A Walking Tour Of Myers Park
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Dr. Dan L. Morrill
The tour will take about two hours. It
begins at the intersection of Harvard Place and Queens Road. Park
your vehicle on Harvard Place and walk to the intersection of
Queens Road. Please remain on the sidewalk to observe all sites on
John Springs Myers had
already carved off part of his farm to create the Cherry neighborhood in 1891. His new dream was to
turn the rest of his large cotton farm into an elegant suburb. He
must have spent many evenings discussing the plan with his family
and especially with his son-in-law, George Stephens. Stephens, who
came to Charlotte after graduating from the University of North
Carolina, joined the insurance firm of Walter Brem in
John Springs Myers
A talented businessman,
Stephens was able to take advantage of the excellent opportunities
that turn-of-the-century Charlotte provided, and he quickly became
involved in several schemes. He and Brem joined realtor F.C. Abbott
and textile banker B.D. Heath in developing part of Elizabeth, and in 1901, Stephens, Abbott, and
Word H. Wood set up the Southern States Trust Company (now
NationsBank). In 1911, he founded the Stephens Company with Word
Wood and A.J. Draper, and began to turn his father-in-law's dream
into a reality. Moved by the same fashion consciousness as E.D.
Latta, the company hired a city planner to make the plans. They
chose John Nolen, whose design for Independence Park had impressed
Stephens a great deal. It was a good choice, for Nolen later became
one of the nation's top planners with over 400 projects to his
Nolen's vision for Myers
Park was to use the natural curves, gentle hills, and creeks to
create a secluded glen cut off from the city. A major boulevard
would unite the whole and provide trolley service to homes
scattered along winding side roads. The results earned Myers Park
national acclaim as the "finest unified subdivision south of
Baltimore." To the modern visitor, the New South Neighborhoods
appear to have been constructed in the midst of a forest, but in
fact this was not the case. It is hard to imagine those first years
when it must have been plain to new residents that they were living
on former cotton fields, and it was only hard work that changed the
scenery. In Myers Park that work began in 1915, when Nolen hired
the landscape architect Earle Sumner Draper to turn the almost
treeless farmland into a suburban park. "Willow, oak, tulip poplar,
and elm" were selected to grace the sidewalks and gardens. Early
buyers even had their lots landscaped free of charge. Not a man to
let nature take its own time, James B. Duke insisted that large
trees be planted as well, and summoned one of his estate gardeners
to oversee the task.
The oldest section of Myers
Park is towards the northern area that you will enter first. For
some years the suburb acted as a separate incorporated town. As
houses were erected, wealthy Charlotteans were lured out of the
center city. The first wave came from among the executives of the
eight-year old Southern Public Utilities Company (now Duke Power),
and included its legendary president, James Buchanan Duke. The next
wave of residents included bank presidents and real estate magnates
such as George Stephens himself. Then came the textile executives
such as the famous Springs family. Civic and commercial leaders
also chose to locate their family houses here, including members of
the families that owned the Belk, Ivey, and Efird department
stores, and "Good Roads" Governor Cameron
1. Queens Road
Until 1938, streetcars ran
down the median of the road. The Charlotte Observer tells an
amusing story of schoolboys greasing the tracks where Queens Road
dipped into the valley on this stretch. One Halloween night in the
mid-1930's both tracks were greased and a little gunpowder was
included in the mixture. "As the streetcar struggled vainly to get
up the hill in either direction, anonymous groups lighted the
gunpowder-grease mixture. The way those streaks of fire swooshed
down the tracks, under the car, and up the other hill was something
to behold. No damage, just a real great sight."
Queens Road was the backbone of the neighborhood. It was the
streetcar that made Myers Park possible. Unfortunately, as is so
often the case, Charlotte has been "penny wise and pound foolish."
To make way for automobiles, Morehead St. was extended from Dilworth and connected to Queens
Road, which has transformed Nolen's majestic streetcar boulevard
into a thoroughfare for automobiles.
north on Harvard Place and stop in front of the Stephens House at
522 Harvard Place.
2. George Stephens House
George Stephens built this house for himself in 1915. His
father-in-law's 1867 country home used to stand behind, and for a
time it was used as a garage and servant's quarters. The house
combines Colonial Revival and Bungalow influences. Its architect,
L.L. Hunter, came from nearby Huntersville, and designed other
buildings in the area, including the Carnegie Library on the
Johnson C. Smith University campus. A later owner of the house was
William States Lee, legendary engineer for Duke Power Company and
the grandfather of the recently deceased Bill Lee. John Springs
Myers's farmhouse stood on a hilltop immediately behind this home.
Continue north on Harvard Place to Ardsley Road. Cross Ardsley
Road and turn right and continue to the intersection of Hermitage
Road. Turn left and observe Lynnwood on your left at 400 Hermitage
Known variously as "Lynnwood," "White Oaks," or just "the big
house," this large Colonial Revival mansion is where James Buchanan
Duke and his family spent several months of each year between 1919
and his death in 1925. It was one of four family houses and
provided Duke with a place from which to oversee his thriving
utility empire. It also gave his only daughter, Doris, the
opportunity to experience Southern life and society. Duke enlarged
an earlier mansion built here in 1915 by one of his executives, Z.
V. Taylor, so that it included 45 rooms and 12 bathrooms. He chose
the architect C. C. Hook to design the additions and Earle Sumner
Draper to landscape the 15-acre garden. Duke had 12 miles of
pipeline laid to the Catawba River to provide a 150-foot fountain
on the grounds--this in itself became known as a local wonder.
Duke was already a tobacco magnate when he acquired the
fledgling Catawba Power Company of Fort Mill in 1904. Building dams
to harness the power of the river, his Southern Utility Company
facilitated the expansion of the cotton industry in early
twentieth-century Charlotte. It was in this house, incidentally,
that Duke set up the endowments which transformed Trinity College
into Duke University and which benefited several other institutions
including Johnson C. Smith University and Davidson College.
across Hermitage Road to the Lambeth House at 435 Hermitage
4. Charles E. Lambeth House
Charles E. Lambeth was a prominent real estate developer and a
symbol of the profession's power in City government. He served as
Charlotte's mayor from 1931 through 1933. Lambeth's wife was the
only daughter of the founder of the Cannon Mills. Lambeth's white
stucco mansion, facing J. S. Myers Park, which is owned by a
private foundation, is in the French Renaissance style. It is also
the work of Charles Barton Keen. Its distinctive green tile roof is
a Keen trademark. It was built in 1927.
Continue along Hermitage Road to the bottom of the hill and
observe Edgehill Park on your left.
5. Edgehill Park
Edgehill Park was the centerpiece of Myers Park. Unlike most
developers, who simply regarded a creek bed as a nuisance, Nolen
seized upon it as an asset - a green space in the middle of the
neighborhood. It still serves that function today and reinforces
the curvilinear street pattern of the neighborhood.
Continue along Hermitage Road and stop at the Cramer House at
200 Hermitage Road.
6. S. W. Cramer, Jr. House
Stuart W. Cramer, Jr. was heir to Stuart Cramer, Sr., pioneer
inventor of mill machinery whose papers are now at the Smithsonian
Institution in Washington, D.C. Stuart Cramer, Jr. ran the family's
mills at Cramerton, N.C. in Gaston County for many years. Martin
Boyer, one of Charlotte premier revivalist architects, designed
this Tudor Revival style home. Note the "half timbering" on the
Continue along Hermitage Road a short distance and turn right
on to Hermitage Court. The Simmons House is the first house on your
7. Frank Simmons House
Frank M. Simmons was a major Charlotte contractor who developed
Hermitage Court, which, like Myers Park, opened in 1912. This house
was erected in 1913 and is one of the oldest houses in the
neighborhood. Its Neoclassical dimensions and appointments are
reminiscent of affluent turn-of-the-century Charlotte. Note its
grand semi-circular portico with the two-story columns.
Reverse your direction on Hermitage Road and take your first
left on to Moravian Lane. Continue to the Church on your
8. The Little Church On The Lane
Originally known as Myers Park Moravian Church, this is the oldest
church in Myers Park, organized in the early 1920's. The main
sanctuary was designed by William H. Peeps, an Englishman who came
to Charlotte from Michigan soon after 1900. The Moravians, a
Christian denomination which owes has modern roots in German
Pietism, were so skeptical about the church succeeding in Charlotte
that they designed the original building so it could be easily
turned into an apartment house. Herbert Spaugh was the minister of
this church for many years and served as Chairman of the Charlotte
Board of Education. The land for the church was donated by the
Wolhford family, whose house is now a funeral home.
Continue on Moravian Lane and take a right at Providence Road.
Continue on Providence Road until its intersection with Ardsley
Road. The Thies House is behind the bushes to the
9. Ocsar J. Thies House
The Thies family were German immigrants drawn to Charlotte by the
opportunities in gold mining. They built this house outside of the
city in 1898, and when Myers Park had grown up around it in the
late 1910's, remodeled it to its present stuccoed Colonial Revival
appearance. Oscar Thies was an active force in Charlotte real
estate development. His Thies-Smith Realty Company built many of
Myers Park's mansions.
Continue along Providence Road, cross Hermitage Road and you
will see the Jamison House on your right at 802 Providence
This house was erected in Myers Park (1912) and was designed for
hotel owners John and Lucille Jamison by Louis H. Asbury, Sr. It
was built using North Carolina granite laid in a cobweb pattern.
Sadly, before it was completed, Mr. Jamison was killed by a train
in the Mecklenburg community of Newell while out on a country
drive. Mrs. Jamison, however, completed the house and the family
lived there for 63 years. Louis H. Asbury, Sr. (1877-1975) was the
son of Martha Moody Asbury and S. J. Asbury of Charlotte. In
addition to being one of the first carriers for the Charlotte
Observer, the young Asbury assisted his father, who was a
builder of houses in Charlotte in the 1890's. Asbury graduated from
Trinity College, now Duke University, in 1900 and received his
architectural training at M.I.T., where he probably met John Nolen.
Asbury returned to Charlotte and established his architectural
practice in 1908. He was the first North Carolina member of the
American Institute of Architects.
Continue along Providence Road, cross Queens Road, look across
Queens Road to your left at Myers Park United Methodist
11. Myers Park United Methodist Church
Louis Asbury, Sr. designed the Myers Park United Methodist Church
that faces you across this intersection of Queens and Providence
roads. Built in 1929, the building closely imitates medieval Gothic
churches in its picturesque tower, stonework, wall buttressing, and
pointed-arch clerestory windows. Although Asbury recognized the
predilection of affluent Charlotteans for Neoclassical and Neo
Colonial motifs, he personally preferred the Gothic Revival style.
Consequently, it is not surprising that he selected this form for
the design of Myers Park United Methodist Church, of which he was a
member and where his funeral was held in March, 1975. This was
originally the location of a Myers Park community store.
Continue along Queens Road to the McManaway House on your right
at 1700 Queens Road.
12. Rintels-McManaway House
Like "Victoria" on The Plaza in Plaza-Midwood, the Rintels-McManaway
House, was moved to the suburbs from the center city. It was
constructed on West Trade St. near Graham St. in 1874 as the
elegant home of Jacob Rintels, a Jewish merchant. The house was
moved to Myers Park in 1916 and became the home of Dr. Charles
McManaway, a prominent physician. The house is a rare surviving
example of the Victorian Italianate style, with its bracketed
cornice, tall arched windows with decorative crowns, and a shallow
The house has a sad history: the first two owners died when they
were relatively young and at the height of their careers. The first
was a Jewish immigrant and merchant, Jacob Rintels, who was a
partner of Samuel Wittkowsky's in a successful Uptown wholesale and
retail business. Dr. Charles McManaway died two years after the
house was moved. The Charlotte Observer commented as follows
in 1918 on Dr. McManaway's demise.
Brave man and able physician that he was, he faced the
inevitable with heroic courage, knowing only too well the physical
agony that must be his before the end would come. Days and nights
of excruciating suffering followed. His fellow physicians
ministered unto him with heart and skill. Two weeks ago his
condition became desperate, and from that he literally died
Continue along Queens Road to the Cameron Morrison House at
1830 Queens Road.
13. Cameron Morrison House
When this Colonial Revival style residence was constructed in 1919,
Cameron Morrison (1869-1953) was president of the Charlotte Chamber
of Commerce. A native of Richmond County, North Carolina, Morrison
was an adroit and flamboyant politician. His initial forays into
the public arena occurred in the 1890's, when as a young attorney,
he headed the Red Shirt movement in Richmond County, a collection
of citizens dedicated to the principles of white supremacy.
Morrison moved his law practice to Charlotte in 1905 and
prospered. His first wife, May Tomlison Morrison of Durham, N.C.,
died soon after the family moved into their Myers Park home. In
1920, Morrison defeated O. Max Gardner in the Democratic primary
for Governor and was elected. He was known as the "Good Roads
Governor." He pushed a program of paved highways that made North
Carolina a leader in transportation in the South. Nor surprisingly,
a good number of the newly paved roads led to Charlotte, aiding the
city's growth as a major distribution center. In 1924, Morrison
married Sara Ecker Watts, millionairess and widow of George W.
Watts of Durham. Soon thereafter, he and his wealthy new wife began
the construction of Morrocroft, to which they moved in 1927.
Continue along Queens Road, cross Radcliffe Ave. and walk on to
the Queens College Campus.
14. Queens College
George Stephens was no doubt copying W.S. Alexander's enterprising
idea (remember Elizabeth College?) when he decided to attract
Presbyterian College for Women from its Uptown location to a
50-acre lot of its choice in Myers Park. He was not, however, the
only suitor that Presbyterian College for Women had. Three others,
including E.D. Latta, made their own offers and forced Stephens to
increase his offer. Eventually he won out, and the college moved
here in 1914. John Nolen laid out the plan for the college, renamed
Queens College, and subsequently used the same ideas in other
campus designs, including the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill. C. C. Hook designed the first five buildings:
Administration, Science and Art, the Conservatory of Music, and
North and South dormitories.
Selwyn Ave. and Queens Road to your left and look at the Snyder
House, now part of a condominium project, at 1901 Queens
15. J. Luther Snyder House
This magnificent Colonial Revival style home, now part of a
condominium project, was built in 1920 as the home of J. Luther
Snyder. In April, 1902, Snyder, a Virginia native, moved here from
Atlanta, where he had worked for the Coca-Cola Company for two
years, and established the first Coca-Cola bottling plant in
Charlotte. "When I came to Charlotte, the city had 17,000 people,
eighteen saloons, two breweries . . . and I had a terrible time
selling soft drinks with that kind of competition," Snyder
remembered many years later. Happily for Snyder, the temperance
movement was sweeping the South, and it would soon sound the death
knell for the breweries and the saloons. Charlotte was becoming a
major textile center; and the industrial workers, forced to labor
for long hours in the stifling heat. They needed something to
drink, and when they could no longer buy "hard" liquor, they turned
to Snyder's Coca-Cola. The house was designed by Martin Boyer, one
of Charlotte's leading Revivalist architects.
Reverse your direction on Queens Road and continue to the
Draper House at 1621 Queens Road.
Almost opposite the Italianate McManaway house, at 1621 Queens, is
Earle Sumner Draper's own Tudor Revival residence. From his
beginning as on-site supervisor for John Nolen in 1915, Draper
became the leading planner in the southeastern U.S. In 1933, he
left Charlotte to become the chief of planning for the Tennessee
Valley Authority and later acted as a director of the Federal
Housing Administration. Between 1923 and 1933 he lived here with
his wife, Norma, and five children. They enjoyed a typical upper
middle class life-style, employing a cook, a maid, a chauffeur, and
a gardener. Look for the family crest on the chimney face. After
they left, local children thought that the house was haunted.
Draper died in 1994 in Florida.
Continue along Queens Road to its intersection with Providence
Road at the Myers Park United Methodist Church. Cross Queens Road
to your left. Cross Queens Road at the light. Turn left along
Queens Road and continue to its intersection with Granville Drive.
Turn right on Granville Drive and look at the Moody House, which is
the first house on the right just past the apartment
17. Charles Moody House
This home, designed by Louis H. Asbury Sr. and erected in 1913,
was the residence of Charles Moody, the City's leading grain and
feed merchant at the turn of the century. The grain elevators of
his Interstate Milling Company still tower over Fourth Ward in
uptown Charlotte. The house originally stood on Providence Road,
was turned around, and moved to this location in the early 1980's.
Note how the placement of the house reinforces the curve of the
Continue along Granville Drive to the Lambeth-Gosset House at
923 Granville Drive, next door to the Moody
18. Lambeth-Gossett House
Real estate speculator A. D. Glascock, an active early Myers Park
developer, had this house built for resale in 1916. The first
owner-occupant was another real estate man, Charles Lambeth, who
later served as Charlotte Mayor. In 1921, Benjamin B. Gossett, a
textile and banking leader, purchased the mansion.
across the street to the McAden House at 920 Granville
19. H. M. McAden House
Henry McAden was president of Charlotte's First National Bank.
Later owners included members of the Belk and Ivey department
stores families. The present owner is David McConnell, former U.S.
Ambassador to the United Nations Social and Economic Council. The
imposing design is by Louis H. Asbury, Sr. It features Neoclassical
columns on the exterior, while inside there are massive carved
stone mantels and a sweeping Colonial Revival grand stair. The
Italian gardens to the rear are well preserved, one of Earle Sumner
Draper's best early designs. The house is one of the most
significant in the neighborhood. It most approximates what might be
called the "original Myers Park look." Henry McAden, by the way,
was a man of his word. His bank failed in the Great Depression, and
he had to move to a much more modest home elsewhere in Myers Park.
He eventually paid all the money he owed, and he celebrated this
event by calling in his neighbors and serving them lemonade and
Continue along Granville Drive to its intersection with
Hermitage Road. Turn left on Hermitage Road and look at the first
house on your left, the Wade House at 530 Hermitage
20. H. M. Wade House
Howard Madison Wade was a leading Charlotte manufacturer whose
factory on Graham Street produced custom woodwork and store
fixtures for the region. He built his first house on the site in
1912 but demolished it in 1928 to erect this grander one. The
Colonial Revival style design was devised by noted Philadelphia
architect, Charles Barton Keen. Keen is also known for his design
of the Reynolda House in Winston-Salem. The magnificent landscape
plan was fashioned by Earle Sumner Draper.
Continue along Hermitage Road to the Marshall House at 500
21. E. C. Marshall House
E. C. Marshall was president of the Southern Power Company, later
Duke Power, when he had this house built in 1915. The Marshall
Power Plant is named in his honor. The architect was Franklin
Gordon. It is the earliest known example of the Tudor Revival style
in the City.
left at Ardsley Road, continue to Harvard Place and turn left and
return to your vehicle.
Neighborhood Guide: Myers Park
Essays: Myers Park