CENTER CITY: FOURTH WARD
Significant Structures and Sites
In 1987 Dr. Paul Barringer founded the Davidson School of
Medicine at Davidson College, at that time the only medical school
for whites in North Carolina. In 1907 the institution moved to
Charlotte, with its many hospitals, and was renamed the North
Carolina Medical College. When this new building opened, St. Peters
Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, the Charlotte Sanitorium and the
original facilities of Mercy and Presbyterian hospitals were all
located within walking distance downtown. Soon after instruction
commenced in the Charlotte facility, however, an evaluation report
by the Carnegie Foundation criticized the college for having
inadequate facilities. It closed in 1914.
The handsome red brick building, with understated stamped metal
trim, was the work of Charlotte architect J.M. McMichael. It was
subsequently used as a hotel for many years.
An excellent blend of Shingle Style and Queen Anne influences,
this house is among the finest late-nineteenth century residences
surviving in Charlotte. It was constructed for Vinton Liddell, an
important industrialist whose Liddell Foundry supplied machinery to
to developing Piedmont industrial region. In 1907 Liddell sold his
residence to Charlotte mayor S.S.McNinch. President William Howard
Taft visited the home at McNinch's invitation in 1909.
The dwelling remained in the McNinch family until the 1970s,
when current owner Ellen Davis purchased it and began restoration.
The house retains its original features to a remarkable degree,
from its elaborate wood interior trim to the cast iron fence along
|FREDERICK APARTMENTS, 1931
515 N. Church St.
This apartment block is noteworthy for its elaborate polychrome
terra cotta, the most colorful use of the material in the city. It
dates from the era when multifamily dwellings began to replace the
large detached houses within walking distance of the central
business district. Among its residents was W.J. Cash, an editorial
writer for the Charlotte News in the 1930s achieved national
prominence for his book The Mind of the South, partly
This residence is the best brick example of the Queen Anne style
in Charlotte. Note the cornet tower. It was built speculatively,
one of hundreds of Victorian dwellings that lined Charlotte streets
from the 1890s until the "urban renewal" era of the 1960s and
1970s. Its first owner-occupant was Mr. A.J. Bagley, a ticket agent
for the Southern Railway.
Mrs. Jane Wilkes and the congregation of Saint Peters Episcopal
Church led the effort to open this institution in the early 1870s,
Charlotte's first civilian hospital. The first section of the
present building opened in 1878, with additions in 1882, 1898,
1907, 1922, and 1935. The facility was replaced by Memorial
Hospital on a spacious suburban site in 1940. The red-brick
building with its distinctive stepped gables today houses
|FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 1857
200 W. Trade St.
First Presbyterian has long been the religious centerpiece of
this Presbyterian city. Its spire dominated the skyline through the
boom years of the late nineteenth century, and it continues to
occupy a full city block in the heart of the central business
district. The Gothic Revival complex has been built up in stages
over the years as the city and the congregation grew. The church
building itself features an 1857 entrance, 1884 spire, and 1895
sancutuary with major additions in 1917, 1951, and 1961.
|SETTLERS CEMETERY, 1770s
200 W. Fifth St.
This was the city's main burial ground into the 1860s. Many
notable early leaders were buried here, including first settler
Thomas Polk and Revolutionary general George Graham. The plot has
always been city property, despite its proximity to First
Presbyterian Church, and it has been the target of numerous
beautification projects over the years, including one by noted
planner John Nolen. About 1850 the city opened larger Elmwood
Cemetery at the edge of Fourth Ward, which slowly took the place of
this older facility.
|CHARLOTTE COTTON MILL COMPLEX, 1880
502 W. Fifth St.
Charlotte's transformation from a small town to today's major
city is a result of the development here of textile manufacturing
and trade. The Charlotte Cotton Mill complex includes the city's
very first successful textile plant, a one-story brick structure
facing Fifth Street. Over the years more mill buildings were added
to the original structure, and today the complex houses textile
machinery distributor the Spiezman Company.
|ELMWOOD AND PINEWOOD CEMETERIES, 1854
700 W. Fifth St.
This city-owned burial ground with its winding, park-like
drives, was evidentally modelled on Mount Auburn Cemetery in
Boston, the first of the naturalistic city cemeteries. Part of its
design is said to be the work of early Charlotte landscape
architect Leigh Colyer.
Elmwood is the resting place of most of Charlotte's New South
leaders, including Myers and Latta. Exuberant funery architecture
ranges from mausoleums with stained glass windows to a granite
Pinewood Cemetery, at the rear of Elmwood, was for blacks. It
was set off by a high fence until the 1960s when the fence was
removed at the urging of black politician Frederick Alexander.
Pinewood holds the graves of black civic and religious leaders,
former slaves, and also a pair of mausoleums notable for their
polychrome brickwork and locally-produced cast iron columns.
The Overcarsh House is one of the handful of good examples of
Queen Anne style residential architecture that survive in Charlotte
in the 1980s. The house is believed to have attained its present
configuration in the 1880s under the ownership of Methodist
minister Elias Overcarsh, who seems to have incorporated an earlier
structure in his large new residence. The ornate dwelling features
a corner turret sheathed in "fishscale" wood shingles, complex roof
shapes, an ornate wrap-around porch, and the heavy interior trim
characteristic of the last years of the nineteenth century.
The architecture of this corner house shows influence of the
Italianate style, particularly in its low-pitched roof, heavy
cornice, and elaborate scroll-sawn porch bracketry. The first
owner, J.H. Newcomb, ran a wood-planing mill in the city, and the
residence may have been designed partly as an advertisement for his
services. Newcomb's daughter married storekeeE E.W. Berryhill, who
came to live in the house. The Berryhill grocery store was right
across the street, illustrating the close relation between home and
work in the early days of the city.
For decades this small, frame grocery store was the neighborhood
commercial center of Fourth Ward. It was extensively renovated in
the early 1980s, and returned to its original exterior appearance.
Today it is the last of the nineteenth century neighborhood
groceries that once dotted the original four wards.
|YOUNG-MORRISON HOUSE, 18??
226 W. Tenth St.
This dwelling was built as a farmhouse at what was then the edge
of the village, but was soon swallowed up in the growing city. The
two story frame structure is among the center city's oldest
residences. It is preserved in good original condition, including
Victorian porch and gable trim.
|POPLAR APARTMENTS, 1930
301 W. Tenth St.
The concept of apartment living, with its similarities to the
crowded tenements of the poor, was slow to catch on in America's
fashionable circles. The elegant Poplar Apartments represented a
breakthrough in acceptance of the trend among Charlotte's elite.
The project was conceived by a New York City investment group in
1929. They planned a cooperative-style arrangement with ninety-nine
year leases, but with the onset of the Depression reverted to
normal year-by-year rental. No compromises seem to have been made
in architectural quality. Designed by Lockwood-Greene and erected
by J.A. Jones, the four story block features a fashionable brick
and stone Jacobethan style exterior, a basement parking garage, two
elevators, separate stairs for servants and residents, and abundant
natural light and ventilation in all units. The Poplar was quite
successful in attracting well-to-do residents, and remained a fine
property even in the 1960s when much of the rest of Fourth Ward had
become transient housing.
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