Sales, a household appliance store .
The Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte's finest surviving example of Greek Revival architecture, was originally constructed on an uptown site, near the intersection of West Trade and Mint Streets. The building was designed by William Strickland, the well-known and highly regarded proponent of the Greek Revival style. The Philadelphia based architect was highly-respected for his public structures, including the Second Bank of the United States building in Philadelphia and the New Orleans branch of the United States Mint. The Charlotte mint was constructed to serve the gold producing mines of the North and South Carolina Piedmont. At the time of the building's erection in 1837, the Piedmont region was the largest producer of gold in the United States. The Mint was used for its intended purpose until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861; after the war, it housed the United States Assay Office until 1913 and was later home to a variety of functions including a Federal Court House, and the headquarters of the Red Cross Society and the Charlotte Women's Club.
In 1933, the mint was scheduled for demolition to permit construction of the present United States Post Office and Court House. When all plans failed to save the structure on its original site, the mint was disassembled under the supervision of architect Martin Boyer. The E.C. Griffith Company, the developers of the Eastover neighborhood, donated the present site; the Civil Works Administration, one of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal agencies, financed a portion of the rebuilding. The reconstructed structure opened in 1936 as the Mint Museum of Art, fulfilling a long-time dream of a municipal art museum, and has played a pivotal force in the cultural life of Charlotte in the intervening years. The Mint Museum of Art was designated as an official historic site by the Charlotte City Council in 1975.
The single bay entrance porch displays a full entablature supported by fluted Doric columns. A gilded eagle is centrally placed in the gable of the front entrance pavilion. This three bay pavilion incorporates a temple front, a common feature of the Greek Revival. It projects from the hip roof main block and is balanced by symmetrically arranged fenestration. 6/6 sash are the primary glazing light. Windows are set in plain surrounds and have a cast stone sill. The raised first story rests on a foundation of cut and dressed stone. Original interior chimneys were removed at the time of the building's dismantling. The interior has been converted to gallery space. The Mint Museum is currently in the midst of a building expansion program to house the Dalton Collection of Art and other facilities. The new addition, to be located at the rear of the present facility, is designed by the Charlotte architectural firm of Clark, Tribble, Harris & Li.
Prior to the formal development of the Myers Park and Eastover neighborhoods, notable residences were constructed in the early twentieth century along Providence Road. Early residents were attracted to this out-of-town neighborhood by the attractively landscaped greenspace which was developed by John Springs Myers adjacent to his own country dwelling. In the post World War II period, commercial expansion has obliterated most of the residential flavor of this section of Providence Road. The Levi-Christian House, along with its neighbor the John Love House(1910 c.), best preserves this character among the surviving Providence Road residences.
The Levi-Christian House was built about 1910 by J.C. Levi and, like the adjacent Love House, is set back from the road on a large landscaped lot. The substantial house owes its inspiration to the Mission style of architecture, which was indigenous to California but achieved popularity throughout the United States in the early years of the present century. The use of earth-tones, as evidenced by the appearance of tan-colored brick, and the bracketed gable ends on the main block and porch are characteristic of the style. The house also departs from the employment of symmetrically composed window sash, although the balanced arrangement of fenestration remains.
In 1915, the house was purchased by Charles Christian, a heating contractor, who added the two story weatherboarded ell, at the rear. It remains occupied by his descendants.