Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission

Henderson – King House

Henderson – King House

Henderson – King House

This report was written on September 9, 1997

1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the Henderson – King House is located at 4723 Stafford Circle in the Sharon Township of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the property: The owner is :
Inez King
4723 Stafford Circle
Charlotte, NC

Telephone Number: (704) 364-7673

3. Representative Photographs of the property: This report contains interior and exterior photographs of the property.

4. Maps depicting the location of the property: This report contains a map depicting the location of the property.

5. Current deed book references to the property: The most recent deed to the Henderson – King House is listed Mecklenburg County Deed Book 5803 at Pages 0617. The Tax Parcel Number of the property is 163-082-09.

6. A brief historical description of the property: This report contains a historical sketch of the property prepared by Sherry J. Joines.

7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report contains an architectural description of the property prepared by Sherry J. Joines.

8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets criteria for designation set forth in N.C.G.S. 160A-400.5:

 

a. Special significance in terms of history, architecture, and cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property known as the Henderson – King House does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations: 1) the property is a well preserved example of vernacular Queen Anne architecture; 2) the property is an important rural resource that has been engulfed by suburban development; and 3) the property has associations with significant Mecklenburg families.

b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling, and association: The Commission contends that the architectural description by Sherry J. Joines included in this report demonstrates that the Henderson – King House meets this criterion.

9. Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal: The current Ad Valorem appraised value of the .692 acres of land is $26,000. The current Ad Valorem appraised value of the house is $88,570. The total Ad Valorem appraised value is $166,220. The property is zoned R-3.

Date of Preparation of this Report: September 9, 1997

Prepared by: Sherry J. Joines
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
2100 Randolph Road
Charlotte, N.C. 28207

 

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION

 

Sherry J. Joines
September 9, 1997

Location Description

Currently located in the Sherwood Forest subdivision, the Henderson – King House was moved to its current site in 1972/1973 to avoid demolition. The original site of the house is a short distance directly north. The house was situated on a rise, in a grove of large trees, that may still be seen at its former site on Sharon Amity Road. It is fortunate that the present site of the house is on part of the original farm associated with the house. In fact, the house is located near a small creek that runs beside the former site as well. The main difference in the siting of the house is its orientation. When it was moved the house was rotated 180 degrees to face Stafford Circle to the south. Originally, the house faced Sharon Amity Road to the north. Although the present site lacks the elevation of the original, it is fairly large, with trees on all edges, partially enclosing the house from the modern development surrounding it.

Architectural Description

Believed to have been constructed around 1902 / 1903, the Henderson-King House is an interesting folk interpretation of the popular Queen Anne style. Such interpretations are often dependent upon ornamentation applied to a traditional building form and are referred to as Folk Victorian. In this house the resemblance to a Queen Anne dwelling is found not only in ornament but also in the irregular building form itself. The Queen Anne style was popular nationally during the last years of the nineteenth century and very early twentieth century. It became common in North Carolina by the mid-1880s. The style was directly related to the Picturesque Movement in the arts that can first be seen with the Gothic Revival style in the 1830s. The Queen Anne style was touted as uniquely modern and individualistic.

It is noteworthy that the style’s ornate wooden trim was made possible by innovations in saws and mass production during the industrial revolution occurring at this time.1 Several elements of the Henderson-King House can be isolated as directly inspired by the Queen Anne style. These include: the wrap around porch with small pediment over the entrance steps, irregular massing, irregular hipped roof with gabled projections, sawn-work, varying window size and placement, Classical porch columns (typical of the “Free Classic” variation of the Queen Anne style), dark interior woodwork, and ornate mantels. The house is basically a cube in shape with various projections near the front to create an irregular effect. The front (or southern) facade is dominated by the deep porch that wraps around three sides of the building.

A low-pitched gable or pediment marks the entrance steps, which are in line with the off-center entrance door. Simple, Doric columns support the one-story, shed roofed porch. The columns are repeated in the form of pilasters on the house wall at each end of the porch. Between each column spans a simple balustrade with square balusters set at forty-five degree angles to the rails. An unadorned architrave tops the columns. The architrave is repeated at the junction of the house walls and its roof.

A second gable graces the front facade of the house. It is created by the end of the gable roof, which covers a projection of about one-foot on the upper story of the front facade. The gable is actually wider than the projection and is “supported” by scrolled sawn-work brackets. The second floor windows found on the projection and on the main body of the house on the front facade are paired. And, like the windows on the rest of the house, they have simple frames and drip molding at their tops. The windows are one over one light. The first floor front windows are large panes of beveled glass topped by transoms. On the western side there is an interesting gabled projection. On the first floor, the projection is three-sided, creating a bay. Each side has a large window with the center side having a large beveled glass window with transom like those found on the front. Above this is a full rectangular space with paired windows. Thus, the bottom corners of the upper floor project beyond the three-sided bay and are “supported” by scrolled brackets. Beyond the bay projection the house shows its more traditional rectilinear character. The windows on the rear of the house are rather irregularly placed, and one should note that the first floor of the eastern corner of the rear of the house was originally a porch.

The eastern side of the house is fairly simple with one gabled projection near the front corner. On the second floor, front side of this projection there was once a window that was infilled to accommodate a shower. Another window on the main body of the eastern facade was infilled near the second floor front corner. Other changes according to the current owner include the infilling of the back porch as already mentioned and the replacement of the porch floor with boards matching the originals. Historic photographs indicate that the roof was originally shingled.

The interior of the Henderson-King house is well preserved, retaining much of its original tiger oak and pine trim. One enters the house into a modest entrance hall. The notable features of this space are the large beveled glass window to the right, in front of the elegantly simple stairway and finely crafted pocket doors to the parlor and sitting rooms. The trim above each of the pocket doors and small closet door under the stair is a simple architrave reminiscent of that on the exterior of the house.

To the west of the entrance hall is the parlor. An elegant mantle and fireplace surround highlights it. The fireplace surround is tiled (a popular Victorian feature) with speckled blue and brown rectangular tile. Interestingly, the floor directly in front of the fireplace has the same speckled tile as the surround. Simple scrolled brackets support the mantle shelf. Over the mantle shelf is a rectangular mirror above which is an overmantle or second shelf supported by Doric columns on pedestals. These columns recall those of the front porch. The fireplace projects slightly into the room. The corners of this projection are accented by three-quarter round corner protectors with turned top and bottom finials.

Located directly behind the entrance hall is the room likely intended to be sitting room. A door in the northeast corner of the room currently leads to a powder room, but originally led to a butler’s pantry that one could walk through into the kitchen. On the south wall is another graceful fireplace. The fireplace surround tile here are mottled teal. The mantle shelf rests on quarter-circle brackets, and a mirror is above the mantle. The wide trim of the mirror is convex with a narrow shelf at its top.

To the west of the sitting room, through a set of pocket doors, is the dining room. The space is created by the three-sided bay with the large central beveled glass window being the focus of the room. The fireplace here is on the south wall and is surrounded by mottled forest green tile. Doric columns support the mantle shelf with miniature Ionic columns resting on the shelf to support the overmantle shelf. A small mirror is located in the space between the two shelves. Indicating that this space was originally the dining area is a plate rail about five inches wide positioned about two-thirds of the way up the wall. Additional molding includes a picture rail located at the junction of wall and ceiling. This narrow strip has a small convex curve at its top designed to hold picture hooks. This molding is found in most rooms of the house. Similar to the architraves in the entrance hall, the pocket doors and central bay window also have simple architraves.

As in most historic homes, the kitchen area is the most altered space of the house. The kitchen was extended by enclosing the rear corner porch. The lower ceiling height in this area marks the original porch space. The butler’s pantry was divided into two rooms. The first is a powder room accessible from the sitting room and the second a laundry which opens into the kitchen. Located under the back stairs on the west wall is a small pantry that retains its original beadboard sheathing. A door at the northwestern corner of the room opens into the rear stairs. The current owner has been told that the children of a previous owner always used these stairs since it was prohibited for children to be present in the formal entrance hall and parlor. Upstairs, each of the four bedrooms retains its original door and architrave. The doors have six oblong raised panels and glass knobs. Two of the bedrooms retain their original picture molding matching that found down stairs. The baseboard is quite tall, measuring about eight inches, and is capped by a simple molding. It is apparent that the house was custom built, rather than relying on mass produced moldings and doors since the door to the master bedroom near the front stair is significantly taller than the three short doors at the rear end of the hall, while the doors in the middle of the hall are of medium height. Also, few of the windows are the exact size of any other window.

The front bedroom is a master suite with a narrow room, perhaps a dressing room located off it. This space has been converted into a bathroom. There are two closets: one in the bath and one next to the fireplace. The fireplace, like the other fireplace upstairs, has a simple mantle. The original tile is missing in most of the second floor fire surrounds. They were likely damaged when the house was moved. And the fireplace in one bedroom has been closed off altogether. The mantles are simple frames around the fire surround with shelves supported by small, scrolled brackets. The only bedroom originally built without a fireplace is located at the rear of the hall beside the large bath which was also originally a bath. It is quite possible that this small, unadorned room was intended to be used by a servant. The large bath was created by the Henderson family according to family member, Mrs. Dorcas Hinson.2 The Henderson-King house exemplifies the finer sort of dwelling built by prominent rural Mecklenburg County farmers during the late nineteenth and very early twentieth century. Despite its being engulfed by modern development, the property provides an important insight into Mecklenburg County’s rural past. The architecture of the house retains almost all of its original character. The Henderson-King House, therefore, is an extremely rare and important resource.

 

 

Historical Overview

 

Sherry J. Joines
September 9, 1997

The preceding architectural description hints at the sort of person the house’s builder must have been. Although not “high style” or architect designed, the house was clearly intended to show the elevated status of its original owner. In fact, Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Director of the Historic Landmarks Commission, has commented that this house is unusual in that its design reflects very urban tastes for a rural farmhouse. It must be remembered that at the turn of the century the area near the dwelling’s original site on Sharon Amity Road was still a rural farm community. The inhabitants of this portion of Sharon Amity are not listed in the City Directory of Charlotte until 1961.3

The 174 acre property which encompassed both the original site of the house and its current site was purchased by Samuel D. Faulkner at a court sale (for settlement of debt) from John E. Oates and Margaret L. Barringer, widow of Rufus Barringer, on October 9, 1895. Very little can be said of Mr. Faulkner other than that by 1911, he was residing on Providence Road. Since City Directories do not cover the rural areas of the county, we can assume that Mr. Faulkner was living in rural Mecklenburg during the very first years of the twentieth century. Furthermore, the large number of real estate purchases (over 500 acres) recorded by S.D. Faulkner in the last years of the nineteenth century with additional purchases after the turn of the century indicate his substantial means. 4

Faulkner owned the Henderson – King property until November 1, 1902 when he sold it to Elizabeth N. Myers. Mrs. Myers was the wife of Walter P. Myers. The 1900 City Directory indicates that Mr. Myers was a traveling salesman living at 204 South Myers Street. By 1902, however, Mr. Myers’ occupation was as a farmer. The family now made their home on East Avenue Extension. A similar entry is found in 1903, but in 1904/1905 the family is not listed in the directory. They reappear, however, in 1905/1906 living in Myers Park with Mr. Myers still employed as a farmer. This could indicate that the family lived in the rural precincts for a year or two between 1903 and 1906. This is just after Mrs. Myers’s purchase of the Henderson – King property.5

It is impossible to say with certainty whether the Myers built the house or if it had been constructed by Faulkner. It seems that with the information currently known, the Myers family were probably the builders. As previously mentioned, the house was built by someone with an interest in urban tastes. Having lived in the city prior to 1904 and returning to a fashionable new suburb by 1906, the Myers would likely have been this sort of family. Also attesting to the social prominence of the family, Mrs. Myers was one of five alumni who donated a large sum to ensure the survival of the Presbyterian College For Women, later Queens College, in the late nineteenth century. That she was privileged enough to have attended the college and that she had money to donate give some indication of her socio-economic position.6 Whether they built the house or never lived in it at all, Elizabeth (Bessie) Myers sold the property to J.L. Davis on January 2, 1911. Since the Myers were living in Myers Park by 1906, the occupants of the house in the intervening five years before its sale is a mystery. Perhaps it was used by tenant farmers who might have worked the land for the Myers. Or, more likely, it may have been a “country home” occupied occasionally by the Myers. Whatever the case, Jacob L. Davis never lived in the house. Rather, he is listed as residing at 300 North Brevard Street with his wife Josephine in 1911 and 1912. Davis was associated with the Davis & Byerly Company.7

The J.L. Davis family sold the property to J.R. and Alice P. McCall on September 5, 1911. Joseph R. McCall, a bookkeeper for Y & B Company, resided at 5 North Fox Avenue in 1911 and 1912. The McCalls sold the property to Forest Hill Realty Company in 1915 who in turn sold the property to Ammie (Amoret) E. Henderson on December 1, 1915.8

Ammie Henderson was the wife of Charles Philo Henderson. In the 1912 City Directory, the Hendersons are listed as residing at 403 North Brevard Street. Mr. Henderson was a farmer. By 1916, however, there was no listing for the family indicating that they had likely moved out of the city to the farm on Sharon Amity Road. Holding the property for nearly forty years, the Henderson family is the most significant in the history of the house. Charles Philo Henderson was born in 1854 and died in 1934. He was a member of Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery. His family were among the early settlers of Mecklenburg County, having arrived here around 1749. The family farm was located on Old Statesville Road where they also ran a tanyard. Mr. Henderson’s cousin, Philo Henderson (1832 – 1852), is noted as being the only Poet Laureate from Mecklenburg County.9

Ammie Henderson died on March 27, 1938, leaving the family farm to her four surviving children: Lillie W. Henderson, Mary E. Henderson, Grace H. Russell, Irene H. Andrews, and to her deceased daughter Jennie’s husband Clarence O. Lowder, Sr. Neither Lillie nor Mary ever married. Lillie still lived in the house then known as 426 North Sharon Amity Road in 1971 despite the sale of the farmland to Construction Materials Company on June 12, 1953. Construction Materials Company transferred the farmland to Mecklenburg Builders, Inc. who subdivided the property into the Sherwood Forest development.10

Lillie and her sister Mary Henderson conveyed the house and its five acres to the Trustees of the Joppa Lodge on September 3, 1971. At her death on August 27, 1974, Lillie Henderson lived at 3931 Forest Drive. Joppa Lodge planned to destroy the house to build their facilities, but neighbors living behind the property on Stafford Circle intervened.11 H. John and Shirley J. Croasmun purchased the Sherwood Forest lot next to theirs on January 10, 1969. They had the house moved there in 1972/1973. The address of the house became 4727 Stafford Circle. The Croasmun’s sold the house to James Robert Collins, Jr. on April 4, 1973. The current owner reports that Mrs. Collins was an interior designer. Her unusual tastes were still evident when Shelby Stearns and Martha Whiddon (Inez) King purchased the house on November 26, 1976. Mrs. King still resides in house.12

 


Notes

1Catherine Bishir, North Carolina Architecture, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990 , pp. 342 – 354 and Gwendolyn Wright, Building the Dream, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1981, pp. 96 – 113.

2Interview with Mrs. Dorcas Hinson, September 8, 1997, conducted by Sherry J. Joines.

3Charlotte City Directories : 1900 – 1975, microfilm, Robinson – Spangler Carolina Room at the Main Branch of the Charlotte – Mecklenburg Public Library.

4Mecklenburg County Deed Book: 105, page 416 and 170, page 622.

5Ibid. and Deed Book 262, page 506 and City Directories: 1900 – 1912.

6Ibid. and interview with Andrew King, August 26, 1997.

7Deed Book 262, page 506.

8Deed Book 276, page 410; 351, page 274; and 351, page 385 and City Directories: 1910 – 1916.

9Information submitted with application for designation as Local Historic Landmark.

10Deed Book 1619, page 539; 1789, page 102; and 1789, page 120.

11Mecklenburg County Vital Statistics: Death Certificates and Interview with Andrew King.

12Deed Book 3011, page 403; 3561, page 287; 3900, page 61; and 5803, page 617; Interview with Andrew King and City Directories: 1961 – 1975.