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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The late Victorian period house at 326 West Eight Street, known as the Overcarsh House is one of the few remaining Queen Anne style buildings remaining in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The house is a simple rectangular structure, as compared to the irregular plans of many structures of the time done in Queen Anne style. Variations in the exterior are achieved with a moderate angular two story bay on the west side, a round turreted tower on the corner, and one story wings extending to the east and to the north. The simplicity of the house's finish does not diminish its significance. It represents, with selective detailing, many of the appealing design elements of the popular Queen Anne architecture of the late nineteenth century. Queen Anne is a style which was often repeated in Charlotte in the post civil war years. During these years designers were influenced by styles other than Queen Anne and there are some suggestions of other influences on this house.

While 'Queen Anne' design meant variation in exterior surfaces, steep pitched roofs, verandas and porches, light frame construction, and open interior spaces, some "Eastlake" influence is noticeable in the elaborate trim, oval decorative motifs, and shingle surfaces here and there. Additionally, there is some hint of the 'stick style' appearing in gable stick work. The veranda roof is supported by solid square wood columns with elaborate Eastlake carved brackets. The porch railing is a geometric pattern with turned, widely spaced posts connected with molded and fluted rails.

At the corner a circular turret tower presents the most important (and typical Queen Anne) design feature on the exterior of the house. This tower is covered with tight courses of 'fish scale' wood shingles through its full height, now painted but no doubt stained green initially. At the foundation wall and at the line of window sills and heads the shingles flare out to form distinctive bands at each level.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

  • Having trouble identifying brick patterns, shingle patterns, or other parts? See the Illustrated Guidebook for help!
  • The Overcarsh House is of the Queen Anne style with Italianate and Eastlake features exhibiting a tower with "fish scale" shingles, an unusually large front porch, and large sun bursts in the gables. The carving around the front entrance is especially notable.

    ACTIVITIES

    At the site...

  • Sketch the corner tower. Use careful details to show the patterns of shingles. Identify and label the shingle types you see.
  • Observe characteristics of the house that will help you to complete this table:
    HouseSymmetry (Y/N)?Roof ShapesRoof Shingles TypesWindow ShapesTower ShapeWall MaterialOutstanding Feature
    Overcarsh House . . . . . . .

    There are three other houses you will observe. To see the complete list and table, go to the activity for the McNinch House.
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