Historical Summaries of Significant Mecklenburg County Rural Resources
J. Francis Abernathy House (MK 1485), Mt. Holly - Huntersville Road. Built in the mid-nineteenth century, this ante-bellum house was the seat of a large working farm. Although somewhat altered, the I-house provides an excellent example of a typical farmstead from this period. The extensive collection of outbuildings includes a log barn, a two-level log smokehouse, a frame shed and a frame chicken house. The property's proximity to other historic resources helps create an area with a high level of integrity along Mt. Holly - Huntersville Road.
James Samuel Abernathy House (MK 1486), Mt. Holly - Huntersville Road. The log core of this house was enlarged with a two story front gable wing during the 1870s. Sawnwork details indicate the Folk Victorian style of the update. Dr. Abernathy did not build the house, but lived here during his years of service in the area during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The house is not far from that of his competitor, Dr. W.P. Craven. The two were known locally as "Dr. Pill and Dr. Powder." The house is an important part of the rural character found along Mt. Holly - Huntersville Road.
Richard Blythe Abernathy House (MK 1488), Pleasant Grove Road. Built in 1906 by R.B. Abernathy, this dwelling is a classic I-house form. It is two stories, one room deep, has a side gable roof and a rear gable-roofed ell. There is an exterior chimney on the east gable side of the house. The interior of the house is very simple. Ruins of a barn and shed indicate the agricultural past of the house, but most impressive is the setting of the house. Well off the road, the house is fronted by a huge field that gives a good sense of the appearance of rural Mecklenburg at the turn of the century.
Hezekiah Alexander House (MK 1724), Shamrock Drive. This stately 1774 home is the oldest surviving house in Mecklenburg County. Alexander came south from Pennsylvania in the 1760s. A prominent citizen, Alexander signed the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and helped draft the North Carolina Constitution and Bill of Rights. The property is operated as a house museum and gives an excellent view into Colonial Mecklenburg County. This property is a locally designated historic landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Isaac Newton Alexander Mill Ruin (MK 1725), On the banks of Briar Creek. Currently within the campus of Myers Park High School, this ruin illustrates an important part of rural Mecklenburg County history. Built shortly after 1857 by Isaac N. Alexander, this water powered grist mill ground corn and wheat for residents of the Sharon community. By the 1880s, the mill also produced cottonseed oil, peanut oil, and castor bean oil. However, with the industrialization of the 1890s, the two story frame mill became obsolete and was eventually destroyed by an 1898 flood. The stone foundation walls remain along with evidence of the flume, wheel well, canals, ditches, and roadways; making this a valuable archaeological site. This property is a locally designated historic landmark.
John Milton Alexander House (MK 1449), Beatties Ford Road. This interesting house was completed in 1874 and exhibits many unusual Folk Victorian decorative features. Alexander farmed forty-nine acres near the house and ran a blacksmith shop, cotton gin, and sawmill with his brother-in-law. Two tenant houses existed on the property in the 1870s. The house is in a deteriorated state and has been compromised by modern houses and mobile homes placed near it. None of its outbuildings still exist. It is still significant architecturally, however, for its paired windows, sunburst motif, and pendant brackets which create an exuberant dwelling uncommon in Mecklenburg County.
W.T. Alexander House (MK 1254), Mallard Creek Church Road. This plantation house was built in 1799 for John Orr. It became the centerpiece of a major cotton plantation with approximately 1000 acres. William Tasse Alexander acquired the Federal style house in the 1820s. Alexander was one of a few Mecklenburg planters who owned more than thirty slaves. Thus, with the abolition of slavery, Alexander lost much of his wealth. After the Civil War, Alexander turned to alcohol for consolation and died in 1870. Alexander's descendants still own the house. This property is a designated historic landmark.
W.T. Alexander Slave Cemetary, Mallard Creek Church Road. By 1861 Alexander owned more than thirty slaves, many of whom are buried in a cemetery located in a wooded area off Mallard Creek Church Road. Apparently a slave named Violet was a particular favorite of the Alexander family since her's is the only grave with a marked headstone. This resource is one of the few rural resources associated with the African - American slave population during the ante-bellum period.
Barnhardt House (U - 11), Ramah Church Road. The historic name or original owner is not presently known since this property was not included in the 1988 Gatza Survey. It is, however, deemed to be a significant rural resource because of its beautiful rural setting. The I-house is set well off the road and surrounded by hay fields. It has several additions and some deteriorated outbuildings.
Beaver Dam (MK 2), Davidson - Concord Road. This house was built in 1829 by Major William Davidson, II. It was the site of the meeting which established Davidson College and is significant for this reason as well as its architectural qualities. The log construction of the I-house is hidden by weatherboards. Although, no outbuildings survive, the view to the fields across the road from the house is significant in understanding rural life during this period. This property is a locally designated historic landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.