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SIGNIFICANT PROPERTIES
Center City: First Ward

JULIA F. TRELOAR HOUSE, 1886-89
328 N. Brevard

The Treloar residence is a Victorian double house, one of two early examples of "rowhouse" construction surviving in Charlotte. It is a two story brick building with good early cast iron trim and two Stick Style second floor bay windows.

It was originally owned by Julia F. Treloar, wife of Charlotte merchant William Treloar, and the Treloar family occupied both sides of the dwelling for many years. Julia Treloar Smith, probably a daughter of the original owner, purchased the building in 1895 and her family lived there through 1935. From the mid 1930s through the mid 1940s, both halves were rented out, often to mill workers from the nearby cotton, mills. In 1947 new owner S.W. Dellinger converted the ground floor to a store, which Charlotte Auto Parts occupied from the forties until the 1970s.

 

JAMES BURTON GALLOWAY HOUSE, 1870
702 N. Brevard

 


This is the oldest house in the center city, a gingerbread-trimmed Victorian cottage still owned by the family that built it. It is made up of a gable-roofed front section and two rear wings. Its fine front porch dates from a 1910s remodelling, with turned columns and balusters, and scroll-sawn brackets. Today the house looks from the street much as it must have when the original Mrs. Galloway still lived there.

James B. Galloway purchased the lot in 1870 from W.R. Phifer, who before the Civil War had operated a sizable plantation here at what had been the edge of the village. Galloway had worked as a mechanic in the Confederate Naval Yard, where the Civic Center now stands, during the Civil War. After the war he worked as a brickmaker and mason. His house is the last reminder of the era when this section of First Ward was a working class neighborhood known as "Mechanicsville."

 

SOUTHERN BELL FACADE, 1929
208 N. Caldwell

Charlotte's earliest example of the Art Deco style is the Caldwell Street front of this building. The structure was built in 1929 when Southern Bell converted to dial telephones and needed a new building to house its switching equipment. Limestone spandrel panels above and below the windows create a marked vertical emphasis, characteristic of the style. The facade's outstanding feature is the carving on the spandrel panels, window surrounds and entrance. It is a blend of abstract curves and geometric patterns combined with represen rational low-relief sculpture: an Indian chief on one spandrel, Carolina tobacco plants, flamingos and gryphons on others. Art-glass lanterns of abstract design highlight the entry.

F.O. HAWLEY HOUSE, 1903
923 Elizabeth (DEMOLISHED)

This is the last surviving mansion in the center city. Dozens of grand structures similar to this one once lined Trade Street and Tryon Street before the invention of streetcars and automobiles encouraged the well-to-do to move out to the suburbs.

The residence was built by Hector T. McKinnon, a wealthy cotton merchant and land owner, for his daughter Elizabeth McKinnon Hawley. Elizabeth's husband, F.O. Hawley, Jr., traveled for the Eli Lilly Company and later operated Hawley's pharmacy on North Tryon Street. The mansion remained a residence until 1964 when it was converted by owners Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Moore to its present use, the Edmor Motor Inn.

The house is an imposing Neoclassical design by young Charlotte architect L.L. Hunter. Hunter used a grand two-story portico of fluted Corinthian columns which shelters a small one-story Ionic columned entrance. UNCC professor of architectural history Mary Alice Dixon Hinson has called it Charlotte's most distinguished example of the Neoclassical style.

ADVENT CHRISTIAN CHURCH, 1919
115 N. McDowell

Charlotte architect Louis Asbury donated plans for this small stone Gothic style chapel. The plans were second-hand: they had been drawn for a church at the Stonewall Jackson Training School that still stands today on that campus near Concord, North Carolina. The Charlotte congregation was made up of working class whites. The fact that this blue-collar church was located within two blocks of both the uppercrust white East Evenue Tabernacle and the middle class black Little Rock AME Zion church is an indication of First Ward's historic racial and economic diversity.

After the Advent Christians vacated the building in 1932 a succession of fundamentalist sects used it. From 1941 through 1947, the Gospel Baptist Church owned the chapel and young Charlotte-born evangelist Billy Graham conducted some of his earliest services there. From 1947 til 1973 the church was home of a Catholic Order conducting mission work amongst the city's black poor. Today it is the centerpiece of an imaginative office condominium project, whose new units by architect Mike Tribble echo the steep pitched Gothic roof of the chapel.

JOHN PRICE CARR HOUSE, 1903
200 N. McDowell

 

The Carr house is the finest Victorian residence surviving in First Ward, and one of the city's best Queen Anne Victorians. John Price Carr was Charlotte's leading mover and delivery man at the turn of the century, with a fleet of mules and wagons, and later specialized trucks, that could handle anything from package delivery to house moving.

In 1903 he had this fine dwelling built at what was then near the edge of town. It is a mass of ornamentation. Decorative shingles, stained and leaded glass, bays and towers clamor for attention. Until Urban Renewal in the 1970s this was one of a row of similarly grand houses. Today this one structure remains, carefully converted to offices by Charlottean Brag McLeod.

OLD LITTLE ROCK A.M.E. ZION CHURCH, 1911
403 N. Myers

Built in 1911, this church is a symbol of the vision and hope of Charlotte's black community in the fifty years after the Civil War. Rejecting the standard church designs available from the A.M.E. Zion offices, the congregation secured the talents of Charlotte's leading church architect, J.M. McMichael. McMichael designed Old First Baptist (now Spirit Square) and the East Avenue Tabernacle among other prominent buildings. The structure was built at a cost of $20,000 which the congregation raised entirely among themselves.

McMichaels design shows strong Neoclassical influence, a sharp break from the Gothic style that had dominated local church architecture before McMichael began practice. A white portico with Ionic columns dominates the front facade of the two story brick structure. A pair of belfries flank the entrance, each topped by a dome, the McMichael trademark.

In 1981 the congregation moved to a new, larger structure across Myers street, the fourth structure in Little Rock's history. Today Old Little Rock is being considered for renovation as home of the city's Afro-American Cultural Center.

BELK DEPARTMENT STORE FACADE, 1908 & 27
115 E. Trade

 


In 1888 merchant William Henry Belk opened a dry goods store in Monroe, North Carolina. It was such a success that he soon tackled the big city, and in 1907 had the first part of the present structure on Trade Street erected. Today Charlotte is headquarters for the Belk chain of more than 400 department stores, one of the largest in the South.

Charlotte architects Wheeler and Stern designed the original Belk facade in an exuberant Neoclassical style dripping with limestone and terra cotta trim. In 1927 the store doubled in size when an adjoining lot was purchased. Architect C.C. Hook basically replicated the original design for his addition. Today it is hard to tell that the half of the facade nearest Tryon Street is the original.

W.H. Belk apparently was not content to let his fine piece of architecture pull in customers by itself. He had the architects engrave the words "Dry Goods","Notions", "Shoes" and "Department Store" into the facade. Today's store carries a great deal more but Belk's words are still set in stone.

COURT ARCADE, 1927-28
725 E. Trade

The Court Arcade was constructed shortly after the new City Hall and County Courthouse were erected across the street in the mid 1920s. Offices for attorneys; lined its skylit central walkway. The design was by Charlotte's William H. Peeps, the Englishborn architect who also designed the Latta Arcade on South Tryon Street. The Court Arcade has been recently renovated by SYNCO, Inc. and once again is a prestige address for lawyers.

Peeps' Court Arcade exterior reflects the design of the government buildings on the opposite side of the street. It is a Neoclassical design in stone with a classical cornice. The arched entrance leads to the arcaded walkway.

EAST AVENUE TABERNACLE, 1914
927 E. Trade

When it was built in 1914 this church was the centerpiece of an area of grand houses that lined East Trade (called East Avenue in these blocks) and Elizabeth Avenue. "In 1924 we didn't have to worry about a parking space for, believe it or not, the Tabernacle was a neighborhood church," remembers member Dr. George Pressley. Nearby residents included mayors S.S. McNinch and Ben Douglas, landowner J.S. Myers, and surgeon F.O. Hawley. Today the Tabernacle and the F.O. Hawley mansion across the street are the last reminders of this neighborhood.

The red brick church was designed by leading Charlotte church architect J.M. McMichael, known for his domed design for old First Baptist in 1911, now Spirit Square. The Tabernacle is built in the shape of a Celtic cross and topped by a dome. A Neoclassical columned portico shelters the entrance, and the sanctuary contains noteworthy stained glass. McMichael added the education wing at the rear of the church in 1925.

WOOLWORTH STORE, 1939
112 N. Tryon

Charlotte's best preserved example of the Art Deco style is this building near the Square. It was designed by Woolworth architects and erected in 1939 when the style was in its heyday. The facade is of creme-colored glazed terra cotta with darker spandrel panels used to provide vertical emphasis. Inside a mirrorlined marble stairway with a sweeping aluminum rail continues the Art Deco theme.

CAROLINA THEATRE, 1927
226 N. Tryon

 

The Carolina Theatre is the area's only remaining "movie palace". Local developer John Cutter hired New York City theatre Designer R.E. Hall, known nationally for his work on the Paramount in New York and dozens of other showplaces across the nation. Hall and local architect C.C. Hook collaborated on an unusual design that employs four different architectural styles to give the illusion that the structure is four quaint little buildings. Under its opulent exterior, the Carolina is actually a mixed-use development that includes commercial and office space wrapped around the outside of the theatre auditorium. Inside, some of the Neoclassical ornament was lost in a brutal 1960s "modernization," but a fair amount of sculptural trim remains. The Carolina Theatre was an important community gathering place into the 1960s, and most Charlotteans over thirty seem to have fond memories of Saturady afternoons spent in its air-conditioned splendor.

OLD FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH (SPIRIT SQUARE), 1908
318 N. Tryon

This imposing structure with its green dome was designed by Charlotte's busiest church architect, J.M. McMichael. Like many of his designs, it shows Neoclassical influnces. The building was the long-time home of the city's most prosperous Baptist congregation, who erected the structure when this section of North Tryon was still a sought-after residential address. Today the church and adjoining buildings have been renovated by the city as "Spirit Square," Charlotte's arts center, and the old sanctuary is a striking performance space.

 

HOVIS MORTUARY BUILDING, 192?
516 N. Tryon

William Peeps provided the design for this funeral home. He chose the brick and stone of the Tudor Revival Style, among the most fashionable residential styles of the 1920s. The building was to blend in with its predominantly residential neighborhoods, and also was intended through its architecture to make the idea of a commercial funeral seem more fashionable and homelike. The Hovis mortuary and the Carolina Theatre are the only two commercial examples of this style in Charlotte.

 

FIRST UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 1893
210 E. Seventh

This is said to be the oldest AfroAmerican church building in the city still in use by its original congregation. The congregation was known as First Ward's most prosperous in the years when the area was the city's integrated neighborhood. The construction of First United Presbyterian coincided with a wave of church building in the growing city, that also included completion of Saint Peters Episcopal, Saint Peters Catholic, and part of First Presbyterian. Like these other 1890s churches, First United Presbyterian utilizes the Victorian Gothic style and features ornate brickwork. A 1983 addition at the rear is by Dalton-Morgan, Architects.

PHILIP-CAREY WAREHOUSE, 1910
301 E. Seventh

This small, two-story warehouse ranks as one of Charlotte's most elaborately-detailed early industrial buildings. It features arched windows, pilasters, and other corbelled brickwork. Inside is a noteworthy freight elevator produced at Charlotte's Parks-Cramer plant. Located on the railroad, this building is a valuable reminder of the importance of warehousing and distribution to the city's boom years of the early twentieth century.