This red-brick building is a good example of Victorian Gothic religious architecture, constructed by noted black mason W.W. Smith. It is one of Charlotte's oldest black churches and the only religious building which survives in what was once the largest black residential and business area in Charlotte, known as Brooklyn. The church's early membership included the leaders of the city's AfroAmerican community, including foreign diplomat Dr. J.T. Williams and businessman Thaddeus L. Tate.
This three-story building was Charlotte's first office structure built by and for black professionals. The M.I.C.'s officers included such notable local persons as A.E. Spears, C.R. Blake, and Thad Tate. The first floor held businesses, with offices on the second floor, and a large lodge hall occupying the third.
The building was designed and constructed by Charlottean W.W. Smith. He was perhaps the leading builder-architect of the city's black community, responsible for the A.M.E. Zion Publishing House (now demolished), Grace A.M.E. Zion Church, and for Goler and Ballard Halls at Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. His design for the M.I.C. utilized red and yellow polychrome brickwork with exuberant corbelling, a personal trademark.
This handsome Neoclassical building is the work of C.C. Hook, Charlotte's first full-time professional architect. Fourteen limestone columns dominate the rectangular facade. The building is set back from East Trade Street to create a tree-shaded "civic plaza."
The Masonic Temple is an outstanding example of the Egyptian Revival style, a rarity in the region. Walls slope back in immitation of Egyptian temples. Two immense globes balanced on stone pylons flank the entrance. The motifs were chosen to incorporate secret symbols of the Masonic Lodge, which traces its existence back to Egypt. Charlotte's leading architects, C.C. Hook and W.G. Rogers, drew the design.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond established a branch in Charlotte in 1927. This structure was designed in 1942 by Taylor and Fischer, architects, and given a major addition in 1956. Its architecture is an excellent blend of Art Moderne and Neoclassical influnces.
The Federal Reserve Bank has been an important factor in the emergence of Charlotte as the top banking center between Philadelphia and Dallas. Its services include inter-bank check clearing, movement of currency and coin in and out of circulation, and maintainence of the cash reserves of the region's banks.
Inside and out this is Charlotte's finest piece of early twentieth century commercial architecture. It is in the Mediterranean Revival Style, with a red tile false gable, stuccoed columns, a balcony, and a bronze-trimmed storefront decorated with stained glass. The architect was Charlottean William Peeps. He and the Ratcliffes chose this whimsical, romantic architecture to enhance the experience of flower-buying. It must have worked, because the Ratcliffes remained in business at the same address over fifty years later.
This complex is composed of three historic structures. The brick Gothic Revival Church was built in 1893 when this section of South Tryon Street was one of the city's poshest residential addresses. Its exterior is in good original condition, though its interior has been remodelled.
Next door on Tryon is the 1897 rectory. Its two story design features a Victorian cornice, elaborate porch, and a key-hole shaped front window. The rectory is a rare example of rowhouse construction, one of only two instances of this urban house type in Charlotte.
Behind the church, facing First Street, are gardens and O'Donoghue Hall. Built in 1905 it was the first work of Rev. Michael McInerney, a top ecclesiastical architect in the United States.