Lucas House, Alice Craft and John Paul
THE JOHN PAUL AND ALICE CRAFT LUCAS HOUSE
This photo was taken before the house was under restoration. It now houses a restaurant.
This is a more recent photo of the house after restoration was complete.
This report was written on 31 August 1992
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House is located at 1601 East Seventh Street, Charlotte, in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the property:
The owner of the property is:
Judith Chipley Hudson
2908 Park Road
Charlotte, North Carolina 28209
Telephone: (704) 373-1215
Tax Parcel Number: 080-205-01
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 maps which depict the location of the property.
5. Current Deed Book Reference to the property: The most recent deed to Tax Parcel Number 080-205-01 is listed in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 5955 on page 942.
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 Ms. Nora M. Black.
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 its history, architecture and /or cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property known as the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations:
1) the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House was constructed in Charlotte’s second streetcar suburb, Elizabeth, in 1913;
2) the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House was purchased by John Paul Lucas, a managing editor of the Charlotte Evening Chronicle, for $8,500 in 1913;
3) Mr. Lucas deeded the house to his wife, Alice Craft Lucas;
4) Mr. Lucas was publicity manager for the Southern Public Utilities Company by 1920 and later became a vice-president of Duke Power Company;
5) Mr. Lucas was active in civic affairs of both Charlotte and North Carolina;
6) Mr. Lucas, always interested in farming and agriculture, served as executive assistant state food administrator under the United States Food Administration;
7) Mrs. Lucas graduated from Trinity College, now Duke University, in 1905;
8) Mrs. Lucas served as the southern correspondent for the Boston Transcript newspaper;
9) the Lucas family moved to Eastover in 1930 but retained the Seventh Street house as a rental property;
10) the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House passed to the mortgage holder in a 1936 foreclosure;
11) Mr. William Calhoun McIntire, who bought the house in 1938, lived there with his family for about thirty years;
12) the house was purchased by the Chipley family in 1969;
13) the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House is architecturally significant as Craftsman house constructed in the bungalow style;
14) the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House has many exterior features, such as the Tudor false half-timbering and wood shingle siding, that are intact and in good condition;
15) the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House has many interior appointments, such as the massive fireplaces, the woodwork, and the pocket doors, that are intact and in very good condition; and
16) the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House can provide valuable insight into the era when Charlotte’s citizens were adjusting to “life in the suburbs.”
b. Integrity of design setting, workmanship, materials, feeling, and/or association: The Commission contends that the architectural description by Ms. Nora M. Black included in this report demonstrates that the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas 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 a designated “historic landmark.” The current appraised value of the improvement is $17,140. The current appraised value of the 0.20 acres of Tax Parcel 080-205-01 is $60,900. The total appraised value of the property is $78,040. The property is zoned B2.
Date of Preparation of this Report: 31 August 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. O. Box 35434
Charlotte, North Carolina
Built in 1913, the Lucas House is representative of suburban development for middle-class residents in the Elizabeth neighborhood that took place prior to World War I. Located about one and one-third miles southeast of the Square at the intersections of Seventh Street and Louise Avenue, it is also associated with Charlotte’s first public park, Independence Park, and a prominent resident, John Paul Lucas (1885-1940). Following the successful 1890s opening of suburban development in Dilworth and the establishment of an electric trolley line to take residents to work by Edward Dilworth Latta (1851-1925), other developers began to follow suit. What is now the Elizabeth neighborhood was the city’s second streetcar-related suburb and was built in sections by different developers. It began with development by the Highland Park Company along Elizabeth Avenue in the 1890s, but was given a boost by the 1903 extension of the trolley line up Elizabeth Avenue to Elizabeth College, now the site of Presbyterian Hospital (the neighborhood gets its name from the College, which was named for Ann R Macbeth Watts, wife of college benefactor Gerard S. Watts).
In 1900, Piedmont Park was laid out on land purchased from Col. W. R. Myers (who also owned the land where Myers Park would be built later), and the Oakhurst section was platted shortly thereafter. The last two sections to be laid out were Elizabeth Heights in 1904 and Rosemont in 1913. As in Dilworth, in the early twentieth century the wealthy built grand houses on the major boulevards in Elizabeth, and the side streets contained mostly modest middle-class bungalows and rectilinear-style houses.1 As an amenity to attract buyers to the suburbs, Latta had included Latta Park as part of his development, and the Elizabeth developers recognized the value of doing the same. Thus when Piedmont Park was designed in 1900, six acres were set aside for that purpose. When Elizabeth Heights was laid out, it also provided for parkland, and the two developments donated both areas to the city for Independence Park, which was dedicated as the city’s first public park on August 4,1904. The city formed the Charlotte Park and Tree Commission to oversee construction of the park, which, in 1905, hired John Nolen, a newly-graduated Harvard landscape architect, to do his first major project. After designing Independence Park, Nolen later laid out Myers Park, did city plans for the cities of Asheville and Charlotte, and executed a number of other North Carolina and nationwide projects, some four hundred in all. He probably provided the biggest influence on the look of much of Charlotte outside the center city today, with its curving, tree-lined streets.2
The lots at the corner of Seventh Street and Louise Avenue were still undeveloped when they were bought by the Carolina Realty Company in 1912 and further subdivided into four pie-shaped build lots, which were called Independence Circle, since they faced the park.3 After the house on the wedge-shaped parcel on the corner was completed in late spring or early summer, 1913, it was bought in July by John Paul Lucas for $8,500, who shortly thereafter deeded it to his wife, Alice Craft Lucas l884-1962) (a common practice to avoid the loss of the house if the husband suffered business reverses).4 John Paul Lucas was a native of Black Creek, NC and moved with his parents to Charlotte while he was still in school. At the age of seventeen, he became a cub reporter for the Charlotte Observer. Later he became the editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, and returned to Charlotte as the managing editor of the Charlotte Evening Chronicle. He held the latter position in 1913 when be bought the house on East Seventh Street. By 1920, he became the publicity manager for the Southern Public Utilities Company, which was later incorporated into Duke Power Company. After Duke Power was formed, Lucas became a vice-president and manager of merchandise and publicity. In addition to being active in Charlotte’s civic affairs (the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary club) and his church, he maintained a great interest in agriculture. Lucas operated a large farm of his own, and was elected president of the North Carolina Farmer’s Convention in 1916 and 1917. With the U.S. entry into the war, he was appointed executive secretary of the North Carolina State Food Conservation Commission, and later became executive assistant state food administrator under the United States Food Administration. For many years, he was chairman of the agricultural and rural affairs departments of the Chamber of Commerce, and he actively campaigned for the establishment in Charlotte of various food packaging plants, particularly for poultry and beef. He was also active in extending rural electrification throughout Duke Power’s operating area, and traveled the state to address farmer’s groups and others about agricultural advancement and rural development.5
Alice Craft Lucas was a Wilmington native, and graduated from Trinity College, now Duke University, in 1905. In 1907, she and John Paul Lucas, then the editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, wed and moved to Charlotte the following year. At one time, she was the southern correspondent for the old Boston Transcript newspaper. A member of Myers Park Methodist Church, she was also active in the Charlotte Woman’s Club and the Research Book Club. The Lucases had three children: a daughter, Mrs. Douglas H. Sprunt of Memphis, Tenn., and two sons, John Paul Lucas, Jr. (who also became a vice-president of Duke Power), and Charles L. Lucas.6 In 1930, the Lucas family moved to a bigger house on Cherokee Road in a newer suburb, Eastover, but retained ownership of the Elizabeth house and rented it out.7 In 1936, it passed to the mortgageholder in a foreclosure, and in 1938 was bought by William Calhoun McIntire, who lived there with his family for some thirty years.8 In 1969, Francis Gilbert Chipley bought the house from McIntire’s daughter and deeded it to his wife, Leola Plyler Chipley, the following year.9 Mr. Chipley has maintained his real estate offices, Chipley Realty Company, next door at 406 Louise Avenue, and Mrs. Chipley operated Lee’s Antiques from the house until about five years ago.10 In 1989, ownership of the house passed to the Chipleys’ daughter, Judith Chipley Hudson, and it is presently being used for storage.11
1 Thomas B. Hanchett, “Charlotte and Its Neighborhoods: The Growth of a New South City,” unpublished, unpaginated manuscript, copyright 1986 by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission.
3 Mecklenburg County Deed Book 283, p. 513, 2 Jan.1912; Map Book 230, p.167.
4 Mecklenburg County Deed Book 314, p. 478, 3 July 1913; ibid., Book 314, p.654, 29 Sept. 1913.
5 Charlotte Observer 29 September 1940, Sect.2, p.1; Charlotte City Directory, 1913, p. 277.
6 Ibid., 20 March 1962, p. ?
7 Charlotte City Directory 1930, pp.548 & 1199.
8 Mecklenburg County Deed Book 876, p. 154, 20 Jan.1936; ibid., Book 941, p.207, 2 Feb. 1938; Charlotte City Directories 1938-1969.
9 Mecklenburg County Deed Book; 3136, p. 344, 20 Oct. 1969; ibid., Book 3224, p.585, 18 Sept. 1970.
10 Interview with Francis G. Chipley by William H. Huffman, 3 September 1992; interview with Judy Chipley Hudson by William H. Huffman, 9 September 1992.
11 Mecklenburg County Deed Book 5955, p. 942, 29 January 1989.
The John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House is located at 1601 East Seventh Street in the Elizabeth neighborhood of Charlotte. The house occupies a corner lot on the northwest side of East Seventh Street at its intersection with Louise Avenue. The front or southwest facade of the house is not parallel with either street. Instead, that facade faces the corner. The rear or northeast facade overlooks a small back yard bordered on the southeast by an asphalt parking lot. The house is located on a wedge-shaped lot of 0.20 acres owned by Judith Chipley Hudson. Although it was last used as an antique shop, it is currently vacant. The John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House is an Eclectic House built in the Craftsman style. The house is a subtype of the Craftsman style called the Bungalow. At the end of the 19th century, American housing was dominated by period styles such as Italian Renaissance, Chateauesque, Beaux Arts, Tudor, or Colonial Revival. “This early emphasis on period styles was interrupted and almost overwhelmed by the first wave of architectural modernism which, in the form of the Craftsman and Prairie styles, dominated American houses built during the first two decades…”2 of the 20th century. The work of two brothers, Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, practicing architecture in California, inspired the Craftsman-type bungalow. Their clients included many wealthy Midwesterners of liberal Protestant or Quaker background who favored national parks, woman’s suffrage, progressive education and factory reform. At a symbolic level, these values were expressed in the openness and comfort of their homes and by the lack of pretension often seen in the late Victorian houses. Homes designed by the Greene brothers lacked the “usual upper-class iconography of caste and status…” defined by family portraits and coats of arms.3
The Craftsman-type bungalow of the Greene brothers was influenced by the English Arts and Craft Movement, oriental wood architecture, and their early training in manual arts. The origins of the bungalow, however, are found in the one-story, informal cottages built for British administrators in India. The word “bungalow” is derived from the Hindustani term, bangla. Builders found that bungalows were well suited to North Carolina’s climate, and they were cheap and easy to build. No space was wasted on entrance halls. Kitchens equipped with new appliances were smaller and more compact. The bungalow was a good response to new patterns in family life for the emerging middle-class.4 The smaller houses of the early 20th century were part of an architectural response to the home economics movement. Changes, like those listed below, were an integral part of the movement. Women of the American middle-class wanted to revamp their homes to allow more time for club and civic duties as well as for jobs in offices and department stores. Fewer families employed live-in servants or domestic help; cornices and niches that collected dust and germs were rejected as too time consuming. The average number of children per family decreased to three and a half by 1900. Improved food distribution systems relieved the housewife of the need to can and store food to see the family through winter. Dining habits became more relaxed with families eating simpler meals with fewer courses as slim figures became the fashion of the day. The home was no longer the training and production center of the family. In short, the home economics movement changed the style and size of the American home.5 The bungalow proved to be a mass mode of housing the new American family. It was spread not by architects, but largely by builder’s books and popular magazines. It borrowed motifs from other styles (like the Shingle and Stick styles) and spread quickly throughout the United States.6 The bungalow purchased by John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas has a compound, rear-facing T-plan with an irregular projection from the principal mass. The house presents an asymmetrical front elevation with side-gabled roof. The front-view is dominated by the roof with the centered shed dormer on the second floor. A one-story, engaged porch runs across the front of the house. Wood shingles clad the exterior to the second floor window sills. Above the second floor window sills, the walls are clad with Tudor false half-timbering.
The John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House has two types of exterior wall cladding: Tudor false half-timbering above wood shingles. Wood shingles rank as the second most common wall cladding (after wood clapboard) on Craftsman houses. Tudor false half-timbering was a common secondary influence derived from the Eclectic Tudor houses built between 1890 and 1940 throughout the United States. The treatment of stucco infill between timbers arranged in decorative patterns mimics Medieval infilled timber framing.7 The wood shingles are painted dark brown; the stucco is ivory. The paint on the false half-timbering has weathered off in most areas. Other trim is painted barn red. The roof frames the house with wide eave overhangs. White aluminum gutters have been installed at most overhangs. Exposed rafter ends, a common Craftsman detail, are seen behind the aluminum gutters. At each rake (sloping gable end), beams extend through the wall to the roof edge; each beam is supported by a triangular knee brace. A centered shed dormer at the front of the house adds headroom to the three front rooms while providing a splendid light well. The light well extends the full width of the dormer and is above the front porch. Although it gives the appearance of a second-floor porch from the street, no doors open to the area. Two interior brick chimneys clad in stucco pierce the roof.
The chimney on the northwest side of the house is in disrepair; bricks litter the nearby roof. The roof is covered with two layers of asphalt shingles over one layer of wood shingles. A two-story cross gable, not visible from the front of the house, extends to the northeast, providing second floor space not usually found in the typical bungalow. Many of the windows in the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House contain the original leaded glass. Most are double hung wooden sash. The majority of the windows are glazed in an 8/1 pattern. One set of windows on the northwest side is glazed in a pattern of four vertical panes of glass over one large pane. The windows overlooking the front porch are 12/1 and 24/1. The enclosed back porch has eight panes of glass in each casement window. All elevations have asymmetrical window arrangements. Windows occur singularly, in pairs, and in groups of three or four. The asymmetrical front elevation is three units wide with the wall seeming to disappear in the shadows of the engaged front porch and the dark brown of the shingles. The front entry forms the center unit. To the right of the front entry, there is a very large wall opening that is actually large enough to hold two windows. Instead it holds a narrow strip of twenty-four panes over a very large single rectangular pane of glass. The window to the left of the front entry has a narrow strip of twelve panes over one large pane. Both of the large panes are beveled, leaded glass. The windows of the second floor are recessed under the protection of the centered shed dormer. A single centered window is flanked by double windows. The engaged, one-story porch extends across the front of the house.
The roof of the porch is pierced by four square brick pillars. The two pillars that flank the steps have flat tops finished with contrasting cast concrete caps. The two corner pillars have triangular tops finished with contrasting gabled cast concrete caps. Each side of the four brick pillars is approximately 24″ wide. Recessed mortar joints with mortar colored to match the bricks add texture and shadow detail. Although the floor level of the porch is approximately 42″ above ground level, there is no balustrade. The porch is floored with tongue and groove boards; it has a ceiling of beaded boards. Both floor and ceiling have deteriorated in some areas. Five concrete steps lead to the porch. Smooth stucco covers the utility brick that forms bulkheads on either side of the steps. At some places, the stucco is cracked. The front entry has two wood and glass paneled doors. Each door has a single vertical panel of beveled, leaded glass. The hardware, with the exception of the dead bolt, appears to be original. The door surround consists of a simple arrangement of boards topped with a single narrow molding. A doorbell is located to the right of the double doors. A wood and glass paneled door on the southeast side of the house opens to the former driveway. A portion of the driveway is still evident in the grass on that side of the house. The steps leading to the southeast door have been removed. The door shares a surround with a window. Due to the height of the shrubbery, the door and window are concealed from those passing on Seventh Street. Both the southeast and northwest elevations of the house have small, lower gables extending from the larger gable of the primary roof. The two small gables hold the rooms that form the top of the T-plan. On each of the sides of the house, a wide molded trim board bands the house at the level of the second floor window sills. It separates the dark brown wood shingles from the Tudor false half-timbering on the upper portion of the second floor walls. The Tudor false half-timbering is composed of lathe attached to the frame of the house with boards to mimic the half-timbering of Medieval English prototypes. Stucco was applied to the lathe between the boards to complete the look. The boards are painted a dark color to provide a vivid contrast with the light-colored stucco. Other examples of Tudor false half-timbering are found on several bungalows in the immediate Elizabeth neighborhood; it is also found on some Queen Anne houses in Fourth Ward. The John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House has a shed-roofed, one-story porch on the northeast facade. It is enclosed with dark brown shingles and casement windows. It appears that the back porch was extended early in the life of the house. The back or northeast end of the house has the same Tudor false half-timbering and wood shingle treatment that is found on the two side walls.
The interior of the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House has not been modernized. Most of the historic fabric is not only intact but visible. The rooms have original wooden moldings and original hardware on the wooden interior doors. Walls and ceilings throughout the house are of plaster; unfortunately, some of the plaster has water damage, especially that on the ceilings. Wallpaper and ceiling paper are peeling in several rooms. The unpainted woodwork and doors are stained a warm, honey color. Oak flooring is used throughout the first floor of the house; maple flooring is used throughout most of the second floor. The front doors open to an approximately 15′ by 22′ living room that extends to the southeast wall of the house. Tall, sliding wooden pocket doors open to allow this room to become a much larger open area that includes the three adjacent rooms. The living room has a massive corbeled gray brick fireplace that extends into the room. The fireplace dominates the southeast side of the room. A wooden shelf, supported by wide matching brackets, extends around the chimney-breast. Small inglenooks are created by the use of the interior fireplace and chimney. The ceiling has an x-shaped pattern of false beams; the false beams enclose the electrical wiring for the chandelier. The room located to the left of the front door can be separated from the living room by sliding pocket doors. If the pocket doors are not closed, the opening is so large that the two rooms flow together. Along the back or northeast wall of the living room, there are two pairs of pocket doors separated only by a narrow segment of wall. The pair of pocket doors to the left opens to the dining room while those on the right open to a large stair hall. The rounded stair treads cascade down to the stair hall from a landing on the northeast wall.
The banister rail curves with the stair treads; it spirals to form the newel. The newel is anchored in a small bench beside the stair. The seat of the bench lifts to reveal a small storage area. A door on the southeast wall opens to the former driveway. The landing on the northeast wall has a door to a small half-bath, the only such facility on the first floor. Paired pocket doors on the northwest wall open to the dining room. The dining room has a massive fireplace on the back or northeast wall. The mortar joints between the rough, textured bricks are colored to match the brick (as are those on the front porch). The shelf above the opening is supported by four header columns of corbeled brick. The walls of the room are surrounded by a high plate rail supported by honey-colored wooden trim applied to the plaster walls. The recessed areas of plaster between the trim boards are covered with thick wallpaper. When all four pairs of pocket doors are open, the four front rooms of the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House flow together as one large open, light-filled space. Simply closing the pocket doors gives each room a feeling of intimacy. A door beside the dining room fireplace leads to a room that could have served as a breakfast nook or a pantry. This small room has two built-in corner cupboards on the northeast end. A door on the southeast wall of this room leads to the kitchen. The kitchen is contained in the north corner of the two-story, cross-gabled section of the house. One built-in cupboard remains; the other cabinets, sink, and appliances have been removed over the years. The kitchen has a doorway on the southwest wall leading to a small storage pantry or closet. The door to the enclosed back porch is on the northeast wall; a window on that wall opens to the porch. The enclosed back porch is a one-story shed-roofed extension from the northeast wall of the house. The back porch is divided into two small utilitarian rooms. The north room of the porch has casement windows overlooking the back and side yards.
A door to a narrow hallway is located on the southwest wall of the kitchen. The hallway connects the kitchen to the stair hall. The second landing of the U-shaped stairway takes much headroom from the hallway. A door on the southeast wall of the narrow hallway leads to the basement. The stair to the basement is a rough wooden affair with no handrail. On the northeast wall of the landing, there is a small half-bath. Some fixtures are missing, but the basic plumbing is still in place. Apparently, it was the servant’s facility. An oil furnace, located in the basement, has arms of aluminum ductwork to carry heat to the floor vents above. The John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House has only one stairway to the second floor. That partially open staircase climbs in a U-shape from the previously-described stair hall to the second floor. The balustrade in the hallway, typical of those found in Craftsman houses, consists of wide, flat balusters topped by a rail. The newel, like that of the first floor, spirals to its own center. At the southwest end of the hallway, there is an area of the hallway that is recessed to meet the wall of the bathroom. Doors in this small area open into the bathroom, the south corner room, and the west corner room. In a rather unusual arrangement, rooms on the second floor open into the hallway, but they may open into each other as well. Most of the rooms are floored with maple; exceptions will be described below. The woodwork of the second floor has been painted. The doors have the same warm, honey-colored finish found on the first floor doors. On the front or southwest side of the house, there are three rooms; they are the south corner room, the west corner room, and the bathroom between those two rooms. All three of the rooms on the southwest side open to the light well located over the front porch. The use of the porch-like light well allows the use of full size windows rather than the small windows found in most shed dormers. This gives a measure of light to the three front rooms not usually found in bungalows. The light well, however, has collected water and organic material; it has been the source of much of the water damage.
The room in the south corner of the house is the most formal room of the second floor. It has a fireplace that shares a chimney with the fireplace in the living room. The fire surround is not Craftsman in character. On either side of the fire surround, a Tuscan column sits on a molded plinth block. A molded block on top of each column supports the heavily-molded shelf. The entire fire surround is painted white. Ivory fire tiles surround a cast iron insert. The white hooded top and sides of the insert hold a black removable panel. An abstract floral motif decorates the panel. The room has one closet in the south corner of the room. A portion of the room’s ceiling and the ceiling of that maple-floored closet follow the slope of the roofline. This room has a water-damaged oak floor that is laid in the opposite direction of the most of the other rooms on the second floor. With a window on either side of the chimney-breast and a pair of windows on the southwest wall, the room is filled with light. The windows on the front or southwest wall give a view of Independence Park. A door on the northeast wall of the south corner room connects to a narrow, rectangular room that runs along the southeast side of the house. The small room has a closet on the northeast wall with a raised floor. The raised closet floor provides headroom for the stairway below it. A pair of windows on the southeast wall provide abundant light. A door on the northwest wall leads to the hallway. The center room on the southwest side of the house is a bathroom. It has a single window on the southwest wall. The fixtures, including the rolled-top bathtub and medicine cabinet, are still in place. The maple floor has been covered with linoleum. Items stored in the bathroom obscure the fixtures and prevent further description at this time. The west corner room has two doors on the southeast wall. One connects to the bathroom just mentioned. The other door opens into the hallway. The room has one closet in the north corner of the room. A portion of the room’s ceiling and the closet ceiling follow the slope of the roofline. A pair of windows on the southwest wall would have a view of Independence Park if it were not for foliage on the trees. A door on the northeast wall of this rooms opens to a rectangular room that runs along the northwest side of the house. The northwest side room was used as a kitchen during the time the house was separated into apartments. A sink is still fastened to the southwest wall.
A narrow closet is located on the northeast side of the room. The room can be reached from the main hallway by a door on the southeast wall. The hallway runs to the back or northeast side of the house. A door to a linen closet is located on the northwest side of the hallway. Above the linen closet, a small utility closet holds a fuse box. The hallway extends through a doorway near the north end of the house to give access to the two back rooms. An access door to the attic is located in the ceiling of this section of the hallway. Looking into the attic, one can see the common rafter with tie beams. Electrical wiring, protected by white porcelain insulators, pierces the tie beams. The bottom layer of roofing material – wood shingles – are also visible. The room on the right of the hallway (in the east corner of the house) is a narrow rectangular bathroom. Fixtures, including a roll-top claw footed tub, are still in place. There is no evidence of a medicine cabinet. The wood flooring in this bathroom is not covered with linoleum. The room on the left at the northeast end of the hallway (in the north corner of the house) is a vivid reminder of the public-health movement of the early 20th century. Acceptance of the germ theory of disease in the United States had given way to the theory that dust and dark corners promoted disease. As builders rushed to fill the demand for “sanitary houses” (as they were known), sleeping porches and glazed sun parlors, which provided for year round use, were added to residential designs.8 The sun parlor on the north corner of the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House has windows covering both the northwest (side) and northeast (back) walls. Although the sills are level around the room, the windows on the back wall are larger. Even though this room is on the side of the house generally considered darkest, it is filled with light. Early 20th century domestic scientists would have been well pleased with the amount of fresh air and sunshine available in this room.
The John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House is an intact example of a Craftsman house constructed in the bungalow style from the early years of the 20th century. The interior finishes and decorative details of the John Paul and Alice Craft Lucas House are well-conceived and constructed of fine materials. The exterior has survived with original materials and few changes. The bungalow can provide valuable insight into one type of house that many families inhabited during the days when Charlotte’s citizens were adjusting to “life in the suburbs.”
1 Virginia & Lee McAlester, A Field Guide to American Houses (New York, 1986), 453-454.
2 Ibid., 319.
3 James Marston Fitch, American Building: The Historical Forces That Shaped It (New York, 1987 ed.), 232.
4 Spiro Kostof, America by Design (New York, 1987), 38-39. Also, Catherine W. Bishir, with photography by Tim Buchman, North Carolina Architecture (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1990), 426-432.
5 Gwendolyn Wright, Building the Dream: A Social History of Housing in America, “The Progressive Housewife and the Bungalow” (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1983), 158-176.
6 Carole Rifkind, A Field Guide to American Architecture (New York, 1980), 98.
7 McAlester, 454, 356.
8 Wright, 161-162.