Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission

Jones-Garibaldi House

Jones-Garibaldi House

JONES-GARIBALDI HOUSE

This report was written on February 5, 1986

1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the Jones-Garibaldi House is located at 228 East Park Avenue, Charlotte, North Carolina.

2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the property: The owner of the property is:

D. Charles and Associates, Inc.
1712 Cleveland Ave.
Charlotte, NC 20203

Telephone: (704) 332-4658

3. Representative photographs of the property: This report contains representative photographs of the property.

4. A map depicting the location of the property: This report contains a map which depicts the location of the property.

5. Current Deed Rook Reference to the property: The records of the Mecklenburg County Tax Office do not yet contain a current deed reference to the property. The Tax Parcel Number of the property is: 123-073-09.

6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property prepared by Dr. William H. Huffman.

7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report contains a brief architectural description of the property prepared by Frances M. Gay.

8. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the criteria for designation set forth in N.C.G.S. 160A-399.4:

 

a. Special significance in terms of its history, architecture, and/or cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property known as the Jones-Garibaldi House does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations
1) the Jones-Garibaldi House (1894) is one of’ the oldest homes on East Park Avenue, the most prestigious residential district in the oldest portion of Dilworth, Charlotte’s first streetcar suburb,
2) C. Furber Jones (1866-1903), the initial owner, was a prominent business executive in New South Charlotte,
3) Joseph Garibaldi (1864-1939), the second owner, was a leading merchant and civic leader in New South Charlotte,
4) the house is one of the finer local examples of the Neo-Classical Revival style and was most probably designed by Charles Christian Hook, an architect of local and regional importance, and
5) the house is on a corner lot at the very edge of the residential section of Dilworth and, therefore, occupies a place of substantial importance in terms of the townscape of the neighborhood.

b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling, and/or association: The Commission contends that the architectural description included in this report demonstrates that the property known as the Jones-Garibaldi House 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 “historic property.” The current appraised value of the house is $37,240. The current appraised value of the land is $27,290. The total appraised value of the property is $64,580. The Property is zoned 06.

Date of Preparation of this Report: February 5, 1986

Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
1225 S. Caldwell St.
Charlotte, NC, 28203

Telephone: (704) 376-9115

 

 

Historical Overview


Dr. William H. Huffman

The setting and style of the Garibaldi house, located at 221 E. Park Avenue in the Dilworth section of Charlotte, reflect the early affluence of a New South city in the beginning years of a four-decade commercial boom that lasted from the late 1800’s to the end of the 1920’s. Built by insurance entrepreneur C. Furber Jones (1866-1903) in 1894, it was purchased by jeweler and local political leader Joseph Garibaldi ( 1864 -1939 ) ten years later. At the time of its contraction, it was one of the earliest homes in the city’s first streetcar suburb. Although the architect is presently unknown, the house was probably designed by Charlotte architect C. C. Hook, whose work includes some of the city’s most important architectural heritage.

Both Jones and Garibaldi were in many ways typical representatives (the one providing a service, the other a merchant) of the success that resulted from the combination of their own enterprising spirit and their good fortune at living in a boom town. Charlotte became the hub, through its good rail network, of the rapidly expanding New South industrialization of the Piedmont Carolinas, which lasted, almost without interruption, from the late 1880’s to the end of the 1920’s. Industrialization was based primarily on the construction of cotton mills and cotton oil processing plants throughout the Piedmont region, which stretches from Virginia into Georgia, and Charlotte served the region as the banking, trading, service and distribution center. Thus it grew, during this period, from one of a number of small towns its size in the state to be the largest city in the Carolinas by 1930 (1880 population: 7,094; by 1930: 82,675, a 1065% increase).1

C. Furber Jones, the original owner of the house, was a South Carolina native who was educated at the old Charlotte Military Institute and graduated from the Citadel in Charleston, SC, following which he took business training at the Poughkeepsie Business College in New York. In 1894, he organized the Piedmont Fire insurance Company in Charlotte, and it was under his management that the Piedmont Fire Insurance Building was erected near the center of town in 1898. It was the city’s first office building, and was a clear indication of the prosperity of a rapidly growing city.2 The same year he organized the Piedmont company, 1894, Jones contracted with E. D. Latta’s 4 C’s company to build a new house for his family in Dilworth.3 Three years before, in 1891, he had been married to Ida Clarkson, who was a sister of Heriot Clarkson, a prominent Charlotte attorney who became a state supreme court justice and a major landowner and developer in the Charlotte area.4

To design many of the early houses in Dilworth, the 4 C’s hired a skilled young architect, Charles Christian Hook (1869-1938).5 The son of German immigrants, Hook was born in Wheeling, W. VA, and educated at Washington University in St. Louis. He came to Charlotte in 1890, where he started out as a teacher of mechanical drawing in the old South school in the city. In 1893, he began his forty-five-year architectural career by designing houses in Dilworth for the 4 C’s, and eventually produced plans for some of the most important architectural landmarks in the city and the state of North Carolina. At various times Hook was in partnership with others in the city: Frank Sawyer,1902- 1907; Willard Rogers,1912- 1916; and with his son, W. W. Hook,1924-1938. Some of his important designs in Charlotte are the old Charlotte City Hall , the Charlotte Women’s Club, the J. B. Duke mansion, the Belk Department Store facade of 1927, and the William Henry Belk mansion. Outside the city, they include the west wing of the state capital in Raleigh, the Richmond County courthouse, Phillips Hall in Chapel Hill, the Science Hall at Davidson College, and the State Hospital in Morganton, NC.6 Although there is no direct evidence that C. C. Hook designed the Jones-Garibaldi house, the indirect evidence is persuasive: we know from contemporary newspaper stories that he had a number of commissions to do houses in Dilworth in 1894 and was a very popular architect; the appearance of the house is that of an early Hook design; there is no evidence that has come to light to contradict this conclusion.7

It appears that the Joneses probably moved into the house in December, 1894, where they raised their three children, Christopher, Clarkson and Caroline. Furber Jones’ mother also resided with the family. Unfortunately, tragedy struck in 1903, when Furber Jones died suddenly of pneumonia after a two-week illness. Among the prominent pallbearers were E. D. Latta and Walter Brem, another insurance man who built a house in Dilworth (1902, also designed by Hook).8 In May, 1904, jeweler Joseph Garibaldi bought the house from Mrs. Jones, and it remained in the Garibaldi family until 1971.9

Joseph (Joe) Garibaldi’s career was the classic fulfillment of the American dream. The son of Italian immigrants who left in the aftermath of the 1848 European revolutions, he was born in Mecklenburg County during the Civil War, in which his father served as a Confederate soldier. His grandfather was one of the early settlers of Belmont, NC to the west of Charlotte, which was once known as Garibaldi Station, and he was also a descendant of Giuseppi Garibaldi, the Italian patriot. After attending local schools, including that of Captain Barrier, at the age of twelve he was made an apprentice in the service of French jeweler P. Lasne, whose store was located on West Trade Street opposite the First Presbyterian Church. When he completed his apprenticeship four years later, he returned to school to finish his education, following which he worked for several different jewelry firms in Rock Hill, SC and Charlotte. After eight years of working for Farrier Jewelers in the location now occupied by the Garibaldi and Bruns Building just off the Square on Tryon Street, Joe Garibaldi and a co-worker, William L. Bruns ( 1872-1937) decided to open their own jewelry Store in 1896. During the day, both young men sold merchandise; but after the shop closed for the day, Garibaldi repaired watches and Bruns did all the engraving and jewelry repair so they could have the pieces ready for the next day.10

Their diligence and good timing in opening a business in the early years of a time of sustained, booming growth insured success. By 1903, the firm took in a friend, Harry Dixon ( 1872-1914), and thus it became Garibaldi, Bruns and Dixon until the latter’s untimely death in 1914, when it reverted to the previous name of Garibaldi and Bruns.11 By 1904, Joe Garibaldi was sufficiently well established to marry and start a family. In May of that year, he bought the Jones house, and the following July he married Edna Dunklin of Charlotte.12 Over the succeeding years, the jewelry firm did well, the Garibaldis raised four children, and Joe Garibaldi became a respected civic and political figure.

In 1907, as a leader of a progressive coalition of younger businessmen who wanted to see the city’s new growth and prosperity reflected in municipal services (their slogan was, “We want paved streets”), he was elected to the Board of Aldermen. Two years later, he was elected to the city’s newly formed Executive Board, and served in that post as Commissioner of Health; subsequently he also served as the city’s mayor pro term. After retiring from the jewelry business in 1934, twice he was elected to the state legislature, in 1934 and 1936. In addition to his political posts, Joe Garibaldi was on the board of directors of the Charlotte National Bank, St. Peter’s Hospital, and the Salvation Army, and belonged to several other civic and fraternal organizations. 13 His legacy was summarized in a local editorial:

 

His name has long and honorably been associated with the building of Charlotte. In business he achieved his success by the same marks of enthusiasm which dominated every act and attitude of his life. In both church and state, he was a factor of influence, widely esteemed, charitable of heart, magnetic of personality and wrong in the basic integrities. 14

The affluence which came as a result of the New South industrialization was soon reflected in changes in both the size and character of Charlotte. In 1890, entrepreneur Edward Dilworth Latta (1851-1925), a Princeton-educated South Carolina native, formed a land development company, the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company (known locally as the 4 C’s), and purchased a 422-acre tract adjacent to the southeast edge of town. In order to entice potential homebuyers out to the city’s first suburb, named Dilworth, the 4 C’s: installed a new electric trolley system which ran from Independence Square, in the center of town, into and around the new development; created an attractive park (Latta Park) at the heart of the suburb, which included a pond for boating, an outdoor pavilion which hosted traveling shows, and strolling pathways; and included a broad range of houses, with the fine houses located on the main boulevards, and more modest middle-class dwellings located on the side streets. 15

Thus the Jones-Garibaldi house achieves importance because: it is representative of the city’s early suburban growth which was made possible by Charlotte’s favorable position in the Piedmont’s New South industrialization of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; its architectural style characteristically reflects the time, the place, and the probable early work of a noted architect, Charles Christen Hook; it has a strong associative history with two figures who embody well the spirit and activity of a town experiencing rapid economic and demographic expansion.

 


NOTES

1 Thomas W. Hanchett, “Charlotte Neighborhood Survey,” Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1983-81; William H. Huffman, “Charlotte, North Carolina: From Cotton to Commerce, 1850-1930,” Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1982; LeGette Blythe and Charles R. Brockman, Hornets’ Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (Charlotte: Public Library of Charlotte, 1961), p. 449.

2 The Charlotte Observer, December 16, 1903, p. 1; Ibid., February 28, 1950. p. 3D.

3.Mecklenburg County Deed Book 105, p.142,1 December 1894.

4 The Charlotte Observer. December 16, 1903, p.1.

5 Morrill, cited above.

6 The Charlotte Observer. September 18, 1938, p.1; information on file with author.

7 The Charlotte Observer. September 8, 1894, p.4; ibid., September 15, 1894, p.4.

8 Mecklenburg County Deed Book 105, p.142, 1 December 1894; The Charlotte Observer. December 16, 1903,p 1.

9 Mecklenburg County Deed Book 188, p. 490, 19 May 1904; ibid., 3326, p. 381, 20 August 1971.

10 The Charlotte Observer. December 29, 1939, p. 1; ibid., February 13,1916, n. p.; letter from Garibaldi and Bruns, dated 24 July 1964, in vertical file at public library.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid.; Mecklenburg County Deed Book 188, p.490, 19 May 1904.

13 See note 10.

14The Charlotte Observer. December 20, 1939, p.6A.

15 Dan L. Morrill, “Edward Dilworth Latta and the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company (1890-1925): Builders of a New South City”, The North Carolina Historical Review, 62 (July, 1985), 293-316.

 


Selected Bibliography

Blythe, LeGette, and Charles R. Brockman, Hornets’ Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (Charlotte: Public Library of Charlotte, 1961)

The Charlotte Observer

Hanchett, Thomas W., “Charlotte Neighborhood Survey,” Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1983-84.

Huffman, William H., “Charlotte, North Carolina: from Cotton to Commerce, 1850-1930,” Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1982.

Morrill, Dan L., “Edward Dilworth Latta and the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company (1890-1925): Builders of a New South City,” The North Carolina Historical Review. 62 (July, 1985), 293-316.

 

Architectural Description


Dr. Dan L. Morrill

The Jones-Garibaldi House, erected in 1894 and located on a corner lot at 228 East Park Avenue, is one of the oldest extant houses in Dilworth, the streetcar suburb that Edward Dilworth Latta’s Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company, locally known as the Four C’s, opened on May 20, 1891. The overall massing and architectural form of the house, especially its transition toward Colonial Revivalism, suggest that it was designed by Charles Christian Hook (1869-1938), the first architect who resided in Charlotte throughout his career. Hook, who definitely fashioned two other Colonial Revival mansions on East Park Avenue in Dilworth — the Gautier-Gilchrist House (1897) and the Villalonga-Alexander House (1901) — had a seminal impact upon the history of architecture in Charlotte. Attesting to this fact is an article which appeared in the Charlotte Daily Observer in September, 1894. Commenting upon Hook’s intentions regarding design, the newspaper stated that he planned to erect a: “genuine, ‘ye olden time’ house…after the style of the typical Southern home, with four large columns, two full stories high, surmounted by a classical pediment. Mr. Hook… will make the plans after the true classical style of architecture, which at one time predominated in the South and is being revived. The most striking feature of the house will be its simplicity of design and convenience of arrangement. The so-called ‘filigree’ ornamentation will not be a consideration, and only the true design will be carried out and thus give Charlotte another new style….”

Although the structure which this newspaper article describes (the J. Frank Wilkes House on East Morehead Street) no longer exists, Hook’s design for that edifice inaugurated a gradual abandonment in Charlotte of the elaborate ornamentation of such Victorian styles as Queen Anne, which, interestingly, Hook continued to use on occasion. The Mallonee-Jones House (1895) at 400 East Kingston Avenue and the Robert J. Walker House (1901) at 329 East Park Avenue, for example, are Queen Anne style residences in Dilworth that Hook designed. But the Jones-Garibaldi House exhibits the Colonial Revival features which were to become the dominant motifs employed by Hook during his distinguished career as an architect.

The most distinctive quality of the Jones-Garibaldi House, and the one which definitively separates it from Victorian styles, is its symmetrical massing. The house is a wooden clapboard, two and one-half story, slate hip-roofed, three-bay wide, two-bay deep main block with a west side two-story splayed bay-window, a projection on the east side resembling a porte-cochere, and a two-story ell on the left rear. Especially important in emphasizing the overall harmony or balance of the exterior of the house is an imposing wraparound porch, which, happily, remains intact. Twenty-three wooden columns are grouped in twos and threes. Most approximating the Roman Doric Order, a design noted for its simplicity, the columns support an entablature which exhibits such traditional classical elements as triglyphs, with vernacular diamond-shaped decorations in the metopes at the corners of the porch. The wraparound porch has a balustrade with attenuated spindles and heavy, unadorned newels. Further underscoring the Colonial Revivalism of the Jones-Garibaldi House are pilasters at the corners of the main block, modillions along the front and side cornices, and a centered shed dormer on the front, also with modillions.

The centered front entrance is reached by cement steps, probably not original, which rise to the wraparound porch. Again; the entrance, which is slightly out of line with the second story center window, is Colonial Revival in design. Pilasters, sidelights, and two entrance lamps of recent origin, flank a frame door with a single beveled-edged light. A transom light and dentiled cornice are overhead. Outside steps to the basement are reached through trap doors which are just beyond the left rear of the wraparound porch. The rear porch and sunroom of the house have been enclosed, and the rear entrance to the porch has been eliminated. A handicapped access ramp on the west side of the house leads to a side entrance.

The interior of the house is also Colonial Revival in style, making it much less ornate than one would find in a Victorian dwelling. A reception foyer leads into a large living room, from which a stairway with quarter-landings rises to the second floor. The principal first floor rooms, which radiate off a center hallway, have substantial base, crown and chair rail moldings; and the two large rooms to the right of the entrance foyer have fireplaces, mantels, and pocket doors, all of which exhibit the essential restraint which is characteristic of Colonial Revivalism. An especially striking interior feature is a massive yellow brick mantel with a segmental-arched fireplace in the men’s parlor or den. The original flooring material also survives, but the ceilings have been covered with a stucco-like substance. Unfortunately, a butler’s pantry and kitchen were sacrificed during a recent renovation of the house. The second floor plan is similar to that of the first floor. Again, rooms radiate from a center hallway. A stairway at the end of the hallway leads to the first floor. Colonial Revival features, including three mantels, remain on the second floor.

No outbuildings survive. There is a large ginkgo tree in the sideyard on the right. An original or early sidewalk and steps lead from the eastern side of the house to the rear of the dwelling. The front sidewalk is of more recent origin.