Commercial Row Of Four Buildings At 100, 102,104, & 106 Main Street, Huntersville, N. C.
100, 102, 104, and 106 Main Street, Huntersville
1. Names and locations of the properties: The properties known as the commercial row of four buildings are located at 100, 102, 104, and 106 Main Street, Huntersville, in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
2. Names, addresses and telephone numbers of the present owners of the properties: The owners of the properties are:
100 Main Street
Ms. Sara Marlene McCraw
Photography Unlimited, 100 Main Street
Huntersville, North Carolina 28078
Telephone: (704) 875-9718
Tax Parcel Number: 019-041-11
Deed Book 4781, Page 0061
104 Main Street
Mr. Cecil D. Bradford and wife, Beverly C.
P 0. Box 797
Huntersville, North Carolina 28078
Telephone: (704) 875-6775
Tax Parcel Number: 019-041-09
Deed Book 3726, Page 0930
102 Main Street
Mr. Joyce Lee Hager
10400 Sam Furr Road
Huntersville, North Carolina
Telephone: (704) 892-5300
Tax Parcel Number: 019-041-10
Deed Book 3694, Page 0496
106 Main Street
Mr. Jerry Kornegay and wife, Emily
1210 Yuma Street
Charlotte, North Carolina 28213
Telephone: (704) 875-6080 (Business)
Tax Parcel Number: 019-041-08
Deed Book 5144, Page 0214
3. Representative photographs of the properties: This report contains representative photographs of the properties.
4. A map depicting the location of the properties: This report contains maps which depict the location of the properties.
5. Current Deed Book References to the properties: The most recent deeds to the Tax Parcels, as listed in Mecklenburg County Deed Books, are given above in item 2.
6. A brief historical sketch of the properties: This report contains a brief historical sketch of the properties prepared by Ms. Paula M. Stathakis.
7. Brief architectural descriptions of the properties: This report contains brief architectural descriptions of the properties prepared by Ms. Nora M. Black.
8. Documentation of how and in what ways the properties meet criteria for designation set forth in N.C.G.S. 160A-400.5:
a. Special significance in terms of history, architecture, and /or cultural importance: The Commission judges that the properties known as the Commercial Row of Four Buildings does possess special significance in terms of Huntersville and Mecklenburg County. The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations: 1) the town of Huntersville was chartered on March 9, 1887; 2) Huntersville was a railroad town with Main Street parallel to the tracks; 3) Huntersville’s commercial district began developing next to the railroad tracks as early as 1877; 4) the building at 100 Main Street is a good example of the location of early banks at important intersections as well as the use of the classical style to draw customers; 5) the building at 102 Main Street served the town as a grocery store for much of the 20th century; 6) the building at 104 Main Street is a fine example of an early two-story commercial structure; 7) the building at 106 Main Street is an example of changes that occurred among storefronts in typical commercial rows; and 8) the four buildings, when viewed together, are the last remnant of historic fabric that comprised Huntersville’s once-thriving commercial district.
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship materials feeling, and/or association: The Commission contends that the architectural descriptions by Ms. Nora M. Black included in this report demonstrate that the commercial row of four buildings meets this criterion.
9. Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal: The Commission is aware that designation would allow the owner to apply for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the property which becomes a designated “historic landmark.” The current appraised value of the improvements, the current appraised value of the land included in the Tax Parcels, and the total appraised value of the properties are given below. The properties are zoned CB.
|100 Main Street||102 Main Street|
|Tax Parcel Number: 019-041-11||Tax Parcel Number: 019-041-10|
|Improvements = $13,550||Improvements = $15,850|
|Land = $4,900||Land = $5,360|
|Total Appraised Value = $18,450||Total Appraised Value = $21,210|
|104 Main Street||106 Main Street|
|Tax Parcel Number: 019-041-09||Tax Parcel Number: 01 9-041-08|
|Improvements = $13,960||Improvements = $17,940|
|Land = $3,830||Land = $3,830|
|Total Appraised Value = $17,790||Total Appraised Value = $21,770|
Date of Preparation of this Report: 25 February 1992
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill in conjunction with Ms. Nora M. Black
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
The Law Building, Suite 100, 730 East Trade Street
P 0. Box 35434
Charlotte, North Carolina
The town of Huntersville is situated fourteen miles north of Charlotte and was chartered on March 9, 1887.1 Like other small towns in Mecklenburg County, Huntersville was a railroad town and it grew as a function of the Atlantic, Tennessee and Ohio Railroad (now the Norfolk Southern Railroad) whose tracks run parallel to Main Street. The track of the A. T.& O. was relaid in 1874; the town that would be known as Huntersville began its development along these tracks in 1877.2 Huntersville was originally called Craighead, N.C. and was later named for a member of the Hunter family. 3
Huntersville was important in the late nineteenth century as a center for higher education. The Huntersville High School Academy, established in 1878, was one of the first of two high schools in western North Carolina. 4 In 1898, Anchor Mills established a plant in Huntersville, adding an element of economic diversity to the predominantly rural region. 5 Some of the more progressive citizens of the town, caught up in the general climate of boosterism of the times, argued in favor of industrial growth for their town as early as the 1880s. Anyone who has taken even a casual interest in the development of Huntersville has encountered a letter written by William Joseph Ranson to Ellen Viola Hunter in 1888, in which Ranson declares that “Huntersville has the factory fever”. 6 In spite of the school and the cotton mill, Huntersville remained a small town and retained its rural character throughout the twentieth century.
A small commercial row grew up along these railroad tracks in the late nineteenth century. What is significant about Huntersville and its small commercial row is that it is exemplary of the rural town in Mecklenburg County. Its development along the railroad connected the town to distant markets and made the town an important commercial center for area farmers and the distribution center for the area cotton crop. The Main Street of Huntersville is similar to the Main Streets of other small Mecklenburg towns, because, like Matthews or Pineville, it is arranged along a railroad. Travelers who went to Huntersville by train arrived in this commercial center of town. The principal stores occupied one side of one block (to the west of the railroad tracks).7
The building on the corner of Main Street and Gilead Road, 100 Main Street, was the site of the North Mecklenburg Bank. Other banks subsequently occupied this building: The Bank of Huntersville, The Bank of Cornelius and First Union National Bank. 8 First Union National Bank sold the building in 1976. 9 It is currently used as a photography studio.
The building immediately south of the bank, 102 Main Street, once housed Smith’s Grocery Store. It was purchased by B. H. and Glenna Smith in 1944 from the Kerns family. 10
The building adjacent to Smith’s Grocery, 104 Main Street, was once Mullen’s Drug Store. The land was purchased by Allen Porter Mullen in 1947. The deed indicates that the land was vacant when he bought it. 11 Earlier deeds for this property note that this lot was originally two parcels, one of which was known as the Post Office building lot. 12 Mention is also made in an early deed that a structure (referred to as a “building”, “house”, and “frame structure” within the same document) stood on this lot in 1907 and that the new owner was restricted from demolishing it until 1908.13
The fourth building in this row, 106 Main Street, was once J. R. McCurdy’s dry goods store. McCurdy bought the property in 1906. According to earlier deeds, a store owned by John and James Woodsides operated on this site as early as 1887.14
Long time Huntersville resident Kate Ranson Cornue recalls that “downtown” formerly occupied three blocks on Main Street. The businesses she remembers are a meat market, Cross’s General Store (later the Ranson Brothers Grocery), J. R. McCurdy’s Dry Goods, Sam Holbrook’s Grocery Store, Mullen’s Drug Store and a barber shop. A long hitching rack used to stand in front of these businesses for shoppers traveling by horse and cart. 15
Now the commercial row sits as an adjunct part of the town. Main Street began to lose its vitality in the 1920s as automobiles became more popular and affordable to the public. The commercial activity shifted to the west, first along NC 115 (Old Statesville Road) and later along the I-77 corridor.
1 Legette Blythe and Charles Brockman, Hornet’s Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County,(McNally of Charlotte, 1961): 421.
2 Richard L. Mattson, Historic Landscapes of Mecklenburg County: The Small Towns. Unpublished manuscript. (July 1991), p. 3. The A. T.& O. Railroad was originally laid in the area in the 1850s. It was removed for use elsewhere during the Civil War, and relaid in 1874.
3 Kate Ranson and Thomas Williams, eds. The Mecklenburg Gazette Magazine Supplement “A Huntersville Album” December 13, 1979.
4 Blythe and Brockman, p. 421.
5 Mattson, p. 5.
6Ranson and Williams.
7 Mattson, p. 5 .
8 See deeds 4781-61, 1-23-84; 436-366, 1-7-21; 862-335, 3-735; 3863-50, 7-29-76, in Mecklenburg County Court House, Register of Deeds.
9 Deed 3863-50, 7-29-76.
10 Deed 1136-61, 11-2-44. Historic Structures short data report by Mary Beth Gatza, 3-15-88.
11 Deed 1228-123, 1-16-47.
12 Deed 1156-563, 5-17-45.
13 Deed 226-108, 6-27-07.
14 Deed 216-497, 10-19-06.
15 Kate Ranson Cornue, Mecklenburg Gazette “I Remember When”, Clippings File: Huntersville. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library.
Most of the commercial buildings that made up the railroad frontage of the town of Huntersville have been demolished over the years. The few early buildings remaining on quiet Main Street seem far removed from the rush of traffic on Interstate 77 or even busy Gilead Road. But it wasn’t always so quiet on Main Street. Once the trains stopped in Huntersville, discharging noisy passengers and taking on travelers from the surrounding countryside. Once the farmers from north Mecklenburg County came to Huntersville to sell their crops, buy their supplies, and negotiate a loan for seed and fertilizer with the local banker. In the book, North Carolina Architecture, the author has said, “Main Street, North Carolina, developed rapidly in the period from 1900 to 1930, assuming a character it retained throughout most of the century. The small towns … depended on sales and manufacturing of local staples, cotton and tobacco, and forest products; their buildings and their businesses provided the link between the still agrarian society and the national marketplace.” 1 Huntersville was no exception to the Main Street development just described.
The composition and character of the early town of Huntersville was determined to a great extent by the building types and materials found in the Main Street buildings. Main Street was given over to commercial development at its intersection with Huntersville-Concord Road; residential development was pushed away from the railroad tracks. In cities such as nearby Charlotte, the open-plan department store stood as the emblem of an emerging consumer society at the beginning of the 20th century. The composition of Huntersville, lacking a single store that covered most of a block, obtained a grander visual effect by having several narrow twenty-five to thirty foot wide stores integrated into large blocks sharing party walls. The use of brick as a building material provided a greater measure of safety from fires than the timber and weatherboards used for early commercial structures. The freestanding narrow retail stores, with their deep shadowy back sections fifty to sixty feet from the large storefront windows, are typical of the vernacular buildings found in crossroad towns and railroad villages across America. Faint echoes of high-style sources are abstractly simple ornamental details … Often only minor features such as brick patterning at the eaves … are indicative of the particular period.” 2
Although the four buildings present an unbroken front, each is different in style and material. That difference is apparent to even the most casual observer walking down Main Street in Huntersville.
The building at 100 Main Street is a vernacular interpretation of the classical style. The use of the classical style for banks at the turn of the century was the beginning of a departure from the standard commercial style of building commonly used for early banks in North Carolina. As Bishir points out, ” Banks were typically located on prominent downtown sites, often at major intersections. Such buildings were planned to take good advantage of their sites, with architectural emphasis on the side as well as front elevations.” 3 The north side of the former bank is the only side wall exposed in the commercial row of four buildings; classical ornament continues along this side. The ground plan is a linear plan that is three units deep. The building presents a symmetrical, one story, three bay elevation to Main Street. A parapet above the cornice conceals the flat roof from view.
The building is constructed of dark reddish-brown brick laid in running bond. The mortar in the recessed joints is colored to match the bricks. A simple sheet metal cornice with a wide frieze decorates the front (east elevation) and the long north side. Below the frieze, a molding trims the building at the height of the tops of the doors and windows. Wide brick pilasters terminate at the molding. The front of the building has three metal vents in the parapet between the concrete coping and the cornice; the north side has four vents. The owner was having the trim painted dark gray at the time this report was prepared.
The flat roof is pitched only 11 degrees from the front to the back. The tin roof was “rolled off like a sardine can lid by Hurricane Hugo” 4 in 1989. The tin roof was replaced with a rubber membrane material. A brick chimney on the north side of the building still serves the building’s heater.
The large plate glass windows in the storefront and the side of the building are topped with fixed, multiple-pane sash. Two windows on the north are double hung wooden sash; each sash contains a single large pane of glass. Windows on the rear facade have brick infill.
The front elevation is three units wide with the widest units being the two rectangular windows on either side of the front door. The front door forms the center unit. Brick pilasters with concrete bases define the entry. The front entry has a wooden door with one lower wooden panel and a large panel of glass; the age of the hardware varies. A granite threshold meets the concrete sidewalk.
Parts of the interior of the building at 100 Main Street have been modernized. The rooms have original painted moldings and wooden six-panel doors. Walls are of plaster. Although the exterior looks like a one-story building, a sheetrock ceiling was laid in by a previous owner. The installation of that ceiling created a second floor which the current owner uses for storage. The second floor can only be reached by means of a disappearing stair. The new ceiling could easily be removed to restore the building to the original one-story layout; however, almost all of the pressed tin ceiling panels have been removed from the second floor ceiling leaving the supporting wood and roof sheathing exposed.
Original mosaic tile with a Greek fret or meander border defines the customer area of the bank. The original wood flooring of the teller area was still in place until Hurricane Hugo rolled the tin roof off the building. The water that came in during the storm damaged the tongue-and-groove flooring; it was warped beyond repair. Because the wood actually laid on the ground (and had suffered some termite damage over the years), the insurance company required the owner to have a concrete slab poured in the areas that were originally wood. Most of that concrete is covered with carpet at this time.
The front door opens to a large rectangular room that originally served as the banking area. A gas furnace, with a manufacture date from the 1930’s, provides heat. The current owner believes that the original heating system used coal due to the large amount of coal fragments found at the rear of the building. A partition near the rear runs the width of the building. The door to the vault is on the north side of the partition. The single metal outer door conceals two narrow paneled inner doors. Extra tongue-and-groove flooring provided material for vault shelves for the builders. A door on the south side of the partition opens to a hallway. A small bathroom and a back room (now used as a darkroom) take the rest of the space at the rear of the building.
The building at 100 Main Street anchors the balance of the commercial row with simple, classical elegance. The current owner plans to continue using the building as a photography studio. Under her ownership, it would be maintained in its present style.
The building at 102 Main Street is built in a simple commercial style. Although it presents two separate entry bays, Number 102 appears to have been constructed as a single unit. According to the Mecklenburg County tax records, the ground plan is linear. The building presents a slightly asymmetrical one-story, two-bay elevation to Main Street. A parapet with a coping of one course of rowlock brick conceals the flat roof from view. The building is constructed of rough textured red-orange brick laid in running bond with white mortar joints. A soldier course of brick spans the metal header over the storefront windows and recessed entries. Recessed panels of brick over each storefront were designed to hold signs. There is a single metal vent centered in each storefront above the soldier course of brick.
Most of the large display windows in the storefront are covered with plywood or waferboard. Only two windows in the north storefront are uncovered. A small window with a sliding panel has been installed in the covering of the southernmost window. Brick bulkheads, used to support the weight of the windows, are original. The low bulkheads extend across the front of the building and into the recessed entrances. There are vents in the bulkheads on each side of the recessed entrances. Some painted glass panels (possibly structural glass) are visible over the northern storefront. Window openings on the rear facade are of the same size, but vary in finish. The extreme south window has an infill of concrete blocks; the next window is an industrial style with metal frame; beyond that is a window covered with plywood with an insulated duct running through its center; and the extreme north window has an infill of concrete blocks. There are brick chimneys on both the north and south party walls.
The front elevation consists of two storefronts with each defined by a three part, window-recessed door-window arrangement. The door of the north storefront forms the center unit. The original double door, evidenced by the width and divided transom above, has been reduced to a single door. The door of the south storefront is covered. A window air conditioning unit has been installed in the transom area. Both entries have concrete pavers laid on a slight rise from the sidewalk. Same width boards cover the ceilings of the recessed entries.
The building at 104 Main Street is older than the two buildings previously discussed. Mecklenburg County tax records list 1906 as the year built; however, officials at the Tax Office indicated that it could have been built earlier. It is built in a commercial style typical of the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. This is evidenced by the corbelled brick cornice and arched windows of the upper story. According to the Mecklenburg County tax records, the ground plan is linear. The building presents a symmetrical two-story elevation to Main Street. A parapet with a corbelled brick cornice of four courses of brick conceals the flat roof from view. It appears that the upper courses of the cornice were once covered with a skim coat of concrete. The building is constructed of smooth mixed color bricks (ranging from red to red-orange to brown) laid in common bond with sixth course headers. The courses of headers are mostly dark brown and black as if they had been fired near the center of the kiln. A rowlock course of brick spans the former display windows and recessed entry. Slight variations in the size of the bricks are evident.
The large display windows in the storefront are covered with plywood. Brick bulkheads, used to support the weight of the windows, are constructed of newer brick and, although old, do not appear to be original. The low bulkheads extend across the front of the building and into the recessed entrances. The vent system in the bulkheads is distinguished by the use of a rowlock course of brick with every other brick missing. The bulkheads form engaged columns at the corners of the recessed entrance. The column is continued in wood to the frieze board. The second floor has two large window openings covered with painted plywood. The window openings are topped by segmental arches of two rowlock courses of brick and have sills of two courses of brick. Window openings on the rear facade are of the same size and finish.
The front elevation is defined by a three part, window – recessed door window arrangement. The double door forms the center unit. Like the windows, the doors are covered by plywood. The entry has square pavers laid on a slight rise from the sidewalk. The recessed entry has a beaded board ceiling.
The rear elevation has two arched windows on the second floor similar to the front elevation. On the first floor, arched windows flank the arched double doors. The southernmost window opening is covered with a door rather than plywood.
A coat of smooth stucco covers the back wall from the ground to the second floor window sills. A white aluminum gutter and two downspouts drain the water from the roof.
The second floor side elevations do not appear to have any openings or windows. The side parapets step down in three steps from the front of the building to the rear and are corbelled in the same manner as the front parapet. There is a single brick chimney with a corbelled top on the north party wall.
The building at 104 Main Street is unique in that it is the only two story building in the Huntersville commercial row. In fact, Mrs. Bradford remarked that 104 Main Street is “Huntersville’s only skyscraper.” 6
The building at 106 Main Street is a simple commercial style of the early 1900’s with a couple of facade changes. Mecklenburg County tax records list 1924 as the year built; however, officials at the Tax Office indicated that it could have been built earlier. According to the Mecklenburg County tax records, the ground plan is linear. The building presents a symmetrical one-story elevation to Main Street. just as 104 Main Street, the front elevation is defined by a three part, window – recessed entry with door – window arrangement. A parapet with a coping of one course of rowlock brick topped with concrete conceals the flat roof from view. The building is constructed of smooth yellowish to red-orange brick laid in common bond with sixth course headers. As seen in 104 Main Street, the header courses are mostly dark brown and black as if they had been fired near the center of the kiln. Mortar used matches the tone of the bricks. A decorative panel of brick is set three courses below the coping of the front parapet. It consists of a rowlock course and a soldier course of brick turned on the diagonal. The decorative panel spans most of the front of the building. Two stretcher courses of corbelled brick add even more texture to the wall. A recessed panel of brick at the center of the storefront was designed to hold a long, narrow sign.
A metal canopy spans the width of the building. Since it is not original, it could easily be removed to show the entire storefront without the visual isolation now imposed on the upper portion of the facade. The large six-panel display windows with thick wooden muntins are not original. Brick bulkheads, used to support the weight of the windows, were added at some point. A single rowlock course of brick provides a sill for the windows. The brick of the bulkheads is newer than the brick of the rest of the facade. Mortar used in the bulkhead joints is white. It is a machine made brick with an incised wave pattern. The low bulkheads extend across the front of the building and into the recessed entrance. A steel door with a small square opening (unglazed) has been installed for security. A wooden panel covers the ceiling of the recessed entrance. Each side has a three panel display window. There is a single low step from the sidewalk to the concrete floor of the recessed entrance and another step at the threshold.
Window openings on the rear facade, covered with painted plywood, have segmental arches of two courses of rowlock brick. The two window openings flank the arched double doors. At some point, a portion of the arch over the double doors was closed with incised brick like that found in the bulkheads on the building’s front; replacement doors were installed in the smaller opening. The newer, incised brick also replaced the smooth red-orange brick between the doorway and the north window. There are two metal chimneys near the rear of the building. Side elevations of 104 Main Street are not visible since the adjoining buildings are two-story structures.
The front door opens to a room that encompasses almost the entire building. The only enclosed areas, rest rooms and a small mechanical room, are in the south corner at the back of the building. The floor is of concrete with some traces of floor paint still visible. The plaster walls are painted yellow and white. White panels with narrow battens cover the ceiling. Rows of washers and dryers line the room. A gas unit heater hung from the ceiling provides heat. A sodium vapor street lamp provides light. There is a column in the center of the building, but it is not structural. It enclosed water pipes for the two rows of washing machines in the center of the building. Dryers lined the side walls.
1 Catherine W. Bishir, with photography by Tim Buchman, North Carolina Architecture. (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1990), 400.
2 Carole Rifkind, A Field Guide to American Architecture. (New York, 1980), 193-195.
3 Bishir, 403-405.
4 Interview with Ms. Sara Marlene McCraw, 15 February 1992.
5 B. Clarkson Schoettle, ‘Keeping Up Appearances: Storefront Guidelines,’ Main Street: A Publication of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1983,1-16.
6 Telephone Interview with Mrs. Beverly C. Bradford, I 1 February 1992.
7 Interview with Mr. Jerry Kornegay, 15 February 1992.