THE LAMBETH-GOSSETT HOUSE
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the Lambeth-Gossett House is located at 923 Granville Road, Charlotte, North Carolina.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the property:
The owner of the property is:
W. Barnes and Camilla W. Hauptfuhrer
923 Granville Road
Charlotte, NC 28207
Telephone: (704) 372-4217
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.
6. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property prepared by Thomas W. Hanchett.
7. A brief architectural description of the property: This report contains a brief architectural description of the property prepared by Thomas W. Hanchett.
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 Lambeth-Gossett House does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations: 1) the Lambeth-Gossett House, erected in 1916, is one of Charlotte’s finest examples of Bungalow-influenced architecture; 2) the Lambeth-Gossett House is one of the older homes in the most imposing section of Myers Park, Charlotte’s elegant streetcar suburb that was developed by the Stephens Company and designed by John Nolen and Earle Sumner Draper; 3) owners of the Lambeth-Gossett House, most especially Charles E. Lambeth, Laura Cannon Lambeth, and Benjamin B. Gossett, have played prominent roles in the civic and business life of Charlotte and its environs.
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 Lambeth-Gossett 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 improvement is $309,200. The current appraised value of the .545 acres of land is $90,000. The total appraised value of the property is $399,200. The property is zoned R12.
Date of Preparation of this Report: May 4, 1987
Prepared by: Dr. Dan L. Morrill
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission
1225 S. Caldwell St. Box D
Charlotte, N.C., 28203
The Lambeth-Gossett house, emoted in 1916 in Charlotte’s posh suburb of Myers Park, has been associated with two distinguished Charlotte families. The first residents were Charles Lambeth, a real estate and insurance man who was later elected Mayor of the city, and his wife Laura Cannon Lambeth, who was a daughter of Cannon Mills founder James William Cannon. In 1921 the Lambeths sold the rambling Bungalow style dwelling to Benjamin B. Gossett. Gossett was a regionally prominent textile leader who controlled a chain of mills stretching across several states, and he resided at Granville Road throughout much of his professional career, until his death in 1951.
Charlotte and Myers Park in the 1910’s and 1920’s The first years of the twentieth century were perhaps Charlotte’s greatest boom period. Population doubled and redoubled as Charlotte become the banking and trading center of the vast new Piedmont textile manufacturing region. As early as 1906 over half the looms and spindles in the South were within a hundred mile radius of Charlotte, and by 1927 Charlotte was the hub for some 770 mills, which led the world in production of cotton thread and yarn.1 Between 1890 and 1930 Charlotte moved from being the Carolinas fifth-largest city, to a ranking as the number one urban center in North and South Carolina, the position it holds to this day.2 Beginning with trolley magnate E.D. Latta’s Dilworth in 1891, the fast-growing city sprouted a ring of streetcar suburbs.3 The grandest was Myers Park, a 1200 acre project begun in 1911 under the leadership of banker and real estate developer George Stephens.4 Stephens sent to Boston to hire one of the nation’s best young planners to lay out his suburb. Harvard-trained landscape architect John Nolen was then at the dawn of a career which would eventually number more than four hundred projects coast-to-coast.5 In his 1927 book New Towns for Old, Nolen devoted an entire chapter to Myers Park’s creation, calling it a neighborhood “Designed right from the first end influenced only by the best practice in modern town planning.”6 Nolen’s design for Myers Park introduced Charlotte to the concept of curving streets, shaped to follow natural topography. He created parks, moved in hundreds of trees to shade the avenues, and even provided landscape advice to early lot buyers. The attention to detail paid off, for Stephens quickly began selling lots to many of the city’s economic leaders, who formerly had clustered close to downtown. First to come were banking and real estate men, including Stephens himself. Next came the engineer-entrepreneurs of James Buchanan Duke’s Southern (now Duke) Power Company, pioneer supplier of hydroelectricity to the textile region. The third major group to arrive in Myers Park were the textile mill owners themselves not usually the mill tenders, who stayed in the small towns near their enterprises, but rather their sons and daughters.
The House’s First Years, 1916-1921
In Myers Park’s initial decade, the most desirable building sites clustered close to the greensward of J.S. Myers Park. The park was the former front yard of the farmhouse of John Springs Myers. Myers had planted trees, shrubs and flowers around the homeplace for years before finally deeding his huge cotton farm to son-in-law, George Stephens. Under the old trees, facing the new streets of Hermitage Road, Ardsley Road, Harvard Place, and Granville Road, now rose the homes of such men as Southern Power executives E.C. Marshall, Norman Cocke, Z.Y. Taylor, and J.B. Duke; financial and real estate leaders George Stephens, John Bass Brown, and H.M. Wade; furniture manufacturer H.M. Wade; and department store man David Ovens. The lot that holds 923 Granville Road was part of this elite enclave. It was located one house away from J.S. Myers Park on a quiet, winding sidestreet shown as “Avenue F” on Nolen’s early drawings. Before long the street was given the name “Granville Road”, in honor of the British Earl Granville, one of the owners of the Carolina colony in its earliest decades.7 The Granville Road parcel, known officially as Lot 3 of Block 7 of Myers Park, was sold by the Stephens Company in 1912 to a Edwin Howard. Real estate man T.C. Guthrie acquired it in 1913, then transferred the still-vacant parcel to A.D. Glascock on April 10, 1916.8
A.D. Glascock was one of several entrepreneurs who played an active role in early house construction in Myers Park. His practice was to buy a building lot, erect a house, then sell it to an owner-occupant. Glascock built a number of the neighborhood’s most substantial early residences in this manner, including dwellings that stand at 221 Hermitage Road and 1626 Queens Road. At 923 Granville Road, Glascock took out a permit to begin water service on May 5, 1916.9 This action typically signaled the beginning of construction for a building. Barely six weeks later, likely with construction just underway, A.D. Glascock sold the property to Laura Cannon Lambeth: June 21, 1916. 10
Laura Cannon Lambeth ( -1952) was daughter of James William Cannon (1852-1921 ), one of the most influential men in the rise of the Carolina textile industry. In 1887, he built his first mill in the Cabarrus County village of Concord. Prior to Cannon, most Piedmont mills had produced yarn or semi-finished “greige goods.” James Cannon was able to produce finished goods; his lines of bed linens and towels made Cannon a nationally-known brand name. By the 1910’s, he controlled a chain of enterprises, most of them centered in the company-owned town of Kannapolis, thirty miles northeast of Charlotte. Some of his ten sons and daughters made their homes near the family business, but several, including Martin L. Cannon and Laura Cannon Lambeth, took up residence in Charlotte’s Myers Park. Laura came to Charlotte to marry young Charles E. Lambeth (1894?- 1948). Lambeth was born in Fayetteville, NC, about 1894 and came to Charlotte after schooling at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1916 he was working for brother, Walter Lambeth, who ran the insurance department of Charlotte’s American Trust Company (predecessor to today’s mammoth NCNB, the South’s largest banking corporation).13 It was no surprise that Charles and Laura Lambeth looked to Myers Park for their first home. Developer George Stephens was also a founder and officer of American Trust and thus Lambeth’s boss!
The Granville Road house was quite a residence for a pair of newlyweds in their early twenties more than five thousand square feet on two floors. But the Lambeths lived for only a short time in the spacious new house. In 1918, the United States entered World War I, Charles Lambeth quit the insurance department at the bank and joined the U.S. Navy.14 He volunteered for training in the new air corps, a daring move in that pioneering era of cloth-winged aircraft. He went to a special Navy flight school at Harvard University, then was stationed at Rockaway Beach, Long Island, where his wife joined him. When the Lambeths left Charlotte, they are said to have rented their house to the James B. Duke family. Durham-born Duke had amassed a fortune in the cigarette business and ranked among the world’s richest men. Toward the end of the 1910’s he got the idea of owning a Southern home to supplement his mansions in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere. Duke had a new wife and a new young daughter, whom he wanted to introduce to the Southern lifestyle he fondly remembered from his youth. Besides, he needed a residence where he could oversee his burgeoning hydroelectric investments. In March of 1919, Duke purchased the recently-constructed house of employee Z.Y. Taylor, which overlooked picturesque Edgehill Greenway in Myers Park.15
He hired architect C.C. Hook to remodel end expand the dwelling into a forty-five room mansion (500 Hermitage Reed, listed in the National Register of Historic Places). The story is told that Mrs. Duke and daughter Doris took up residence for most of a year at 923 Granville Road, in order to oversee the renovation of the mansion. 16 When the Lambeths returned to Charlotte, Charles went into the automobile business, opening an agency to sell Dodge cars and trucks. Perhaps in order to raise capital for this venture, the couple sold the rambling house on Granville Road in 1921 and moved into a more modest Myers Park dwelling at 6 Hermitage Court.17 The auto business seems to have been short-lived, for Charles Lambeth was soon back in insurance, at the helm of his own successful firm, the Charles E. Lambeth Insurance Agency. About 1927 the couple commissioned nationally-prominent Philadelphia architect Charles Barton Keen to design a grand new house at 435 Hermitage Road.18 This eclectic Revivalist design, right on J.S. Myers Park, remains a Charlotte landmark. After leaving Granville Road, Charles Lambeth emerged as a major Charlotte leader. He served as Mayor of Charlotte 1931-1933, City Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem 1947-1948, and member of the School Board for several years.19 “Charlie Lambeth hiss one of Charlotte s leading citizens,” said Mayor Herbert Baxter when Lambeth died in 1948.20 “Mr. Lambeth had long been recognized as one of the most public-spirited men in Charlotte, and he made important contributions to the progressive development of the community,” noted the Charlotte Observer. “Possessor of en exceptionally attractive personality, he was held in high esteem not only in Charlotte but in other communities.21
Home of Benjamin and Katherine Gossett, 1921-1961
On December 6, 1921, Benjamin B. Gossett (1884-1951) purchased 923 Granville Road from the Lambeths.22 The Gossett family name is today less well-known then the Cannons, but the Gossett clan wielded considerable power in the Carolina textile economy of the first half of the twentieth century. Benjamin’s father, James Pleasant Gossett (1860-1939), was a successful merchant in Williamston, South Carolina, when he took over the presidency of the town’s ailing cotton mill in 1901. J.P. Gossett built the one mill into a chain of for factories, and became an important figure in a variety of trade associations, serving as President of the American Cotton Manufacturers Association in 1927.23 Benjamin B. Gossett entered the family textile business in 1907 after education at Clemson University and the U.S. Naval Academy.24 With his father and brother he worked to add more plants to the Gossett chain, and by the late 1910’s the funnily owned the Williamston, Brogan, Calhoun, Riverside and Toxaway mills in South Carolina. In 1921 the Gossetts purchased control of the Chadwick-Hoskins mill group in Charlotte. Organized in 1908 as one of the region’s pioneer chains, it included the city’s Chadwick, Hoskins, Alpha, and Louise mills, plus the Dover Mill in nearby Pineville. Benjamin Gossett became president of the new acquisition, and took up residence in Myers Park. B. B. Gossett lived at 923 Granville Road for the remainder of his long and busy career. He was president not only of the Chadwick-Hoskins group, but also of the Cohanett Mills in Fingerville, South Carolina, and the Martinsville Cotton Mill in Martinsville, Virginia. He continued to serve as vice president and/or treasurer of several of the family’s South Carolina mills, including the Williamston, Toxeway, and Brogon plants. In 1939, upon his father’s death, Benjamin B. Gossett took over leadership of the entire Gossett chain. He sold the enterprise in 1946 to Textron, Inc., for an estimated $13 million dollars. During the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s, as he helped guide the growing Gossett holdings from his downtown offices in Charlotte’s Johnston Building, Benjamin B. Gossett also undertook a broad range of related professional activities. He served on the boards of directors of several other textile concerns, plus a number of banks, railroads, and insurance companies, among them the Seaboard Railway, the Piedmont & Northern Railway, the Central Railroad of Georgia, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, and the Turner, Halsey company of New York. B.B. Gossett followed in his father’s footsteps as an active member of regional and national trade associations.
He helped found the Cotton-Textile Institute and served as president of the American Cotton Manufacturers Association 1932- 1933. Though he seems never to have held elective office, Gossett filled important supportive positions in state and federal government which gave him a measure of influence over the entire textile manufacturing economy. From 1927 to 1930 he was chair of the commerce and industry division of North Carolina’s Board of Conservation and Development. Under the National Recovery Act during the Great Depression, he was “a member of the code authority of the cotton textile industry.”25 During World War II, Gossett served as industry member for the regional organization of the National War Labor board Chairman of the industrial salvage division of the War Production board for North Carolina.26 During his years in the Myers Park house Benjamin Gossett and his wife Katherine Clayton Gossett (1886?-1965) raised three children. James P. Gossett II became a judge in Idaho. Katherine Gossett married Charlottean S. Frank Jones, a textile executive. Phillip C. Gossett built a chain of motion picture theaters in the South.27 Benjamin Gossett was also active in the educational and cultural affairs of his region, endowing the Gossett Lecture Series at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and working for the “reactivation of the Stonewall chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Charlotte.”28 When Benjamin Gossett died of a heart attack at his office in 1951 at the age of 67, widow Katherine inherited the Granville Road house. She continued to live there until moving to smaller quarters nearby on Hempsteed Place near the end of her life. She died in 1965.29
The Tull, Warren, and Hauptfuhrer Families, 1961-1987
On September 19, 1961, Catharine Gossett sold her long-time residence to Charles W. Tull and his wife Phyllis.30 Mr. Tull operated the Tull Development company, which built and leased small office buildings throughout Charlotte. The couple had four children, and made good use of the big house. In September of 1967, the Tulls moved to a newer section of southeast Charlotte. C. Carl Warren, Jr., physician at nearby Presbyterian Hospital, bought the dwelling.31 He and wife Josephine lived there for almost twenty years. In December of 1986 the Warren family sold to W. Barnes Haupfuhrer and his wife. Barnes Hauptfuhrer is an investment banker with Kidder-Peabody. Wife Camilla Robinson Hauptfuhrer is a grandniece of Benjamin B. Gossett.32 They are having the house remodeled as residence for themselves and their young child.
1 Thomas W. Hanchett, “Charlotte Suburban Development in the Textile and Trade Center of the Carolinas, in Catherine Bishir and Lawrence Earley, eds., Early Twentieth Century Suburbs in North Carolina (Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, l 985), p.70. Thomas W. Hanchett, “Charlotte and Its Neighborhoods The Growth of a New South City,1850-1930,- 1986,” chapter 1 (unpublished manuscript in the files of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission).
2 United States Bureau of the Census, Sixteenth Census: 1940, volume 1, pp.772, 976. These pages conveniently recap population figures for major Carolina cities, beginning with 1790.
3 For a map of Charlotte’s streetcar suburbs see Hanchett, “Charlotte. Suburban Development,”. p.71. For background on the streetcar suburb phenomenon read Sam Bass Werner, Jr., Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of Suburban Growth in Boston.1870- 1900 (Cambridge, Massachusetts Harvard University and the M.I.T. Press, 1962).
4 For additional background on Myers Park, see Mary Norton Kratt and Thomas W. Hanchett, Legacy: The Myers Park Story ( Charlotte: The Myers Park Foundation, 1986).
5 John L. Hancock, “John Nolen and the American City Planning Movement: A History of Cultural Change and Community Response,1900-1940 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1964), pp.1 -20. See also John L. Hancock, John Nolen: Bibliographical Record of Achievement (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University, Program in Urban and Regional Studies, 1976).
6 John Nolen, New Towns For Old: Achievements in Civic Improvement for Some American Small Towns and Neighborhoods ( Boston: Marshall Jones, 1927), p. 1 00. A copy of this book is in the collection of the Carolina Room of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
7 Hugh Talmage Lefler and Albert Ray Newsome, North Carolina: The History of a Southern State, 3rd edition (Chapel Hill, North Carolina University of North Carolina Press, 1973), p. 156.
8 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: map book 230, p.128; deed book 289, p. 606; deed book 302, p.592; deed book 349, p.456.
9 Charlotte Mecklenburg Utility Department: water permit 6596.
10 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: deed book 358, p.612.
11 W.M. McLaurine, James William Cannon (1852-1921): His Plants, His People, His Philosophy ( New York: The Newcomen Society in North Carolina, 1951). For Laura’s obituary, see the Concord Tribune July 1,1952. She and Lambeth divorced in 1933, and both later remarried.
12 Charlotte Observer, September 13, 1948. Lambeth’s passing was important enough to warrant an article at the top of page one of the newspaper.
13 City directory collection in the Carolina Room of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
14 Unattributed newspaper clipping dated June 25,1918, in Lambeth’s vertical file in the Carolina Room of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. See also Charlotte Observer, September 13,1948.
15 Dan L. Morrill, “White Oaks, the J.B. Duke Mansion: Survey and Research Report, unpublished report prepared for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1977.
16 Phyllis Tull, past owner, telephone interview with Thomas W. Hanchett, March 27, 1987. Camilla Hauptfuher, present owner and grandniece of past owner B.B. Gossett, interview with Thomas W. Hanchett, February 20, 1987. Camilla Hauptfuhrer heard the story from previous owner Carl Warren.
17 City directory collection.
18 Hanchett and Kratt, Legacy: the Myers Park Story, pp.182-84.
19 LeGette Blythe and Charles Brockmann, Hornets’ Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (Charlotte: McNally of Charlotte, l961), pp.450, 452. Charlotte Observer, September 13, 1948.
20 Charlotte Observer, September 13,1948.
22 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: deed book 454, page 176.
23 Marjorie W. Young, ed. Textile Leaders of the South (Columbia, South Carolina: R.L. Bryon Company, 1963), pp.76-77,751.
24 Unless otherwise noted, biographical information on B.C. Gossett in this historical sketch is down from: ibid.; Charlotte Observer, November 14, 1951; and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, volume I (Chicago: Larkin, Roosevelt & Larkin, Ltd., 1947), p.564.
25 Charlotte Observer, November 14,1951. Gossett was such on important figure that his obituary and a large photo were featured now the top of the front page of the paper.
27 S. Frank Jones, telephone interview with Thomas W. Hanchett, March 30,1987.
28 Charlotte Observer, November 14,1951.
29 For death certificates see the Mecklenburg County Bond of Health vital statistics files for November 13,1951 (#1482) and January 25,1965 (#177). For Mrs.Gossett’s obituary see the Charlotte Observer, January 26, 1965.
30 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: deed book 223g, p. 194. Phyllis Tull, telephone interview with Thomas W. Hanchett, March 27, 1987.
31 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office. deed book 2893, p.584. Warren added a sliver of land along one side of the lot in 1975. See deed book 3796, p.916.
32 Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds Office: Wed book 5396, p.564. Camille Hauptfuhrer, telephone interview with Thomas W. Hanchett, March 30,1986.
Built in 1916, the Lambeth-Gossett house is one of Charlotte’s finest examples of Bungalow-influenced architecture. It is located on a quiet, curving sidestreet near the heart of Myers Park, Charlotte’s, premier “streetcar suburb.” The rambling two-story exterior, with bracketed gables, wood-shingle siding, and stone chimneys, is in very good original condition. The interior appears to have been remodeled in the Colonial Revival style sometime in the mid-20th century, but it retains a handsome progression of spaces, and a richly panelled library.1
The outside of the Lambeth-Gossett house has the woodsy look of a hunting lodge. This was characteristic of the Bungalow style inspired by the rustic trail-side shelters of British India, and brought to America at the end of the 1890’s.2 During the 1900’s and 1910’s many thousands of houses across the United States were decorated in “hand-hewn” chic — asymmetrical massing, exposed rafters in the eaves, wood shingles, prominent porches, chunky window and door woodwork, and hearty chimneys built up of rounded boulders. When Myers Park opened in 1911, this rough-and-ready style was adopted by many of the suburb’s wealthiest new residents. Its imagery was perfect for a neighborhood whose developers advertised, “Out of the dust, out of the heat — a country home on a city street.”3 In massing, the Lambeth-Gossett house is strongly asymmetrical. It consists of a two-story main block enlivened by numerous gabled bays and porches, and a pair of two-story rear wings. One wing, which held service spaces and a sleeping porch, juts off at a picturesque angle. The other wing, which holds the library and a bedroom, is said to have been added by the Gossett family when they bought the house in 1921.4 It extends straight back from the main block. The main block is a welter of slate-covered gable roofs. A large asymmetrical gable dominates the front facade. Its wide eaves are decorated with rafter-like brackets, and a carved pendant hangs down from the peak. On the south side of this main gable, there is a secondary gable, a tall chimney of angular stones, and also gabled sunporch.
To the north of the main gable, there extends a roof ridge terminating in a jerkin-head side gable. A massive front chimney promises a cheery hearth within. Walls of the main block are finished in dark brown wood-shingles. Windows come in a variety of rectangular shapes and sizes, double-hung and hinged sashes. Most have small square or rectangular multiple panes. Here and there bracketed window hoods and flower boxes project. In front of the chimney runs the broad main porch, covering half of the first-story facade. It consists of a flat-roofed pergola-like section with scalloped rafter ends and massive Doric columns, and a smaller entry bay whose gabled roof is carried on stone arches. The rear of the house is finished in much the same manner as the facades visible from the street. All walls are wood-shingled. The 1921 library/bedroom wing is skill fully blended with the 1916 house. The wing has a slate-sheathed hip roof with exposed rafters in the eaves, and an exterior stone chimney at the rear. The wing’s second story windows are four-over-four-pane double-hung sash units, but the downstairs openings have hinged sash with tiny diamond-shaped panes, giving an Elizabethan architectural flavor. The service/sleeping porch wing also has a hip roof and a stone chimney. A shed-roofed one-story projection extends from the end of this wing. Between the two wings, a bit of the main block of the house is visible. Its second story features a bank of windows, decorated with flower boxes. The first story is a row of doors, opening from the grand hall inside onto a rear terrace.
This terrace, with a Neoclassical balustrade of carved stone, is being rebuilt by the present owners The Lambeth-Gossett House, like most Myers Park houses, is sited on a fairly compact lot — slightly more than half an acre. Trees and shrubs are arranged naturalistically, in keeping with the dwelling’s rustic character. The driveway runs along the north side of the residence, from the street back to the detached garage. The garage is located at the back corner of the lot, but nonetheless almost touches the house. The architecture of the outbuilding echoes that of the main dwelling. It is one-and-a-half stories tall with a jerkin-head roof, and wood-shingle siding. Eave trim end window treatment are borrowed from the residence. Downstairs the garage has space for two cars. Above, reached by a delightfully winding rear stairway with tongue-and-groove walls, is a former servant’s quarter, now greatly remodeled. An interesting feature of the garage area is actually part of the adjoining John Bass Brown House. The Brown garage, a brick Colonial style structure, sits right next to the Lambeth-Gossett driveway. William Peeps, architect of the John Bass Brown House circa 1924, thoughtfully finished the back of the brick garage in wood-shingle siding, stained dark brown to match the Lambeth-Gossett decor.
In the late 1920’s and 1930’s, the Bungalow style passed out of favor in America. Rediscovered “historical” styles became the vogue, propelled in part by the widely publicized restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. By the middle of the century in Myers Park, as elsewhere across the nation, stylish housewives who could afford the expense hired workmen to rip out robust Bungalow, Tudor and Craftsman style interior detailing and substitute the delicate molding and mantels of the Colonial Revival. Among the Myers Park houses known to have been treated in the manner are the E.C. Marshall House, 500 Hermitage Road, and the Earle Sumner Draper House, 1621 Queens Road. The Lambeth-Gossett house evidently met the same fate.5 There is no evidence that any walls were moved or eliminated, but most of the interior trim was apparently replaced, except for the handsomely panelled library, a number of doors, and possibly one bedroom mantel. Today most of the mantels and woodwork are in the Colonial style with elegant molding. The renovation was skillfully and tastefully done, leaving few clues for even the practiced eye. The strongest hint is in the dining room at the front of the first story.
The exterior here has a prominent exterior stone chimney, but its promise of a fireplace inside is not kept. The dining room almost certainly did have a fireplace originally, but there is now no trace of it. Another strong hint is found in the south front bedroom, where a small window visible on the exterior is nowhere to be seen inside. A less obvious clue is embodied in the interior doors throughout the house. They are four-panel units which lack any decorative molding around the panels, an omission which characterizes the rough-hewn aesthetic of the Bungalow, and contrasts with the dainty Colonial Revival embellishment seen in nearby mantels and other trim. One enters the Lambeth-Gossett House through a massive Bungalow- style doorway framed with sidelights and a high arched transom. Immediately inside is a foyer/hallway with a heavy modillion cornice. To the right through an archway is the living room, and beyond it the sunporch and the library To the left through another archway is the dining room, and beyond it the kitchen and pantry areas. Straight ahead through a pair of massive pocket doors ( still operable) is the grand stairhall, with its French doors opening onto the rear terrace. The focus of the living room is an Adamesque mantel. It features fluted pilasters, Grecian dentils, carved swag, molding, and a carved oval center panel depicting a bowl of flowers. Inside the mantel is a fireplace surround of white marble with bold black figuring.
Flanking the mantel are the French doors to the sunporch, which has a quarry-tile floor and abundant windows. At the back of the living room is the door to the library (a small bathroom with mostly new fixtures is tucked between the living room and the library). The library is among the finest of its kind in Charlotte. It is panelled floor to ceiling in warm-toned wood, and a modillion cornice runs around the ceiling. Diamond-pane windows filter the afternoon sunlight. A fireplace with a wood-panel led breast and a heavy Doric-columned mantel provides the room’s focus. The room’s detailing includes a black-grained marble fireplace surround, built-in bookcases, and electric sconces of hammered brass. The dining room is plainly though handsomely finished, with no fireplace. Until the 1960’s, it had French doors which opened onto the front porch, but these were replaced with windows in a remodeling directed by owner Phyllis Tull. Behind the dining room, through a small swinging door, is the kitchen-pantry area. This area has been greatly remodeled over the years, retaining only its exterior walls and a servants’ stair to the second floor. All kitchen cabinets and a number of walls were removed at Phyllis Tull’s direction in 1961 to create a large “country-kitchen.”6
Today owner Camilla Hauptfuhrer is removing virtually all of the surviving interior partitions, and plans to add a new exterior window. Two early windows remaining have interesting hardware — interior cranks operate exterior-louvered shutters. The grand stairwell is literally and figuratively the heart of the Lambeth-Gossett House. It is a delightful two-story open space which rivals the living room in floor area. At its first floor rear is the bank of glass doors opening onto the back yard. At its first floor right winds the wide stair, which now has slender turned balusters which may not be original. The stair rises to a balcony-like landing, and then to the second floor. Around three sides of the second floor level is a balcony, onto which all the upstairs rooms open. The result is a masterful piece of architectural design, which visually connects upstairs and downstairs, interior and garden, and which provides an elegant promenade for partygoers or casual guests. There are four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a spacious sleeping porch upstairs. Throughout there are wide baseboards and simple cornices. The north front bedroom boasts an elegant mantel with slender paired columns, and a safe hidden behind wood paneling. The south front bedroom contains the “hidden window” apparently covered during mid-century remodeling. The rear bedroom above the library appears to retain its original 1921 mantel, ornamented with chunky pilasters rather than dainty columns.
This room also has a big closet with a built-in chest of drawers and a light that goes on automatically when the door opens. Few of the original bathroom fixtures survive, though the south bathroom still has its high-tiled wainscoting and an extra-long tub. The north bathroom has been completely gutted by the Hauptfuhrer’s work crew, revealing a pencilled notation “J.H. Erwin, June 27, 1917” left on the wooden framing by an early workman. Next to the bathroom is the sleeping porch. These rooms were popular in the 1910’s, when sleeping with plenty of fresh air was though to be healthful especially in the prevention of tuberculosis. The Lambeth-Gossett sleeping porch resembles a moderate sized bedroom completely lined with windows. Opening off the second floor balcony is the stair to the attic. Inside the attic door is an ancient fuse box. At the top of the stair are several rooms with walls and ceilings sheathed in tongue-and-groove woodwork. The attic over the main block of the house is completely finished in this manner, though the spaces over the rear wings are left unfinished. One room has a skylight, which appears to be original. Another is a walk-in cedar closet, built to store out-of-season clothes and draperies.
1 It has not been possible to determine the house’s architect. No pre-1954 building permits for 923 Granville Road survive in the files of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Building Standards Office. Extant permits date from 1954 (installation of a gas range), 1961 (remodeling of the kitchen and minor repairs to the rest of the house), 1970 (electrical upgrading), and 1975 (electrical upgrading).
2 Clay Lancaster, “The American Bungalow, in Dell Upton end John Michael Vlach, eds., Common Places. Readings in American Vernacular Architecture (Athens, Georgia University of Georgia Press, 1986).
3 Thomas W. Hanchett, “Charlotte: Suburban Development in the Textile and Trade Center of the Carolinas,” in Catherine Bishir and Lawrence Earley, ads, Early Twentieth Century Suburbs in North Carolina (Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1985), p. 74.
4 S. Frank Jones, telephone interview with Thomas W. Hanchett, March 30, 1987.
5 The Draper and Marshall renovations were done in the 1940s and 1950s. However, Charlotteon S. Frank Jones, who married Gossett daughter Katherine in 1931, remembers no major renovations to 923 Granville Road during his long association with the family. It is possible that Laura Cannon Lambeth was responsible for the Colonial woodwork. She may have directed a redesign of the Bungalow’s interior while it was under construction in 1916. There is no question that she was a partisan of delicate Colonial architecture by 1927, for her Charles Barton Keen-designed residence at 435 Hermitage Road is strongly influenced by that style.
6 Building permits, and Phyllis Toll, telephone interview with Thomas W. Hanchett, March 27, 1987. Hanchett: Lambeth-Gossett House, April 2, 1987.